Sydney Teaching Colloquium
Challenging Curriculum

3-4 October 2012

Challenging Curriculum, the second Sydney Teaching Colloquium, was held on 3 and 4 October. The Colloquium was designed to build on the institutional conversations about curriculum renewal started through the work of the SEG Curriculum and Course Planning Committee by providing an opportunity for reporting, disseminating and encouraging the excellent curriculum renewal work underway in faculties.

Engagement by the University community in the event was excellent with presentations representing all faculties and 1448 session registrations across the two days, representing 351 individual staff. Members of the university community attended the plenaries and  were also actively engaged in the discussions in the eight theme sessions addressing faculty and university strategic foci for curriculum renewal.

The event was opened by the Vice Chancellor with a keynote address from Stephen Atherton, of Apple Australia, on ‘Disruptive technologies and the curriculum’. This was followed by an address from Ms Donherra Walmsley, President National Union of Students and past president of the SRC, who spoke on ‘A learner’s curriculum’.

The second day opened with a session on the University’s curriculum renewal strategy. Participants particularly welcomed the opportunity to hear Deans, teachers and students sharing their ideas and accomplishments. The University’s curriculum renewal strategy seeks to link the considerable work of faculty-led curriculum reviews into a more coherent institutional conversation about curriculum. The strategy ensures that the valuable learning from faculty led curriculum reviews can inform institutional decision-making and that institutional strategic priorities can more directly inform local curriculum development. It recognises that it is only through our learners’ experiences of their curriculum and the co-curriculum that the university’s education vision will be realised.

The University has identified six key institutional priorities to work with faculties to embed in future curriculum reviews:

  1. Embed Engaged Enquiry to foster graduate attributes
  2. Broaden curriculum and co-curriculum to foster graduate attributes
  3. Ensure pathways and coherence
  4. Ensure alignment with external imperatives
  5. Develop curriculum governance structures
  6. Inform resource renewal.

The feedback received on this year’s Colloquium suggests it was extremely successful in achieving its aim of disseminating and encouraging exemplary curriculum and teaching initiatives in relation to these priorities. Now that the university has started a conversation about curriculum, it is up to the faculties to join that conversation by sharing their learning from their own curriculum reviews.

There is more about the university’s curriculum renewal priorities, and more on how faculties can link course curriculum reviews with those institutional conversations, on the ITL website.

Photo from the opening of the 2012 Sydney Teaching Colloquium.