DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

What Is the Curriculum?[1]


            Susan Albertine



Is it my class?

Is it my class and eleven others?

Is it my department’s?

Does it belong to the college?

The community? Both?

Campus, State, and World?

Is it connected to anything else?

Requiring a sequence?

Contained by the classroom?

Dependent on prior knowledge?

Trailing clouds of glory as it comes?


Does it have parts?

Are they in order?

Does it build on something, some foundation, any foundation?

Is it truly principled?

Do students know it when they see it?

Is it a prelude?

Does it follow or is it non-sequitur-ian?


Can it be graded?

To what do grades refer?  Proxies for learning?

Ink on a transcript?

Signifying what?


Is it political?


Necessarily political?



Is it subject to the laws of the market

Supply and demand?

Material analysis?

Will it submit to chaos theory?

Does it grow?

Will it endure 25 years, a century, more?


Does it only connect?

Is it circumference?

Sweetness and light?

Can it signify?


Can it be webcast, podcast, blogged, and wikied?

Can you download and sell it at amazon.com?


Would you swallow it before finishing the mission?

Would you give it to your lover?

Would you entrust it to your children?

Did it sleep through the night in infancy?


Has it a sense of humor?

Can it bend?

Is it subject to laws of nature and nature’s god?

Is it Keynesian?

Observant of the second law of thermodynamics?

Dancing in the realm of the ideal?


What metaphors suit it?

Does it mediate experience?

Does it take anything from

Give anything to


Our students






Can we take it, as one of my students once wrote, for granite?

And if granite, can we impress beauty upon it and practical good?

Pragmatist’s real and ideal at once?

Does it proclaim “the place and meaning of subject-matter and of organization within experience?”

Does it communicate?

Does it dare?

Do we?


[1] With thanks to James Scully, “What Is Poetry?” (1967), and John Dewey’s Experience and Education (1938).  Written in 2001.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.