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A new duty for many curriculum committees. It would imply that these recommendations are based on an ongoing review of existing curricula (coordinated by who?)Reference
Again implies a responsibility of ongoing review of existing curricula (coordinated by who?)Reference
Missing any mention of stipend compensation for service by part-time faculty.Reference
“Established” templates and forms? Does this mean that we’re stuck with the current forms and their lack of clarity in how they should be filled out and who should fill them out?Reference
“Modification and abolition” is the duty I’m referring to.Reference
What is the intent of “with their proposers”? Will the School Committee be communicating directly with individual faculty who create a syllabus, or is “the proposer” the previous administrative stop in the review process, i.e., the department chair? Or is this phrasing simply meant to leave the door open for inviting proposers to the review discussion if questions arise?Reference
At the School of Information we use the term “deactivate” instead of “abolition”Reference
I appreciate this for a number of reasons. One is that it might reduce the chances that a later committee or body will give give a recommendation or suggestion that has already been considered and dealt with.Reference
Suggest “deactivate” instead of “abolish”Reference
Nice addition. Well justified in the opening paragraphs.Reference
What does “initially reviewed in the same way” mean in this context? Is it meant to be similar to how a “PIC course template” was approved through committee review in 2016, paving the way for speedier review of subsequent PIC course proposals?Reference
(referring to “and staff”)Reference
what about non-interdepartmental program proposal changes?Reference
Oof. I can see good points and bad points here. And I wonder if this is even necessary given the (proposed) paper trail that will now move forward. Disagreements can exist, and that’s ok. I do like the fact that it could lead to a faster review process, however…. This is something that is achieved at the ICC level by having both a Registrar and Provost’s Council representative on the committee— but the provost and registrar are unlikely to have daily interaction with an individual faculty member proposing a course.Reference
Good that PIC course review will have a supporting structure. I do question the “ICC review [of the PIC framework] on a three-year rotation”. Would this be independent of a proposal from the PIC committee? (I would suggest that a refreshed proposal is submitted every three years, as it gives the PIC Committee much more leverage in maintaining the curriculum.)Reference
“may request revisions”: From whom? The department chair? The proposing faculty member? Who is “the proposer” once the proposal leaves the department? A definition of terms is needed in order to clarify roles.Reference
What is an example of a “less significant” change that does not go to the ICC yet must still go to a school committee as a program proposal?Reference
Glad to see that “appropriateness of assigned work” and “grading” are the purview of the department committee.Reference
(“re-wording details of an assignment” presumably at the level of the department committee.) Suggest adding the phrase “– appropriate to the committee’s purview” somewhere in this paragraph.Reference
(“Assignment issues” are presumably at the level of the department committee.) Suggest adding the phrase “– appropriate to the committee’s purview” to the very end of this paragraph.Reference
The language of “review” and “approve” is still kind of confusing in this document. Here the word “approve” is used, but in a different manner than elsewhere. Sometime approval means “you must get approval to move the proposal forward”, but here it seems like approval is not needed to move forward. It seems like the language of “endorse” or “not endorse” makes the most sense for curriculum committees, because they have not been given the power to block a proposal through non-approval (although see the “Defer Consideration” option below, which could function as a block).Reference
One of the things that we have all experienced in the past is proposals getting “stuck in the process” and overall these guidelines seem to prevent that with the requirement to send a rationale for any non-endorsement up the pipeline. But there’s one weird exception to this overall trend: the “Defer Consideration” option for curriculum committees. As I read it, this option allows curriculum committees to essentially stall any proposal they deem unacceptable. This seems like it puts us right back where we started, and contradicts the “the proposal moves forward regardless” ethos of the rest of the document.Reference
The “quality of review” is not the same as “quality of curriculum”. While this ICC duty is present in the Senate’s bylaws, as well, we have not yet felt adequately resourced to take this on in a rigorous way. Perhaps the papertrail of comments under this new policy will make this duty slightly more realizable for future ICCs.Reference
Good. I would like more details on what is planned.Reference
Re: a curriculum that is “ideally developed with reference to the strategic plan”: Syllabi rarely (if ever) make explicit reference to the SP, let alone the goals of a program in unambiguous terms. Alignment with program goals is typically found in the “Course Form” that accompanies a syllabus in a course proposal. SP alignment may have to be reflected in the same way.
