Cathy Rytmeister discusses the importance of the role of the Unit Convenor.
Unit Convenors are the “grass-roots” leaders and managers of learning and teaching in the University, ensuring that Macquarie offers high-quality, pedagogically sound and policy- compliant units in its programs. Traditionally, unit convenors have drawn on their own research, scholarship and experience to design, develop and maintain curriculum, leading to a strong sense of identification with, ownership of and commitment to “their” units. The current focus on curriculum planning and management at the program level poses a challenge to this traditional view.
The current focus on compliance and standards reveals emerging tensions between traditional, individualistic responsibilities at the unit level and a new emphasis on Departmental and Faculty responsibility for program level coherence, learning outcomes and curriculum design. In the absence of collegial review and evaluation of units and programs, there is a risk of:
- isolation or dating of unit content over time with consequent loss of program coherence;
- divergence from policy and regulatory requirements
- lack of awareness and use of technology and innovative pedagogy.
How might these tensions impact upon the unit convenor role? How do we combine the highly individual aspects of discipline-specific “grass-roots” leadership of curriculum, teaching and our students’ learning, with the broader collegial responsibility to ensure program coherence and relevance, student achievement of program-level learning outcomes and marketability?
This month’s meeting of the Unit Convenor Community of Practice group provides an opportunity for unit conveners, both experienced and new, to reflect on their role in the context of the current curriculum review process and external policy and regulatory pressures.
All current and prospective unit convenors are welcome – come along and share your experiences of curriculum review and renewal, learn more about the evolving policy context, and throw your ideas about the future of the unit convenor role into the mix.
Unit Convenor Community of Practice meeting
Wednesday 21 May 12-2pm