Strategic Plan Update: Curriculum Management

Gary Towsley

Gary Towsley, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics (SUNY Geneseo photo/Keith Walters)

Geneseo is continuing to implement the highest priority (Phase I) action items that were identified in the Geneseo 2021 Strategic Plan. Out of a pool of $1 million to advance those items, $350,000 was directed to time-sensitive student recruitment efforts. Last September, project leaders in charge of seven other action items shared proposals during a campus forum to secure funding available from the remaining $650,000 fund balance. Based on recommendations from the Budget Priorities Committee, made in consultation with the Strategic Planning Group, President Battles allocated various amounts across all seven action items. 

Advancing Curriculum Management ($95,920)

As the cornerstone of its liberal arts program, Geneseo’s curriculum is reviewed and revised on a regular — and cumbersome — basis, which is hampered by outdated processes and technology. However, in the words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a-changin'.” Interim Assistant Provost for Curriculum and Assessment Bill Harrison has taken the lead managing a software purchase and implementation project that will automate the curriculum management and catalog process, saving the College both time and money. 

Currently, SUNY Geneseo is working with System Administration and a software vendor to finalize a purchase contract. Once fully implemented, this new curriculum management software will address objectives identified in the strategic plan under Focus Area 1— Learning: 1) pursue curricular innovation; 2) improve support to faculty and staff to explore innovative approaches to teaching, learning, and research; 3) build a more effective and integrated learning and information infrastructure; and 4) strengthen faculty oversight and governance of curriculum. It also will make information more accessible to students and college community.

Under the current system, the process for revising the curriculum is time-consuming and burdensome, beginning with a word document proposal submitted by an academic department to the Office of the Provost, followed by multiple email exchanges detailing review and comments. The document is then converted into a PDF and submitted to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. From there, it is sent to College Senate for further review and discussion before final submission to the President for approval. The changes must then be uploaded into Banner and published in the undergraduate college bulletin — a PDF file that isn’t easily updated and one that also presents some access issues with regard to Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

“Using this software will make the process of moving from proposed coursework to implemented pedagogy more transparent to the curricular stakeholders,” said Harrison. 

Harrison also noted that the software provides the capability for information to be easily routed, edited, searched, and linked on the web to facilitate communication with a variety of users — including Geneseo students who prefer to use that platform to gather information. The advantages can help reduce costs, improve time management, increase morale, and enhance recruitment and retention efforts. 

Harrison hopes that the software will be operational by the end of 2018. The initial funding of $95,920 will be used toward first-year start-up costs; annual costs thereafter are currently being negotiated. 

– Tony Hoppa