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FCC FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the steps involved in making a change to the curriculum?

How long does it take to make a change?

What can I do to ensure that the approval process goes as smoothly as possible?

How detailed should I be when describing my request?

Can you review our proposal in advance?

What is the deadline for submitting a proposal?

Should I submit a course change request, or should I add a new course and delete the existing course instead?

What is the Committee's policy on grade prerequisites (e.g., adding a C- prerequisite to a course)?

I am modifying, adding, or changing a course. When do I have to submit a Change of Major/Program Form or Change of Minor Form?

 

What are the steps involved in making a change to the curriculum?

Here is a flowchart of the process (click for a larger version; a text explanation is below):

Flowchart of approval process.  See below for text explanation.

Each department, program, and school can develop its own procedures for approving curricular changes.  These steps can add additional time to the approval process.  Please check with your department chair to see what your proposal will require. The Faculty Curriculum Committee does not regulate these procedures and cannot advise you on them.

As you develop a proposal, you should feel free to contact the Committee chair, the Provost's Office, and the Registrar's Office about the details of your requested changes.  If your proposal is substantial, it often helps for all parties to meet to discuss the issues involved. These meetings often enable proposals to move forward more smoothly.

The formal College-wide process begins when a department submits a proposal to the Provost's Office in 210 Randolph Hall by the deadline.  The Provost's Office reviews the proposal to see if it raises any budgetary or accreditation concerns.  Next, the Registrar's Office checks to make sure that the change can actually be implemented (for instance, the course number must be available, the change must not make it impossible to complete the major, and so forth).  Once these offices have completed their reviews, the proposal is forwarded to the Curriculum Committee.  The department presents its proposal to the Committee, which then votes on it and submits its recommendation to the Senate.  For some changes, the Academic Planning Committee, the General Education Committee, and the Budget Committee are also involved.  New majors, concentrations, and degrees need even more review, including reviews by external organizations.

How long does it take to make a change?

First, keep in mind that no change can be implemented before the next catalog year.  For instance, if your proposal is approved in the fall of 2013, it will not appear until the Fall 2014 catalog. That said, the most straightforward proposals require a minimum of six weeks to go through the above process (assuming there are no complications, of course!).  Substantial proposals require more time--for example, new majors need to be sent to SACS and CHE.  In general, the earlier we receive a proposal, the sooner we can review it. 

What can I do to ensure that the approval process goes as smoothly as possible?

Check and double-check all of the forms to make sure you have filled them out completely and correctly, and be as clear and precise as you can about the change you are requesting (a cover letter is often a good idea, especially for complex proposals).  All of this might sound obvious, but most delays arise because the application does not contain the information that one office or another needs to make a decision. 

Consider the following example.  In the Psychology Department, courses above 351 have Statistics and Methods as a prerequisite.  PSYC 387 therefore requires Statistics and Methods; it also requires PSYC 214 or PSYC 351.  Suppose the committee receives a proposal to renumber 387 to 327.  That seems straightforward enough, but what about the prerequisites?  Does the department intend to delete Statistics and Methods from the list of prerequisites, or does it intend to keep them?  What does it intend for 214 and 351?  We cannot know unless you tell us, and the Registrar's Office must know if it is to program the change correctly. Remember that you know your curriculum best; changes that seem obvious to you might not be obvious to us. 

How detailed should I be when describing my request?

In general, you should craft the proposal as though you were writing to a colleague in a completely different field who was only broadly familiar with your work.  This is, after all, what you are actually doing--the committee members come from a broad range of fields, and all of them must be able to understand what you are proposing.

Can you review our proposal in advance?

Not in detail.  We are happy to answer questions about which forms are needed, how to fill out the forms, or how to specify a particular change.  For more substantial changes, we are happy to meet with departments to settle on the best way to proceed (in fact, we encourage this).  We cannot, however, provide preliminary up-or-down votes on the content of a proposal.  The reason is simple: Each committee member must review and vote on each proposal, and if we review every proposal twice, our (already substantial) workload is doubled. 

What is the deadline for submitting a proposal?

See the table of deadlines on the homepage. Please keep in mind that the last deadline is typically in late February.  That might seem early, but we need enough time to review proposals before the Senate's mid-March deadline.

Should I submit a course change request, or should I add a new course and delete the existing course instead?

The rule is fairly straightforward: If a student took the old version of the course, should they be able to get credit for taking the new version, or should that count as a repeat?  If it should count as a repeat, then a course change request is appropriate.  If the course has changed enough that a student could get credit for both, then a new course proposal would be appropriate.  (There are some exceptions for courses such as internships, independent studies, and the like, but this rule generally holds true.)

What is the Committee's policy on minimum-grade requirements (e.g., adding a C- prerequisite to a course)?

Over the last few years, the Committee has found that these requirements cause a number of logistical problems.  We've therefore developed a series of procedures that departments must follow if they want these requirements.  Please review these procedures before submitting your request. 

I am modifying, adding, or changing a course.  When do I have to submit a Change of Major/Program Form or Change of Minor Form?

In general, the following changes do not require a program change form:

  • changing a course on a list of electives (e. g. renaming it)
  • changing a course on a list of requirements (but not changing the requirements themselves).

Otherwise, you should submit a Change of Major/Program and/or Change of Minor form and explain the rationale behind the change.