International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
IJTLHE
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
IJTLHE
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
IJTLHE
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
IJTLHE
2021: Volume 33 Number 1
Reviewers for Issue 33(1)
Roger 1Daltrey Virginia Tech
Pete 1Townshend Virginia Tech
Kate McConnell American Association of Colleges and Universities
C. Edward Watson Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

2021 - Instruction Article
Brown McNair, T., McConnell, K., Whitehead, D.
Views: 76       [4367]
Abstract: When we first conceived the idea of a special issue on curricular coherence in 2019, we had no idea that the world was about to be beset by a global health crisis unprecedented in modern memory, never mind that the very nature of teaching and learning at our institutions would change so dramatically and so rapidly. Now, in the summer of 2021, this issue is being released at a time of great uncertainty for undergraduate education in the United States, a time of collective wrestling with hard questions that have both pragmatic and existential implications. What does “normal” look like post- COVID? As educators, how can we ensure that our students have access to the very best teaching, learning, and assessment that we have to offer? And more to the point, is what we offer indeed the “very best”?

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2021 - Research Article
Zubov, L., Guillory, M., Farmer, D.
Views: 66       [3782]
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to investigate whether a mid-sized public university could create a more coherent and efficient undergraduate curriculum over a short period of time with minimal resources. We pursued this question using an action research design. Using a curriculum model, we developed that focused on foundational, breadth, and depth of knowledge as a framework, we asked academic programs at the targeted university to evaluate and reform their degree programs for coherency and efficiency. Data were collected using a summary data template for curriculum framework during the planning year and then again after two years of reform. Data were also collected on the number of program and course revisions implemented throughout the study. Additionally, using the Stages of Concern Questionnaire and an ad hoc survey, we gathered faculty and department chairs’ perceptions about the process. The results indicate that systemic change to a university’s curriculum can occur relatively quickly and with limited financial investment. However, the study suggests that for significant change to occur, faculty must be given time to process the paradigm shift. Additionally, when engaging in curriculum renewal, department chairs require opportunities to discuss the process with their peers and often need individual, targeted assistance.

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Abstract: Lack of clear, coherent pathways to transfer or to workforce goals is a common impediment to community college student success and completion. Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) set the ambitious goal of achieving curricular coherence across its 10 colleges, developing shared pathways that clearly delineate employment and/or transfer opportunities, assessable learning outcomes, course sequences that build toward mastery of those outcomes, and curricular and co-curricular milestones. MCCCD is a complex system with hundreds of degrees and certificates, numerous transfer partners, and a multitude of course options. Consequently, the implementation of clear, coherent, shared pathways constituted a dramatic transformation of policies, structures, processes, and culture. Implementation of a redesign of this magnitude can be difficult given that resistance to transformational change is common. Through an intentional and purposeful change process grounded in organizational and individual change theory, well over 900 faculty and staff from across MCCCD mobilized to engage in this ambitious redesign of their curriculum, developing clear, coherent, and shared pathways for over 240 disciplines within a period of 19 months. These results illustrate the importance of considering the human element in systemwide transformational change.

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2021 - Research Article
Pritchard, L., Bowles-Terry, M., Couzens, L., Drake, B., Rodriguez, J., Copeland, D., Kim, P., Tillery, D., Drake, M.
Views: 62       [3792]
Abstract: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) was one of four participating institutions in the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning for Curricular Coherence Project, funded by the Teagle Foundation. The goal of the project was to examine and improve curriculum coherence in undergraduate programs at our institution. A team of UNLV faculty and administrators developed a framework for curricular review and a consultative model to support programs in the process of reviewing and revising their curricula. We implemented this process with the faculty of nine academic programs and assessed the impact of curricular review and revisions at various levels. To assess the impact of the revisions on curricular complexity, we made pre-post comparisons of complexity scores, as calculated by the University of New Mexico’s Curricular Analytics platform (Heileman, Slim, Hickman, & Abdallah, 2017). We used a survey adapted from the Concerns Based Adoption Model (George, Hall, & Stiegelbauer, 2006) to evaluate faculty’s perceptions of the curricular review and revision process. Finally, we used a custom rubric to qualitatively assess the outcome of the curriculum revisions and level of alignment with project goals. The results showed that, although faculty expressed high levels of confidence and low levels of concern about the curricular changes they proposed, most of the changes were focused on removing structural barriers to student progression and had little impact on curricular complexity. Future efforts should focus on incentivizing more holistic, ambitious, and substantive curricular revision.

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Abstract: This practice article describes the goals, strategies, and outcomes of a pilot project that grew out of the Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning for Curricular Coherence project, funded by the Teagle Foundation, at Community College of Philadelphia. Included are recommendations for creating and supporting sustainable multidisciplinary faculty-driven leadership in order to achieve larger curricular goals. The pilot project integrates guided pathways (Jenkins, Brown, Fink, Lahr, & Yanagiura, 2018) with the essential skills of general education through the creation of academic pathway outcomes, and in doing so, codifies a collaborative process of faculty engagement. The practice draws from integrative learning and leadership-as-practice and aims for a full-scale transformation of general education that clarifies how knowledge and skills develop over time, across programs, and through academic pathways, empowering students and faculty to articulate and reinforce the connections between those skills and students’ transfer and career goals.