I would feel much more comfortable with this policy document if it were accompanied by a simultaneous revision to the Course Form.Reference
As a dept w/5 BFA and 4 MFA areas of emphasis, in Fine Arts, it’s Area Coordinators who currently serve on GCC and UGCC. Our concern is that if we add elected members to these bodies, they will become unwieldy in size (it’s already a challenge to schedule these meetings, even on zoom!)Reference
With all of the paperwork expected to be generated in the review process, as well as explicit definition of the purview of each reviewing body, I would suggest that a major revision to the Course Form is done in parallel.
The “Course Form”– along with the “Tracking Sheet”– is one of two Provost-provided forms that must accompany each proposal for a new or revised course. This Form is the only home for some of the detail that is absolutely critical to discussions of resourcing and support and program alignment; syllabi don’t typically list course caps, for example, nor are they always explicit regarding their connection to specific program-level goals. This detail is only on the Form.
Right now, “recommendations for approval” are only carried by the Tracking Sheet in the form of a signature page. No other communication is currently carried forward regarding suggested changes considered and acted upon (or dismissed) during the process.
A revision to the Course Form/Tracking Page— and a digital format appropriate to paperless update and submission— would seem to offer the benefit of better organizing and facilitating review.
And while the current Course Form gives no direction in how and by whom it is filled out, a new Form could offer this AS WELL AS guidance that helps to distinguish the purviews of each reviewing body.
Forms facilitate policy adherence. They may also (inadvertently) lead to a confusion in how policies are to be carried out. I would like the APC to insist on movement toward a revised Form before this proposed policy is endorsed.
Completely agree, Chris.Reference
What is “Set internally” in a Dean->ICC context?Reference
I agree with Damon. The new course form should be revised with a field added for commentary on strategic plan alignment.Reference
Damon’s comment above for PIC might be valuable here as well. He suggest that a refreshed proposal, in this case for Customized Minors Interdisiplinary study, be submitted every three years. Not only their guidelines for such.Reference
Can this be given some specificity about what/how appropriated consultation is conducted?Reference
What does this “consultation” with the program/dept./School curriculum committees look like? Is it an oral conversation? What should happen as a result of this consultation? Can the curriculum committees approve or disapprove at this point?Reference
What is meant by “teaching faculty”? Is it sufficient to just say “faculty”?Reference
Will departments be prompted by the Provost’s office to submit these documents each year? This would be helpful. The review of the guidelines by the ICC is not totally clear. Does this mean each department submits its guidelines to the Provost’s office at the start of each academic year, and the ICC will review them every three years? Will the ICC then give comments to the departments?Reference
This is crucial. Serving on the curriculum committee as a chair or even just as a member is an intensely time consuming commitment. Creating curriculum, given its detailed nature and need for dialogue and revision, is extremely time consuming. PT faculty should be fairly compensated for this commitment.Reference
This is a crucial point. Curriculum development and review is extremely time consuming. It involves many hours of labor, not just reviewing documents but communicating with other involved parties. If PT faculty are willing to serve, there should be an established stipend that they receive.Reference
As a new acting chair (of HMS), my sense is that the chair is in a position to have the most comprehensive overview of and familiarity with the curriculum, due to tasks such as making schedules, assigning classes, speaking to all the faculty, etc. Realistically, I don’t know if the curriculum committee is in a position to have a wide overview of the curriculum at the level of the department, or how the department’s curriculum fits into the whole Institute. Perhaps the chairs need to be given a broader role here, alongside the curriculum committee?Reference
I agree. It would be helpful, for example, if there could be Institute-wide workshops on expectations for syllabi (e.g. bibliographies), on policies that must be included on the syllabus, on such topics as “what is a learning outcome”? “what is a goal as opposed to an outcome?” It would be great if faculty who want to submit course proposals should be required to attend a syllabus-writing workshop.Reference
I agree with Damon. Perhaps we could suggest a more specific process, such as: “The SCC and the Dean will meet at least once per semester to review the existing curriculum (not to discuss new proposals), in order to make recommendations on the existing curriculum for consistency, course redundancy, and alignment with the strategic plan.”Reference
I agree with Damon. “Proposers” is a vague term that needs to be defined more specifically. In SLAS, the SCC chair usually communicates with the chair of the department curriculum committee, not the faculty member who proposed the course.Reference
