The aim of this paper is to present the challenges external drivers and internal inertia faced by curriculum designers and implementers at institutions of higher education. The challenges to academics from competing factors are presented: internal resistance to changing existing curricula vs the necessity to continuously evolve programmes to reflect a dynamic, uncertain future. The necessity to prepare future leaders to face global issues such as climate change, dictates changing curricula to reflect changing personal, environmental and societal needs.
This paper uses the case study method to examine two models of climate change curriculum design and renewal. One model, from an Australian university, is based upon national education standards and the second is a non-standards-based curriculum design, developed and delivered by a partnership of four North American universities.
The key findings from this study are that the highest level of participation by internal-to-the-programme academics and administrators is required. Programme quality, delivery and content alignment may be compromised with either stand-alone course delivery and learning outcomes, or if courses are developed independently of others in the programme. National educational standards can be effective tools to guide course and programme management, monitoring, review and updating.
The paper includes implications for postgraduate level curricula design, implementation and programme evaluation.
The paper is the first to compare, contrast and critique a national standards-based, higher education curriculum and a non-standards-based curriculum.
J. Fahey, S., R. Labadie, J. and Meyers, N. (2014), "Turning the
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited