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For assistance with curriculum proposals, please contact your appropriate associate dean

Policies, Rules, and Guidelines

A. Effective Date and Catalog Year

The date or term in which an approved proposal becomes effective usually depends on the when student registration takes place. No changes can become effective after students have registered for a given term. Other dates are established for approval of courses to be included in the university catalog. Refer to the Academic Affairs Web site for information about effective dates and catalog publication.

B. Courses

1. Course Numbering

Courses numbered 100 and 200 are designed for students entering the university or a program. They are generally introductory in nature and build a foundation for more advanced courses. Courses numbered 300 and 400 are designated upper division courses and designed for advanced undergraduates, usually in the junior or senior year. Students must complete a minimum of 45 credits at this level in order to graduate. Courses numbered 500 and above carry graduate credit.

2. Twenty Year Rule (Reusing Course Numbers)

Course numbers with the same prefix may not be “re-used” until the original course has been eliminated for twenty years. This is to avoid problems arising from duplication of numbers for different courses on students’ transcripts and in degree audit reports.

3. Course Descriptions

Course descriptions should meet the following guidelines:

4. Credit Hour Definition

Federal Credit Hour Definition: A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally-established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

(1) one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 2 hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different period of time; or (2) at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other activities as established by an institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading toward the award of credit hours.

5. Variable Credit Hour Courses

Variable credit hour courses are those that are flexible in the number of credits for which a student can enroll in order to meet content area requirements. Typically, variable credit courses require a project completed by the student at the end of the semester in consultation with the faculty of record. The number of credits enrolled in and awarded is based on the scope of the project and typically reached in agreement between the faculty of record and student.

Variable credit courses carry a minimum and maximum number of credit hours for which a student can be registered in a given section. These limits are defined by the program faculty when the course is designed.

6. Repeatable Courses

Courses that may be taken more than once for credit are designated as repeatable courses. Some repeatable courses have regularly rotating topics (see below). The faculty of the program determine how many times a repeatable course may be counted toward program requirements.

7. Topics Courses

Topics courses function as an “umbrella” under which classes on various topics can be offered. They permit curricular and staffing flexibility, including the piloting of new courses. Topics should not be designated by letter (HIST 305 Y) as this, in effect, constitutes a separate course. Titles for individual offerings and sections of topics courses can be designated in the schedule of classes and will appear on students’ transcripts.

8. Cross-Listed Courses

Courses should not be cross-listed unless there are compelling reasons, but in some circumstances it may be appropriate to list courses in two or more departments (prefixes). All units involved must approve proposals of and modifications to cross-listed courses.

9. Service-Learning Course Designation

Existing courses may be designated “service-learning.” This designation provides a mechanism for tracking Service Learning course offerings and rates of student participation; it also allows students and faculty to easily identify such courses. Information and the Service-Learning Course Designation Form are posted at the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement Web site, http://www.indstate.edu/publicservice/faculty/.

10. Foundational Studies Course Designation

In addition to following the usual course approval process, courses carrying Foundational Studies credit must be approved by the Foundational Studies Council. The Council reviews proposals for new Foundational Studies courses once every three years as part of the program assessment cycle. If a department elects to re-activate a banked course which is also approved as a Foundational Studies course, the department must submit a foundational studies syllabus for review by the Council at the same time as re-activation or indicate if the department no longer wants the course to have Foundational Studies designation. See the Web site at http://www.indstate.edu/gened/newfoundationalstudiesprogram.htm. For additional information and instructions for Foundational Studies course proposals.

11. Honors Course Designation

In addition to following the usual course approval process, courses that are part of the Honors Program must be approved by the Honors Council.

12. Graduate-Undergraduate Course Proposals

Four hundred- level courses may have 500-level graduate equivalents. When this is the case, proposed changes for both courses must be submitted at the same time.

13. Courses Proposed by Units other than Academic Departments or College-level Equivalents

Courses proposed by units or individuals at an organizational level other than that of an academic department or equivalent unit within a college must be approved by CAAC. They must originate with and be approved by an established advisory group composed of at least 75% tenured and tenure-track faculty. Proposals for such courses must include, as part of their rationale, an explanation of the circumstances that require their creation at a level other than academic department or equivalent, and how they will be staffed.

14. Course Fee Proposals

Proposals for course fees are submitted independently of curriculum proposals. Information on the course fee proposal process is posted at the web site of the Office of Academic Affairs. The Board of Trustees approves new or modified course fees only at its February meeting.

15. Banked Courses

Courses that the department wishes to retain but does not plan to offer in the next three years should be banked. In most cases, they can be reactivated within a few weeks. Departments will be asked to justify the active status of courses they have not offered in three years, or allow them to be automatically banked. At the direction of Academic Affairs, Dean’s offices notify departments of courses subject to automatic banking prior to any action.

16. Course Syllabi

Proposals for new courses, Foundational Studies courses, and significantly revised courses must be accompanied by sample syllabi. Syllabi must include instructor contact information, course description, student learning outcomes, class policies, required materials, assignments and grading, and a representative class schedule. Certain types of courses may have special syllabus requirements. For Foundation Studies courses see templates at http://www.indstate.edu/gened/newfoundationalstudiesprogram.htm.

C. Programs


1. Thirty Credit Rule

New programs of 30 or more credits, and modifications to existing programs which increase the number of credits to 30 must be approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

2. Total Number of Credits in a Program

Major courses, Foundational Studies courses required for the major, all prerequisites, and teacher education courses offered by the program’s department are counted in the total number of credits for a program. For teacher licensure programs in subject areas offered outside the College of Education, required courses offered in that College must be listed in the catalog copy, including the total number of credits, though these are not counted in the total number of credits for the program. Undergraduate majors should be 31-80 of the 120 credits for graduation. Any program that requires credits outside these limits must obtain full approval from all curriculum review and governance bodies. Majors containing more credits must include a plan demonstrating that a student can complete the major in eight semesters with 18 or fewer credits per semester.

