CURRICULUM ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Academic Departments
- Office of the Registrar
- Academic Programs Office
- Academic Senate Curriculum Committee
- Academic Senate
- Consultative Process with the Library
- Consultative Process with Academic Departments
From the "Report of the Board of Trustees' Ad hoc Committee on Governance, Collegiality, and Responsibility in the California State University," adopted in September 1985. It states in part:
Collegial governance assigns primary responsibility to the faculty for the education functions of the institution in accordance with basic policy as determined by the Board of Trustees. This includes admission and degree requirements, the curriculum and methods of teaching, academic and professional standards, and the conduct of creative and scholarly activities. Collegiality rests on a network of interlinked procedures jointly devised, whose aim is to assure the opportunity for timely advice pertinent to decisions about curricular and academic personnel matters.
The following steps generally outline the curriculum development process. See the flowchart for a visual representation of the process.
A. New courses, new programs or modifications to existing courses and programs generally begin with the faculty of a department or program, either individually or collectively as a department or program. The first step in the process is to have the developed proposals discussed and approved by the department offering the course and/or program.
Note: New curricula or modifications to existing curricula should be tied to program, college and university learning objectives and developed with consideration of the action plan created during the most recent program review.
Note: General Education (GE) and United States Cultural Pluralism (USCP) courses must undergo separate and parallel review by the GE and USCP committees.
B. After department approval, curricular proposals are reviewed and approved by the curriculum committee of the college within which the department proposing the new or modified curriculum resides. After this review, the dean of the college must review and approve or disapprove of all curricular proposals.
C. Once college and dean approval has been obtained, the proposals are submitted to the Office of the Registrar for review. The Office of the Registrar provides a copy to the Academic Programs Office for their review. For catalog revision proposals, this review occurs before proposals are submitted for Academic Senate Curriculum Committee (ASCC) review.
D. After review by the Office of the Registrar and the Academic Programs Office, proposals are submitted to the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee for review. The ASCC makes recommendations regarding all curricular proposals to the Academic Senate. The Senate then recommends approval or disapproval of the ASCC recommendations. These results are forwarded to the Provost's office and the President.
In March 1985, the Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU) approved "Collegiality in the California State University System," a statement that includes the following regarding the curriculum:
The university's curriculum is central to the operation of the institution and is the principal concern of the faculty.
The faculty have a professional responsibility to define and offer a curriculum of the highest academic quality. In some fields, this professional responsibility is exercised within accrediting guidelines developed and enforced by professional associations. This professional responsibility cannot, be its very nature, be delegated. The faculty, therefore, have primary responsibility for making curricular recommendations to the president. Normally, the president will accept the advice and recommendations of the faculty on curriculum matters. Faculty appropriately have this responsibility because they possess the expertise to judge best whether courses, majors, and programs adhere to scholarly standards.
Among curricular decisions for which faculty should have primary responsibility are:
- The initiation of new academic courses and programs, and the discontinuance of academic courses and programs;
- Course content, including choice of texts, syllabus design, assignments, course organization, and methods of evaluating students;
- The designation of courses as degree or nondegree applicable, lower or upper division, or graduate level;
- The content of the general education program within system wide guidelines. Faculty should designate appropriate courses and establish the requirements for completion of the program. Faculty should be responsible for review and revision of the program;
- The adoption, deletion, or modification of requirements for degree major programs, minor programs, formal concentrations within programs, credential programs, and certificate programs;
- The establishment of minimum conditions for the award of certificates and degrees to students, and the approval of degree candidates; and
- Recruitment decisions affecting curriculum.
* From the May 17, 2005 memo from the Chair of the ASCSU to Campus Senate Chairs.
Department chairs and faculty begin the sequence of curricular events. During the fall quarter, faculty consider their curricula and discuss whether they need to propose any additions, deletions, and corrections to the university catalog. Departments are encouraged to propose only changes necessary to improve their curricular program. Departments must finish their committee deliberations by the deadline set by their college. All curricular changes must be presented to, and approved by, the department or program faculty. It is at this time that all consultations with other departments and colleges occur and must be in writing (see Section III. Communication and Consultation).
As a reminder, students have the right to choose the catalog they will use as described in Section 40401 of Title 5. As faculty deliberate curriculum changes, they should remember to make accommodations for students following prior catalogs.
Department Curriculum Chairs and Committees
During fall quarter, each department should establish a curriculum committee using accepted selection procedures. Ideally, the chair should have previously served on a department curriculum committee and should have extensive knowledge of the department and college/program curricular processes. In addition, it is recommended that the chair possess extensive knowledge of upper and lower division graduation requirements, general education requirements, and graduate program requirements as applicable; and be able to consider the effect curricular modifications might have on other department, college, or program requirements. Close attention to detail, accuracy in proofreading and cross checking skills are recommended.
In some departments, the department chair/head may act as the curriculum chair, and the entire faculty may act as the department curriculum committee.
