Chapter 2 – Step 2 in the Process

Step 2 – Making Foundational Decisions

Image of a brick wall with one brick being added.

Foundational decisions set a program design process up for success and manageability.

Acknowledge requirements and realities that will help or hinder the process.

Don’t leave it to chance. Envision the system for an aligned and effective curriculum change.


Key questions answered at this step are:

  • How must the curriculum function administratively to make it manageable in our context?
  • Why are program outcomes essential to designing an aligned curriculum?
  • How will the curriculum support a range of learners in achieving the curricular outcomes?

Who is involved?

A core team of faculty collaborating under the mandate of a committee or an academic leader (e.g., Dean).

How long does this take? 4-6 well-designed meetings over 2-6 months.

Timeframes for Step 2 depend on the size and scope of the change. Foundational decisions should include input and perspectives from faculty who will be called on to approve and implement the curriculum.  Input can be gathered through a retreat, a series of dedicated meetings, or discussion and endorsement at a faculty council meeting.

Step 2 is composed of Actions 4, 5, and 6.


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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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