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Curricular Analytics & the Faculty Role in Student Success


It has long been known that what occurs in the classroom – how a course is delivered – has a major impact on student outcomes.   Increasingly, it is also evident that how faculty structure the curriculum itself – how courses required for degree completion are sequenced and how recommended student workloads are balanced each semester -- can substantially impact student success including retention and graduation rates and time to degree.

An overview of the concept of ‘curricular complexity,’ a measure that quantifies prerequisite and corequisite relationships among courses in a degree program was discussed at the October 1, 2020 Town Hall.  It also provides a survey of recent research demonstrating how curricular complexity can be correlated with student success, including retention and graduation rates. Examples of curriculum maps, generated by an online tool, will be used to illustrate how curricula that are unintentionally complex, or not optimally balanced across the semesters, can dramatically hinder degree progression, and suggests strategies for reducing curricular complexity. This session also introduces a NMSU initiative designed to support faculty and departments in analyzing their curricular structures and, eventually, in optimizing course sequencing in their degree programs and thus improving program outcomes at NMSU.  This initiative is led by Dr. David Smith, guided by a Curricular Analytics Steering Committee, and is part of APLU’s Powered by Publics initiative, in which NMSU is participating. 


Degree Programs on Curricular Analytics Website

A table outlining the degree programs that have a Complexity Map on the Curricular Analytics webpage can be found at the button below. 

Western Land-Grant Cluster awarded APLU Grant 

The Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU) has awarded a $30,000 Powered by Publics grant to its Western Land-Grant cluster, a group of 11 regional institutions which includes NMSU. The proposal was selected from a pool of 17 high-quality cluster proposals with a total of $150,000 awarded. The grant will support a multi-institution, collaborative project with the goal of improving equity in student outcomes through skilled use of Curricular Analytics tools at the unit level. Specifically, the project will support an analysis of curricular complexity for numerous programs across all cluster institutions, with comparisons for similar programs being used to guide curricular reform efforts.

Institutions in the Western Land-Grant Cluster:

  • Montana State University
  • New Mexico State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • South Dakota State University
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • Utah State University
  • University of Wyoming
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Faculty Insight