Guidelines for Proposals

THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

2011-2012

GUIDELINES FOR PROPOSALS

FOR THE ACADEMIC AND GRADUATE COUNCILS

 

CONTENTS

Current Members of Academic Council

Click here

Current Members of Graduate Council

Click here

Meeting Dates and Proposal Deadlines

Click here

General Suggestions for Preparing Proposals

Click here

Instructions for Using the Course Proposal Forms

Click here

Modifications to courses and programs

Click here

Online and nontraditional courses (new and modifications)

Click here

Online degree program approval formClick here

Course Proposal Forms

Click here

Materials to Accompany Proposals for New Courses

Click here

Submitting Courses for the General Education Curriculum

Click here

Proposals for Minors, Majors, Programs, Emphases, and Certificates

Click here

Transmittal of Proposals to the Councils

Click here

Who Approves What; or Who Has to Sign This Thing, Anyway?

Click here

MEETING DATES AND PROPOSAL DEADLINES

The Academic Council meets at 3:30 p.m. on the first Monday of each month during the academic year except for holidays. The Graduate Council will meet at 3:00 p.m. on the third Monday of each month during the academic year except for holidays. The locations of meeting will be announced at the beginning of each academic year. The meeting dates for the Academic Council are posted here. The meeting dates and locations for the Graduate Council are posted here.

Proposals are due from colleges seven class days in advance of a specific council meeting.

The effective date of proposals submitted to the Academic or Graduate Council should occur before students have had a chance to register for the semester during which the course is to be offered. For example, proposals to be offered the following summer or fall semester should pass the Academic or Graduate Council by the end of February. Likewise, courses scheduled for the spring semester should pass the Academic or Graduate Council by the end of September.

DEADLINE FOR THE BULLETIN

For changes to be reflected in the next year's Undergraduate or Graduate Bulletin, a proposal must be approved prior to or during the October meeting. This deadline also applies to proposals requiring IHL approval.

GENERAL SUGGESTIONS FOR PREPARING PROPOSALS

 1.   Proposals affecting the undergraduate curriculum are sent to the Academic Council. Graduate course proposals are sent to the Graduate Council. 

2.    Forms: To add, delete, or modify an existing course or course prefix, click here.

These forms are available in a hard copy through the Registrar’s office or the web pages of the Academic and Graduate Councils.

Information concerning the materials to accompany proposals can be found here.

3.    Departments should take care to check all proposals carefully for completeness and accuracy because even a minor error can delay council action on a proposal.  For assistance in preparing proposals: for undergraduate call 266-5563 and for graduate call 266-4369.

 4.   A proposal to add a course requires additional documentation. See here in this manual for further explanation. Courses to be designated as writing intensive must adhere to the guidelines defined in the latest Undergraduate Bulletin and reproduced here.

 5.   Proposals requiring approval by the IHL Board will need more time to clear the system.  Please notify the Registrar's Office as soon as the IHL Board approves the proposal.

  6.   Be sure to indicate (i.e., check either "yes" or "no") whether an undergraduate course is a part of the General Education Curriculum (GEC). See here in this manual for further explanation.

7.     New degree proposals must be approved by the Academic Council and/or Graduate Council. Supporting documentation must include a rationale for the new degree, a degree plan, and a statement from the University Librarian related to library/personnel requirements. The council(s) must approve new prefixes. IHL Board approval is also required.

 8.   TransmittalApproval of Proposals to the Councils

The Professional Education Council (PEC) must approve new and modified teacher education courses before Academic Council or Graduate Council review. 

Academic Council: College deans must attach and sign a memorandum summarizing and approving their college council's action (adding, deleting, modifying, changing). A template for the cover memorandum is available at the course proposal website. A dean's signature attests that the proposals have gone through the appropriate departmental and college course approval processes. Deans must submit single bundles of hard copies of all materials to the Academic Council Reviewing committee members.

Graduate Council: Deans must submit a single hard copy to the Graduate School, along with a memorandum summarizing and approving their college council's action (adding, deleting, modifying, changing). A template for the cover memorandum is available at the course proposal website. A dean's signature attests that the proposals have gone through the appropriate departmental and college course approval processes.

