Office for Faculty Development

Department Curriculum

The Procedures for University Approval of New Academic Degree Programs, Program Changes and Program Termination can be found on the Provost’s website under Forms and Policies. The forms for Academic Program Change Approval can be found in the same location.

Changes made to undergraduate departmental and interdepartmental majors and minors should be submitted to the Academic Affairs Committee of your college, after which they must be approved by the Faculty Senate of each college, the Faculty Council, and the Provost.

Changes made to graduate programs should be submitted to the appropriate collegiate governance body for approval, after which they are sent for serial approvals by the collegiate dean, the Graduate Studies Committee, the graduate dean, the Faculty Council and the Provost.

Individual new courses

The initiative for a new course can come from a variety of sources:

  • a faculty member wants to do something new
  • students express interest in a new offering
  • the department is seeking  to connect with college needs (e.g., courses that will fulfill a graduation requirement like writing courses).

​You must remember to set aside enough time for a course proposal to go through all the stages of college and university governance.

In some circumstances, you may choose to give a new course on an experimental, one-time basis under the Special Topics rubric. Note that graduate Special Topics courses must be approved by the Office of Graduate Studies before they may be scheduled.

Because the initiative for a new course most often comes from an individual faculty member, it's possible for the curriculum to develop in an unplanned manner through the addition of a number of individually originated proposals. When talking with a faculty member about a new course, make explicit the need to balance individual interests with departmental needs. In some departments all new courses are discussed by the department as a whole; in other departments, the conversation is more likely to be between the individual proposing the course and the chair. Wherever the conversation occurs, the goal is to balance the importance of having faculty teaching what they want to be teaching with the needs of the department and its students. The more recently you've talked about the "big issues" (listed above), the easier it will be to strike this balance.

All new course proposals go through several levels of review – the department curriculum committee, chair, the Academic Affairs Committee of your college, and the Faculty Senate of your college, and the Collegiate Dean.  Graduate courses, depending on the College, may skip some steps in the collegiate process but also are reviewed and approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, the graduate dean, and the Faculty Council. 

If the change to an existing course description represents a substantial change in the course content, the department may submit it as a course change but must also supply the same supplemental materials and syllabus as if it were a new course.