Chapter 1 – Step 1 in the Process

Action 3: Set Committee Structures

Confirm governance for curriculum change and principles for collaboration.

Curriculum change requires collective decision-making and action that needs to: 

  • Describe processes early on with existing or new governance structures and associated collaboration principles.
  • Create clear decision-making processes for transparency and authentic opportunities for input.
  • Equip faculty and others with information so that they can decide how and when to participate


Leverage existing structures such as curriculum committees or program-type committees to allow for a streamlined process. Using established mechanisms brings predictability and structure that is familiar. While familiar, if they are fraught with unhelpful norms or practices, consider adding new structures or processes, or engage in some other form of reset.


Include transparent principles for collaboration (also called ‘rules for engagement’) that leaders commit to enacting, for use of associated committees, working groups, and faculty.


Overall, faculty agreement on the need for change needs to be >80%. Early support of this kind indicates enough faculty would participate in the process and vote in favour of the motions.


Process Tips ✔

  • Document your governance, committee structure, and processes.  Sample “terms of reference” may exist in your academic unit – or contact the GMCTL for examples.
  • Develop principles for collaboration, collaboratively. GMCTL staff can assist with planning and facilitation.
  • Keep faculty “in the loop” and seek approval for the structure and principles at a faculty meeting. Share information with other departments or programs potentially affected by your project.


Good Signs! 🏁

You have confirmed governance for curriculum change and collaboration principles:

⊕ A ‘Terms of Reference’ document or a mandate for a subcommittee exists, including reporting structures and rules of engagement

⊕ Questions about roles of existing committees in relation to the approach described have arisen and informed the approach



Warning Signs 🏴

Faculty (a few, some, or many):

⊗ Do not know how the curriculum change process will occur

⊗ Provide poorly timed, off topic input, or comments indicating they do not yet understand the sequence of decisions

⊗ Voice public and/or “hallway” disagreement with process and purpose





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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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