Faculty Curriculum Committee

The Curriculum Committee at ҹ첥 works with the Registrar’s Office and the Academic Affairs Office to provide oversight in creation and maintenance of curricula.

Second Tuesday of the month at 2:30 p.m., excluding holidays or otherwise communicated.

Please note the following deadlines which apply to requests for Curriculum Committee Approval:

  • Deadline for new spring classes: October meeting
  • Deadline for new May/Summer classes: March meeting
  • All significant Level 2 programmatic changes for the following fall semester: February meeting

Quick Links

Committee Minutes & Reports
Curricular Approval Process
Curriculum Design & Expectations
Forms
New Program Development Guidelines


Curricular Approval Process

The process for curriculum development, new courses and programs, and curriculum revisions proceeds as follows:

  • A given department member or department desires to make a change (such as implement a new course or delete an old one).
  • The department grants approval and the chair/coordinator signs the approval form appropriate to the action.
  • The dean then examines and approves the action.
  • The Registrar then examines the curricular action for possible impacts and signs the request.
  • If the request is a Level One action, 2 copies are presented to the Registrar more than 1 week before the next meeting.
  • If the request is a Level Two action, 2 print copies are presented to the Registrar more than 1 week before the next meeting; additionally, a scanned or digital copy is e-mailed to the chair and distributed to entire committee.
  • The chair and Registrar meet before the committee meeting to review all submitted requests and ensure that each is appropriately designated Level 1 or 2 and that all forms are approved properly and all information in order. The chair then prepares a Level 1 report for committee.
  • Upon meeting, the committee reviews the level 1 report and all level 2 actions submitted for the meeting.
  • When the addition of a new course or new program (or revisions to previously existing ones) will have an impact on either Administrative Services (for example, a course will always be taught in a computer lab, or extensive amounts of computer resources will be required) or the Library (for example, a course might require the acquisition of an extensive series of texts and films, or a database), the Chair/coordinator or Dean is required to notify the head of Administrative Services and the Director of the Library as part of the curricular process. This notification and the response to the department from Administrative Services &/or the Director of the Library should be submitted with the curriculum request to the Curriculum Committee.
  • Any significant change to the GNED core must be approved by the General Education Committee and a consensus (66% approval) vote of the entire full-time faculty.  Any changes to academic graduation requirements must also be approved by a consensus (66% approval) vote of the entire full-time faculty. 

The ҹ첥 Southern Curricular Approval Process has two levels. The first level is designed to handle curricular maintenance issues. A report on these items will be made each meeting to the Curriculum Committee, who will review them.  The second level is designed to handle major curricular changes and will be voted on by the Curriculum Committee, who will report all Level 2 actions to the faculty for review prior to VPAA final approval.

Please note the following deadlines which apply to requests for Curriculum Committee Approval:

  • Deadline for new spring classes: October meeting
  • Deadline for new May/Summer classes: March meeting
  • All significant Level 2 programmatic changes for the following fall semester: February meeting

Please note that two copies of all curricular requests (signed by the required personnel, such as the chair, dean, and registrar) must be submitted in advance per the deadlines published by email.  Secondly, all Level Two actions must be submitted digitally (a minimum of one week in advance) as well.

Level One items require action by the following people:

  1. Faculty of an academic department (if submitted from a college) or an appropriate interdisciplinary unit (e.g., Honors)
  2. Dean of the respective school or college
  3. Curriculum Committee chair review
  4. VPAA

Curricular changes that are considered Level One include:
Course Changes (other than those affecting core requirements)

  1. Courses to be deleted from the catalog
  2. Course prerequisites
  3. Increase or decrease in the hours of a course
  4. Course title, level, number, and/or designator
  5. From credit/no credit or pass/fail to letter grades or vice-versa
  6. New courses
  7. Major content revisions of existing courses

Program Changes

  1. Changes in the name of major, minor, or special academic programs (emphasis, concentration)
  2. Requirements for an existing major which do not change the total number of credit hours in a major or do not substantially change the content of a major
  3. Requirements for an existing minor which do not change the total number of credit hours in a minor or do not substantially change the content of a minor
  4. Requirements for a special academic program which do not change the total number of credits in the special academic program or do not substantially change the content of the special academic program.