The Graduate Council strongly recommends that a spokesperson of the department be present at the council meeting when a department's courses are being considered. The Academic Council recommends but does not require the presence of a spokesperson.

MODIFICATIONS OF COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS

1.     The Academic Council and/or Graduate Council must approve modifications to any degree plans. Supporting documentation must include a rationale for the changes, the revised degree plan, and an effective date. Modifications may include but are not limited to adding or deleting course requirements, course or program requirements and progression policy, and moving at least 50% of the program online.

2.     A list of changes of course aspects that require approval by either the Academic Council and/or Graduate Council can be found here.

3.     Changes in course descriptions for existing courses in the Bulletin need not be brought before the Academic Council and/or Graduate Council. Bulletin changes should be approved by respective college councils and then submitted to the Registrar.

4.     When changing a course prefix and course number, a memorandum should be attached to explain the need for the new prefix.  The appropriate council must first approve new prefixes. If prefix changes are occurring on a large scale (i.e., departmental name change), then a second memorandum can be used listing all the course prefixes to be changed. Such memoranda should be routed from the initiating department through the college council and dean to the Academic Council and/or Graduate Council.

5.     Use the modify course form found here to modify or add a Method of Instruction Code (MIC) for a course. To request the option that an established course have online sections, a department must indicate the appropriate MIC code and use the Online Course Approval Information form. Click here for information and to access this form.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE COURSE PROPOSAL FORMS

TO:  Choose either the Academic Council or the Graduate Council.  For 4/500-level courses, use two separate forms, one for the undergraduate number (Academic Council) and another for the graduate (Graduate Council). 

THROUGH:  Choose the name of the college curricular council or committee that approved the proposal.

FROM:  Choose the appropriate unit type and specify the department from which the proposal originated.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  The semester for which the proposal is to take effect.  The summer semester is considered to be at the end of the academic year (e.g., "Summer 2005-2006" meets June through August 2006).  Departments should take care not to modify or delete a course offered in the current academic year Class Schedule Guide, whether in Hattiesburg or Gulf Coast campus.

SEMESTER CREDIT HOURS:  Semester credit hours are based on contact hours. One credit hour = 13 2/3 hours in the classroom, thus a three-credit-hour course = 41 hours of face-to-face contact with the student.  Laboratory contact minutes are at least twice those of lecture courses. A one-semester hour of lab is therefore at least 27 1/3 hours in most departments. 

COURSE PREFIX: Council(s) must first approve any new prefix. A rationale should be included in the Comments section of the form to explain the need for the new prefix

GRADING METHOD:  Select the appropriate grading method.

1 = grades A through F (the usual method)

2 = pass/fail


3 = grades A through F or pass/fail

4 = other (e.g., E grade)

Please note the usual restrictions on pass/fail courses, especially for graduate credit.  (See the Undergraduate Bulletin or the Graduate Bulletin).

CIP CODE:  This code refers to the proper section and item of the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) manual, published by the National Center for Educational Statistics.  A copy should be on file in each dean's office or see here for an online version.

BULLETIN DESCRIPTION:  The description of the course must take up no more than 180 spaces and include all prerequisites or co-requisites. Pre-/co-requisites should be listed first.

ABBREVIATED TITLE:  The course title must be limited strictly to 19 spaces.  Do not use periods in the abbreviaations. Since the abbreviated title is the only one given in the Class Schedule Guide and on transcripts, it must be understandable to students and the public.  If the course title is to be modified, be sure to change the abbreviated title also.

GENERAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM:  All forms contain a line asking if the proposal affects the GEC (pertinent to undergraduate courses only).  The default value in the form is set to "No." See here for more information.

CONSENT REQUIRED?  Please indicate whether students need to obtain departmental permission to register for this course. The default value is set at NO.