What is the difference between a Provisional course and a Special Topic course? It would be helpful to include definitions.Reference
The nitty gritty content of electives is changing all the time. For example, in a 19th century lit class, one semester you might teach Flaubert, and in another one Zola. What kinds of changes to electives have to go through the review process, and what kinds don’t?Reference
Sorry to be obtuse, but there are interdisciplinary programs that nevertheless reside within one department (e.g. Media Studies is an interdisciplinary program that resides only in HMS). I am assuming this applies to programs that involve more than one department? If so, perhaps we should just say “interdepartmental” but not “interdisciplinary”?Reference
I just want to note this is a significant change from how it functions now in SLAS, where proposals go from the DCC to the SCC, and then to the Dean.Reference
Here it says the “department” does the revision. It would be helpful to specify who is supposed to do the revision. The dept. chair? The faculty proposer? The DCC?Reference
I just want to add that this review process within the department is difficult when, for example, the DCC chair is untenured and the faculty proposer is tenured. There are issues of power, faculty autonomy, and academic freedom at play here. It would be great to have some discussions/workshops where we have a chance to bring these complex issues to light and work them through. Usually, things work well, but faculty proposers may question the right of DCC members to have oversight of their syllabi. The DCC has to offer feedback at the right level of specificity, and perhaps not infringe on the disciplinary purview/expertise of the faculty member.Reference
Having served on SLAS CRC under three different chair persons of that committee, the objectives differed in terms of where emphasis was placed. For example, prioritize Academic Freedom, or Course Goals or Syllabi. The ICC has to set this task on its agenda in the near future.Reference
“These school documents shall be reviewed by the Institute Curriculum Committee on a three-year rotation.” Reviewed following what criteria? This is a *structural* review that is not the same as “reviewing the quality of curriculum review” as listed among the the ICC’s duties in the Senate’s bylaws.Reference
Is this standard procedure or a new procedure?Reference
I am concerned that the faculty who teach in the IMB program (1 credit electives) are not represented here. In the department level committees they are also not represented, as I understand the process. I would like for all the SCPS faculty to have an opportunity to have a voice in this process.Reference
I’m feeling lhat a visual, such as a flow chart would be useful to get a quick overview of all the committees involved. (lucidchart.com could help.)Reference
What about minors that are contained within a department? Why is it necessary to involve a director of interdisciplinary study?Reference
Assessment can be really time consuming, and the procedures and methods are vague. This is not reasonable to ask without compensation – either course release or a stipend.
It also can be very fraught for faculty to be put in the position to assess one another’s outside of peer review cycles. Curriculum committees can help approve new courses and review the appropriateness of existing ones, but I am concerned about a vague and managerial notion of assessment being added to their duties.Reference
If “All special topic courses must run as elective courses” why are there two different designations? This is confusing.Reference
How will the program or department-specific curriculum committee guidelines be required to communicate with this and other Institute-wide curriculum review documents and guidelines?Reference
This is critical for small programs and departments, which often have few (or share) full time faculty. There is no built in capacity for curriculum review in these programs.Reference
I agree with Suzanne – chairs and program coordinators have a role to play in this process, but are almost ignored in this document.Reference
Agreed with Suzie that this is typically done by the chair who may be in the best position to do a comprehensive overview. My question is who has decision-making power ? as worded it sounds like right now the committee makes recommendations but the chair has the decision-making power, if I am understanding this correctly? but I wonder if instead, consistent with “central role of faculty in developing and reviewing curriculum”, perhaps the chair makes program and course recommendations to the dept curriculum committee? and, perhaps if it is a substantial new program or policy, for example a new program (Minor/BA) then perhaps the whole faculty is involved?Reference
This seems really important! Also suggest there is support for peer mentorship on committees.Reference
Agreed with Damon and Suzie. and I have the same question that I raised above with regards to the Dept Curriculum Committee – who has decision-making power in this review/recommendation process?Reference
Oh I see this issue is addressed below! I am finding this document unwieldy in terms of reviewing ..Reference
again, I see this issue is addressed below! I am finding this document unwieldy to review ..Reference
This would be VERY helpful!