The chair will work with the department chair/program director to oversee all curricular matters, including the preparation of course proposals or modifications, course deletions and additions, and the department's academic master plan.
The chair will also be responsible for all interdepartmental consultation regarding curricular changes that affect other departments and for keeping his/her own department informed about all curriculum matters.
Department chairs/heads should inform their college dean of all curriculum committee chair appointments.
Department chairs/heads should assess curricular proposals for impact on department resources, including faculty workload, equipment, supplies, facilities and information technology.
Department chairs/heads should review, edit and update their catalog descriptive pages.
Once the department curriculum proposal is approved, the department chair/head (or designee) prepares a cover memo to the college dean and college curriculum chair. The memo should summarize significant changes and confirm approval by the department faculty. All interdepartmental consultation memos should be attached (see the Section III. Communication and Consultation). The format of the curriculum proposals should follow published guidelines.
Each college sets its own due date and the number of copies needed for review at the college level. The entire curriculum package must be in the hands of the college dean/curriculum chair by the published deadline.
Any new or existing courses being proposed for General Education (GE) certification, and any changes affecting GE courses, must be reviewed by the GE Committees. See the GE web site for more information.
Any new or existing courses being proposed for U. S. Cultural Pluralism (USCP) certification, and any changes affecting USCP courses, must be reviewed by the USCP Committee. See the USCP web site for more information.
It is the responsibility of the department office to make and keep copies of all curriculum proposals, including New Course Proposal forms.
Colleges should appoint a curriculum committee in the fall quarter, with representation from all departments, to review the proposals being forwarded by each department.
College Curriculum Chairs
Each college, in accordance with accepted policy, should select a person experienced in the curricular process to serve as chair of the college curriculum committee. The chair should have previously served on a department or college curriculum committee and should have knowledge of the department and college/program curricular processes.
The chair will work closely with departmental curriculum chairs, the college's member of the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee and the Office of the Registrar. Chairs will be responsible for submitting all curricular changes, revisions, additions, and deletions to their dean for action.
College curriculum chairs are responsible for facilitating final discussions between the curriculum committee and departments to resolve outstanding curricular issues.
College Curriculum Committees
The college curriculum committee is responsible for reviewing all proposals from departments within the college for their academic merit and relationship to the undergraduate and graduate programs (where applicable) of other departments and the college as a whole. The committee shall also be responsible for reviewing proposals to avoid duplication across departments in other colleges/programs for maximum utilization of resources. It is recommended that a representative of the college's Advising Center be a member of the college curriculum committee. A member of the college curriculum committee, preferably the chair, is expected to serve on the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee (per Senate resolution AS-636-05 pdf file.)
Any new or existing courses being proposed for General Education (GE) certification, and any changes affecting GE courses, must be reviewed by the GE Committees. See the GE web site for more information.
Any new or existing courses being proposed for U. S. Cultural Pluralism (USCP) certification, and any changes affecting USCP courses, must be reviewed by the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee. For more information about USCP, please see the USCP web site.
Deans should send the Office of the Registrar a list of all newly appointed curriculum chairs.
Every curricular proposal shall be submitted to the dean of the college for approval or disapproval. The dean's approval shall be based on the determination that the proposal is consistent with plans for the long-range development of the college, that all resource implications of the proposal (teaching positions, space, equipment, supplies, staff) have been considered carefully, and that resources are available and committed for new courses and/or programs.
The dean shall be ultimately responsible for following up on all consultation activities regarding curriculum matters. The dean should ensure that all necessary consultation documents are in order, requesting action by the department curriculum committees as needed.
The dean should review, edit and update their catalog descriptive pages.
The dean should write a cover memo to the Registrar and the Chair of the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee summarizing each department's significant curricular changes, college curriculum committee concerns, and support for new resources (if applicable). The dean will ensure that all relevant curricular material is sent to the Office of the Registrar for review by the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee and, as needed, by the GE Governance Board, according to published deadlines. The format of the proposals should follow published guidelines.
All curriculum proposals prepared by colleges and/or programs will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, which will review the proposals for technical implementation, e.g., concise and consistent course descriptions, scheduling, degree audit, and articulation. Staff will communicate directly with the department chair or designee regarding issues with the proposals that need to be resolved, and work in coordination with the Academic Programs Office.
The Office of the Registrar will forward a copy of curriculum proposals to the Academic Programs Office for their review. In addition, the Office of the Registrar will post summaries of all curriculum changes received for each cycle on its web site for information and comment by campus constituencies. Feedback on curricular changes posted should be directed to the Chair of the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee.
Academic Programs Office staff is responsible for reviewing proposals for adherence to campus academic policies as well as the campus academic master plan. Staff will communicate directly with the department chair or designee regarding issues with the proposals that need to be resolved and work in coordination with the Office of the Registrar.
