Miami Plan Innovation Lab

Purpose - A Curricular Sandbox

The Miami Plan Innovation Lab (MPIL) provides support to faculty and departments with re-envisioning new Miami Plan or high-impact courses.  It is both a creative space - a kind of sandbox to “play” and experiment with team designed, team-taught courses - as well as a problem-solving space. It is a place for course creation or significant pedagogical revision. While the idea emerged organically during the Office of Liberal Education’s implantation planning for MP 2023, it mirrors MiamiRISE recommendation #5 that states:

We recommend Miami develop a mechanism for experimentation using a curricular innovation lab. The president should task the provost’s office and the university registrar to develop a process to create experimental curriculum. We recognize that barriers do exist to such an approach, but we believe Miami can create a solution by making this an organizational priority. Miami should explore the concept of the "sandbox," an experimental model that allows academic units to beta-test versions.

The goals of the MP Innovation Lab include:

  • Developing brand new MP courses to solve curricular issues

  • Re-imagining existing MP courses that need revision - where pedagogy or curricular design are the issues

  • Facilitating transdisciplinarity and collaboration across units and divisions by supporting multidisciplinary discourse, team-designed or co-designed courses, co-taught courses, or new models for “team teaching.”

  • MPIL bolsters institutional cultural change that is “second-order change” or “deep change.” Prompting faculty, units, and divisions to view the role of the Miami Plan in the overall pedagogical, curricular, and institutional structure, “involves changing underlying belief systems that in turn change behavior and practice.” (Kezar 2018; Martin and Wardle 2022). “If the problem is…that the current focus on efficiency and accountability does not in fact lead to deep learning—then deep change in the values and culture of the system itself must be pursued.” MPIL provides the time, space, and resources to be change agents for deep learning through Miami’s liberal arts education.

  • Utilizing research and evidence-based practices/ principles drive course design and pedagogy.

The Issues and Concerns

With the revised Miami Plan set to begin in Fall 2023, we need to ensure that incoming students have courses available to them, including Signature Inquiry and DE and I, the two new areas of the plan. While this is true for all students, we are being strategic in course development to have high impact courses a priority. Thus our immediate actions address concerns from high-credit hour degree programs such as CEC, NSG, and teacher education programs.  Here, we are focused on providing courses that double-dip Perspectives Area courses with Signature Inquiry so that incoming students may complete requirements both efficiently and with the best possible curricular options.  This involves not only accommodating the programs, but re-envisioning the role of Miami Plan courses within the programs that will in-turn allow the programs to re-envision their own approaches.