To be interesting and helpful to a broad group of graduate students, first-year macroeconomics courses should teach unemployment. More technical material could be pushed to the second year.
I think I would teach a macro course starting with Lucas. The whole generation of macro models pre Lucas is very different from post Lucas. I like the focus on labor and unemployment. Especially since this is a big part of our realities. I also would like to discuss the role of money in a similar fashion. And I think NK models are mostly relevant for neat modelling tricks which produce better approximation to reality. That should be told explicitly.
I also love the fact that you spend so much time thinking about teaching. It’s important to make macro relevant. And this reorganisation is required.
i wholeheartedly endorse your proposal! i think i only survived first-year macro because i did my MA at San Francisco State beforehand, and the macro professor drove us pretty hard into this material.