As head of a faculty, it’s tough balancing the needs and goals of students, teaching staff and heads of the institution – and ensuring that your university attracts new students and performs well in the league tables. It’s a juggling act of enormous scale that you need to balance with your own academic objectives (and somehow still find time to spend with the family).
An important part of that balancing act is implementing curriculum changes that deliver an engaging and innovative learning experience. Universities might have relied on the lecture teaching model for hundreds of years, but times are changing – which means your curriculum needs to keep pace. But because you’re working so closely with your curriculum, it’s sometimes hard to notice when those curriculum changes are necessary.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some signs that your curriculum might be overdue for a refresh.
Email and WiFi shouldn’t be the most technologically advanced part of your curriculum
Even though you might think the most important aspect of your students’ education is the time they spend listening to lectures – and studying hard for exams – this has all begun to change thanks to the way in which we digest information and communicate. People today lead extremely different lifestyles to those of a hundred years ago. If education is to remain a powerful force of change, curriculum changes need to intertwine with the new habits and preferences of today’s learner. That said, we’re not advocating technology for technology’s sake: the latest and greatest interactive whiteboards are only worth the investment if they add value to your curriculum and enhance learning.
Does your curriculum provide students with work readiness skills?
When universities first emerged, it was the privileged minority that had access to education. They studied subjects out of interest, not necessarily because they wanted to prepare themselves for long and successful careers. When today’s students select degrees, interest in a subject might be a deciding factor, but for many, the choice is driven by the desire to find rewarding – and highly paid – work. If your curriculum doesn’t help students develop themselves, build work readiness skills (such as communication, problem-solving and interview skills) and give them the ability to meta-learn, you risk falling behind competing universities that do offer these ancillary course elements.
That said, offering students extra modules and career development courses needn’t involve a huge investment or added pressure on staff. Online self-learning modules taken by students at their own pace can rapidly accelerate curriculum changes and add tremendous value to students. Both you and your department’s success rests on the ability to provide superior education and prepare your students for their careers long after they’ve graduated. Fail to do this, and your institution will fall behind its competitors, both locally and internationally.
Our Industry Engagement Programme (IEP) helps implement the curriculum changes needed to equip students with work readiness skills. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to discuss how we can help your university lead curriculum change.