After initial review by the Academic Programs Office and the Office of the Registrar, curriculum proposals will be forwarded to the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee (ASCC) for review. This committee shall be composed of one faculty representative from each college curriculum committee and from related areas of the University (see Academic Senate bylaws for details).
The Academic Senate Curriculum Committee will review all proposals for academic merit and potential overlap and/or duplication with existing courses and programs, and make recommendations.
The Academic Senate Curriculum Committee will forward its recommendations directly to the Academic Senate for full Senate review.
The Academic Senate makes recommendations on all curricular proposals for approval by the University President.
All curriculum proposals, except new degree programs, appear on the Academic Senate agenda by college as consent items. Senators are given two weeks notice of the consent items and are expected to review the summaries posted on the Office of the Registrar website. Issues, concerns, and questions regarding curriculum proposals are directed to the chair of the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee by one week before the Senate meeting. If the concern is strong enough, any senator may request an item be removed from the consent agenda no later than one week before the meeting. Items removed from the consent agenda will be placed on the Senate agenda as discussion items. The Senate Chair (or designee) will invite representatives from the concerned departments and the Academic Senate Curriculum Appeals Committee to be present at the meetings where pulled proposals will be discussed. It is recommended that the Senate Chair allow the Academic Senate Curriculum Appeals Committee freedom to ask questions at will, without needing to be on the speakers list. Following discussion in the Senate, the Academic Senate Curriculum Appeals Committee will make the final decision to approve, disapprove, or return the items to committee (at any level) for further development. Items not removed from the consent agenda are considered approved on the meeting date of the consent agenda.
New degree proposals must be approved by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, and as this approval cannot usually be timed to meet a catalog cycle deadline, these proposals come to the ASCC when they are ready. After approval by the ASCC, they are forwarded to the Academic Senate Executive Committee and are then sent to the full Senate for a first and second reading.
It is the responsibility of all members of the curriculum development process to keep their constituencies well-informed of changes, proposals, and discussion items (i.e., the department curriculum chair must keep the department as a whole informed; the college curriculum chair must keep the dean, the associate dean(s), and all department curriculum coordinators informed; and so on).
The proposer of a new course should send a copy of the course proposal to their College Librarian for review. The College Librarian will follow-up with the proposer to share information about the availability of resources and services to support the new course.
A. Why Consult?
Consultation is a professional courtesy, an opportunity for collaboration among faculty and helps programs with their planning for future class scheduling. Many of our programs are dependent on courses from several different departments/ colleges, and university resources are not unlimited. Thus, it is especially critical that interdepartmental consultation and intercollege consultation be carried out as appropriate.
B. When is it Necessary to Consult?
The consultative process is to be used if one (or more) of the following actions is proposed:
- Addition and/or deletion of a course from the curriculum of one department but offered by another department.
Deletion of and/or modification of a course (change in content, prerequisites, mode or units) which one department offers and is used by another department
- as a prerequisite for one of their courses, or
- as a requirement or elective in majors, minors or other programs.
- Proposal of any new course that has content overlap with an existing course offered by another department.
C. How to Consult?
The initiating department sends copies of the Consultation Memo to chairs of all affected departments or programs. If a department chair/head is unsure with whom consultation should take place
- for a course modification request, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating the course to be modified. The Office of the Registrar will run queries to identify any programs in which the course is in the curriculum and to identify courses for which the course is a prerequisite.
- for a course proposal, a memo should be sent to the associate dean of each college with the request that it be forwarded to the appropriate departments.
- Departments being consulted have the responsibility of replying in writing promptly and of detailing explicitly their objections, if any, to the proposed action by the initiating department.
- All matters of consultation should be completed before the department forwards its curriculum proposal to the dean.
If the affected department has a concern or objection, resolution of the issue should be sought.
A. Suggested Mechanism for Resolution
A meeting of the department chairs, appropriate curriculum chairs and faculty, and associate deans should be called by the department proposing the change to discuss issues and seek resolution. It is strongly encouraged that an agreement be reached at this stage and the following steps will not be needed.
If no resolution is reached, the following steps should be followed:
Each department chair may prepare a position paper and submit it to the chair of the Academic Senate Curriculum for review. Depending on the timing and nature of curricular dispute, the chair will either bring the issue to the attention of the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee or forward the position paper to the Vice Provost for Programs and Planning and the Registrar. Meetings will be convened with the appropriate parties to come to resolution. As a last resort, the issue may be resolved by a vote at the Academic Senate for recommendation to the President.
Forms Used in the Consultation Process
Participants in the curriculum process need sufficient time to plan, consult, and finish their work so that the implementation of programs will not be delayed and the university catalog, class schedule, and degree audit will be available when needed. Campus offices need accurate up-to-date information.
Departments, colleges, and other consultative bodies have an obligation to adhere to stated deadlines. If deadlines are missed, it is likely that proposals needing Academic Senate review will not be included in the next catalog.