Stage Two: Curriculum Renewal

Visioning and SWOT Analysis

To begin the curriculum renewal, program teams need to do an analysis of the existing program. A visioning exercise or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis are good ways to look at the program as a whole, and find areas that might require revision. Whatever the approach, it is imperative to look at the current program in terms of what is working, what needs improvement, what might be missing, and what might be superfluous. When analyzing the success of an existing program, include consideration of the following:

  • student feedback
  • dean’s council meetings
  • program assessment reports
  • previous program renewal documents
  • accreditation reports and commitments
  • relevant pathway agreements
  • potential pathways between credentials
  • degree-level standards
  • institutional learning outcomes
  • program differentiation
  • alignment with College mission, vision and strategic values

Program teams may choose to analyze the program in a small group, or include additional program faculty or stakeholders.

Internal and External Consultations

Consultation with internal and external stakeholders is also an essential part of Program Renewal, and takes place at various stages throughout the process. The Program Advisory Committee (PAC), made up of industry advisors, for example, provides subject matter expertise and knowledge of the employment landscape that will help to ensure the program is current and relevant to future employment and academic pathways. The Office of the Registrar can confirm how these changes impact admission requirements and help resolve any issues around how changes to the structure of a program may impact funding, student fees, academic space and scheduling. Regulatory bodies are consulted regarding changes to external requirements.

Internal stakeholders from other areas of the college should be consulted on an as needed basis. Examples include the following:

  • graduates and students
  • Credit Transfer Centre
  • Co-op
  • Physical Resources
  • international recruitment
  • Liberal Arts
  • Library Commons
  • Information Technology

For a list of complete stakeholders, refer to the Integrated Planning and Stakeholders Collaboration process.

Program Standards

Degree programs in CAATs must meet the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) Qualification Standards for a Bachelor’s Degrees (Honours) in an applied area of study, as defined in the Ontario Qualifications Framework and all of the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB) Degree Program Quality Review Standards and Benchmarks, as outlined in the most recent Handbook for Ontario Colleges.

Curriculum Structure

Degree programs contain three basic elements described below: Core courses, non-core or breadth courses, and work-integrated learning.

Core courses

Core courses are defined as those courses with subject matter that is within the main discipline of study.

In general, this means they are in the areas described in the nomenclature of the degree. In Bachelor of Business Administration – Automotive Management, core courses are in business, or specific to the automotive area and can be either mandatory or elective. For example, a selection of Special Topics courses in the core area may offer students elective choices in the core area of study and allow the program the flexibility for currency.

In degree programs, there must be a balance of theory and practice in the core area. Program and course learning outcomes should reflect this balance. In addition, “increasingly complex theory” must be supported by the sequencing of course learning outcomes and by the prerequisite structure. No more than 80 percent of courses in a degree program can be in the core area of study.

Non-core/breadth courses

By definition, non-core/breadth courses are those courses that are taken in areas outside the main discipline of the degree.

In general, this means they are outside the areas described in the nomenclature of the degree. For example, Bachelor of Business Administration – Automotive Management non-core/breadth courses are neither in business, nor specific to the automotive area. Some breadth courses may be mandatory, but some breadth courses must be electives. At least 20 per cent of course hours must be non-core courses.

Work-integrated learning

Whether the work-integrated learning experience is a paid co-op, internship or other work experience, the following PEQAB Benchmark must be met:

Any work-integrated learning experience, a) is appropriate to the field of the program b) has articulated, appropriate learning outcomes c) is supervised by both a college representative with appropriate academic credentials and an employer/staff member who collaborate to evaluate the student performance and d) amounts to no less than 14 weeks of full-time equivalent work (420 hours), either in one block, or in multiple cumulative blocks appropriate to achieving the learning outcomes. (“Handbook for Ontario Colleges”, 2016, p. 23)

Curriculum Documents

Five-year Program Renewal includes the review and revision of four key documents: the Program Outline, Program Map, Program Tracking Sheet, and the Detailed Curriculum Map. These documents, along with the Program Costing and Program Renewal Report, must be approved by Academic Council.

Program Outline

In order to revise the Program Outline, access a copy of the program outline template. Doing this ensures you are using the most current templates. This documents serves the needs of students, faculty, administrators, and external approval bodies.

Download the Program Outline template
View more information on Program Outline

Program Tracking

The Program Tracking form is an excel spreadsheet that illustrates the sequencing of courses as students take them from semester one through to graduation. It includes space for essential information such as course code, title, requisites, hours, and comments to indicate such things as common courses or rationale for hours (or changes come the Five-Year Program Renewal). Common courses must be identified.

Don’t forget to complete the bottom section which requires identification of whether or not work integrated learning in the program exists in order to meet the requirements of a professional or occupational regulatory body, and whether or not the course database has been reviewed and common courses incorporated where appropriate.

This document must be signed by the curriculum team faculty lead and the Dean/Associate Dean.

Download the Program Tracking template

Program Mapping

The Program Map helps the college ensure that a program is designed for student success in meeting the Degree Level Standard, and the Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). All planned courses for a program must be mapped to each of the Degree Level competencies and the PLOs. In program renewal, this involves aligning the proposed courses with the revised PLOs and with the Degree Level Standard.

Download the Program Map template
View more information on Program Mapping

Detailed Curriculum Map

Different from a Program Map, a Detailed Curriculum Map illustrates where course information is taught (introduced), reinforced (reviewing or returning to concepts) and assessed, and how the courses maps to the program learning outcomes (PLOs).

Download the Detailed Curriculum Mapping template

Program Costing

Because a Program Renewal can have budgetary implications, the Dean/Associate Dean is responsible for reviewing the existing program costing and modifying it to reflect any changes. Be sure to review and update the following:

  • program review costs
  • program delivery costings (including online development, specialized space, specialized IT requirements, capital and specialized equipment)
  • altered staffing plan
  • changes to Library Commons and learning resource requirements
  • Return on Investment (ROI) analysis

The Dean/Associate Dean must consult with Financial Planning to review and approve the new costing for the Program Renewal.

Download the Program Costing template

Program Renewal Report

The final document required for internal approval is the Program Renewal Report. This document collates the review findings and summarizes recommendations for program changes. This report provides readers with an overview of the program prior to changes, goals for the program moving forward and details on the plans to achieve these goals.

Download the Program Renewal Report

Once the Program Outline, Program Map and Program Tracking documents are complete, they need to go to Academic Council for approval. Please refer to Stage Three: Internal Approval Process.

Continue to Stage Three: Internal Approval Process