Program Development

At CU Denver, we adopt a broad definition of program development. Full academic programs, certificates, microcredentials, individual courses, non-credit offerings–everything is on the table! Our team adopts an appreciative approach to learning design in all modalities and contexts. We see and celebrate the incredible care, expertise, and attention our faculty invest in their courses and programs; it is our goal to amplify and extend that care and expertise in ways that honor and support students and faculty while advancing the goals and mission of our institution.

Our team centers our work with programs, faculty, and teaching staff in the following core values:

Design is Contextual and Situational

...because learning is contextual and situational! Just as one-size-does-not-fit-all for our learners, we believe that instructional design collaboration with faculty and programs is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We meet faculty where they are in their teaching journey and approach change in incremental but meaningful ways. When we work together on a program or course, we will focus first on getting to know you and your learners: your passions, hopes, and strengths as teachers; the needs and aspirations of your students; and the role each course plays within the larger curriculum. We are your advocates, advisors, and collaborators in teaching and design!

Collaboration is Key

Academic instructional design is grounded in relationships, and particularly those which value and respect the contributions and expertise of faculty, designers, and teaching staff. Just as we are excited to learn about your unique contributions to your field and the passion you bring to your teaching, we are excited to share with you our own unique experiences and expertise in pedagogy, teaching, and technology. We look forward to collaborating with you not only for your own teaching needs, but also to contribute to the growing scholarship and innovation in pedagogy and instructional design. Collaboration is co-creative: we can (and will) do amazing things together!

Innovation is Emergent and Unique

Innovation looks different in each situation and is unique to each faculty and/or program. Effective innovation emerges from clear needs and lived experiences; it is a process which many times involves failure–and failure provides opportunity for improvement and success! Innovation can be small steps or giant leaps. Innovation takes courage, openness, and authenticity. Innovation isn't forced or enacted through compliance. As your partners in learning innovation, we commit to pursuing innovations together which are rooted in equity and caring for you and your incredible learners.

Getting Started with Program Development

Program design is a learning-centered process in which faculty collaborate with instructional designers to design or redesign the flow, structure, alignment, and overall purpose of a program/curriculum. In program design or redesign processes, we work together to consider the curriculum as a connected, intentional system of learning: are courses where they are intentionally? Do outcomes resonate with students, and are they represented authentically in courses and sequences of courses? What co-curricular influencers are considered in the design (e.g. accrediting criteria, pedagogical priorities, the student lifecycle, and key technologies)? This is an exploratory, emergent process that is intended to highlight the values of the faculty and the needs of students, recommendations and observations shared by expert instructional designers. Instructional designers from the TIPS Division will never adopt a compliance-focused lens or approach. The curriculum is owned, created, and cultivated by faculty, and we consider ourselves your partners, colleagues, and advocates in this work. We have a complimentary and unique set of skills in program design and development, and we are excited to connect with you to learn more and create together!

What does the program design process look like?

The process is meant to: 

  • Stimulate meaningful conversations among faculty in your program, identifying how the curriculum aligns to program and faculty values, goals, and discipline-specific industry needs.
  • Ensure alignment with industry and stakeholder needs and values, to produce successful graduates in your field.
  • Highlight what is special about the program, what makes it unique, and why a student would choose your program. 
  • Highlight and articulate the way each course is a meaningful contributor to program outcomes and goals.

This is a foundation of partnership and collaboration- we strive to honor the expertise you bring, and couple that with our experience and passion for instructional design and excellent teaching and learning practices. If you are interested in connecting with our team on a program, please reach out to us at We look forward to learning more about your wonderful program or idea!

Image of a mind map

How can instructional designers help with my course or program?

At CU Denver, our instructional designers are experts in a wide range of pedagogies and teaching practices. Here are a few examples of the things we do and can help you with:

  • Create a design map together to visualize the relationships between different elements in your course or program, making design recommendations and collaborating on an intentional, holistic course or program design
  • Facilitate a values distribution process for your entire program, looking at what your faculty value most within the curriculum and how it is present through the student learning journey
  • Provide resources and coaching for converting learning activities to a different modality or format (e.g. moving an in-person presentation to something different in an online, asynchronous course)
  • Conceptualize and co-develop a small-scale learning artifact to meet a specific need within your course (e.g. an assignment or assessment using a new-to-you technology)
  • ...but wait, there's more! If you have an idea or a need, we want to connect. Please reach out to us at or click the button below to schedule a consultation with an instructional designer from our team.

Division for Teaching Innovation and Program Strategy (TIPS)

CU Denver

City Heights/Learning Commons

1191 Larimer St

3rd Floor Learning Commons

Denver, CO 80204

CMS Login