SENATE COMMITTEE ON CURRICULAR AFFAIRS
Submission of Curricular Proposals
The purpose of this brief report is to inform the university community of the undergraduate curricular pathway, to highlight curricular resources, and to suggest best practices to enhance efficient, successful navigation of curricular review in this time of wide-spread curricular change including, but not limited to:
- general education course recertification
- new general education course submission (including courses seeking single domain and integrative studies designations)
- substantial prerequisite updates in anticipation of LionPath enforcement of prerequisites
- implementation of recent US/IL requirement changes
- routine course and program reviews
All course and program proposals are required to be initiated through the Curriculum Review & Consultation System (https://curriculum.psu.edu/ ). All proposals are retained as part of the curriculum archives, and thus, all additions, changes, or drops to curriculum must utilize the Curriculum Review & Consultation System no matter the size or scope of the proposal. The curriculum system communicates with LionPath (https://www.lionpath.psu.edu/ ) to create the current Course Catalog which lists specific course information such as the course description. Program information is presented in the University Bulletin (http://bulletins.psu.edu/bulletins/bluebook/ ).
Curricular Pathway and Course Updates
Though units and colleges may differ in specific practices in executing the curricular pathway, curriculum is developed at the faculty and departmental level and then passes through several stages of academic approval. The academic approval pathway includes: approval by the department, division or school; the college; and the Senate. Additionally, administrative approval may include ACUE, Provost, and the Board of Trustees (programs). A representation of curricular flow can be viewed via the Senate website (http://senate.psu.edu/curriculum/26829-2/ ).
Faculty submitting any new course proposal should be prepared to thoroughly outline and describe the course including providing a course outline, description, objectives, justification, relationship to other courses, and seek and secure appropriate consultation (http://senate.psu.edu/curriculum/guide-to-curricular-procedures/glossary/#consultation-statement). Additionally, courses seeking general education designation need to include identification and explanation of two to four general education learning objectives and a minimum of three domain-specific criteria per domain; a course syllabus including a minimum of general education learning objectives, course objectives, and a detailed course description and content is required. The Office for General Education provides resources for syllabus content.
Faculty submitting any course proposal will be required to update the long course description and ensure its durability and flexibility which includes delivery in various formats, by different instructors, and on multiple campuses where appropriate. Faculty should also review proper placement and presence of prerequisites, co-requisites, concurrent coursework, and recommended preparations; once LionPath initiates prerequisite check at the point of enrollment, the accuracy of this information becomes of utmost importance.
Though general proposal changes including, but not limited to description updates, prerequisites changes, and content shifts will be directed to the next Senate Curriculum Report upon receipt by the Senate Office, courses requesting a university designation (US, IL, Writing), Bachelor of Arts, or general education (single domains or integrative studies) are directed to the appropriate SCCA subcommittee. Courses seeking an aforementioned special designation are evaluated for approximately 2 weeks in a subcommittee before being included on the next available Senate Curriculum Report if approved. Courses seeking an Integrative Studies certification (linked or inter-domain) must first have the general education domain(s) approved in the general education subcommittee before moving on to the Integrative Studies subcommittee. Units should be mindful of curricular due dates and the timeliness of moving through the various curricular steps for a more streamlined process. The length of time necessary for a proposal to be approved is dependent upon time taken by the department, college, senate, and administrative processes.
Resources Available to Assist in the Curricular Process
There are several resources available to assist in the curricular process. Many of these materials are housed on the curriculum page of the Faculty Senate website (http://senate.psu.edu/curriculum/ ).
The most comprehensive resource is the Guide to Curricular Procedures (http://senate.psu.edu/curriculum/guide-to-curricular-procedures/) found on the Faculty Senate website. As curriculum is constantly changing, the Guide to Curricular Procedures is updated frequently to reflect current practices in submission of course and program proposals. Faculty submitting undergraduate course and program proposals can locate explanations and instruction for curricular submission in the link provided for such topics as:
- Submitting proposals to add, change or drop majors, options, and minors
- Senate policies concerning majors, options, and minors
- Submitting proposals to add, change or drop courses
- Senate policies and procedures concerning courses
- Bachelor of Arts requirements
- First-Year Seminars/ First-Year Engagement
- General Education courses (single domain and integrative studies)
- United States Cultures (US) and International Cultures (IL) courses
- Writing Across the Curriculum courses
Another helpful resource is the set of Guidelines for Curricular Consultation. Consultation is a key component in the curricular process; it ensures effective flow of communication between academic units, disciplinary communities and other stakeholders. Proper consultation enables all units affected by a proposed addition to, change in, or discontinuation of curriculum have an opportunity to voice concerns or make suggestions. Consultation should be viewed as an act in collegiality, but it also allows for assessment of impact to a unit and may be used to inform academic units about other curricula that may interest their students. Consultation should include affected units, disciplinary communities, and campuses that have historically offered a particular course and/or that offer a particular program. A direct link to specific guidelines for curricular consultation is provided on the Faculty Senate curriculum website (http://senate.psu.edu/curriculum/guide-to-curricular-procedures/glossary/#consultation-statement ).
Recommendations to Units to Streamline Reviews
Though it is not possible to foresee all issues, proposers should pay special attention to the following:
- Propose course recertification in general education for courses historically serving a high number of students.
- Be mindful of consultation guidelines and collaborate with disciplinary communities and campus partners.
- Meet with partners to discuss course content, agree upon objectives and a sample syllabus prior to initiating a curricular proposal.
- Take care to ensure accuracy of prerequisites, co-requisites, concurrent courses, and recommended preparation recommendations prior to the LionPath enforcement.
- Follow as closely as possible the Guide to Curricular Procedures, Curricular Consultation Guidelines, and Syllabus Guidelines.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON CURRICULAR AFFAIRS
- Asad Azemi
- Michael Bartolacci
- Raymonde Browne
- Colleen Connolly-Ahern
- Michele Duffey, Chair
- Marc Friedenberg
- James Jaap, Co-Vice Chair
- Paul Kalapos
- Lawrence Kass
- Kenneth Keiler
- William Kenyon
- Suzanna Linn, Co-Vice Chair
- Robert Melton
- Judith Ozment
- Timothy Palmer
- Mari Pierce
- Julia Plummer
- Lisa Posey
- Felisa Preciado
- Ljubisa Radovic
- Ling Rothrock
- Robert Shannon
- Richard Singer
- Jennifer Sliko
- Rodney Troester