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Pathways and praxis: designing curriculum for aspirational programs

posted on 01.01.2018, 00:00 authored by Lucinda McKnightLucinda McKnight, Emma CharltonEmma Charlton
This chapter takes the occasion of the design and introduction of new pathways units at Deakin University, Australia, in 2015 to explore thinking about curriculum in the this sector. Our on-campus cohort taking these units within two Associate Degrees of Arts and Education, across four Victorian sites, includes urban and rural students, and indigenous students at the Institute of Koorie Education. As lecturer/researchers, we use documents mapping the design process, and our own reflections as the basis of a case study of curriculum design. In this way, we view curriculum from the standpoints (Smith 1987) of those involved in the expert, locally situated and everyday work of curriculum design, rather than as the anonymous and rational articulation of aims and pedagogy to achieve outcomes. We view curriculum in pathways programs as emerging from complex discursive entanglements, particularly around race and class, as we imagine and make pedagogical decisions for the future subjects we hope to create.
We recognise these subjects themselves as discursively created by competing discourses, for example as future citizen workers in global economies and as the products of more traditional and humanist educational rationales. We negotiate the social justice imperatives of the university, our own commitments to effecting social change through our teaching and the contemporary neoliberal imaginary of Australian education, as we plan learning experiences, sequences and synergies.
The focus on this design space, rather than on student achievement, highlights the challenges we face in articulating intentionality for an extraordinarily diverse group of students, many of whom are coming on to a university campus for the first time, through the Associate Degrees. We offer our insights and innovations as a contribution to the broader global conversation about how we can best engage, delight, inspire, support and retain these students, through reflexive attention to the complexities of curriculum design.


Title of book

University pathway programs: local responses within a growing global trend

Chapter number



207 - 222



Place of publication

Cham, Switzerland





Publication classification

B1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature




C Agosti, E Bernat