CADRE and CLOA Work to Maintain High Curriculum Standards Across All College Programs
If college is a stage and students are the actors, then curriculum is the script. It’s what sets everything into motion, providing the material that guides students from the first day of class to graduation.
But unlike the script of a movie or a play, a curriculum must exist in real time. It’s a living document that must grow, change and evolve with the needs of students, the available resources of the institution and the requirements of the field in which graduates will be working.
Managing the curriculum in a single program is challenging enough. Cuyahoga Community College must manage curricula in many different programs and areas of study, ensuring all of them will ultimately send students into the world of work prepared to meet the challenges that will face them.
At Tri-C, changes to curricula are overseen by the faculty and staff in each department, assisted by two faculty review and advisory committees — CADRE and CLOA.
The Curriculum and Degree Requirements Committee (CADRE) is comprised of administrators, instructional and non-instructional faculty, and staff members from all four Tri-C campuses.
Its job is to work directly with faculty during the curriculum development and revision process, ensuring that necessary material is covered in a program’s coursework and articulated in a way that is accessible for students.
The Committee on Learning Outcomes and Assessment (CLOA) is comprised of faculty members and a dean from each campus, members of the Workforce, Community and Economic Development Division and a College-wide program manager.
CLOA’s job is to assess student learning to ensure curricula align with the College’s essential learning outcomes as well as stated program and course objectives.
Curriculum changes must follow a defined process. When faculty propose a change to program curriculum, they must first bring the change before a CADRE subcommittee at the program’s home campus.
“The subcommittees meet weekly at each campus to review curriculum proposals,” said associate professor Natalie Belle, chair of CADRE. “Once the subcommittee has reviewed and made its recommendations, the proposal passes to the main CADRE committee, which must approve it in order for the change to be enacted.”
Some programs require more of CADRE’s attention than others due to the nature of the material, which can change much faster in some fields than in others.
“For instance, in theater arts or literature, the body of knowledge isn’t going to change much over time,” Belle said. “In health care, on the other hand, changes happen rapidly and often. It’s crucial that we incorporate coursework that educates students on the latest knowledge and techniques in their fields.”
Because CADRE is tasked with ensuring all College programs have up-to-date curricula, they can’t overlook programs with material that evolves more gradually. That’s why the committee aims to work with all programs on a rotating basis to identify, review and revise portions of their curriculum.
“We’ve started to actively seek out those opportunities,” Belle said. “Some programs don’t have full-time faculty, so their curricula doesn’t receive regular review and may go years without an update. We want to make it a priority to evaluate those programs and make necessary updates to their courses.”
CLOA conducts much of its work through assessment of selected essential learning outcomes each semester. Courses that are mapped to those outcomes are selected at random, and the instructor is notified before the start of the semester.
“We work with the instructor to observe the progress of the class and gather student work for assessment,” said assistant professor Patrick Stansberry, faculty co-chair of CLOA. “The goal is to determine whether the outcomes required by the College and by the program are being met College-wide in the assessed course.”
CADRE and CLOA are separate entities, but each fills an important role in ensuring the best possible student outcomes.
“The two committees behave kind of like bookends,” said professor Anne Distler, CLOA’s other faculty co-chair. “CADRE works with faculty on the front end, as the curriculum is being written. CLOA assesses the curriculum after it’s written, when it’s being utilized in the classroom.
“It demonstrates the degree to which Tri-C is committed to the process, working with faculty both during and after the creation of a curriculum to ensure the best possible outcome for students.”
This is the sixth article in a seven-part series examining how various programs and people throughout Tri-C each play an important role in meeting the AQIP criteria and, by extension, assist the College in remaining accredited. To read the other articles in the series, visit the College's accreditation page.
February 13, 2018
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org