Development and Application of a Distributed Leadership Framework to the Curriculum Mapping of Quantitative Skills in First-Year Undergraduate Agriculture Degrees

Janelle Wilkes, Jackie Reid

Abstract


Quantitative skills (QS), the ability to use mathematical and statistical reasoning in context, are considered essential threshold learning outcomes in Australian university agricultural courses (degrees). Curriculum mapping can be used to determine how the existing curriculum fosters the development of QS, and identify where opportunities for skills development are missing in the curriculum. To address the challenges of curriculum mapping this paper describes the development and application of a modified distributed leadership model based on the merging of Kotter’s eight steps for structural change (2014) and Jones, Hadgraft, Harvey, Lefoe and Ryland’s framework for distributed leadership (2014). Distributed leadership is built on the foundations of change theory, moving beyond the traditional leadership boundaries and has been increasingly used in higher education. This case study demonstrates how distributed leadership has been used successfully in determining the graduate level QS and driving the mapping process for the first-year curriculum. Curriculum maps showed when the QS were taught, practiced and assessed across 10 science degrees, including three agriculture degrees, at a regional Australian university. As a result, holistic curriculum changes were flagged with the aim of enhancing QS development for both on campus and distance learning students.

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