During the process of reforming our curriculum originally (way back in 1996), we found an effective mechanism for obtaining productive input from the entire department in the early planning stages which helped to build consensus. As part of the process of determining an appropriate rearrangement of content for our new courses, experienced faculty recorded the subject matter of our old curriculum in small natural chunks on index cards color-coded by discipline. After these cards had been rearranged by the committee into a tentative plan, each faculty member in the department was invited, individually, to consider the proposed curriculum. Their suggestions for change were instantly converted into a rearrangement of the cards. Some rearrangements resulted in apparent improvement; others revealed disadvantages of the suggestion. Eventually this departmental game of Solitaire converged on an optimized curriculum that was acceptable to all. Since that time, we have found using these index cards to be a useful strategy when thinking about the curriculum in individual courses and in related sequences of courses. It's amazing how reassuring it is to everyone to know that content will not be lost in the process of rearranging things. It's also helpful to make new cards and discard other cards thoughtfully.

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