UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Curriculum Renewal : Report of the Working Group on Curriculum Governance for the Implementation Task Force on Curriculum Renewal University of British Columbia. MD Undergraduate Program. Curriculum Governance Working Group; Casiro, Oscar


At the outset of the Implementation Phase of the MD Undergraduate Curriculum Renewal process, it was felt that the implementation of a renewed curriculum would be constrained without systematic reform, which included an adaptable governance framework that could accommodate transformational change. To this effect, the Implementation Task Force for Curriculum Renewal (ITFCR) established the Curriculum Governance Working Group, and commissioned it to: review the current system of curriculum governance in the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Medicine (FoM) MD Undergraduate program (MDUP), identify its strengths and weaknesses, and suggest changes for future implementation that were aligned with the LCME/CACMS accreditation standards. The ultimate goal of the group was to propose a renewed governance framework that would identify the policies, procedures and organizational structures to guide and direct how people and committees should interact and make decisions. The group undertook an extensive methodology, and found that, overall, there is no one model that medical schools adopt to govern decisions within their curriculum, and that it is more important to adhere to principles of good governance, rather than structure, to facilitate decision making. In keeping with the benchmarks of excellence espoused by UBC and the FoM, the group adopted the United Nations framework of good governance as a guideline for making recommendations. The United Nations defines good governance as a framework that contains the following eight characteristics: participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus‐oriented, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, and accountability.(1) Through its methodology, the group identified a number of strengths in the current governance of the MDUP. These include: a participatory, consensus‐oriented and inclusive system; a willingness of faculty and staff to cooperate; an appreciation for an organizational structure that is reasonably well‐aligned with university policies and accreditation standards. Weaknesses were also identified, which included: a lack of transparency around some decision‐making processes; insufficient flexibility in decision‐making; a lack of communication about how decisions are made; committees sizes as too large, which can hamper effectiveness and efficiency; a process of program evaluation is not systematically followed by planning and improvement; and an overall sense that there is a need for a more effective curriculum management system. In light of its research and findings, the Curriculum Governance Working Group has proposed recommendations to address weaknesses in the current MD Undergraduate governance structure and coupled them with a renewed governance model. The recommendations are, in summary form, as follows (please refer to Chapter 5 for further context and details): Recommendation 1: Principles and Values That the Faculty of Medicine adopt the eight characteristics of good governance defined by the United Nations (1) to guide the development of new policies and that existing structures and processes of decision‐making (both formal and informal) be revisited to determine how well they align with these characteristics. Recommendation 2: Organizational Structure That the MD Undergraduate Program’s governance structure undergoes reform to enable more effective leadership, encourage transparency and clarity of roles and decision‐making processes, and accountability. Five committees that should be the first to undergo modifications in order to improve the effectiveness, efficacy and accountability of the governance system: Council of Undergraduate Associate Deans, MD Undergraduate Program Committee, Curriculum Committee, Program Evaluation Committee and the Student Assessment Committees. 2.1 Dissolve the Council of Undergraduate Associate Deans (CUAD) and replace it with a Regional Executive for the MDUP (MDU‐REX). 2.2 Change the Terms of Reference of the MD Undergraduate Program Committee (MDUPC) to become a more focused education committee and rename it the MD Undergraduate Education Committee (MDUEC). 2.3 Revise the Terms of Reference of the Program Evaluation Committee (PEC) to support an iterative process of planning, evaluation, and program improvement, and rename it to “Program Evaluation, Planning and Improvement Committee.” This committee will report to the MDU‐REX. Create a sub‐committee to oversee the Undergraduate Curriculum quality improvement that will report to the Program Evaluation and Planning Committee. 2.4 Redesign the Curriculum Committee (CC). 2.5 Create a Student Assessment committee as recommended by the Curriculum Renewal Working Group on Student Assessment. 2.6 Revise the original organizational structure and function of the MD Undergraduate Program to reflect the aforementioned recommendations. Recommendation 3: Decision‐making Process That the MDUEC develop a guide to curricular changes and a decision‐making tree to show where responsibilities lie and who is accountable for what, and that these are communicated widely. Recommendation 4: Representation Model/Committee Size That committees in the MD Undergraduate Program be downsized to a more manageable level. Overall, the model would have individuals from both central and regional campuses at any given time. Recommendation 5: Committee Terms of Reference (TOR) Format That in order to ensure clarity of purpose, accountability, responsibilities and consistency of message, the Terms of Reference (ToR) of all committees in the MDUP be revised to comply with a standardized template. Recommendation 6: Decision‐making Framework That the Faculty of Medicine revisits the concept of where decision making takes place in the MDUP. The Faculty should explore changes to the governance framework that will result in the most optimal delegation and distribution of authority that will promote timely and effective decision making and will help to preserve sustainability in a model that is growing in size and complexity. Recommendation 7: Communications That the MD Undergraduate Program develop and implement a communication strategy to ensure all the stakeholders have easy and timely access to pertinent information on governance. This strategy must recognize and ensure that communication flows in more than one direction.

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