Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning for Curricular Coherence

Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning for Curricular Coherence, funded by The Teagle Foundation, is a part of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise signature initiative.  It supports campus teams at four institutions as they engage in ambitious faculty-led curricular changes leading to greater intentionality in students’ curricular pathways. With support and resources from AAC&U’s LEAP initiative and leadership, four institutions have developed action plans to create a more coherent and intentional curriculum that promotes purposeful pathways for student success.

The project goals are driven by a shared belief that purposeful pathways created by faculty can guide students to higher levels of learning, intellectual skills development, and practical knowledge. These newly designed guided learning pathways will engage students in high-quality learning experiences (e.g. high-impact practices) that will help them achieve learning outcomes critical for life, work, and productive citizenship.

Initial development of action plans began at a planning meeting, facilitated by AAC&U, in July 2016 in Washington, DC. Utilizing a cycle of intentional learning outlined in Purposeful Pathways: Helping Students Achieve Key Learning Outcomes (Leskes and Miller, 2006), participants identified goals and outcomes driven by their respective institutional mission. Participants used these mission-driven goals and outcomes to inform curricular design and coherence as well as improvements in pedagogy that are linked to assessment of student work. Over the course of the planning period, campus teams outlined steps in their respective action plans that utilize the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) framework (Hall & Hord, 2006) for preparing faculty to engage in the process of curricular change. In July 2017, the four institutions convened at the 2017 Institute on Integrative Learning and Signature Work to discuss future progress of their action plans. Representatives from two institutions presented on preliminary findings from the implementation of their action plans during the 2019 AAC&U Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.  The four institutions convened again in March 2019. 

The institutions participating in the project include:

  • Community College of Philadelphia (PA)
  • University of Houston-Downtown (TX)
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (NV)
  • Winston-Salem State University (NC)

AAC&U Project Staff:

Tia McNair, Vice President, Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers

Kate McConnell, Assistant Vice President for Research and Assessment

Dawn Whitehead, Vice President, Office of Global Citzenship for Campus, Community and Careers