6 Changing 3-credit programs to 4-credit programs
In 2017-18, at least five programs converted from 3-credit curricula to 4-credit. Most of those programs presented their proposals in February. In order to avoid many of the problems that programs and the committee encountered, we offer the following guidance to academic units planning to propose 4-credit conversions for their programs.
Problems do sometimes arise in the proposal process. In order to allow programs time to make adjustments before the Spring catalog deadline, the Curriculum Committee requires all proposals to convert programs to 4-credits to come to us before the end of the calendar year. Furthermore, we recommend submitting your proposal package to the Provost at least one month before your target Curriculum Committee meeting to allow plenty of time for discussion and adjustments before acquiring the Provost’s signature. In the event a program encounters significant problems with their initial proposal, this allows the faculty to bring revised proposals to a subsequent meeting. Revised proposals may need to come to our February meeting (which will otherwise be reserved for new program proposals or individual course proposals). As always, our March meeting is reserved smaller proposals that need not make the catalog deadline.
Required Documents for Proposal package
Under most circumstances, converting a program to 4-credits will require you to delete several courses and recombine their content to create new 4-credit versions. Programs converting to 4-credits must include the following documents in their proposal to the Curriculum Committee:
- Curriculum Change Proposal(s) showing the revised Major/Option as it would appear in the catalog
- Curriculum Change Proposal(s) showing the revised Minor/Certificate as it would appear in the catalog
- Curriculum Change Proposal(s) for Blanket Agreements (see Creating Blanket Agreements)
- Curriculum Change Proposal(s) for individual converted courses
- Curriculum Change Proposal(s) for deleted courses
- New Course Proposal(s)
Recommended Documents for the Curriculum Committee
While the following documents are not associated with specific proposal forms, we recommend that programs incorporate the following as separate documents to assist them (and the committee) in managing their overall proposal package.
- Communication to students [Example of student correspondence]
In considering these proposals, the Curriculum Committee always seeks to ensure that the proposed changes to the program will be clear to students. To that end, please ensure that your communication addresses the following:
- Description of the new program(s)
- When the discipline will begin offering the new/revised courses
- When the discipline will discontinue the old courses
- Changes to courses in the program core or other key courses (if applicable)
- Who should consider changing to the new catalog and what implications that may have (see below, consider completing your blanket agreement first).
- What will happen to students who remain in the current catalog (see Creating Blanket Agreements)?
- Remind them that converted versions of existing courses will receive new course numbers (and plan to publicize that as soon as those numbers are issued by the registrar). Note that it may take up to several weeks for the registrar to generate new course numbers.
- Summary of communication to other departments/disciplines, Lamson Library liaison, and IT [Example of Communication]
As always, curriculum changes and new courses require that you consult with Lamson Library, ITS, and (if your courses are included in other majors) affected departments. Rather than include such correspondence on each proposal form, it may be simpler to present it in a standalone document.
- Cover sheet with document list [Example 1, Example 2]
The proposal package from the English department included 40 separate files. Communication and Media Studies included 50 files, and the combined Social Sciences proposal included over 100 files. In order for the Curriculum Committee to navigate such a large number of proposals and supporting documents, we request that you include a cover sheet and document list, and that you use some consistent naming convention for those files. Communication and Media Studies prefixed all supporting documents with the numbers CM0x (i.e., “CM02 Summary of CMS Changes.pdf”), overall option or minor proposals with the numbers CM1x (i.e., “CM11 Curriculum Change Proposal Professional Communication Option.pdf”), new course proposals with the numbers CM2x (i.e., “CM22 New Course Proposal CM2xxx Strategic Communication.pdf”), and so on. This made review much easier for the committee, but also made it much easier for the department to manage the large number of files in their proposal.
- Summary of changes with 4-credit justification [Example of change summary]
The Curriculum Committee looks at proposals for courses that are converting to 4-credits to see what is changing in the course to justify another credit. Frequently, the simple answer is, “My new course is pretty much the same course except that we meet longer so we can do more of the same work we were doing in the 3-credit version.” Other courses, though, may be combining content from earlier courses, incorporating new learning experiences, etc. For programs that are converting all (or most) of their courses to 4-credits, it may be helpful to provide an overview of those changes, explain which courses were cut/recombined/reconfigured, and why.