The College Curriculum Renewal Project (CCRP) is an ongoing effort of the College to foster curricular renewal and innovation, motivated by the desires to deepen student learning at Georgetown. Since the fall of 2001, numerous phases of CCRP have generated examples of innovative pedagogies, curriculum redesigns, and methods of assessment that can serve as models for future curricular transformation. Responding to and building upon the interests of faculty and departments, CCRP explores the following themes and questions:
Strengthening the core curriculum
How might a subject be introduced to large numbers of students in ways that also represent what is most engaging about that subject?
Government—In order to improve interactive learning in an introductory, large enrollment course, one instructor decided to include his TAs in the process of designing and delivering assignments to be shared across courses.
Reinventing Key Courses: the Gateway and Capstone
How do departments provide a gateway to the major that balances the introduction to the discipline while keeping highest expectations for student learning? On the other end of the spectrum, in what ways does the capstone help students synthesize their educational experience?
Mathematics—Jim Sandefur re-oriented his gateway course to focus on getting students to think and communicate as experienced practitioners.
Sociology & Anthropology: Using the capstone experience as a starting point for reflection, the department analyzed how their curriculum led majors to achieve desired learning goals.
Explicitly creating continuities and connections across courses
What are the methods and strategies for insuring that core competencies are present across key courses, thereby deepening student learning?
Strengthening the major with verticality and depth
How might expanded credit electives build on general education courses to provide more depth to major experiences?
Biology—Heidi Elmendorf expanded her introductory biology course for non-majors in order to better engage non-science students in science.
Departments have found that three dimensions of curriculum renewal are interdependent and crucial:
Create the strongest possible foundation for student learning in the major;
Redesign strategic courses based on thinking about the coherence of the curriculum across the major;
Strengthen the ways students can experience depth in the field at all levels of the curriculum.
The questions about learning that faculty address in this project are sometimes easier to ask than answer, but they are critical in understanding the relationship between student learning processes and curriculum design.
For more information about the history of CCRP, please see: http://cndls.georgetown.edu/programs/ccrp/site/whyccrp/