3. CIP Codes, Major Codes, and Program Titles

Records for all programs are maintained by Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code. These are established by the federal government and assigned by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Major codes are internal to ISU and determined by the Registrar’s Office. Each program title has a separate major code. Titles, major codes, and CIP codes are available from deans’ offices. When a program title is changed or a program is eliminated or suspended, its major code is made inactive, and, in cases of changes, a new one is assigned.

Program titles and major codes are significant for several reasons. Counts of majors and graduates and other important records are organized by program title and major code. Students are admitted into the University and specific programs by title and major code. The degree audit system is organized by program title. Students’ transcripts are labeled with the program title.

The maximum length of program titles allowed by Banner is 30 characters, including spaces.

4. Major

A major is that part of an undergraduate or graduate degree program consisting of a specified number of hours from a defined group of courses in a primary discipline or field. A completed major is shown on a student’s transcript.

The total number of credits for an undergraduate major should be at least 31 and no more than 80 of the 120 credits needed for graduation. Any program that requires credits outside these limits must obtain full approval from all curriculum review and governance bodies. Majors containing more credits must include a plan demonstrating that a student can complete the major in eight semesters with 18 or fewer credits per semester.

5. Minor

A minor is that part of an undergraduate or graduate degree program in an approved secondary discipline or field. A completed minor is shown on a student’s transcript. The total number of credits for an undergraduate minor should be at least 15 and no more than 29 of the 120 credits needed for graduation.

6. Concentration

A concentration is a set of courses within a major that defines a specific field of study in, or closely related to, that major. They are designated by a code assigned by the Registrar. Concentrations must contain at least nine credits and be approved through the curriculum approval process. Concentrations are coded, tracked in Banner and the degree audit system and shown on students’ transcripts. Departments may offer both a general major (BA in History) as well the major with a concentration (BA in History: Asia ) A concentration is constructed as a focused array of required courses articulating with a core of courses taken by all students in the major. Each concentration is coded to one departmental home; however, a major could link to a concentration in another department (for example, Health Education might link to a concentration offered in Nutrition).

Departments may use the terms tracks, emphases, options, etc., if appropriate. However, they will not be tracked in Banner or show on the student’s transcript.

7. Certificates

ISU offers certificates targeted at specific audiences, often persons seeking specialized knowledge and abilities for employment. Certificates stand alone as self-contained educational experiences, though they may be pursued in conjunction with a traditional degree. They are housed within existing academic units and consist of existing courses. The following policies also apply to certificates that are linked to external organizations.

All certificates:

8. Time Limits for Eliminated or Suspended Programs

Departments may suspend programs that they plan to substantially revise for the period of the revision, or not more than three years. This prevents students enrolling in programs that can no longer be offered. Departments who do not revise the suspended program within three years will be asked to eliminate it.

For a limited time, students may continue to pursue a degree in an inactive program or a program that has undergone a substantial revision. From the effective date of the elimination, suspension, or modification, the maximum amount of time to complete the old degree is three years for associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and specialist’s degrees, and five years for doctoral degrees.

D. Policies for Program Approvals

1. Programs Proposed by Units other than Academic Departments or College-level Equivalents

Programs proposed by units or individuals at an organizational level other than that of an academic department or equivalent unit within a college must be approved by CAAC. They must originate with and be approved by an established advisory group composed of at least 75% tenured and tenure-track faculty. Proposals for programs courses must include, as part of their rationale, an explanation of the circumstances that require their creation at a level other than academic department or equivalent, and how they will be staffed.

2. Educational Licensure Programs

Any licensure program, degree or non-degree, must be approved by the Dean’s Office of the College of Education and the Teacher Education Committee. Educational licensure is controlled by the state and is performance-based.

3. Unit and Program Name Change with Curriculum Changes

Curriculum changes associated with a proposal to change the name of a program or unit may publish as approved independent of the name change.

4. Minor Program Changes: Expedited Review

Since university-level governance bodies ordinarily concern themselves only with proposals for new programs or significant revisions, some types of program changes may be approved by an abbreviated process. These proposals include:

Proposals for these kinds of changes follow the usual approval and review process through the department and college, including Registrar and degree audit consultation. After the dean approves the proposal, it is sent to Academic Affairs where it is published as proposed in Academic Notes and CAAC or Graduate Council is notified. If no objections are raised within 14 working days, it may be sent to Academic Affairs for signature and published as approved. Note: Working days are defined as days during which regularly scheduled classes meet in the Fall and Spring semesters.

5. International, Off-Campus, and Distance Programs

Modifications to programs offered at an international or off-campus site or via distance education are approved by the same process as are on-campus programs.

Approval from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association is required for:

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education also must approve some off-campus programs and programs in which 50 percent or more of the courses leading to a degree programs are available via distance education.

Programs offered for non-U.S. nationals in another country must operate in accordance with Principles of Good Practice in Overseas International Education Programs for Non-U.S. Nationals from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, posted at http://www.ncahlc.org

E. Proposals for Creation or Reorganization of Academic Units

Proposals for the creation or reorganization (merger, division, relocation)of academic units, whether departments, schools, or colleges, are developed, presented, and approved through the same process as curriculum proposals. Complete proposals are attached to an F-2 Program Proposal form, but must include extensive documentation, including:

Program changes associated with a proposal for departmental reorganization and administrative restructuring are published as approved only when the reorganization is approved and published.