School of Medicine Governance Committees

University of Washington School of Medicine

Curriculum Committee Bylaws

Section 1: Curriculum Committee

Article 1: General Governance

The following Bylaws govern the organization and procedures of the Curriculum Committee and its related committees and subcommittees at the University of Washington School of Medicine and have been adopted in accordance with the Curriculum Governance Committee Report that was finalized in February 2014 and approved by the Medical School Executive Committee and the Dean.

Article 2: Authority and Accountability

  1. Authority: The Curriculum Committee is delegated authority by the Dean of the School of Medicine and has accountability for oversight of learning objectives, curriculum implementation, and evaluation procedures for the curriculum.  Per Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) accreditation requirements, it serves as the LCME-mandated committee that assures continuous oversight and evaluation of the curriculum.   Standing committees will be formed to address specific aspects of the curriculum and will be represented on the Curriculum Committee.
  2. Accountability:  The Curriculum Committee reports to and provides recommendations to the Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs as the Chief Academic Officer designated by the Dean.  Once a year, the Curriculum Committee will provide a summary of the past year’s activities, issues and resolutions to the Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs and to the Dean of the School of Medicine.
  3. Relationship to Faculty Council on Academic Affairs:  The Faculty Council on Academic Affairs (FCAA) is chaired by the Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs and provides a monthly forum for presentation and discussion of topics of importance to the development of the medical student educational program, for reports from the educational standing committees on current issues and activities, and for approval of recommended changes in operational or program management. Under the leadership of the Vice Dean, FCAA can provide advisory oversight for the curriculum and related policy decisions, may initiate further discussion of curricular issues with regional leadership, and other stakeholders as appropriate to the issue under discussion, or respond to issues raised by the Curriculum Committee.
  4. In the event of conflicts in the course of management or oversight of the curriculum that cannot be resolved in the committee setting, the Curriculum Committee can seek further advisory input from the FCAA, regional leadership, and other stakeholders as appropriate to the issue under discussion.

Article 3:  Guiding Principles

  1. Governance procedures are consistent with LCME requirements.
  2. Governance procedures incorporate appropriate representation from across the WWAMI region.
  3. Curriculum management allows for an appropriate balance between central oversight and local initiative, innovation, and site optimization.
  4. The governance process encourages continuous improvement of the curriculum.
  5. All SOM students have equal access to an equivalent curriculum designed to achieve the learning objectives defined in the curriculum renewal process.
  6. Processes leading to decision-making are based on open discussion, transparency, shared governance, and iterative consensus development. 

Article 4:  Membership

  1. Expectation of members:  Although members are elected to ensure broad representation of the SOM, members have the responsibility to function as “members of the whole,” working to optimize the curriculum, rather than to represent the interests of a particular constituency.
  2. Faculty:  The Curriculum Committee will consist of twelve elected faculty members in good standing at or above the rank of assistant professor, clinical assistant professor or research assistant professor, with a minimum of four regional faculty members. The four chairs of the Phase/Theme committees will also serve as members of the committee.
  3. Students:  The Curriculum Committee will include five student representatives who are students in good standing:  two students from the WWAMI region and one from Seattle Foundations Phase; and two students in the Clinical Phases, one of whom completed Foundations in the region and one of whom completed Foundations in Seattle.
  4. Terms:  Faculty committee members will serve three-year terms.  Members may serve two consecutive terms.  One third of the committee membership will rotate (or be re-elected) each year.  No person will serve more than six consecutive years.  Student committee members serve two-year terms, with half rotating each year.  No student will serve more than two consecutive years.  At the founding of the Curriculum Committee, terms will be staggered for founding members in order to establish the above rotation pattern for subsequent years.
  5. Election of faculty members:  Each fall, a call for faculty candidates for open positions on the Curriculum Committee will be issued by the Dean of the School of Medicine.This call for candidates will be sent to all faculty throughout the entire WWAMI program.  Individuals interested in serving on the Curriculum Committee will be asked to submit a statement of interest and eligibility to their department chair, regional dean, or, if neither of these is relevant, the Associate Dean for Curriculum.  After two weeks, these chairs and deans will submit the names and statements of all interested individuals whom they deem appropriate to be candidates for the Curriculum Committee.

A Nominating Committee, consisting of five people (the Executive Co-Chair, the Academic Co-Chair, Co-Chair Elect and Past Co-Chair, and a fifth member selected from the elected members) will prepare a slate of up to 24 candidates to elect a total of twelve elected faculty members, of whom a minimum of eight candidates will be from WWAMI regional sites (defined as Wyoming, Eastern Washington, Western Washington greater than 90 miles from Seattle, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho).   The WWAMI candidates may be either university-based or based in clinical settings but must be current active participants in WWAMI education as teachers or administrators.   All other candidates must also be current active participants in UW School of Medicine education as teachers or administrators.  The 24 candidates selected for the candidate slate will consist of one-third basic scientists, one-third clinicians, and one-third WWAMI faculty (either basic science or clinical).  If there are insufficient candidates for a category, the nominating committee can elect to issue fewer candidates for that category.

