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Creating Content for the MS in Genetic Counseling Program Application Using a Design Sprint Model

Jenny Geurts, Director for the MS in Genetic Counseling, recently led a program development design sprint to complete the program’s application to the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC). The application form is very detailed, requiring development of a significant amount of the program prior to submission. To aid the Genetic Counseling program team, Jenny contacted the Office of Educational Improvement (OEI) to help develop and facilitate a five-day program development retreat.

The team, consisting of program leadership and OEI instructional designers, selected a design method promoted by Google teams, the Design Sprint. A sprint is designed to work through the creation process in five distinct steps, using a small team of subject matter experts to Map, Sketch, Decide, and Prototype the documentation needed. On the last day, stakeholders are asked to Test the model that has been created.

By the end of the design sprint, the team completed:

  • A Mission statement for the Genetic Counseling program.
  • A Curriculum map which linked all accreditation standards to course objectives.
  • An Assessment map, which developed an assessment plan that reaches into authentic assessments beyond “just exams.”
  • Two syllabi (prototypes) summarized, complete with course descriptions, assessment methods, and a list of topics for the didactic portions.
  • A list of potential activities beyond the classroom which build a Community of Belonging. These activities give purpose to the many roles that are filled by a Genetic Counselor and focus on the development of character and caring (volunteering, support groups, family pairing, multiple levels of conferences, and mentorship are a few examples).

Program leaders were initially skeptical of their ability to design the program in a five-day period. However, by Day Five, their energy gained momentum and most goals were accomplished. Next steps include follow up meetings to build out the remaining course shells and finish developing the program application for submission to NSGC by the May 2020 deadline.

If you are planning to develop or revise a program, contact the Office of Educational Improvement for assistance. We are happy to support you in accomplishing your goals!

Genetics Counseling Design Sprint Schedule (PDF)