Academic Affairs Committee
PROCEDURES FOR SUBMITTAL AND APPROVAL OF CURRICULAR PROPOSALS
(including new courses and changes in courses)
Curricular proposals generally fall into established categories (listed below.) This document addresses the standard procedures, approval stages, and forms for curricular actions at North Dakota State University (NDSU).
The necessary forms are generally available from the offices of college deans, departmental offices, college curriculum or academic affairs committee members, and members of the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee. The primary form used is the Academic Affairs Course Change Proposal Form. This form must be completed for a curricular change to be processed. It is also suggested that when an interrelated set of course changes are submitted, a cover letter explaining the request (and the multiple change forms) also be submitted.
A. Course Proposal Categories
The routine categories of curricular proposals are listed below. (The item number below also reflects the Academic Affairs Course Change Proposal Form Type of Change number.)
- Proposals for new permanent courses
These involve new permanent courses which are to be listed in the University Course Catalog. Typically these courses have been taught as temporary courses at least once and meet a demonstrated need. However, in special cases, a new permanent course may be added without having been taught as a temporary course. It is helpful to the approval process if these special circumstances are explained in an attachment to the Academic Affairs Course Proposal and Change form at the time of submission.
- Proposals for course changes
This category covers changes in existing permanent courses, typically changes in course titles or credits. Minor title changes are considered editorial and need to be approved only by the college curriculum or academic affairs committee and the Senate Academic Affairs Committee. Other more significant changes must also be approved by the Faculty Senate and signed by the Provost before implementation or changing of the University Course Catalog.
- Proposals for cross-listing courses
This category is to request approval of an identical course to be offered under more than departmental/unit prefix. The proposal is to be submitted by the department(s) wishing to add this as a new course to their inventory. The rationale should clearly state why the cross-listing is essential. A letter supporting the cross-listing is needed from the "parent" department (department from which the existing or new course originated).
- Proposals for course deletions
This category removes a course from the master catalog. This action is appropriate if a course has not been taught for a long period of time, is no longer required for a curriculum, or has been replaced by a new or modified course.
- Proposals for temporary or trial courses
- Special Topics (199, 299, 399, 499, 596, 696, 796)
This category includes new special topic courses to be offered only for a limited time or trial courses for which permanent numbers will eventually be sought. These courses are given the numbers 199, 299, 399, 499, 596, 696, or 796 depending on the level of course (dependent on the level of course material and student audience--see page 102 in the 2000-2002 NDSU Bulletin). This type of course requires approval at the level of the college in which the course is to be taught. The completed form is then sent to the Academic Affairs Committee and Graduate Council for information purposes. Individual colleges must set limits on the length of time for which a temporary course is approved (e.g., for 3 years, starting with the date of approval or with the first semester in which the course is taught). After that time period, the course must be either dropped or resubmitted, unless it has been approved as a permanent course (see number 1 above).
- Temporary/Trial courses (791)
These courses are temporary courses at the graduate level. Thus, this designation is used for courses expected to become permanent courses for graduate programs of study. They go through the approval process (including the Graduate Council) as if they were permanent courses. However, after being taught as a temporary course, they must be resubmitted to gain a permanent course number.
- Special Topics (199, 299, 399, 499, 596, 696, 796)
B. New Academic Program Requests
Proposals for new programs require a two stage process:
- NDUS New Academic Program Request Guidelines (PDF)
- NDUS Program Proposal/Change Request Cover Page (PDF)
- Stage 1
The first stage is to prepare brief answers to the following questions and send them to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. This stage is intended to be a heads up to the State Board of Higher Education and their staff. Normally, it should come about one to four months before the second stage.
Questions for Stage 1 (typically three to six pages total length):
- Is the new program within the mission of the requesting university?
- Will new state funds be required to implement the program?
- Conceptually, how does the proposal meet the Roundtable recommendations?
- Economic Development Connections
- Education Excellence
- Flexible and Responsive System
- Accessible System
- Funding and Rewards
- Sustaining the Vision
- Stage 2
The second stage requires a more elaborate proposal, typically 25-125 pages. This proposal must be approved by the offering department(s), the College(s) Curriculum Committee(s), the Graduate School (if a graduate program), the University Academic Affairs Committee, the University Senate, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the President of the University, and the State Board of Higher Education. This process can require from three months to a year or more.
Stage 2 proposals must follow this outline:
- Executive Summary of the Proposal
- The Proposed Program
- Program Objectives
- Cost and Resources
- Accreditation Requirements
- Relationship of the Program to the Institution, System, and Region
- Relationship to NDUS Roundtable Recommendations
- Program Requirements
- Program Assessment Evaluation
- Program Delivery
- Appendices including Letters of Support, List of Program participants, and course approval forms with syllabi for all proposed new courses that would be part of this proposed program. Frequently, brief Curriculum Vitae are included for major program participants.
Proposals normally are initiated by individual faculty or departments but occasionally may be started at one of the other levels. See Channels for Curricular Approval for stages of approval.
199, 299, 399, 499, 596, 696, and 796 require approval and signatures only to the college level. However, they are sent to Graduate Council and the University Academic Affairs Committee for information purposes.
NOTE: Even though 791's are a temporary number, the courses go through the entire approval process just as if they were permanent courses.
D. Time Lines
Curricular changes do not have to be submitted according to any special deadlines. Departments, however, should realize that the various academic committees involved in the approval process generally function on a nine month academic year. Thus, the approval process does not move forward over the summer months. In addition, departments should be aware of the print deadlines (and the importance of meeting them) for both the semester course offerings (registration materials) and the NDSU bulletin.
Please note that the NDSU bulletin is a two-year document with the following print deadlines occurring in odd-numbered years:
- October 1: Changes in courses
- November 1: Changes in academic program description, policy, or content
E. Submittal Requirements
For each curricular change proposal, the Academic Affairs Committee requires the original Academic Affairs Course Change Proposal Form (carrying all of the original prerequisite signatures) plus 12 copies. In addition, a copy of a sample course syllabus including a grade scale, course objectives, etc. must be included. Please note that the Graduate Council requires additional documentation for courses to be considered for graduate credit; check with the Graduate Studies office to obtain those requirements. The Senate Academic Affairs Committee will not consider graduate credit courses until the Graduate Council has approved them. Courses for credit in education, outside the School of Education, also require prior approval from the School of Education.
Please contact your college representative on the Academic Affairs Committee for further information or advice.