The slate of up to 24 candidates selected by the Nominating Committee will be presented to the entire faculty, both in Seattle and throughout the WWAMI region, for an electronic vote of the faculty.  The voting process will be open for ten days.  In order to ensure that no faculty member votes twice, the vote will be confidential rather than anonymous.  The committee members will be selected as the four individuals in each category (basic science, clinical, WWAMI) who receive the greatest number of votes in that category.  In the event of a tie vote, a run-off election will be held.

In the event that an elected committee member must step down from the Curriculum Committee prior to the completion of his/her term, the co-chairs will assign another faculty member to serve in an interim status, with that position open to applicants at the next faculty-wide election. As soon as that election occurs, the interim committee member will step down (unless that individual is a candidate and is elected to the committee during the election).

f. Election of student members: A Nominating Committee consisting of four people (Associate Dean for Student Affairs; a regional Assistant Dean; and two Medical Student Association representatives, one from the WWAMI region and one from Seattle) will prepare a slate of eight student candidates to elect four student representatives.   Of the candidates, two each will be from the WWAMI and Seattle Foundations Phase; and four students in the Clinical Phases, two of whom completed Foundations in the WWAMI region and two of whom completed Foundations in Seattle.  The slate of candidates will be put to an electronic vote of the entire UW School of Medicine student body.  The voting process will be open for ten days.  In order to ensure that no student votes twice, the vote will be confidential rather than anonymous.  The student committee representatives selected will be one each from WWAMI and Seattle Foundations, and two from the Clinical phase (one of whom completed Foundations in the WWAMI region and one of whom completed Foundations in the Seattle region).

g. Faculty or student member resignation or replacement: In the case of resignation of an elected faculty or student member of the Committee, the Academic Co-chair and Executive Co-chair shall appoint a member from the same category (basic scientist, clinician, WWAMI faculty, student).  Members who replace departed members will finish the term of the member whose seat they are replacing and then add their name to the ballot to be elected to serve another term, if eligible. An election to replace the member will take place during the following election cycle.

h. Possible replacement for absenteeism: Members who miss three or more committee meetings in a six month period can be dismissed by the Academic Co-chair and Executive Co-chair after discussion with the member.

Article 5:  Officers

  1. Designation: The Curriculum Committee will be co-chaired by a committee member (Academic Co-chair)   and the Associate Dean for Curriculum (Executive Co-Chair).  The Academic Co-Chair will be selected from faculty members serving a second term by expressed interest of committee members and, in the event of multiple candidates, a vote of the Curriculum Committee members.
  2. Terms:  Academic co-chairs will serve three years:  as co-chair elect; co-chair; and past co-chair.  It is expected that the founding co-chair will serve at least a two-year term:  as founding co-chair and as past co-chair.
  3. Duties:  The Executive Co-Chair and Academic Co-Chair are expected to work together to set agendas, lead meetings, ensure adequate and appropriate documentation of meetings and decisions, convene task forces and special groups as needed, serve as liaison to the Foundations Phase, Patient Care Phase, Explore and Focus Phase, and Themes Committees and Faculty Council on Academic Affairs, oversee or delegate oversight as appropriate the work of appointed committees and subcommittees, report recommendations from the committee to the Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs and for placement on the FCAA agenda, and provide regular updates to the Medical School Executive Committee.   The office of the Executive Co-Chair will be responsible for record-keeping associated with the responsibilities of the co-chairs and Curriculum Committee.

Article 6:  Procedures

  1. Meetings:
    1. Meetings of the Curriculum Committee will be called by the co-chairs.
    2. Each committee meeting will be chaired by the Executive Co-Chair, the Academic Co-Chair, or both co-chairs, at the discretion of the co-chairs. At least one co-chair will be present at each meeting.
    3. The Curriculum Committee will meet at least monthly for a minimum of nine months of the year.
    4. The co-chairs may call special meetings for the purpose of hearing reports, discussing matters of interest to the curriculum and seeking the committee’s advice.
    5. Associate and assistant deans and other representatives of the dean may attend Curriculum Committee and Phase/Theme Committee meetings as ex-officio members. The co-chairs may also invite other members of the faculty, staff and students to serve as ex-officio members.  Ex-officio members will not vote.
  2. Parliamentary authority: The conduct of meetings will be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.
  3. Voting
    1. Voting members: Voting members are the faculty and student members, not including the Executive Co-Chair and ex-officio members.
    2. Quorum: The quorum required for meetings will be more than 50 percent of the voting members.
    3. Voting: Approval of educational policies and program level changes will be decided on by sixty percent vote of all voting members.  Voting on matters except policies and program level changes will be decided on by majority vote of voting members present, including the Academic Co-Chair but not the Executive Co-Chair.  Voting may occur electronically.  Meeting recordings are available to voting members, upon request.
    4. Tie votes: The vote of the Executive Co-Chair will be cast only in the event of a tie vote of the committee members, including the Academic Co-Chair.

