Faculty Development and Engagement in Curriculum Change

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Julianne B. Page, EdD, MSN
School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Karen L. Carlson, PhD
College of Nursing, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
Joan Such Lockhart, PhD
School of Nursing, Duquesne University School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Introduction and Purpose

Although curriculum review and revision is a responsibility of the faculty, it can be a challenging experience. Nursing faculty members have a variety of backgrounds that may or may not include curriculum elements, design and revision. Facing changes in their familiar teaching assignments may also trigger feelings of uncertainty. Involvement in each step of the process can encourage faculty to be enthusiastic and committed to the new curriculum. The purpose of this project was to prepare faculty to contribute effectively to the curriculum change process, so that all voices could be valued and heard. With increased knowledge and confidence, faculty will be empowered to make informed decisions about the curriculum change. According to one model for leading change, training in needed skills is one of several ways to empower employees for broad-based action. The overall purpose of the Experienced Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (ENFLA) is that the ENFLA Leadership Scholar will develop skills in team building and change agency as a result of implementing the project.

Specific Aims

The specific aims of this faculty development project are to increase faculty members’ knowledge of accreditation standards and other professional guidelines, and to increase their confidence in their ability to apply these standards in decisions about curriculum revision. Faculty members will be able to articulate the rationale for curriculum decisions, and will demonstrate increased engagement in the curriculum revision process.

Methods and Sample

This project was designed and implemented by the Leadership Scholar in collaboration with the ENFLA mentor, Dr. Joan Lockhart, and the ENFLA faculty, Dr. Karen Carlson. The topics for the modules were developed in collaboration with the School of Nursing Curriculum Steering Committee. The Director of the Center for Lifelong Learning, Dr. Betty Nance-Floyd, collaborated with the Scholar in obtaining Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) approval for this project.

In preparation for a curriculum change at the BSN, MSN, and DNP levels, online modules were developed with the intent to provide faculty on curriculum revision task forces with information about national standards regarding curriculum, patient safety, simulation education, and interprofessional education. Each task force is program-specific (BSN, MSN, DNP) and consists of 6 to 9 faculty with teaching experience in that program, but with varying backgrounds and experience regarding curriculum development.

The online modules were located on the classroom management system used by the school, for the convenience of faculty who are already familiar with this system. The learning activities were based on active, adult learning principles to encourage participants to apply the standards to curricula in case studies. Discussion questions then prompted participants to interact with one another while thinking creatively about their own curriculum. To promote interaction with the material and among participants, a variety of teaching strategies such as videos, articles, and discussion questions were used. Task force members will complete the modules over a three-month period in the summer of 2017, to prepare for weekly planning meetings that begin in the fall of 2017.

Evaluation of learning will include: active participation in learning activities (engagement), multiple-choice pre- and post test (knowledge), quality of their case analysis (application of standards and rationale), survey regarding intent to change practice (short-term); self-reported change in practice (empowerment), attendance and participation in the curriculum revision process (long-term engagement), and self-report of confidence in applying the standards to curriculum revision (short and long-term. Feedback from the task forces regarding their knowledge, confidence, intent to change, and satisfaction with the modules will be collected in order to revise the modules before additional faculty groups, such as the executive committees of each program and course coordinators, begin the faculty development. Results of this evaluation are expected to be available by the time of this poster presentation in fall of 2017.


This project demonstrates a faculty development approach to preparation of faculty for curriculum review and revision. Faculty confidence and engagement is expected to increase as they gain knowledge of the curriculum development process and the standards on which nursing curricula are based. The project will be valuable to the School of Nursing by providing opportunities for faculty to grow in their ability to envision and implement an undergraduate curriculum that they fully understand and support. It will also allow the Leadership Scholar to develop skills as a team builder, change agent and leader in nursing education. The support of the ENFLA triad model providing a mentor and Academy faculty has been essential to the success of this Scholar’s leadership project.