Shaping the College Curriculum: Academic Plans inContext, Second Edition
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More About This Title Shaping the College Curriculum: Academic Plans inContext, Second Edition


Shaping the College Curriculum focuses on curriculum development as an important decision-making process in colleges and universities. The authors define curriculum as an academic plan developed in a historical, social, and political context. They identify eight curricular elements that are addressed, intentionally or unintentionally, in developing all college courses and programs. By exploring the interaction of these elements in context they use the academic plan model to clarify the processes of course and program planning, enabling instructors and administrators to ask crucial questions about improving teaching and optimizing student learning.

This revised edition continues to stress research-based educational practices. The new edition consolidates and focuses discussion of institutional and sociocultural factors that influence curricular decisions. All chapters have been updated with recent research findings relevant to curriculum leadership, accreditation, assessment, and the influence of academic fields, while two new chapters focus directly on learning research and its implications for instructional practice. A new chapter drawn from research on organizational change provides practical guidance to assist faculty members and administrators who are engaged in extensive program improvements. Streamlined yet still comprehensive and detailed, this revised volume will continue to serve as an invaluable resource for individuals and groups whose work includes planning, designing, delivering, evaluating, and studying curricula in higher education.

"This is an extraordinary book that offers not a particular curriculum or structure, but a comprehensive approach for thinking about the curriculum, ensuring that important considerations are not overlooked in its revision or development, and increasing the likelihood that students will learn and develop in ways institutions hope they will. The book brings coherence and intention to what is typically an unstructured, haphazard, and only partially rational process guided more by beliefs than by empirically grounded, substantive information. Lattuca and Stark present their material in ways that are accessible and applicable across planning levels (course, program, department, and institution), local settings, and academic disciplines. It's an admirable and informative marriage of scholarship and practice, and an insightful guide to both. Anyone who cares seriously about how we can make our colleges and universities more educationally effective should read this book."
Patrick T. Terenzini, distinguished professor and senior scientist, Center for the Study of Higher Education, The Pennsylvania State University


Lisa R. Lattuca is associate professor and senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The Pennsylvania State University. She is the project director and co-principal investigator for a multi-year, national study of the impact of a new set of outcomes-based accreditation standards on the educational experiences and learning of undergraduate engineers. She is the author of Creating Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary Research among College and University Faculty (2001), and coedited College and University Curriculum: Developing and Cultivating Program of Study that Enhance Student Learning (2001) and Qualitative Research in Higher Education: Expanding Perspectives (2001).

Joan S. Stark is professor emerita in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education and dean emerita, The School of Education, University of Michigan. She is the former editor of The Review of Higher Education and the former director of the National Center for Research to Improve Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, a national research center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. She is the author or editor of numerous books and monographs including: Reflections on Course Planning (1988), Student Goals for College and Courses (1989), Planning Introductory College Courses (1990), and Assessment and Program Evaluation (An Association for the Study of Higher Education Reader, 1994).


Preface xiii

The Authors xix

1 Curriculum: An Academic Plan 1

The Need for a Definitional Framework 2

Defining Curriculum as an Academic Plan 4

Contextual Influences on Academic Plans 11

Constructing Plans: Curriculum Development 15

Evolution of the Academic Plan Concept 16

Advantages of the Academic Plan Model 20

2 External Influences: Sociocultural Context 23

Patterns of Curriculum Debate 25

Evolving Educational Purposes 26

Debating General Education and Specialization 30

Learners: An Emphasis on Access 36

Content Debates: Prescription vs. Choice 45

Instructional Process: Occasional Innovations 52

Evaluation Debates: Emphasis on Quality Control 57

Influences and Potential Reforms 64

3 Internal Influences: College and University Contexts 65

Institutional Influences 67

Unit-Level Influences 77

Emerging Internal Influences 83

Converging Influences 87

4 Internal Influences: Academic Fields 89

Characterizing Academic Fields 91

Differences in Course Planning 93

Seeking Academic Community 101

Building on the Strengths of Academic Fields 111

5 Creating Academic Plans 115

Course Planning 116

Program Planning 127

College-Wide Planning 132

Systematic Design Models 135

Sharing Responsibility for Curriculum Design 143

6 Learners 145

Learner Influences on Course Planning 147

Learner Influences on Program Planning 151

Learner Influences on College Planning 152

Multiple Perspectives on Learning 153

Learners and Learning Processes 159

Understandings of Learning and Knowledge 168

Learning in Academic Fields 174

Considering Learners in Curriculum Design 179

7 Instructional Processes 183

Teaching Styles 184

Contextual Influences on Courses and Programs 187

Expanding Choices Among Instructional Processes 191

Teaching for Intentional Learning 212

Reflecting on Planning and Teaching 225

8 Evaluating and Adjusting Academic Plans 229

Defining Evaluation and Assessment 231

Evaluating and Adjusting Course Plans 235

Evaluating and Adjusting Program Plans 248

College-Wide Evaluation 257

Evaluating Evaluation 266

Responding to Accountability Demands 267

9 Administering Academic Plans 269

Curriculum Leadership and Administrative Roles 275

10 Models and Strategies for Curricular Change 301

Evolution, Adaptation, and Strategic Change 302

Scope of Curricular Change 304

Models of Change 305

Using Multiple Strategies for Curricular Change 318

Learning to Change in Academic Organizations 322

Maintaining Change 327

Academic Plans in Context 329

References 331

Names Index 359

Subject Index 367