Level Two items require action by the following people:

  1. Faculty of an academic department (if submitted from a college) or an appropriate interdisciplinary unit (e.g., Honors)
  2. Dean of the respective school or college
  3. Curriculum Committee
  4. Report to faculty and faculty review
  5. VPAA

Curricular changes that are considered Level Two include:

  1. Addition or deletion of a special academic program
  2. Modifications to a special academic program (e.g., concentration, emphasis, etc.)  which change the total number of credit hours or which substantially change the content of a special academic program
  3. Addition or deletion of a minor
  4. Modifications to a minor which change the total number of credit hours or which substantially change the content of a minor
  5. Core Curriculum Requirements
  6. Degree Requirements
    1. New Degrees
    2. Deletion of existing degrees
  7. Minimum requirements for a major or minor
  8. Changes in majors
    1. New majors
    2. Deletion of existing majors
    3. Modifications to a major which change the total number of credit hours or which substantially change the content of a major
  9. Designating that a specific course receive ELR requirement when that course is not obviously an Internship, Practicum, Field or Study Away course.

Note that many level 2 changes may require SACSCOC approval or notification.  Note that no Curricular Changes are final (even after being approved by the Committee and VPAA) until SACSCOC has approved the changes.  See the ҹ첥 Substantive Change Policy R-64.

As noted elsewhere, any significant change to the GNED core must be approved by the General Education Committee and a consensus (66% approval) vote of the entire full-time faculty.  (Significant change would be doing away entirely with a requirement, adding a new requirement, increasing the hours, etc). Any changes to academic graduation requirements must also be approved by a consensus (66% approval) vote of the entire full-time faculty.

Additionally, some new programs may require extensive planning and commitments. New programs requiring such preliminary investments will require Board and senior officer approval either before or after the Committee approves the program. Programs such as these, which require extensive investment of funds and personnel by the university, must be accompanied by a full prospectus and budgetary pro-forma plan with approval by the Board and senior officers before implementation.

Technology or Library Impact Statements:

When the addition of a new course or new program (or revisions to previously existing ones) will have an impact on either Administrative Services (for example, a course will always be taught in a computer lab, or extensive amounts of computer resources will be required) or the Library (for example, a course might require the acquisition of an extensive series of texts and films, or a database), the Chair or Dean is required to notify the head of Administrative Services and the Director of the Library as part of the curricular process. This notification and the response to the department from Administrative Services and/or the Director of the Library should be submitted with the curriculum request to the Curriculum Committee.


New Program Development Guidelines

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires that a Bachelor’s degree require a minimum of 120 semester credit hours (Core Requirement 9.2). At the same time, the overall requirements of the program must “conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs” (Standard 9.7).

As stated in the academic catalog, all baccalaureate programs from ҹ첥 Southern University will require 125 hours. Additionally, all students are required to successfully earn the required 47 credit hours of the ҹ첥 Liberal Arts Core (LAC).

Beyond this, a major leading to a baccalaureate degree must have a minimum length of 30 semester credit hours within the major. The required semester credit hour length of a given major should not exceed typically 51 semester credit hours  other than for the reasons cited below. In a typical case, a program (such as Christian Studies) might require 36 hours for a BA degree; added to this would be the 47 hours of the LAC. Additionally a student would take a minor (typically 12-21 hours beyond the core) for (in this case) 18 more hours; this presents a total of 101 hours. The remaining 24 hours semester credit hours necessary for successful completion of the BA degree would be made up of electives.

