Curriculum Planning


Each round of curriculum planning has three milestones:

  1. A faculty retreat held in October each year to plan the curriculum and prepare catalog copy for the year after next;

  2. An academic fair held in May each year and open to pre-registration; and

  3. The opening of fall quarter when final changes and adjustments to the year's curriculum have been made, and student registration is completed. Proposed curriculum is submitted through the planning units which make recommendations to the curriculum dean.

Both faculty and students have important roles to play in curriculum planning; that is, in the design and selection of programs, development of their content, and evaluation of their performance. Faculty members have had, and will continue to have, ultimate responsibility and authority for curriculum planning. In addition, however, the college's emphasis on the individual student's responsibility for her or his own learning creates a necessity for each student to plan her or his academic program to a degree uncommon to most colleges or universities. This necessity for more individual planning naturally spills over into a desire by students for involvement in curriculum planning. Some intimate role for students in the curriculum planning is desirable for the social health of the college and for the considerable educational benefits that flow from successful student involvement.

An essential precondition to harmonious and productive student program planning is a set of clearly defined roles and responsibilities for faculty and students involved in the process. Faculty have identified the following responsibilities, among others, in curriculum planning:

  1. To formulate a sound general principle of organization for each proposed offering or set of offerings to help determine which activities, subject matters, etc. are really central to the proposal and which a peripheral. The theme or problem around which most coordinated studies are organized will serve this organizing function, but other principles of organization are certainly possible. Of course, the principle need not originate with faculty, but they have the responsibility for seeing that one appears.

  2. To ascertain as fully and as positively as possible the nature of the students who would enroll for the offering-- academic background, expressed desires for particular personal or study-area learning, and other motivations. This is essential if our programs are to speak effectively to our students.

  3. To accommodate as fully as possible the final program arrangements to the prospective students, within the constraints of educational good sense, time, money and human frailty. Faculty should pay special attention to the benefits of active student participation in planning as a help in discharging this responsibility. They should seek out, consult with and plan program offerings together with interested students.

  4. To make final decisions about program arrangements (books, activities, requirements, publicity, expenditures) and to build support for their decisions among prospective students.

Students who wish to be involved significantly in curriculum planning have a corresponding set of responsibilities:

  1. To participate fully in the process from beginning to end.

  2. To think carefully and in specific terms about their personal educational goals, to express these goals clearly to the faculty planners and to help devise and carry out methods for finding out who the other prospective students are and what they are like. This responsibility parallels that of the faculty to find out about students-- both students and faculty must work together to meet this difficult goal.

  3. To help find the subject matter resources and organizational forms that will embody the program theme in a way that accommodates prospective students.

  4. To write, for the faculty involved and for the deans, and ultimately for the periodic curriculum review process, an evaluation of the planning effort, with particular attention to its success in ascertaining the nature of the program's student constituency and in accommodating the program design to it.

All students should recognize the responsibilities, difficulties and limitations of curriculum planning and remember that there is no substitute for individual initiative and persistence in the shaping of one's education.

Students should also be involved as full members of any groups which help select and evaluate the curriculum. They bring an important perspective to the process and in the past have shown an ability to function well in this role. Such a role is congruent with their responsibility for their learning at Evergreen.