Curriculum reform that changes the shape and nature of postsecondary degrees must reflect generally acknowledged academic standards of excellence; skills, knowledge, and understanding to help students prepare for the future; and the goals and mission of the institution. No effort at reform can succeed without adequate support for the faculty who have primary responsibility for the curriculum, nor can it succeed unless it addresses the needs of a diverse student population.
The goals of higher education curricula should include mastery of basic skills, active participation in the learning process, in-depth study, critical thinking, understanding of a discipline's characteristic methods, and a coherent and relevant course of study. The goals should also be consistent with NEA principles such as faculty control, equal access to quality education for all students, and multicultural understanding.
Any effort at curriculum revision should be designed to prepare all students for effective citizenship and participation in an increasingly diverse society. A common body of intellectual reference must be inclusive of multicultural and multinational perspectives. A diverse student population enriches the knowledge base of all students.
NEA recommends the following:
- Curricula must express the goals and mission of individual institutions and address the needs of students.
- In designing the college's curriculum and schedule, the faculty should take the responsibility to ensure that it is suited to the needs of a diverse society, and that it is flexible enough to allow access for different kinds of students (adult learners, students who work, part-time students, transfers, and nontraditional students).
- Curricula must be flexible enough to allow for the incorporation of new technologies and modes of delivery while maintaining a constant focus on quality.
- Faculty should be responsible for periodic review of curricula within their disciplines or related disciplines.
- Comments generated and materials compiled in the context of a faculty-driven curriculum review should be used solely for that purpose and should not be used for discontinuance of programs or courses.
- Teaching and curriculum development are major parts of the faculty's role. Those faculty involved should be adequately compensated for these activities.
- General education courses are an important part of the core curriculum, and as such, institutions should provide the necessary staff and resources to ensure student success.
- Major curriculum revisions and articulation agreements at colleges and universities should involve consultation with faculty members at other educational institutions affected by the changes.