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Abstract: Liberal arts colleges promise undergraduates a holistic education that builds life-long skills such as critical thinking, written and oral communication, and quantitative and information literacy by encouraging students to engage in courses across the curriculum. Yet too often, we do not offer students enough support in developing coherent pathways and integrating what they learn, and that promise is diminished. With Teagle Foundation support, The Five Colleges of Ohio (Denison University, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, and The College of Wooster) and Allegheny College joined together over four years to investigate and implement structural supports to help students create a broader and more coherent roadmap to their educational experiences, including first-year gateway courses to introduce pathfinding techniques, course concentrations to emphasize connections across fields of study, and online mapping and advising tools linking courses, co-curricular opportunities, and careers. The collaborators also involved faculty in rethinking their crucial advising roles in a more integrative way. This instructional article describes the fundamental shifts institutions made to enhance curricular coherence and integrative advising as well as the lessons learned from setbacks and successes that informed ongoing initiatives.

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2021 - Instruction Article
Walker-Bethea, T., Villagomez, C., Allen, B., Berry, C.
Views: 55       [3787]
Abstract: This article delineates the process through which Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) initiated major curriculum reform across all undergraduate majors. Beginning in 2014, WSSU began measures to revise major pathways with the aim of increasing transparency and reducing uncertainties about program requirements and learning outcomes. Initial reviews of existing programs raised questions about program structure, relevance of some required courses, and obstacles for time-to-completion. To address these concerns, a committee of five faculty members and one senior administrator devised a 3- year plan to revise undergraduate major programs for clearer pathways in order to enhance student learning and program efficiency. This plan encompassed a conceptual framework that organized each program into three categories: foundation, breadth, and depth. The plan also included adjustments to the assessment tools used to measure student learning, resources available to faculty and staff, and processes for curriculum revision at the department level. The adopted framework not only allowed for the introduction, development, and mastery of knowledge and essential skills in each major but also permitted faculty to reshape the curriculum in terms of their teaching and research expertise. In this article, we outline the reform project’s primary goals, steps taken to implement the 3-year plan, and the impact on undergraduate students’ learning.

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2021 - Instruction Article
Cho, K., Visbal, A., Moosally, M., Jackson, J., Logan, L.
Views: 72       [3789]
Abstract: The increasing costs of college have led higher education institutions to place greater emphasis on the implementation of curricula changes that facilitate timely degree completion. Institutional barriers to timely degree completion may be found in course registration processes and course availability, program design, and university-wide resources and initiatives. Although students typically rely on faculty for such information, not all faculty are aware of these issues and university initiatives. Curricula changes and university initiatives can also fail from lack of involvement and buy-in from faculty. The purpose of this article is to describe our approach to engaging faculty in reflective and collaborative processes to raise awareness of these issues to impact curriculum design and coherence within and among the undergraduate degrees by creating a faculty learning community. The strategies used to empower faculty to discuss and initiate curricular changes include: (a) clear ownership and leadership of the process by faculty, (b) opportunities for open and minimally structured discussion about student success and university processes, (c) identification and distribution of student success data, (d) targeted cross-disciplinary review of degree plans, and (e) integration of student and advising staff perspectives to maintain focus on understanding the student experience with the programs and system. Preliminary results of our work demonstrate success in generating faculty participation and interest in the conversations, the data, and ways to refine their curricula to improve student success.

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2021 - Instruction Article
Boehman, J., Eynon, B., de Goeas-Malone, M., Goodman, E., Rogers-Cooper, J.
Views: 42       [4296]
Abstract: LaGuardia Community College is pursuing a sustained, multi-layered strategy to place learning, teaching, and cohesive curriculum at the center of a guided learning pathway. Implemented in both general education and disciplinary majors collegewide, our Learning Matters core competencies offer faculty powerful tools they use to design, enact, assess, and refine cohesive curriculum pathways. Curricular coherence is central to our innovation, but it does not operate in isolation. Its effectiveness emerges from careful alignment with an array of complementary reform strategies. High impact professional development supports faculty and staff as they connect curricular coherence with engaging pedagogy and faculty-driven assessment processes. Our ePortfolio practice shapes dynamic digital learning processes that help students to understand and engage those pathways and make them their own. This integrative strategy positions learning—student learning, faculty learning, and organizational or institutional learning—as the essential central element in a broad and effective educational improvement effort.

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2021 - Instruction Article
Green, M.
Views: 37       [4326]
Abstract: This article is reprinted with permission from In Search of Curricular Coherence, by M. F. Green, 2018, The Teagle Foundation (https://www.teaglefoundation.org/Resources/Evaluator/Reports/). The full publication, including visuals, case studies, and appendices, can be located on the Teagle Foundation website. In fall 2013, The Teagle Foundation issued an RFP inviting selected institutions and organizations to apply for grants that addressed the following question: “How can faculty work together to create a more coherent and intentional curriculum whose goals, pathways, and outcomes are clear to students and other constituencies with a stake in the future of higher education?” The grant initiative sought to “support campus initiatives that delve deep into the structure of the curriculum and make transparent to students what they can expect to learn and how the curriculum’s architecture delivers this learning.” A total of 15 implementation grants were funded under the Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence initiative between May 2014 and May 2018. This essay is based on an evaluation of four of the early grants in this initiative, involving 12 institutions: (a) Oberlin College, College of Wooster, Ohio Wesleyan University, Kenyon College, Denison University, and Allegheny College; (b) Virginia Wesleyan University, Davis & Elkins College, Shenandoah University, and Eckerd College; (c) San Francisco State University; and (d) Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, and Scripps College (i.e., The Claremont Colleges). The author reviewed proposals, annual project reports, and related documentation; conducted annual phone calls with representatives of each participating campus; attended the April 2017 convening of the institutions participating in this initiative; and visited selected campuses.

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