University staff are now invited to consider working draft of principles

By now we hope you’ve seen the Vice-Chancellor’s notice in This Week and follow up email introducing the Curriculum Architecture Project. Here we’ll outline the project in more depth, unpack some of the foundational principles and direct you to forms to provide feedback.

The University’s current curriculum architecture* was conceived in 2008 and implemented in 2010. It has served our purposes well and many curriculum elements are highly appropriate and relevant to our education mission. PACE, as a cornerstone of our curriculum and possibly the most successful approach to Work Integrated Learning in the country, is a good example.

Other curriculum elements, however, are due for a renewal so we can continue to fulfil our passion and provide the best possible learning experience for our students. Such new structures will also help us to refresh our suite of programs.

Several weeks ago, the Vice-Chancellor communicated his concerns about the higher education sector, the real challenges that face us and our need to deliver curriculum architecture transformation by 2020. Further, he noted that this important work needs to be supported by a whole-of-enterprise Curriculum Management System, which will reside within the current work being undertaken around our student management capability.

Senate and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic have been working together to identify the main issues within the curriculum structure that undermine student experience, and to propose solutions to these issues.

Over the last few weeks, we led a series of workshops aimed at articulating current architectural problems. These workshops were attended by over 200 staff and students: members of Senate and its committees, Associate Deans, Heads of Department, Program Conveners, professional staff from Curriculum & Planning, Completions, Macquarie International, MUIC, Student Lifecycle, and Governance, and student representatives.

This feedback was combined with work begun in May 2017, exploring program coherence and benchmarking existing program architecture in the Australian higher education sector (some of which found voice in Senate’s recent approval of the Vertical Double degree approach).

A working party with representatives from each Faculty and led by the Chair of Academic Senate and the PVC (Programs and Pathways) considered the issues raised and began the work of identifying possible principles that might shape a new curriculum architecture at both undergraduate and postgraduate coursework levels.

These draft principles were aired and tested at the workshops over the past week. Workshop participants were asked to discuss the proposed principles in their office/Department/Faculty and to provide further feedback.

We now ask you, the entire Macquarie community, to consider the draft principles and to let us know your expert thoughts and opinions. For some principles there are two options, and we are particularly interested in your evaluation of these options. We value your time in providing this feedback, as it is vital we hear from you.

In the links provided below you will find an introductory set of slides presenting the proposed structural changes, two feedback forms to capture your thoughts, and PDFs of the draft principles.

In summary, here are just a few of the proposed changes, please view the attached slides for further detail. None of the proposed wording or terminology is set, and now is your opportunity to provide feedback.

Top 7 proposed changes to the curriculum architecture

  • broad changes to the design of the undergraduate and postgraduate course structure

  • standardised unit weighting to 10 credit points for all units at undergraduate and postgraduate level

  • course structures that meet discipline and accreditation requirements

  • introduction of the concepts of ‘depth’, ‘breadth’ and ‘foundation’ zones that define course components

  • clear distinction between generalist and specialist undergraduate degrees

  • volume of learning defined by point of admission for postgraduate degrees

  • agile structures that support vertical degrees and micro-credentialing.

We encourage you to read through the information in the slides before you start reviewing the draft principles and providing feedback.

Curriculum Architecture Draft Principles Workshop Slides – June 2018 >

The MQ Model Undergraduate Working Paper >

The MQ Model Postgraduate and MicroCourse Working Paper >

Undergraduate draft principles feedback form >

Postgraduate draft principles feedback form >

Use your OneID username and password to access the feedback forms.

The opportunity to provide feedback closes Monday 25 June (extended from 20 June).

We will continue to update you via Teche with summaries of feedback and new developments.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact

Mariella Herberstein (Chair of Academic Senate) & Kevin Jameson (DVC, A)

*What is a Curriculum Architecture?

A curriculum architecture speaks to the structural elements of a curriculum. It defines the volume of learning and the required compulsory elements for the completion of a degree: the requirement for a major or specialisation and any compulsory elements at the degree level (e.g. PACE, Capstone). It does not define curriculum content.

Posted by Marie Herberstein

I am a biologist and work on the behaviour of spiders and insects here at Macquarie University. I am currently the interim Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic).

One Comment

  1. Whatever Curriculum, program models MQ University can come up with, in order to adjust to the changing world and improve our market share, we as university should be sure that the new Curriculum will:

    •Allow MQ to compete with Sydney Universities as well as major Australian Universities,
    •Eliminate the current weakness in the current system,
    •Should be flexible and agile to accommodate and un expected changes in local and international market,
    •Take in consideration the online world and virtual labs and virtual universities,
    •Allow MQ student to study some courses at different universities around the world in some cases,
    •Easy for students to understand and allow them to enrol online without any academic advise to reduce the admin work load,
    •Program units should target the job market needs and requirements for the next 5 to 15 years at any point in time,
    •Delta between our graduates knowledge, experience and the market needs and requirements should be kept to minimum,
    •Hands on labs and software tools, creativity, interactive lectures and group based learning.
    •Industry engagement with main market players.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *