Making Change in the UGME Curriculum

Recently the UGME Curriculum Committee sent out a note to Course Directors asking for their advice on what curricular objectives and MCC presentations should be assigned to their courses. this is part of the curriculum review process and demonstrates the collaborative relationship between the Course Directors and the Curriculum Committee.

This request applies this time only for the pre-clerkship Course Directors, as clerkship Course Directors have engaged in a rigourous process this fall to ensure that everything is well represented in the clerkship rotations.

What can a Course Director change within his/her course?  What requires approval from Curriculum Committee?  What is the role of the Competency Lead?

goldfish change 4
The Course Director is empowered to make changes independently as long as:
•    They occur within the “footprint” of the course,
•    Do not change the assigned objectives or MCC presentations and
•    Adhere to the Teaching and Learning Policy and the Student Assessment Policy.

As well, Course Directors can bring larger changes forward to the Curriculum Committee, often representing requests from their teaching faculty, or in response to student requests or needs.  Faculty and students can also bring matters forward to the Curriculum Committee.  Year Directors can provide Course Directors with a broad view of the curriculum (For example, if they want to delete an objective and it’s not taught anywhere else.)

The Competency Lead’s “course” is the strand of learning and assessment for the respective Intrinsic Roles, over the four years of the curriculum.  Competency Leads communicate with Course Directors for desired change within existing structures, and propose to Curriculum Committee for larger changes.

What’s the role of The Curriculum Committee? goldfish change

  • Oversees large-scale changes
  • Ensures that change brings only positive growth and minimal negative impacts on any parts of the curriculum
  • Ensures that all the MCC’s and Curricular Objectives are assigned over the 4 years
  • Looks after balance in the curriculum
  • Consults widely and enacts larger changes such as:
  • Assigning objectives and MCC presentations to courses,
    (after collaborative feedback processes with others),
  • Determining the length of a school year,
  • Confirmation of course names and codes,
  • Review of the curriculum annually based on a variety of feedback.
  • Revising the Red Book (Competency Framework) where necessary
  • Receipt of reports from its sub-comittees (TLIC, SAC, CFRC) to ensure that those agents are working within their policies and parametres.
  • The Curriculum Committee also makes decisions on large-scale matters brought forward by faculty, students, Course Directors and Competency Leads.


Some examples of recent changes are:

goldfish change 2

Course Directors/Competency Leads Make These Types of Changes Curriculum Committee Makes These Types of Changes:
1.      Projects: Responding to student feedback and faculty evidence, projects such as Nutrition Project in Pediatrics, Evidence Search and Rescue in CARL, the Portfolio assignments in Professional Foundations 1 and Professional Integrations and the Literature Review of the Critical Enquiry course are revised. 1.      Revision of a Course: In 2013, the Curriculum Committee approved a major change in the way Clinical and Communication Skills 2 was conducted in Term 4. The change involved moving to a patient-based approach with a student to faculty ratio of 3:1, and flexible timetabling.
2.     Learning Event Types: Lectures are changed into SGLs (or sometimes in reverse) such as the cluster of neoplasia lectures in pathology in Mechanisms of Disease changing to an SGL. 2.     Expanding Time in a Course for a New Session: A proposal for a learning event on the care of LGBTQ patients in the Professional Foundations Course was brought before the Curriculum Committee and accepted.  The proposal required more time to be added to the course.
3.     New Learning Events: New learning events are added such as seminars in clerkship rotations or “Expanded CARL” sessions in clinical foundations courses to better align with objectives 3.     Additional Time and/or Re-labelling Existing Learning Events Across Years: A process has been initiated to add the topic of Ensuring Patient Safety is represented within the curriculum. This could require more time to be added to the footprints of a number of courses and each request for time is being considered separately.
4.     New Seminars:   In Clerkship, Course Directors added formal academic seminars to their courses in order to better accommodate learning of specific assigned 4.     Change in Timetable/Examination Schedule for a Term:   For this academic year, Curriculum Committee approved the proposal brought forward by the Year Director of Year 2 to change the examination schedule of the Circulation and Respiration course and the Renal and Endocrine course in Year 2.
5.     Revision or Development of Assessment Tools: Assessment tools are changed, such as the workplace-based assessment tools in clerkship Ob/Gyn into rubrics with behavioural anchors. 5.     Development of New Courses: Curriculum Committee approved the creation of three clerkship electives courses, from the one course, in order to ensure including satisfactory completion of the course requirements
6.     Changes due to Blueprints: Competency Leads have blueprinted their competencies and objectives and may determine that some learning events require change, as may assessments. Course Directors may change the percentage of learning events aligned to a specific assessment as per blueprint. 6.     Revision of Curriculum Framework: This academic year, the Red Book, our competency Framework, was revised with input from Competency Leads and the faculty to help the objectives reflect the reality of the classroom.


We undergo this process annually, as well as check on what changes the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) has made in the clinical presentations that serve as objectives aligned to the MCC Qualifying Examination.

Thanks for making changes to the curriculum that are helpful, meaningful, and relevant!
Do you have questions about change in our curriculum?  Drop a note here or write to

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Post Timeline

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