Changes to curricula must follow a rigorous and standardised approach to ensure change is managed effectively. The UNSW Medicine Redesign has adopted Kern’s six-step approach to curriculum development (Thomas, Kern, Hughes, & Chen, 2016) a systematic method that has been used in other programs (Singh, Gullet, & Thomas, 2021) to successfully integrate changes to medical curricula. ​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​The Medicine Program Redesign is currently in the stages of Problem identification and Needs assessment stages.  ​​​​​​

Redesign project timeline

Problem identification

 The first step in the approach is to identify healthcare problems that the curriculum is intended to address. This process is key in defining an evidence-based argument to create a new curriculum and establish applicability beyond the local institution alone. In the context of the undergraduate program, this process will be informed by the following activities:  

Literature review and data analysis focusing on: 

  • Key competency needs for the future medical workforce  
  • Current gaps and deficits in the medical workforce   
  • Major industry trends impacting the sector  

Establishment of a curriculum redesign workforce that will:  

  • Be comprised of students, academics and clinicians  
  • Identify how current healthcare challenges are addressed in the curriculum  
  • Determine new ways to address healthcare challenges via the curriculum 

Generation of surveys that:  

  • Will determine current gaps and opportunities in the curriculum  
  • Evaluate current satisfaction with the curriculum

This process will generate themes and priority statements to be addressed by the new curriculum.  

Targeted needs assessment

A targeted needs assessment is being conducted to analyse existing learning environments and quantify learners for whom the curriculum will be implemented for. This will be informed by a system wide analysis mapping students, teachers and relevant stakeholders involved in various components of the curriculum. Central to this aim will be a process of detailed consultation with:  

  • Various committees including: 
  • Faculty Education committee (FEC) – and associated sub-committees  
  • Curriculum Development committee (CDC)  
  • Clinical Learning and Assessment committee (CLAC)  
  • Simulation-based Learning and Advisory committee (SBLAC)  
  • Phase 1 committee  
  • Phase 2 committee (incl Year 4 Medicine committee)  
  • Phase 3 committee  
  • Clinical teachers and conjoint staff  

The needs assessments will also leverage the outputs of literature and data analyses. 

Goals and objectives

A refinement process will be undertaken to define specific goal statements and objectives associated with redesigning the curriculum. Goal statements will be generated in consultation with students, curriculum committees and relevant stakeholders and will direct overarching areas of change. Following this, explicit objectives associated with each goal will be generated. Objectives will be created through workshops and consultation with:  

  • Relevant committees  
  • Clinical teachers and conjoint staff  
  • Non-clinical teaching staff  
  • Professional staff including:  
  • Medical Education and student office 
  • Medical education design unit  
  • Clinical school managers  
  • Students across all stages of the program 

Project governance structure