Course Transformation Academy (CTA)

The Course Transformation Academy seeks to improve student success in key courses across KSU, reducing the difficulties students face when trying to progress in their chosen curriculum, while ensuring they are well prepared for their future careers.  As a collective enterprise, Academic Affairs brings together departments and resources from across the institution to support faculty in making a course more student-focused and successful for everyone at KSU.  Guided by the evidence-based principles that have been shown to work here at KSU, the CTA is an excellent resource for tackling difficult courses.

    1. The CTA is a supportive environment for faculty to get the time, resources, and expertise necessary to effect meaningful course redesign and maximize student success at KSU.
    2. While a smaller group of faculty/staff may lead CTA efforts, this work needs to be completed by all faculty teaching a course entering the CTA.
    3. Administrators responsible for managing faculty teaching a CTA course must be committed to and participatory in the process.
    4. Institutional administrators must be engaged and committed to helping each CTA course to the maximum extent possible to effect change.
    5. Courses enter the CTA until they make anticipated progress on their course success rates; there is no fixed timeline for completion.
    6. Every course may enter the CTA at whatever stage they are in and work from there. However, it’s important to complete every stage, not use this program as a sampling menu.
    7. Meaningful course transformation must include student voices in all aspects of the program.
    1. Self-Study-The self-study is an initial entry phase where teaching faculty (led by local, departmental faculty leaders and supported by the CTA taskforce) work through data on the structure of the course as it currently exists and the struggles that students face being successful in it.
      1. A detailed analysis of DFWI rates for the course across the years using a number of independent variables as identified by course faculty to determine where the challenge points are.
      2. A detailed analysis of departmental, college, and university support structures that may be impacting potential success in the course.
      3. A course curriculum analysis detailing individual course alignment within and among sections.
      4. Where appropriate, a curriculum program analysis detailing how a CTA course fits within a larger learning progression for students in degree programs.
    2. Preparing for Change-The preparation phase involves getting key elements prepared that will allow course faculty to take meaningful and collective action to improve outcomes in their course.
      1. Building a common set of learning outcomes for the course that are meaningful and useful to students and instructors in helping to structure their courses and learning.
      2. Building a common assessment tool to evaluate student learning as it relates to the learning outcomes for a course and supported as meaningful by the faculty teaching the course.
      3. Evaluating content coverage to ensure alignment with learning outcomes while providing space for change.
      4. Faculty development on evidence-based teaching practices and institutional support elements that can improve student learning.
      5. Developing an improvement plan with key milestones for success that will allow faculty to determine their potential impact within the larger goals of the program.
    3. Making Improvements-In this phase of development courses start to implement changes intentionally and measure outcomes until they reach appropriate milestones for success. This phase is more of a cycle and will continue until courses reach their goals and exit the CTA.
      1. Faculty will go through a course curriculum alignment process again, this time ensuring their course materials align with the course learning outcomes, their in-course assessments are appropriate, and that they have formally included evidence-based teaching practices.
      2. Pilot implementation programs may be important as individual or groups of instructors try different teaching pedagogies to see what works best with their students. However, whenever a pilot is conducted, it must include an assessment plan that allows for evaluation and dissemination among the rest of the course faculty for implementation of things that are shown to work and discarding of things that don’t.
      3. Whether using pilot systems or not, faculty will teach their planned courses and collect the relevant assessment data to determine success of students. They will then analyze data on student success each year, adjust their implementations, and repeat this process until they reach their CTA goals. Adjustments may require backing up into earlier phases of the program.
      4. Build a plan for departmental sustainability beyond completion of the CTA goals.


When all components of the CTA are completed, courses can have significant reductions in their failure rates while seeing increases in student learning.  While there is a lot of literature supporting the CTA design, we have local examples of success from following this path:

Results Graph


For more information, please contact:

Scott Reese, Interim Director of CTA -

Kristina DuRocher, Faculty Executive Director of General Education and Curriculum Development -

Supported by the Office of Accreditation and Policy:

Danielle Buehrer, Excecutive Director Institutional Quality and Accreditation,