The introduction of the Undergraduate Curriculum Framework (2012) marked a significant paradigm shift in the expectation of the quality of educational programmes at the University of Bradford. Those who were at the University Assembly will be aware that I view Curriculum Innovation as crucial to enhancing the student experience; it is, therefore, the first of seven themes in the Learning & Teaching Enhancement Plan.
To support curriculum innovation, new programme approval/review processes have been approved and are currently being implemented. These aim to further enhance the student learning experience and provide a more iterative process that enables students, employers and other stakeholders to contribute to the design and development of programmes. The processes are outlined in the Academic Quality Handbook and on the Academic Quality & Partnerships Office web site.
The challenge is to provide sufficient time and support for academics to form a programme development team that engages students, employers and learner support staff to ensure that programme re-design embraces fully the evidenced based principles on which the Curriculum Framework is founded. In this regard, we must provide staff with the support necessary to engage in this key intellectual activity.
The Centre for Educational Development supports the new processes by offering four programme design and development workshops which aim to inspire more creative, inclusive and innovative programme design that is aligned with the curriculum framework. These are outlined in the new Programme Design & Development Handbook and on the Centre for Educational Development’s website. Two Curriculum Development Fellows, Mark Goodliff and Simon Tweddell, have been appointed to the Centre for Educational Development team to take this work forward. They will be supported by a Curriculum Development Associates appointed to each school; these posts will be advertised shortly.
New programmes should be engaging with programme design and development workshops now so that final approval events can be completed by the end of September in the year before implementation, ie approval 2014 for implementation 2015. The workshops are also applicable for programmes going through periodic review as alignment with the curriculum framework is considered a major review. However, in view of timescales, programmes currently going through periodic review for implementation 2014/15 need to be aligned, as far as possible, with the curriculum framework and review documents should include a clear action plan for programme teams to engage with the workshops and bring the programme into full alignment with the curriculum framework for final approval before the end of September 2016.