a set of stairs leads upwards, above the stairs is a sign reading welcome to the common room

Welcome to the Curriculum Commons!

‘The Commons’ generally refers to cultural or natural resources that are open and accessible to all members of a society.  In this case, the ‘Curriculum Commons’ takes that concept and applies it to Queen’s University Quality Assurance and curriculum-related activities. It is an open set of resources for the Queen’s community that offers guidance and strategies for making advances on their academic programs and curriculum development, such as the Cyclical Program Review.

The word ‘curriculum’ derives from the Latin currere, meaning the course to be run. It is the totality of learning experiences that shape a students’ education. In the context of university education and university quality assurance, the curriculum for an undergraduate or graduate program are the learning experiences (the courses, program requirements, and learning opportunities) students engage in as they progress through their studies.

Who is the Curriculum Commons Intended For?

Academic programs engage in a variety of curriculum activities from initial design of a new academic program, Cyclical Program Review, Major and Minor modifications, and continuous curriculum improvement. This is where this Curriculum Commons resource is focused. It has been written with academic leaders (Deans, program Directors, Chairs, Managers, etc.), faculty, administrative staff, and educational support professionals (e.g. Educational Developers, Instructional Designers) in mind, particularly those working at Queen’s University. If you are involved in curriculum development, quality assurance, or continuous improvement of academic programs at Queen’s will find the resources, strategies, and guidance for engaging in this work within these pages.

What will you find here?

Within the Curriculum Commons, you will find suggested strategies, information, resources, and links to external content organized into various sections:

Cyclical Program Review

A Cyclical Program Review is required of each academic program at least once every 7 to 8 years. Cyclical Program Reviews (CPRs) are essential to ensuring all academic programs, scholarship and research meet the university’s standards for academic excellence. Required components of the CPR focus heavily upon the curricular nature of the academic program. In the following sections, you will find guidance on a range of teaching, learning, assessment, and curriculum design elements as they relate to the CPR.

The Author’s Perspective

This resource was originally authored by Dr. Lauren Anstey (Educational Developer in the Queen’s Centre for Teaching and Learning). It was reviewed by the members of the Queen’s University Quality Assurance Process (QUQAP) Team in the Provost’s Office. It is maintained by the QUQAP Team and members of the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

As an Educational Developer, the original author intended this resource to be a supplemental guide to quality assurance and curriculum development efforts of academic staff. The author’s guiding principles and approach to curriculum work is faculty-driven and focused on capacity building. This guide offers suggested strategies, prompting questions, and facilitative clarity but is not intended to be prescriptive. You are encouraged to borrow strategies and approaches when they resonate, and to leave them behind when they don’t.

Dr. Anstey identifies as a cis-gendered, straight, settler-Canadian, who is not currently disabled. She holds a doctorate in Curriculum Theory and her expertise is largely informed by Euro-centric, North American norms of higher education. This background shapes how she approaches conceptions of curriculum, teaching, and learning. Dr. Anstey has also sought to incorporate decolonizing and Indigenizing practices that seek to disrupt and critically interrogate the colonial histories of teaching, learning, and curriculum.


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Curriculum Commons Copyright © 2022 by Centre for Teaching & Learning, Queen's University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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