Chapter 2 – Step 2 in the Process

Action 4: Name administrative requirements

Articulate the requirements for administrative functionality of the curriculum early.

A curriculum must be both educationally impactful and practically functional and feasible.


Where accreditation exists, be sure to understand the requirements, and identify them as “non-negotiables.”


Some may experience creative energy during “blue sky” discussions about curriculum, while for others, discussions can be anxiety-provoking or frustrating because of the practical implications they foresee.  


Revisit the drivers for change in Step 1, Action 1 to help bring the administrative requirements to light, alongside candid faculty discussion in the academic unit. Discuss necessities or “givens” with academic leaders. 


Naming requirements can inspire certain kinds of curriculum designs and can keep the design within parameters required for success


Process Tips ✔

Consider this range of administrative requirements or functionality examples:

  • Length of the program. (e.g., we cannot shift from a 3-year program to a 4-year program)
  • Enrolment targets. (e.g., we need a curriculum that accommodates a 15% increase in enrolment)
  • Remediation (e.g., we need options for students who fall out of step with the recommended program sequence)
  • Infrastructure and facility realities (e.g., we need to work within the current lab space)
  • Teaching workload (e.g., we need to work within a defined assignment of duties model)
  • Student workload (e.g., we need to account for student wellness and consider total time for learning and succeeding in the program)
  • Accreditation, licensing exam scores (e.g., we need to meet accreditation requirements, we need to maintain a certain exam pass rate)
  • Paths to graduate studies (e.g., we need to build in an honours pathway or undergraduate research stream to help with graduate enrolment)
  • Justifications for tuition change (e.g., we need to show the value-added for the tuition increase)
  • Faculty complement, and expertise (e.g., we need to work within the current faculty)
  • Accessibility (e.g., we need admission requirements that remote and rural students can access)
  • Placements (e.g., we need sites to be within 1 hour of travel time of Saskatoon)
  • Class size (e.g., we need required courses to have a max of 100 students, electives to have a max of 40 students)


Good Signs! 🏁

Administrative requirements are acknowledged by:

⊕ A document that outlines them and can be referred to regularly 

⊕ Faculty expressing confidence that their visions for the future implementation and implications will be incorporated during the design



Warning Signs 🏴

Faculty (a few, some, or many):

⊗ Make statements or ask questions that indicate they do not understand the administrative requirements

⊗ Use the administrative requirements as a way to dismiss new ideas or teaching innovations




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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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