In some cases a program may be justified in terms of national, regional, or professional standards in exceeding the suggested upper length of a program as described above (51 semester credit hours). Such programs are presumed to typically meet one or more of the following criteria: a) it is a preprofessional program; b) following the mandates or requirements of a national affiliation or accrediting body (such as NASM in Music, or the South Carolina Board of Nursing and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) for Nursing, or the IACBE for Business); c) essentially either made up of a “double” major (such as Mathematics Education) or requiring within the course of study a built-in minor program or the equivalent (students in Computer Science, for example, must earn 17 semester credit hours beyond the LAC in Mathematics). Deans and Chairs are expected to make the case to Curriculum Committee that their programs are justified in exceeding the suggested maximum length of 51 hours beyond the LAC in a major. Lengths of programs which will require students earning baccalaureate degrees to earn significantly more than 125 hours (when added to the LAC) will be especially scrutinized.

The Curriculum Committee of ҹ첥 Southern University affirms and respects the tradition and value of liberal arts education and believes that broad-based, wide-ranging curriculum serves students best. However, the Committee is cognizant of the requirements of professional programs and their various accrediting bodies.

Therefore, the general expectation in the creation of new programs is that most majors should and will require attendant minors. In the cases of programs seeking not to require minors, the following questions should be asked by the Committee and the appropriate dean:

  • Is the request to not have a minor coming from a professional school with less expectation of a  broadly based curriculum?
  • Does the major require 60 hours or more beyond the core? If so, is the major’s excessive length appropriate due to professional accreditation or for other reasons (as discussed above)?
  • Will students in this area (in terms of educational base or vocational liabilities) suffer from a lack of a minor? What effect will not requiring a minor have on other departments/ programs?
  • Does the program sufficiently demonstrate through sharing accreditation standards and catalog printout from benchmark and regional schools that this is a ‘best practice’ in its discipline?

Additionally, the expectation of the Committee is that a given program will not allow a student to major and minor in the same or in a very closely related discipline.

Programs creating minors should typically require 12-18 semester credit hours beyond the core. Additionally a minor should require a minimum of 6 hours of upper level (300-400) credit.

Roughly speaking, there are three kinds of bachelor’s degrees, with alternate versions of those degrees. The Bachelor’s of Science typically speaks to a further development of scientific or technical knowledge. The Bachelor of Arts to a further understanding of humanities and the arts and a more rounded approach. Other programs have very specific program requirements due to professional standards or certification requirements (BSN, etc) or are typically created for technical college matriculation in a technical field (Bachelor of Technology).

When developing programs, the following criteria should be considered:

Traditional Bachelor of Arts: Requires additional class(s) or higher level in foreign language, or further classes in the humanities and arts outside the major beyond the core minimum. Requires the minor.

Traditional Bachelor of Science: Requires additional class(s) in math or science or higher level beyond the core minimum. Requires the minor (in some cases the minor might be includedin the overall program requirements).

Pre-Professional Bachelor of Arts: Requires additional class(s) or higher level in foreign language, or further classes in the humanities and arts outside the major beyond the core minimum. Typically requires the minor (although the minor may be included) or may require what is more or less a double major. Professional standards/certification requirements built into the program. Very few BA programs are Pre-Professional; exceptions include BA degrees in secondary education (English-Education, Music-Education) where the Education classes constitute a second major, or Music Therapy.

Pre-Professional Bachelor of Science: Requires additional class(s) in math or science or higher level beyond the core minimum. May or may not require the minor. Professional standards/certification requirements built into the program.


Developing Online Programs

Online courses and programs are held to the same standards as all other courses and programs.  Faculty developing courses should consult Academic Policy R-67 for the ҹ첥 Definition of Credit Hours, which notes:

“The number of contact hours for courses that meet face-to-face with an instructor is defined by the number of hours spent in classroom; typically, 15 hours (1 hour per meeting for 15 weeks) in the classroom is required for one college credit. As noted by the Federal Definition of a Credit Hour, 1 contact hour is typically matched by 2 or more out of class hours. Contact hours in synchronous online environments may be recorded in the same manner as for traditional classes. However, contact hours in asynchronous learning environments are more difficult to monitor.” To that end, faculty developing online asynchronous courses must consult the ҹ첥 Curricular Guidelines to Determining Credit Hours for Online Courses.


