There must be integrated institutional responsibility in a medical education program for the overall design, management, and evaluation of a coherent and coordinated curriculum.
The phrase "integrated institutional responsibility" implies that an institutional body (commonly a curriculum committee) will oversee the medical education program as a whole. An effective central curriculum authority will exhibit the following characteristics:
- Faculty, medical student, and administrative participation.
- Expertise in curricular design, pedagogy, and evaluation methods.
- Empowerment, through bylaws or decanal mandate, to work in the best interests of the institution without regard for parochial or political influences or departmental pressures.
The phrase "coherent and coordinated curriculum" implies that the medical education program as a whole will be designed to achieve its overall educational objectives. Evidence of coherence and coordination includes the following characteristics:
- Logical sequencing of the various segments of the curriculum.
- Content that is coordinated and integrated within and across the academic periods of study (i.e., horizontal and vertical integration).
- Methods of pedagogy and medical student assessment that are appropriate for the achievement of the program's educational objectives.
Curriculum management signifies leading, directing, coordinating, controlling, planning, evaluating, and reporting. Evidence of effective curriculum management includes the following characteristics:
- Evaluation of program effectiveness by outcomes analysis, using national norms of accomplishment as a frame of reference.
- Monitoring of content and workload in each discipline, including the identification of omissions and unplanned redundancies.
- Review of the stated objectives of each individual course and clerkship (or, in Canada, clerkship rotation), as well as the methods of pedagogy and medical student assessment, to ensure congruence with programmatic educational objectives.
Minutes of the curriculum committee meetings and reports to the faculty governance and deans should document that such activities take place and should report on the committee's findings and recommendations.
Provide an organizational chart for the management of the curriculum that includes the curriculum committee and its subcommittees, other relevant committees, the chief academic officer, and other individuals or groups involved in curriculum design, implementation, and evaluation.
Supply the title of the faculty committee with primary responsibility for the curriculum:
Provide the charge or terms of reference for this committee and the source of its authority (e.g., bylaws, mandate from the dean or faculty executive committee).
Describe the composition of this committee and the mechanisms for selecting its members and chair.
Indicate the frequency of regularly scheduled committee meetings during a typical academic year: (check)
If this committee has standing subcommittees, describe their charge or role, membership, and reporting relationships to the parent committee.
Describe the roles of the curriculum committee and any subcommittees, the chief academic officer or associate dean for educational programs and their staffs, interdisciplinary course committees (if relevant), and the departments in each of the following areas:
Developing and reviewing the institutional objectives for the educational program
Reviewing the objectives of individual courses and clerkship rotations to ensure that they are written in outcomes-based terms
Ensuring that course and clerkship objectives are linked to the educational program objectives
Ensuring the use of appropriate teaching methods or instructional formats
Ensuring that content is coordinated and integrated within and across academic periods of study
Ensuring the use of appropriate methods to assess student performance
Monitoring the quality of individual faculty members’ teaching
Monitoring the overall quality and outcomes of courses/clerkship rotations
Monitoring the outcomes of the curriculum as a whole
Evaluate the effectiveness of the system for planning and managing the curriculum and ensuring that it is coherent and coordinated. Do the curriculum as a whole and its component parts undergo regular, systematic review? Describe the effectiveness of the procedures in place to identify and rectify any problems in the curriculum as a whole and in individual courses and clerkships (provide specific illustrative examples). Provide evidence that the school monitors the content covered in the curriculum to ensure that all desired content is covered, that gaps or unwanted redundancies do not occur, and that there is appropriate horizontal and vertical integration among content areas.