MAY STUDENTS ENROLL IN MORE THAN ONE SECTION WITHIN A SINGLE SEMESTER? Some courses, like those numbered 492 or 692, may represent distinct courses. If students can potentially enroll in more than one section of the course in a given semester, indicate Yes. The default value is set at NO.

RECOMMENDED SECTION SIZE: Please indicate preferred section size.

CAN THIS COURSE BE REPEATED: A repeatable course can be taken more than once for credit each time it is taken. A variable topic course is an example, where a course can be taken repeatably as topics vary. Enter a number to limit the number of times the course can be repeated or enter a U if the course can be taken unlimited times.

IHL METHOD OF INSTRUCTION CODE: Designate one or more codes that describe the method of instruction for the course from the IHL listing. For example, a new lecture course that will be offered both on campus and as an online course needs to be coded both CF and CO. If the course is to be offered online or in any nontraditional instructional format, include the information requested here.

RATIONALE: In this section, please include your justification to add, modify, or delete a course or program based upon assessment results. The justification must include more than a statement such as, “We studied the data and made this decision.” Assessment results can include but are not limited to information generated from the following sources: interviews with students, staff, and faculty about meeting a particular need, curriculum committee decisions based upon overall program assessment, documented poor course/program performance, alumni or employer surveys stating that another course or course modification would be beneficial for the program, documented inquiries (eg. email, phone, office visit) into whether a particular course or program exists in another department. Please include numbers, statistics, and/or detail when describing the assessment results justifying course or program deletion, addition or modification. In addition, a discussion of how the proposed changes meet the need indicated by assessment results would help council members determine the rationale for the proposed change.

APPROVALS:  See Transmittal.

MATERIALS TO ACCOMPANY PROPOSALS

Proposals to add a course require additional documentation. Minimum requirements include the following:

1. A brief statement of the course objectives.

2. The nature of the intended student audience.

3. Titles and publication dates of suggested texts or required reading materials.

4. Methods of testing or evaluation, including the manner of grade determination (e.g., weights attached to specific graded components).

5.  A course outline listing major topics to be included in the course.

6.  Research component, if a graduate course.

A detailed syllabus or list of daily assignments is not required, although the majority of requirements listed above probably would appear in a syllabus.  Normally, documentation for a proposal can be encompassed within two pages of text.


Proposals for new courses that require special facilities or additional faculty (or that have other special requirements, such as restricted enrollment, off-campus components, or special laboratory needs) must address each of these issues in enough detail to allow council members to make an informed decision.  Any course overlap must be justified, and evidence of cooperation between the departments, schools, or colleges in which the overlap occurs must be provided.  In cases where agreement between colleges cannot be reached, the proposal will be forwarded to the Curriculum Committee for review.

Online and Non-traditional course formats

If the instructional format is to be an online or non-traditional format, please complete the /*Online Course Approval Information*/ form. To save the information on the PDF form, you will need to complete the form in Adobe Professional (not Acrobat Reader). Also, staying with one version of Adobe Professional is recommended (e.g., Version 7) because the form is not always interchangeable between versions. Note: You can fill out the form and print with Reader, but you will not be able to save it electronically.

NOTE: Online courses must be approved by (1) Academic Council and/or Graduate Council and (2) SREC. The approval processes can take place simultaneously (e.g., one approval is not required before the other).

If extensive curricular changes (or a packet of related proposals) result in more than three additions in a single academic unit, an accompanying memo should describe the rationale behind the proposed changes.

SUBMITTING COURSES FOR THE GENERAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM

(Pertains to Undergraduate Courses Only)

        The General Education Curriculum has recently undergone extensive changes. In order to adequately assess the GEC, no new GEC courses will be considered until Fall 2008.

Guidelines

All requests for changes in the GEC should be addressed to the member-ship of the Academic Council after the college curriculum committee and the dean approve the proposals. The council chair will refer these items to the General Education Committee for review before their presentation to the full council.

Departments should review both the rationale and the structure of the GEC (printed in the Undergraduate Bulletin) before submitting a course for the curriculum.  All proposals should include an outline of the course content and brief answers to the following five questions.

