Charge to the Campus Curriculum Committee

The idea of a Campus Curriculum Committee was proposed nearly a decade ago and, for various reasons, did not move forward. Due to many fiscal (RCM) and curricular (the new liberal education and writing requirements) changes we are convinced such a committee is now urgently needed. The college deans also strongly support the creation of this committee.

Since the Graduate School has just established a committee to oversee parts of the graduate curriculum, the Campus Curriculum Committee would focus mostly on undergraduate issues. However, the committee also would be able to deal with graduate curriculum issues as needed. Our sense is that, at least initially, most of the energy would be spent dealing with undergraduate issues.

Many of our peer institutions have such curriculum committees. In a survey of the activities of peer-institution Campus Curriculum Committees, some of the roles included:

Roles and responsibilities

The exact roles and responsibilities on the scale and scope of the committee are being finalized, but the committee will:

  1. Be appointed by, and advisory to, the Provost in order to assist with all-campus curricular matters.
  2. Work with colleges in mediating conflicts that arise over curriculum issues. Conflicts might arise over course duplication (perceived or real), expansion of liberal education courses, or the creation of new degree programs.
  3. Maintain strong communication with the Council for Liberal Education. The Council and Campus Writing Board would continue to evaluate and approve new courses, but should make certain that the curriculum committee is apprised of all decisions and course approvals.
  4. Review newly-established courses, keeping in mind issues of overlap, possible duplication, and the appropriate disciplinary connections. The curriculum committee will provide final approval of these classes after approval by collegiate curriculum committees. The curriculum committee will make certain that the proposing college has fully consulted with other units.
  5. Help to determine the impact of eliminating courses (on other degree programs).
  6. Other issues as identified by SCEP, the Vice Provosts, and/or the Provost.

The committee will not take on curricular conflicts that arise within colleges (between departments with the college). It is expected that these will be handled by the college administration.

Committee Membership

The Campus Curriculum Committee, appointed by the Provost, will have between 12-15 members representing the university community. As with the Council for Liberal Education, this committee will be comprised mostly of faculty with a few senior P/A instructional staff. Members will serve three-year terms. The initial focus will be on undergraduate issues. The Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education, and a member of Academic Support Resources (either the Director or a staff member selected by the Director) will sit ex-officio on the committee. A Chair of the committee will be appointed by the Provost.

Process

For specific curricular conflicts and concerns with mission creep, colleges may directly ask the committee to provide an analysis and recommendation on the appropriateness of offering certain classes or degree programs. In these cases, both collegiate units will be asked to provide the necessary data and background material, including information on what groups of students the course is intended to serve. The Senate Committee on Educational Policy, Office of Undergraduate Education, or Graduate School may also ask the committee to look into curricular issues.

In order to determine potential curricular redundancy, each collegiate curriculum committee will forward newly-established courses to the Campus Curriculum Committee. The Committee will consider possible duplication with other units and request additional materials as needed. It is anticipated that very few newly-established courses will pose a problem for the committee. Approval by the Campus Curriculum Committee will be the final step in ECAS. The ECAS approver will be either the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education or Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education.

For either specific course duplication, or broader issues of curricular conflict and mission creep, the Committee will make a recommendation (on approval, disapproval, or limitations on what groups of students may enroll) to the appropriate Vice Provost and Provost. The final decision by the Provost is binding.

The Office of Undergraduate Education will provide staff support for the Campus Curriculum Committee.

--from Provost Karen Hanson, October 18, 2012