Chapter 3 – Step 3 in the Process

Action 10: Shepherd through Approvals

Shepherd through the necessary approvals

Keep your faculty colleagues ‘in the loop’ with curriculum design decisions, rather than surprising them and expecting them to be on board with a change that it took your team months to comprehend. Presenting major changes that need widespread support as a fait d’accomplis risks the vision, timelines, and relationships. It damages trust when trust is so important to the collective effort required for an effective curriculum.  


The content of the full proposal package for a major revision or new program can be drafted over time, in parallel to Steps 1 – 3.  If revisions or new courses are under the authority of another academic unit, then consult that unit early about requirements and include them in the process.  


Just as the proposal content and associated meetings for support within the University can be conducted in parallel, the work of keeping faculty colleagues informed should occur in parallel.


Follow the Process Tips below – and then return to Step 1 where readiness and communication were the focus, for lessons learned.

Step 1 is a highly consultative step where many systems for communication should have been set in motion.

Revisit and assess the effectiveness of your communication as you move between the major steps.


Process Tips ✔

  • Create visual representations of the curriculum as high-level summaries that show the sequence and interconnections to simplify the presentation of the curriculum for consultation and approval.
  • Seek advice from the Governance Office, Registrar’s Office and from your academic unit about approvals.
  • Think through and access support for the communication strategies.
    • Examples: Blog, Dean’s updates, standing agenda item on faculty, department, college meetings
    • Seek assistance from your college’s communication specialists
  • Start on this document early and refer to its requirements early. Note the consultation and letters of support requirements.


Good Signs! 🏁

Potential success in the approval process is indicated by:

⊕  Communication specialists in the academic unit are providing support or advice

⊕  Regular communication processes established in Step 1 have been followed or adjusted and followed

⊕  Consults with Governance Office, other academic units, or other process advisors have occurred in advance

⊕  Faculty are expecting the design they are provided, and it meets the criteria that were established for function and feasibility (See Step 2, Action 4)



Warning Signs 🏴

⊗  Proposal document are not under development until right now

⊗  Faculty are surprised by the design or by key elements of the design

⊗  Consultations with other academic units implicated in your design haven’t occurred well in advance of requesting their letters of support




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Curriculum Design Guide Copyright © by Susan Bens; Sara Dzaman; Aditi Garg; and Wendy James is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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