Curriculum Design & Expectations by Academic Class

First year (100 level) courses typically do not require pre-requisites (other than those indicating college readiness in English or Math in some cases).  They are typically introductory courses.  Assignments are often skills-based and emphasize process.  Critical thinking and/or reading are emphasized in a variety of disciplines.  Often first year courses employ multiple short assignments with distributed grading scales.

Sophomore (200 level) courses may or may not require prerequisites.  Sophomore classes often build on skills learned in 100 level courses or assume that students have developed requisite skills or knowledge base in their first year curricula.  Academic rigor is greater than at the 100 level.  Students are often required to delve into subjects in greater depth and to demonstrate self-motivation and the ability to handle greater responsibilities in development of papers, presentations, and projects.  Out of class reading and homework time is greater than for most courses at the 100 level.  Classes will often offer fewer exams but the exams carry greater weight.  Some sophomore classes may serve as introductory courses to particular majors and fields of study.

Upper division (300-400 level) courses typically require pre-requisites.  Students are expected to build upon the skills and levels of knowledge gained in their 100-200 curricula.  Academic rigor and the amount of out of class work are greater than that required by most courses at the 100-200 levels.  Students must typically display greater self-discipline and stay focused on tasks in development of longer, more significant projects and papers.  Although the division between 300-400 level courses is not as significant as that between 100-200 and 200-upper division courses, 300 level courses often focus on allowing students to begin development of a wide knowledge base or skill set within their chosen fields or majors.  400 level courses typically afford students deeper immersion into knowledge bases and skill sets of their fields, and are often characterized by lengthier papers and projects.

As noted in SACSCOC Comprehensive Standard 9.6, “post-baccalaureate professional degree programs” and master’s programs are “progressively more advanced in academic content than undergraduate programs.”  These differences should be distinct and made clear in Graduate Curriculum submissions and particularly in those submissions for cross-registered graduate/undergraduate courses.

Note: Graduate Courses which are 500 level are generally offered in support of the master’s degree programs and are introductory graduate courses or graduate level fundamental courses in the discipline.  These may be designated as prerequisites to upper level graduate courses or be foundational in content.

There are two types of Graduate Courses that have 500-level numbering.

The first type includes courses that are generally offered in support of the master’s degree programs and are introductory graduate courses or graduate level fundamental courses in the discipline. These may be designated as prerequisites to upper level graduate courses or be foundational in content.

The second type includes cross-listed courses. Cross-listed courses are courses in which both graduate and undergraduate students attend the same class but receive credit under different course numbers.  Cross-listed courses may serve as electives in a graduate program. Syllabi for cross-listed courses will clearly specify how the nature (quality and/or quantity) of the work expected of students and the criteria for evaluation of the work produced is commensurate with degree level. The nature of the requirements for cross-listed classes may vary by quality and/or quantity. The quality of work may be differentiated by requiring graduate students to engage with material that is more challenging, such as requiring reading of original works of scholarship rather than secondary presentations of scholarly work (textbooks). The quality of work may also include requiring graduate students to assume a leadership role in the course, such as mentoring undergraduate students, serving as discussion leaders, or setting standards for class participation. The quality of work products may be differentiated by level as well.

Graduate-level assignments require a greater degree of analysis, synthesis, or evaluation of knowledge and/or be result of greater independence than undergraduate-level assignments. The quantity of work may be differentiated across levels by requiring additional assignments, projects, or examinations at the graduate level compared to the undergraduate level. At the doctoral level, additional readings, research, and writing are required that extend the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of knowledge, concepts, and application are required.

Graduate Courses offered at the 600 level or higher are core content courses for the masters degree in the field of study.  These require intensive study, research, and analysis of content. These courses usually require an in-depth knowledge of the discipline that is further developed through classroom, independent work, or collaborative models of learning.

Graduate courses at the 700 level consist of the core courses that require intensive study, research, and analysis of content and require the submission of evidence of theory and application to the content. 800 level courses contain the research and analysis required for advanced studies, to include design, development, application and implementation of research questions, data, and findings. The 900 level designation is for the dissertation phase of the new program where the integration of content, research, and findings are presented as a scholarly work reviewed and approved by a doctoral faculty and content is defended by students prior to the completion of the program.