In addition, my colleagues on the curriculum committee discussed how they found it a bit cumbersome to review the document as it is presented online. Suggestions: Perhaps it would be helpful to share some of the information in a table format? Perhaps there could be simple hyperlinks to move between sections in order to cross reference?Reference
Agreed with AngReference
Agree completely Suzie.Reference
Please take out the word ‘etc’. What does that mean? How can one consider what the author was going to continue to think, say or write. End the sentence or add more words. Thank youReference
Add period to end of each sentence. Review document for this issue which is throughout. Consistency.Reference
Obviously, new forms are needed… and a digital process to handle the “append and affix” paperwork. I would like to see these new forms and a diagram of the communication process as PART OF this proposed policy, not a latter add-on.Reference
While it is important to compensate work done by faculty; the concern is smaller programs may need to be supported by the School or Provost office. How is compensation handle in the case of faculty initiated proposals; at what point does compensation begin? Wouldn’t this activity fall under “service”?Reference
I agree, with Damon– it doesn’t sound on target to say curricula are “ideally developed with reference to the strategic plan”– even if in some very large sense that might be true.Reference
I am guessing that this consultation might take a number of forms, but–it would be quite helpful to some departments to have some guidelines for good process.Reference
It’s great to have some guidance for dept. committees. But another question: “a simple majority vote of all faculty” won’t be simple to obtain (on anything.) (for example: My department just had a major meeting about curriculum/scheduling: I thought it was unusually well attended, and that meant we had not quite half the faculty present.) For now, I think our dept. is operating on the general idea that everyone is invited to meetings: but if something comes down to a vote, then reps on the curriculum committee vote.Reference
Why does the Provost’s office have to review provisional courses? This seems to add a layer of bureaucracy that may not be necessary. Shouldn’t they be reviewed as they become permanent?Reference
As it is written in this draft, the Dept and the School CRCs have the exact same charge in the first bullet. That doesn’t reflect our past practices which purposely avoids unnecessary redundancy in the review process. The School looks at things from a School-wide level, and does not make mandatory substantive revisions that are the proper preserve of the Dept CRCs. (This is something that is reflected in the newest SLAS CRC bylaws). School CRCs should just review for inter-Dept conflicts, academic rigor across School syllabi, School-wide curricular coherence, etc.Reference
Maybe it would help to have periodic meetings school curriculum committees that are designated to hear new proposals. They could be scheduled at the beginning of the year, say 2/semester. There could be deadline for submitting the concept paper, with a letter of support from the majority of department. If nothing comes forward, the meeting can be cancelled. But I think a structure like this needs to be articulated if consultation is expected.Reference
I’m concerned about the sentence “has been convened by the Director of Interdisciplinary study”–so if the proposal comes directly from a faculty working group, would they be required to interest someone in “academic leadership” to sponsor their effort?Reference
At the course level, are these reviews of proposals, or of full-blown syllabi with course forms.Reference
I’m not sure where to put this comment. The review flow sounds good, but will there be an on-line system to expedite the process, record comments and provide institutional memory/record. I thought Damon’s suggestion of something like Interfolio was good, because as proposals get stalled and committees turn over, a lot gets lost. Is that what Course Leaf (?) will do?Reference
To be honest, I was hoping that these proposed guidelines would expedite the course approval process, and make it less burdensome at the point of inception, that is, proposing faculty and departmental CCs. I understood the arguments at the meeting on 13th for why this overall flow of review will work better, but I don’t think the degree of labor at the level of course proposals and initial CC work has been sufficiently considered. It strikes me as ironic that the proposed review process starts out with a recognition of the central role of the faculty, and faculty expertise, but that the level of detail and amount of administrative work demanded in the course proposal process actually suggests the opposite. I totally support the need rigor, for careful thinking about assessment and learning outcomes as part of the course planning, but I wonder if the review process discourages rather than incentivizes the kind of creativity, excitement and active engagement with emerging ideas and work required for faculty to continually update and innovate in content, practice and ideas that keep courses and curriculum fresh. If the goal is, as President Bronet said, to keep Pratt relevant, I think the review process has to encourage participation by being both appealing and useful for faculty who are committed to invention and originality in curricular offerings.Reference
I think that the Governing Group in the SoA should be given an opportunity to extend the deadline for comments. The schedule at the end of the semester prevents many faculty members to focus on this important initiative. The makeup of the committees within the SoA may benefit from combining department level and school level committees for example.Reference
How does the timeline for new courses integrate visiting faculty that may have shorter-term appointments?Reference
I have begun to bring this matter to others at SCPS and this is a conversation that will be evolving between SCPS and the Provost Office. Thank you!Reference
To comment on the proposed document paragraph about the SCPS Curriculum Committee: there have typically been two faculty members from the School of Design (not one), totaling 5 faculty members. Thank you!Reference
do School of Architecture faculty or administrators not partake in the PIC committeeReference
the School of Architecture Faculty or administrators are not mentioned as part of the PIC review committee; do they not partake in this process?
