Wednesday April 10, 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Early: $150 Advance: $175 Onsite: $195
W4 - Backward Design: The Secret Sauce to Building Relevant and Quality Programs

Backward design is a quality, outcomes-based approach for creating and revising credit-hour and competency-based programs encompassing a range from full degree programs to credentials and certifications. This workshop is designed for those seeking to build a new program or extensively revise an existing program. Participants may be in the early phases of learning how to develop curriculum or they may wish to improve processes. The focus of this session will be on the innovative curriculum process: the steps involved in program creation and revision, the key role of backwards design, and how research informs decision-making and structure, program outcomes, and assessment. Key takeaways include an outline of the steps in developing programs and strategies for determining the educational journey including learning activities and formative assessment.

Workshop Outcomes - participants will:

  • Utilize a research approach to ensure program relevance and quality
  • Outline and practice Backward Design for program creation and revision
  • Effectively align assessments to learning outcomes
  • Explore learning activities and learner styles to maximize student success


Laurie Dodge
Vice Chancellor Institutional Assessment & Planning and Vice Provost
Brandman University

Dr. Laurie Dodge, Vice Chancellor Institutional Assessment & Planning and Vice Provost at Brandman University, served as a key leader in the building of Brandman’s undergraduate and graduate direct assessment competency-based education programs. Dr. Dodge has served in numerous capacities at Brandman University including department chair, interim dean, director of assessment, interim co-vice chancellor of academic affairs, and professor. Dr. Dodge is the WASC Senior University and College Commission (WSCUC) Accreditation Liaison Officer for Brandman University and serves on the WSCUC Substantive Change Committee. At the national level, Dr. Dodge has participated in CBE related projects, Comprehensive Learner Record, QA Commons Essential Employability Qualities Certification, and Credential Engine (Higher Education Advisory Group). Dr. Dodge has presented nationally and internationally on CBE and other areas of expertise include assessment, curriculum development, accreditation, and academic policy. She has served on numerous regional accreditation review teams for universities seeking re-accreditation, initial accreditation, structural and substantive change, and international universities. Dr. Laurie Dodge is a national leader in competency-based education and is the inaugural and Past President of the Board of Directors for the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN). In 2016, Laurie was named one of the “The Sixteen Most Innovative People in Higher Education” by Washington Monthly. In 2018, Dr. Dodge co-authored a book titled “A Leader’s Guide to Competency-Based Education:  From Inception to Implementation” (Bushway, Dodge, & Long, 2018).


Lori Williams
Vice President
WASC Senior College and University Commission

Dr. Lori Williams comes to WSCUC with over 25 years experience in education. Most recently, she served as provost and ALO at Ashford University in San Diego. Previous positions include vice provost of curriculum development and innovation at Kaplan University, vice president of product strategy and development at Laureate Education, executive director of the center for student success at Walden University, and administrative roles at Saint Michael's College and Middlebury College. Throughout her career, Lori has also taught extensively, serving as a professor, thesis advisor, and mentor. Lori enjoys spending time outdoors hiking with her husband and dog, as well as gardening, yoga, and movies. Lori holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Education Leadership from Union Institute & University, an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Saint Michael’s College, and a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University.