Supporting the Curriculum Review Process

At the University of Calgary, curriculum review is defined as “an academic staff-led critical examination of their own academic program for the purpose of optimizing the learning outcomes of that program” (University of Calgary, 2015, p. 3). Currently, it is a mandatory process for undergraduate and course-based Master’s-degree programs. With the goal of improving teaching and learning through a clear emphasis on articulating, aligning and assessing learning outcomes for specific programs of study (University of Calgary, 2015).

We have recently added new resources to support the curriculum review process on our website. Faculties currently undergoing the curriculum review process can use these handouts as reference points as they provide further details on the various aspects of the curriculum review process. The handouts are:

1. Introduction to Curriculum Review

This handout provides a brief overview of the curriculum review process at the University of Calgary and a great place to start as it explains the various aspects of the curriculum review process. The points introduced in this handout,  are explained further in the subsequent handouts. Introduction to Curriculum Review Handout

2. Guiding Questions, Timeline and Program-level Learning Outcomes

Guiding questions are critical questions or concerns that guide the curriculum review process (University of Calgary, 2015).  Like a research study, a curriculum review uses guiding questions to focus inquiry on specific avenues of curriculum issues. This handout provides further information on guiding questions including examples. Expected timelines for the process is discussed. Information on program-level outcomes (PLOs) which are the knowledge, skills and attributes that students are expected to attain by the end of a program of study and examples are provided. Guiding Questions, Timeline and Program-level Learning Outcomes Handout

3. Curriculum Mapping

Curriculum mapping is the process of associating course outcomes with program-level learning outcomes (PLOs) and aligning elements of courses with a program, to ensure that it is structured in a strategic, thoughtful way that enhances student learning (adapted from Harden, 2001). In this handout, features of curriculum mapping, the process and examples of tools that can be used are explained. Information that can guide the curriculum review committee on various approaches to writing or amending existing PLOs, and the best tool to use for curriculum mapping. Curriculum Mapping Handout

4. Analyzing Curriculum Mapping Data

The guiding questions chosen for the curriculum review would determine the type of data that would be collected. In this handout, different ways that curriculum mapping data can be presented and analyzed are discussed. Different ways of analyzing various types of data and examples are presented and explained. Involving faculty in the analysis and discussion of the data is a key aspect of curriculum review. Information on how to involve faculty in the process is provided in this handout. Example questions that can be used to guide data analysis are provided. Analyzing Curriculum Mapping Data Handout

5. Action Plan and Writing the Curriculum Review Report

An action plan is a concise summary of how, over the period between curriculum reviews, the faculty in a program will address findings emerging from the Curriculum Review process (University of Calgary, 2015, p. 8). In this handout, the action plan is discussed alongside possible sections to be included in the final report. Action Plan and the Curriculum Review Report Handout

Information provided in the handouts can be adapted to suit the needs of different faculties.


Harden, R. M. (2001). AMEE guide no. 21: Curriculum mapping: A tool for transparent and authentic teaching and learning. Medical Teacher, 23(2), 123‐137. University of Calgary. (2015). Academic quality assurance handbook curriculum reviews

About Frances Kalu 2 Articles
Frances Kalu, PhD(C), is a curriculum development specialist and faculty member at Educational Development Unit, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. Frances works with faculties on curriculum review and development projects by providing educational opportunities to create an understanding of the curriculum review process through the development of research-informed resources, facilitating retreats and workshops, and providing individualized support as required by faculties. Frances has an interest in developing foundational understanding of curriculum and the role curriculum plays in education. Her research interests include identity development, intercultural competency among faculty members, and inclusive education.

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