In some departments individual degree programs are run by Academic Coordinators who are responsible for program and course development. Some of these programs have no full-time faculty or dedicated support staff. Part-time faculty are very committed to academic excellence, and many participate voluntarily in curricular discussions, program review, and course design – but by necessity, these activities are led and managed by the Coordinators. As written, the policy isn’t clear on whether such academic programs will be required to create their own faculty-led curriculum committees. If required to do so, how will these efforts be resourced in order to conform to the policy?Reference
Definitely need a curriculum review workflow chart, as well as milestone dates of the review process (can be approximate). We should know how long the standard curriculum development and review process takes in order to be able to plan for the development and roll-out of new curricula.Reference
Question: Who develops the syllabus template the ICC, the School CC, or the Department CC?
There should be a template that is available that includes the course description, learning outcomes, etc.Reference
Agree with Damon Chaky.
There should be milestones established by the ICC that all schools and programs need to adhere to otherwise it will be pandemonium.Reference
Agreed with the need to clarify the difference between a Special Topics course and Provisional course. Is there any place for nimbleness in the process to accommodate short-term visiting faculty? Could you provide a possible timeline for all these reviews?Reference
– It would be great for upper-level students to make part of the department committee; students are ultimately the ones with the most insight into courses having merit in their professional beginnings. Their perspective would be valuable considerations.
My suggestion is to allow students as well to nominate faculty to the curriculum committee.Reference
– The two most wanted parties when thinking about the delivery of curriculum are part-time faculty and students. Part-time faculty often cannot join committees due to work schedule conflicts, and most importantly, the students, who will practice in real life the curriculum learned, nether are taken into consideration in the policy.
– I advise having an open period including community departmental review to reach part-time faculty and including students’ points of view. Transparency could make alliances among part-time professors teaching the same subjects. Reference
I am concerned that selecting a Department Curriculum Committee member would create bias and a lack of diverse opinions if one would serve in two or more curriculum committeesReference
I would like to see more detail on who can submit changes to existing courses, timelines for proposals, and submission details for each category.
Some of these categories have a longer timeline to reach the end of the academic approval cycle than some industries’ pace. Moving towards a more flexible time and tryout period to stay relevant and continue bringing the world’s changes into the classroom could be considered.Reference
Agreed on the need to clarify the distinction between Special Topics courses and Provisional courses. Along with a workflow chart or diagram mentioned in the comments above, could there be a possible timeline for all these reviews? And is there any place for nimbleness in this process for short -term visiting faculty and their courses?Reference
I agree with Suzanne on the matter of the term “teaching faculty.” In some cases, curriculum decisions are specifically the purview of Adjunct, CCE, and FTT faculty. This is not meant to downplay the contributions of visitors, who are certainly part of bigger discussions. Rather, it is a recognition of the fact that Adjunct, CCE, and FTTT faculty have gained a long-term understanding of student needs and interests.Reference
The School CRC might be more construcitve and bring some cohesion and consistency to the process by practicing a design used in the ICC. Bring the chair or asst. chair or dept. CRC chair to meet /respond to questions and or comments by the School CRC prior to sending proposals to the Dean. Discussion with an author of the proposal has the potential to build consistency over time in consideration of changing chairs and members of the Sch. CRCReference
There are programs that have only part-time faculty, and I assume this carve out is intended in part for them. Is there any guidance for what a “proposal for deviation” looks like for these programs?Reference
The chair needs to be able to initiate program changes in response to changing accreditation standards, changes to the field, and requests coming from the student body.Reference
The School Curriculum Committee may not have the level of knowledge of departmental curriculum required to participate in accreditation review–can this suggest be limited to department curriculum committee?Reference
Echoing points made above: For the School Curriculum Committee to have maximal utility to departments, its role should be to review proposed changes for redundancy with other parts of the School curriculum, and assistance with preparing proposals for adherence to ICC guidelines and practices.Reference
The level of review required for special topics courses seems onerous, given that they are designed to nimbly respond to dynamic shifts in the professions.
Also, considering that even NYSED itself does not require review of electives to approve programs, an internal process that requires this even just for changes to elective courses seems like quite a bit of work. Also, what scale of change would invoke review for an elective?Reference