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Sustainable Agriculture Institute


Sustainable Agriculture Institute Promotes Sustainable Education through Permaculture Design


Working Committee Two (WC-2)

Curriculum Committee

Terms of Reference


Part I: Mandate and Responsibilities


The mandate of the Curriculum Committee is to ensure that the e-campus Education curriculum is designed, managed, evaluated, and revised in a coherent and coordinated fashion, consistent with accreditation and current educational standards.

Major Responsibilities

The committee has authority for oversight of all curricular aspects.  This encompasses the following general areas of responsibility:

  1. Developing and implementing policies regarding hours of the curriculum, curricular design, and content.  Policies are recommended to the Chancellor for approval and dissemination;
  2. Establishing curricular content and design, including curriculum objectives;
  3. Overseeing curricular implementation and ongoing management. Managing the ongoing evaluation and revision of the curricular content;
  4. Preparing and revising role descriptions and activity expectations for Educators;
  5. Ensuring compliance with accreditation standards. The Curriculum Committee has primary responsibility for all accreditation standards;
  6. Providing content material for accreditation reports as evidence to support compliance with the above accreditation standards.

The Curriculum Committee functions under the authority of the Chancellor, which reviews, approves, and disseminates policies and procedures relevant to the overall program.

Specific Functions

  1. Development of Policy:  The Curriculum Committee develops policies that direct the curriculum and recommends them to the Chancellor for review and approval.  Such policies include those supporting the curricular framework, the hours of the school year, curricular content and workload, curricular review, and new learning within the curriculum.
  2. Establishment of Curricular Goals. The Curriculum Committee is responsible for the establishment and continuing review of overall curricular goals, competencies and educational objectives.
  1. Curricular Design and Content.  The Curriculum Committee is responsible for the design and structure of the curriculum so that it meets the established Curricular Goals and Competency Objectives and so that it allows for the appropriate coordination of objectives, content, and progression of learning.  The Curriculum Committee approves the Academic Calendar. It monitors the content and workload of courses.  It sets standards for the curriculum regarding depth and breadth of knowledge, currency, and relevance of content, and the extent of redundancy needed to reinforce the learning of complex topics.
  1. Managing the Ongoing Evaluation and Revision of the Curricular Content:  The Curriculum Committee reviews the curriculum as a whole. 
  1. Curricular Administration.  The Curriculum Committee is responsible for establishing an appropriate faculty and administrative leadership structure to ensure that all curricular goals are met.
  1. Faculty of Communication and Education.  The Curriculum Committee is responsible for ensuring that all teaching and administrative faculty are aware of their responsibilities and curricular policies and objectives. It is also responsible for ensuring that faculty members are provided with development opportunities.


Part II: Leadership & Membership


The Curriculum Committee is chaired by the Chancellor.

Where the Chair is absent for any reason, an Acting Chair may be appointed by the Chair, or in the absence of such an appointment, by the committee members present.

Only voting members may serve as Acting Chair. The Chair, or Acting Chair, will only vote in order to break a tie.


Executive Administration

  1. Committee Chairman (Chancellor)
  2. Committee Secretary (Assistant to the Chancellor)
  3. Director of Faculties & Institutes
  4. Director of Institute Administrative Service

Faculty Members

  1. Dean of Institute
  2. Institute Educators

Appointed Members

The Chair may invite such guests as are necessary to conduct the meeting.

All new members will receive these Terms of Reference and will be oriented to the position by the Chair.

Responsibilities of Members

All members will participate actively in the committee by:

  • Reviewing all pre-circulated material
  • Attending at least 70% of the meetings
  • Participating in working groups, as required
  • Communicating committee activities and decisions as appropriate

Term of Membership

Appointed members will normally serve a three-year term, renewable once.


Part III: Meeting Procedures

Frequency and Duration of Meetings

Meetings will be held biweekly during the academic year and otherwise at the call of the Chair.


A quorum for the purpose of approving minutes or passing motions will be 50% plus one of all voting members, either present in person or via teleconference.

Meetings may be held in the absence of a quorum, but no decisions will be made.

Conflict of Interest

Members are expected to declare a conflict of interest if their real or perceived personal interests might be seen to influence their ability to assess any matter before the committee objectively.  They can do so either by personal declaration at a meeting or in writing to the Chair.  They will be excused from any discussions regarding the matter in question.  The declaration and absences will be recorded in the minutes.


Decisions that establish program policy changes or directions to subcommittees or faculty members will be discussed in the context of specific motions, passed by a majority vote of members and recorded in the minutes.  The Chair will aim to build consensus, if possible (see Appendix A), but the final decision will be made by voting. Votes may be conducted electronically, if necessary.


Part IV: Administrative Support & Communication

Administrative Support

The Secretary will be the assistant to the Chancellor.

Agenda & Minutes

  • Agenda and minutes of committee meetings are to be distributed to the committee members by the recording secretary.
  • Minutes are normally distributed electronically to all members within one week of meetings.
  • Minutes will be uploaded to the committee’s Web site.

Reporting Relationship

The Curriculum Committee reports to the Chancellor, which reports to the Board of Governors.

The Curriculum Committee will produce an annual report of its activities to be submitted to the Board of Governors.  That report will be written by the Chair and reviewed and approved by the committee before dissemination.

Recommendations for changes in policies and practices should initially be reviewed and approved by the Chancellor and then submitted to the Board of Governors for final approval.


Part V: Evaluation

These terms of reference will be reviewed by the Curriculum Committee on an annual basis and as required.


Part VI: Policy References

The policies are posted on the Institute’s website.


Part VII: Consensus-Based Decision Making

Rules for Building a Consensus  

A consensus requires that everyone involved in the decision must agree on the individual points discussed before they become part of the decision.  Not every point will meet with everyone’s complete approval.  Unanimity is not the goal, although it may be reached unintentionally.  It is not necessary that everyone is satisfied, but everyone’s ideas should be reviewed thoroughly.  The goal is for individuals to understand the relevant data, and if need be, accept the logic of differing points of view.

The following rules are helpful in reaching a consensus:

  • Avoid arguing over individual ranking or position.  Present a position as lucidly as possible, but consider seriously what the other group members are presenting.
  • Avoid “win-lose” stalemates.  Discard the notion that someone must win and, therefore, someone else must lose.  When an impasse occurs, look for the next most acceptable alternative for both parties.
  • Avoid trying to change minds only in order to avoid conflict and achieve harmony.
  • Withstand the pressure to yield to views that have no basis in logic or the supporting data.
  • Avoid majority voting, averaging, bargaining or coin-flipping.  These techniques do not lead to a consensus.  Treat differences of opinion as indicative of an incomplete sharing of information — so keep probing.
  • Keep the attitude that the holding of different views by group members is both natural and healthy.  Diversity is a normal state; a continuous agreement is not.
  • View initial agreement as a suspect.  Explore the reasons underlying apparent agreement on a decision and make sure that all members understand the implication of the decision and support it willingly.