Curriculum Review Process
Here you will find information about the review areas and responsibilities for each individual and committee in the review and approval of curriculum proposals (new or changed courses and programs) in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). The stages of the review process are visible within Curriculog.
Although not all proposals will go through every review stage, those engaged in program and course approvals are:
- Departments and Programs
- Department Chair or Program Director
- Academic Assistant Dean
- Area Associate Dean
- College Curriculum Committee
- Core Area Committees
- First Year Seminar Committee
- College of Arts and Sciences Dean
- Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Departments and programs
Before a proposal is submitted, the department or stand-alone program discusses and reviews the relevant materials. The department or stand-alone program is also responsible for collectively approving (by vote or consensus) the proposal for a new course or program or a change in an existing course or program. All proposals related to programs housed under a department must be reviewed by that department. The program may also indicate in its bylaws that the chair or director is empowered to approve smaller curricular changes, such as changes to a course number or title.
For course proposals, the program faculty or a department curriculum committee works with the faculty member who is submitting the proposal to:
- Articulate how the course links to any Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and where it fits on the department or program's curriculum map.
- Determine the program's policy on how PLOs are publicized to current and prospective students, and whether and how PLOs should appear on the syllabus.
- Develop clear Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs), focused on the specific skills and/or knowledge (learning) the course aims to build in students (outcomes).
- Articulate how assignments (papers, exams, projects, etc.) link to the CLOs -- that is, how learning outcomes are going to taught, reinforced and/or assessed.
- Evaluate the amount of seat time and out-of-seat time to ensure the course meets USF's credit hour policy.
- Review the syllabus before submission to make sure the basic required elements and any desired optional ones meet the CAS Syllabus Guidelines.
- If the department or program has decided to request a Core, Service Learning, or Cultural Diversity Designation for the course, articulate how the course will meet the learning outcomes for that designation and how those will be assessed.
For program proposals, the program faculty or a subcommittee works together (or offers advice and feedback to an individual faculty member) to make sure that the proposal has all the required elements, which are visible on Curriculog, before submission. The program or department faculty reviews and approves (by vote or consensus) the final proposal before submission.
Proposals to create new programs must first be submitted by the relevant Area Associate Dean, working with the faculty, via an Intent to Propose form on Curriculog. A separate budget form must also be submitted by the Associate Dean on Curriculog. If and when the Provost's Office approves the Intent to Propose, a full program proposal is then submitted.
Proposals to make changes to programs (including program learning outcomes, degree requirements, and so on) can be submitted by faculty members.
Department Chair or Program Director
The department chair or program director is responsible for assuring that that the proposal was collectively reviewed, discussed, and approved, and for documenting the process through which and the date on which the proposal was approved by the program faculty.
Academic Assistant Dean
The Academic Assistant Dean (AAD) office initially reviews proposals primarily for their completeness, asking for additional documentation or description as needed. She or he may also make suggestions for revising the materials submitted, including whether course proposals meet the CAS syllabus guidelines, credit hour requirements, standard enrollment caps, and have been reviewed and approved by the department or program faculty.
Area Associate Dean
In addition to completeness, the Area Associate Dean reviews the rigor of the course or program content. The Area Associate Dean (AD) also reviews proposals for fit with CAS policies and guidelines as well as impact on the program or department's overall curriculum and enrollments, on other programs and departments, and on the CAS curriculum as a whole. Area Associate Deans may consult with one another regarding these topics. They may also make suggestions for strengthening the substance of course or program proposals.
College Curriculum Committee
The College Curriculum Committee (CCC) reviews course proposals seeking Cultural Diversity (CD) and/or Service Learning (SL) designations, primarily evaluating whether the course meets the learning outcomes and degree requirements for those designations and how student learning will be assessed. The CCC may also make suggestions or request further information about other aspects of a course (such as course or program learning outcomes), though these are separate from and secondary to the review of CD/SL designations.
The CCC also reviews proposals for any changes to programs that affect degree requirements and any proposals for new programs. The CCC mainly evaluates the strength of the rationale for the new program, the consistency of curriculum requirements and degree checklists, and potential challenges and consequences.
Core Area Committees
Each Core area has a committee comprising the directors/chairs of the departments and programs that contribute to that Core area (A-F). The Core Area Committees evaluate courses that are seeking Core designation in their area, primarily evaluating whether the course meets that Core area's learning outcomes and how student learning on those outcomes will be assessed. The Core Area Committees also review whether classes meet the breadth requirement and comply with the turf policy. The Core Area Committees may also make suggestions or request further information about other aspects of a course (such as course or program learning outcomes), though these are separate from and secondary to the review of Core designation.
First Year Seminar Committee
The First Year Seminar (FYS) Committee evaluates courses that are seeking FYS (or Transfer Year Seminar) designation, evaluating primarily the fit with the FYS mission of "examining the culture, politics, environment, people, and history of the Bay Area" and supporting first-year and transfer students transition to academic life at USF. Specifically the committee considers:
- Suitability for first-year students: Are readings and assignments pitched to the right level? Is the workload appropriate?
- Mentoring component: How does the faculty member intend to develop a mentoring relationship beyond the academic concerns of the course? Does the syllabus include a statement on achieving a mentoring objective?
- San Francisco Bay Area community component: What course requirements introduce students to some aspect of Bay Area culture, politics, history, ecology, geology, etc.? How will course assist students in accessing valuable community resources (for instance, through field trips or guest speakers)?
College of Arts and Sciences Dean
The Dean of the College reviews program proposals (with the exception of some proposals for minor changes) before they are sent to the Office of the Provost, primarily for impact on the College's curriculum, faculty, and students, as well as for any budgetary and personnel implications or challenges. The Dean also considers how the proposed program serves the mission of the College. The Dean does not typically review course proposals.
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
The Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs reviews program proposals (with the exception of some proposals for minor changes) on behalf of the Provost. The Senior Vice Provost reviews proposals for fit with the University's mission, academic rigor, compliance with accreditation requirements, budgetary and programmatic feasibility, potential challenges, and short- and long-term impact on other divisions and programs. The Senior Vice Provost's review is done in consultation with the Associate Dean of Academic Operations (regarding budgeting and financial implications) and the Director of Educational Effectiveness and Assessment (regarding assessment and accreditation issues). The Senior Vice Provost does not typically review course proposals.