1. What are the objectives of this course?

2. Give a few examples of course requirements, teaching approaches (methods), and learning activities that relate to general education.

3.  Describe briefly the extent and nature of the reading and writing requirements for this course.

4.  Describe briefly the type of tests and other devices (e.g., homework, themes, papers, notebooks, recitation, etc.) that will be used to evaluate students in this course.  Include weights attached to specific graded components for the purpose of student edification.

5. Write a brief rationale for including this course in the GEC.

New Courses

A department wishing to submit a new course for the GEC should use a form for new courses, indicating on the form which category and discipline is recommended for the course. The form should be accompanied by the usual documentation with the incorporation of the questions listed above.

Existing Courses

A department wishing to add to the GEC a course already in existence should do so in a memorandum addressed to the Academic Council.  The course should be fully described and explained; answers to the five questions given above should be included in the proposal. 

Departments should take care in modifying or deleting courses in the GEC that their actions are sufficiently explained to council members.  An attached memorandum may be required.

Writing Intensive Courses

(from the 2003-2004 Undergraduate Bulletin, p. 89) "Students must complete three writing-intensive courses. Writing-intensive courses are identified in the schedule of classes by the letters 'WI.' Writing-intensive courses are defined as those that, while focusing on a specific subject matter (with corresponding readings and discussions) encourage students to think critically and creatively, outline a subject matter or theme, and draft written essays. In writing-intensive courses, students write a minimum of 5,000 typewritten words (roughly 20 pages) in a multiparagraph research paper or in a series of shorter essays. Class enrollment is capped at 24.

English 102 and the Senior Capstone Experience are writing intensive; one additional writing-intensive must be taken at the upper-division level."

PROPOSALS FOR MINORS, MAJORS, PROGRAMS, EMPHASIS AREAS, AND CERTIFICATES

The addition, deletion, and modification of minors, majors, programs, and emphasis areas should be handled through a memorandum and supporting documentation to the members of the proper council(s), explaining in as much detail as necessary the reasons for and nature of the action and indicating the date on which the change will become effective (e.g., "Fall Semester 2006-2007"). The requested supporting documentation is listed below.

All proposals for new programs and emphasis areas must include a statement from the Dean of Libraries regarding the impact such a program would have on library acquisitions.

Supporting documentation for new programs must also include (1) a copy of materials to be submitted to IHL, (2) the program assessment plan including proposed student learning outcomes and assessment methods, (3) a rationale for the new degree including use of assessment results, (4) the degree plan, and (5) a statement related to personnel requirements. 

Supporting documentation for new emphasis areas or modification of degree programs only need to address items 2-5 above since these do not require IHL approval. 

Supporting documentation for deleting a program should include (1) the degree name, (2) a copy of the materials to be submitted to IHL, and (3) a rationale including use of assessment results.

If the new program or modification of an existing program includes online delivery of 50% or more, you will need to submit the following form: Online Program Proposal.

WHO APPROVES WHAT?

 

DC/CC

REG

A/GC*

PROV

PRES

IHL

Course additions/deletions

X

X

X

 

 

 

Course modifications:

 

   Semester hrs. credit

X

X

X

 

 

 

   Grading method

X

X

X

 

 

 

   CIP code

X

X

 

 

 

 

   Course title

X

X

X

 

 

 

   Title abbreviation

X

X

X

 

 

 

   Course description

X

X

 

 

 

 

   Writing Intensive

X

X

X

 

 

 

   Method of Instruction

X

X

X

 

 

 

Addition, deletion, or modification of an academic minor or emphasis area and/or certificates

X

X

X

 

 

 

Addition/deletion of a major

X

X

X

X

X

X

Online program proposal (new program or modification)
X
X
X
X
X
X

Consolidation of a major

X

X

X

X

X

X

Department or college name changes

X

X

X

X

X

X

DC/CC=department and college councils; REG=Registrar; A/GC=Academic and/or Graduate Council;

PROV=Provost; PRES=President; IHL=Board of Trustees for the Institution of Higher Learning * 

The Professional Education Council must also approve courses involving teacher education. See here.