A discussion of activities associated with getting organized for curriculum development is followed by an introduction to faculty development as part of this initial organization. The synthesis activities that conclude the chapter include, first, a case study and critique to illustrate the foremost points of the chapter, followed by a second case for analysis. Included are questions to determine readiness to begin curriculum development.
• Overview factors important in organizing for curriculum development
• Consider methods to organize for curriculum development
• Identify activities involved when organizing for curriculum development
• Contemplate faculty development activities related to organizing for curriculum development
Organizing for Curriculum Development
Deciding on Leadership
Deciding on leadership is an important aspect of organizing for curriculum development. Questions to be answered are: what is leadership and what is involved in effective leadership? What style of leadership would be most effective? Who should be the leader and how should this person guide the process?
Few topics in the social sciences have attracted as much commentary, theory, and research as that of leaders and leadership. Schools of thought about leadership have been evolutionary, and there is an expanding body of knowledge on the subject. Progression has occurred from the great man theory, to trait or characteristics of leaders, to behavioral theory, and from a focus on the individual leader to leaders and followers, and to the situation and environment. The following summary of leadership may help potential curriculum leaders assess their aptitude for this role.
Leadership is the process of influencing people to accomplish goals or to move toward goal setting and achievement. It is generally conceived that any person can use the leadership process, that it can be learned, and that anyone can become a leader in primarily one of two ways. First, a leader can be informally chosen or formally elected by members of a group who recognize and accept the leader’s influence to lead, and who view the leader as someone who is competent and trustworthy. This is referred to as emergent leadership. Secondly, a leader may be appointed or elected to the position by people external to the group. This is called imp posed or organizational leadership. Imposed leaders may have difficulty being accepted by the group or receiving support because of lack of trust.
Effective Leadership to lead successfully, leaders must possess knowledge, skills, and a caring and compassionate attitude, since leading is essentially about people (Yoder-Wise, 1995). Obviously, leadership roles in curriculum development are multiple, due to the numerous environments in which the work is conducted and the levels at which leaders must operate. In fact, 19 roles applicable to a curriculum leader have been identified: expert, instructor, trainer, retriever, referrer, linker, demonstrator, modeler, advocate, confronter, counselor, advisor, observer, data collector, analyzer, diagnose, designer, manager, and evaluator (Havelock and Associates as cited in Wiles 8c Bondi, 1998).
Interrelated attributes for effective leaders include awareness of self and group members, advocacy for the group, and accountability for one’s actions to self, group, profession, and superiors (Bernhard 8c Walsh, 1990). Five practices associated with exceptional leadership are:
• challenging the process by searching for opportunities, experimenting, and taking risks
• inspiring a shared vision by envisioning the future and enlisting the support of others
• enabling others to act by fostering collaboration and strengthening others
• modeling the way by setting an example and planning small successes
• encouraging the heart by recognizing contributions and celebrating accomplishments (Huber, 2000)
Three levels of leadership have also been identified: individual, in which leaders mentor, coach and motivate; group, where leaders build teams and resolve conflicts; and organizational, in which leaders build a culture (Huber, 2000). Three suggested skills needed for effective leadership are: diagnosing (understanding the situation); adapting (matching behaviors and resources to the situation); and communicating (advancing the [curriculum] process in ways that individuals can understand and accept).