Article 7:  Communications, records and approval

  1. The co-chairs of the Curriculum Committee will be responsible for ensuring that administrative staff keep accurate records of all meetings. A full set of minutes of each meeting of the Curriculum Committee will be retained for at least 10 years. Minutes of the meetings will be posted on the curriculum website within one month of the meeting.
  2. All decisions and recommendations made by the Curriculum Committee will be kept in a permanent, dated log and will be transmitted to the Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs

Section 2: Standing Phase and Theme Committees and Subcommittees

  1. Definition and Jurisdiction
    1. Foundations Phase Committee:  This committee is responsible for oversight of content and learning objectives for the Foundations Phase, identifying opportunities for continuous curriculum improvement, and assuring evaluation of student performance, teaching effectiveness, and curricular quality.  The committee will assure that the Foundations curriculum is delivered as planned and that there is equivalency of the curriculum across sites, including an acceptable range of diversity in contemporary pedagogical methods and other course elements.  The chair from this committee will serve on the Curriculum Committee as a full voting member.  A separate and complementary set of bylaws developed by the Curriculum Committee will address the proceedings of the Foundations Phase Committee.
    2. Patient Care Phase Committee:  This committee is responsible for oversight of content and learning objectives for the Patient Care Phase, identifying opportunities for continuous curriculum improvement, and assuring evaluation of student performance, teaching effectiveness, and curricular quality.  The committee will assure that the Patient Care Phase curriculum is delivered as planned and that there is equivalency of the curriculum across sites, including an acceptable range of diversity in contemporary pedagogical methods, clinical experiences and opportunities, and other course elements.  The chair of this committee will serve on the Curriculum Committee as a full voting member. A separate and complementary set of bylaws developed by the Curriculum Committee will address the proceedings of the Patient Care Phase Committee
    3. Explore and Focus Phase Committee:  This committee is responsible for oversight of content and learning objectives for the Explore and Focus Phase, identifying opportunities for continuous curriculum improvement, and assuring evaluation of student performance, teaching effectiveness, and curricular quality.  The committee will assure that the Explore and Focus curriculum is delivered as planned and that there is equivalency of the curriculum across sites, including an acceptable range of diversity in contemporary pedagogical methods, clinical experiences and opportunities, and other course elements.  The chair from this committee will serve on the Curriculum Committee as a full voting member. A separate and complementary set of bylaws developed by the Curriculum Committee will address the proceedings of the Explore and Focus Phase Committee
    4. Themes Committee:  This committee is responsible for oversight of content and learning objectives for the themes that are integrated into the entire curriculum (Foundations Phase, Patient Care Phase and Explore and Focus Phase). It will identify opportunities for continuous curriculum improvement and assure that the themes are well represented and evaluated.  The committee will ensure that the curriculum is delivered as planned and that there is equivalency of the curriculum across sites, including an acceptable range of diversity in contemporary pedagogical methods, clinical experiences and opportunities, and other course elements as appropriate to each phase.  The chair of this committee will serve on the Curriculum Committee as a full voting member. A separate and complementary set of bylaws developed by the Curriculum Committee will address the proceedings of the Patient Care Phase Committee
    5. Assessment Committee:  This standing committee is responsible for defining methods and options for evaluation of students as presented to and approved by the Curriculum Committee and the Phase and Theme committees.  The Assessment Committee will monitor and assure equivalent assessment across all regional sites, including timing, content, administration, grading and interpretation.  A representative of the Assessment Committee will sit as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Curriculum Committee.

Section 3:  Management of Conflicts  

When conflicts occur in the course of management or oversight of the curriculum, resolution will be attempted through iterative discussion at the phase/theme committee or Curriculum Committee level.  If conflicts cannot be resolved in this way, further advisory input will be sought from the Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs. The Vice Dean may decide to place the issue on the agenda of the Faculty Council on Academic Affairs and/or request broader discussion and input from the regional leadership and other stakeholders as appropriate to the issue under discussion.  Ultimate authority and decisions rest with the Dean of the UW School of Medicine and are delegated by the Dean to the Vice Dean for Academic, Rural and Regional Affairs as Chief Academic Officer.

Section 4: Ad hoc Subcommittees

In conducting its business, the Curriculum Committee may appoint ad hoc subcommittees from time to time, as these may become necessary for transaction of business and supervision of the curriculum, provided the purpose of any such subcommittee does not fall within the jurisdiction of an existing Committee, i.e. Foundations Phase, Patient Care Phase, Explore and Focus Phase, Themes, and Assessment.  Ad hoc subcommittees may be composed of members of the Curriculum Committee, phase/theme committees, or faculty and staff at large, or a combination thereof.  No ad hoc subcommittee will be appointed for a term longer than two calendar years.

Section 5: Additional Areas of Responsibility

Business, content, and areas related to the medical school curriculum that are not enumerated or delegated to another committee and that require committee attention will be the purview of the Curriculum Committee.

Section 6: Amendments and Other Provisions

Amendments to the Curriculum Committee bylaws will be presented to the Curriculum Committee for review, discussion and a vote.

Approval date:  June 8, 2015
Revision: March 13, 2017
Revision: December 11, 2017
Revision: August 6, 2018