Refreshed in the Tropics: Developing Curriculum Using a Thematic Lens
(2011) 4(1&2) Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association 119-128
12 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 12, 2011
Distinctiveness in higher education drives the development of university branding as well as informing curriculum development. The School of Law at JCU is presently involved in a ‘curriculum refresh’, based on developing its LLB in terms of JCU’s own claim to distinctiveness as the University for the Tropics. The challenge of developing a ‘tropical’ identity for a professionally accredited degree has involved a two-stage process so far. First the project sought to establish the particular claims to distinctiveness of other LLB programs in Australia through a review of selected law school websites. The websites’ presentations of the law school’s focus were analysed according to the perceived nature of approaches to curriculum, thus linking the ‘product’ presentation on the web with philosophical approaches to curriculum design. This offered an insight into the diversity of approaches to teaching law in Australia. The second phase has involved analyzing the idea of the tropics to establish a means of conceptualizing the university’s distinctiveness agenda in a way that would resonate with stakeholders. The focus on this aspect of the project has involved developing a ‘thematic lens’ that would lend itself to informing curriculum design in a sustainable way. Using the case study of the JCU LLB refresh, this paper explores the possibilities for invigorating curriculum through a focus on philosophical and thematic underpinnings.
Keywords: legal education, higher education, curriculum, tropics, curriculum design, sustainability
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