Curriculum planning focus of closing plenary

The closing plenary session at the 2011 NASJE Annual Conference explored the use, benefit and impact of curriculum-based planning on the justice system.

Taught by Stephen Feiler of Pennsylvania and Maggie Cimino of California, the session discussed the design steps supported by the new NASJE Curriculum

Design and identified resources provided in the curriculum. The faculty said the curriculum can help manage those who deliver education for judicial educators and help manage education designed and delivered in house.

Closing Plenary
Maggie Cimino

To begin, the faculty started with the following definition of curriculum:

“An overarching plan of education for a specific target audience: may be as brief as a list of topics or as detailed as course plans with relevant materials; may be used to guide the education of the target audience; at a minimum involves a broad-based needs assessment.”

Curriculum-based planning is a process that assures comprehensive, relevant education is available for court staff throughout their careers.
Feiler said Pennsylvania is using curriculum-based planning to provide more robust target courses for their trial judges. He said through a review by a committee, they agreed on six core areas for course content. The core areas have become their curriculum design and when planning an event, they make sure that each individual course fits under a core area in order to provide balanced programming during a conference.

“We want balanced exposure in all areas,” said Feiler.

California has a more structured approach and has developed curriculum for judges and staff and uses a template to design courses for delivery at an event, online, broadcast, or other delivery method.

The remainder of the session was used to highlight the NASJE Curriculum Design developed under a State Justice Institute grant and based on the 11 core competencies for judicial educators. The curriculum includes a glossary, information about learning objectives, and a robust bibliography. There is also information about how to conduct a needs assessment, design a course, and evaluate the course.

The curriculum will be available online under the new members-only section on the NASJE website.