Faculty Senate

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nneff@uri.edu401-874-2616, 401-874-5176

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Frequently Asked Questions

Course Proposal Procedures

How long does it take to get a NEW COURSE approved?
In planning for the first offering of a newly proposed course, please be aware that the review and approval of a proposal is a multi-step process that can take several months and is not complete until the course is officially listed in e-Campus. Per Section 8.81.10 of the University Manual, completed course proposals must be approved by a vote of the faculty of the originating department, the college, either the Curricular Affairs Committee (CAC) (undergraduate courses) or Graduate Council (graduate courses), and the Faculty Senate. Proposals must be received in the Faculty Senate Office from the college curriculum committee at least 14 days in advance of a CAC/Graduate Council meeting to be assured of inclusion on the next committee agenda.  Errors in the proposal will delay advancement to the appropriate review committee. Incomplete proposals will be returned.  Proposals containing factual errors will be returned for correction. After full approval by the appropriate review committee and the Faculty Senate, course information is entered into e-Campus.  After courses are entered, department chairs are responsible for requesting the scheduling of a course through Enrollment Services.

Does the CAC/Graduate Council turn down proposals?
The committees seldom reject proposals outright, but they frequently table proposals pending more information or clarifications. A representative of the review committee will contact the proposing instructor for the necessary information.

What are common reasons for a proposal being tabled?

  • Insufficient syllabus: student learning outcomes not expressed in measurable terms, missing grading scale, missing assignments and grading policy, missing course schedule with topics, readings, assignments, due dates, deadlines, exams; missing statements regarding accommodations for disabilities, academic enhancement center, writing center, etc.  (for syllabus recommendations, refer to Syllabus Development on the website of the Office for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning)
  • Missing Library Impact Statement, Online Supplement (when applicable), Curriculum Sheet (when applicable), documentation of support from another department(s)/college(s), documentation that overlap with another course does not exist
  • Inconsistent information, e.g. differing reference to pre-requisite or number of credits
  • Missing or incomplete rationale
  • Course is proposed by a non-tenure track faculty member (CAC policy requires that permanent courses must be attached to tenure track faculty)

How many changes to an existing course warrant proposing a NEW COURSE instead?
If changing both course code and course number, create a NEW COURSE and submit a NEW COURSE Proposal Form.

If proposed changes to an existing course significantly impact course content and changes are proposed to the level (e.g., 200 to 300), title and description, or credits, or method of instruction, consider creating a new course and submit a NEW COURSE Proposal Form.

How do I know what NEW COURSE numbers are available?
The number for a NEW COURSE must have been unused for at least five years, or never used.  Check course code and number through the e-Campus Catalog.  Department chairs, college curriculum committee chairs, and curriculum managers in the deans’ offices can obtain access to to e-Campus Curriculum Management by submitting this form to Enrollment Services, or contact Enrollment Services.

Why is the Library Impact Statement required?
It is the University Libraries’ responsibility to assure that the University can meet the needs for materials and services required by new courses and programs. The Libraries want to work with faculty to evaluate the needs of new courses and programs in advance of their adoption. The Library Impact Statement affords the opportunity for collaboration and prospective planning to the University, its faculty, and its students. Click here for more on the Library Impact Statement.

How do I write an effective course description?
Course descriptions are written for students, not faculty, and must communicate clearly and concisely to them. Jargon, acronyms, and technical language should be avoided as much as possible. Anyone should be able to read the description and understand the nature and intent of the course.

An acceptable course description begins with a verb, e.g. examines, introduces, explores, investigates. Articles, adjectives and adverbs are seldom necessary. Sentence fragments are acceptable.

Not preferred – This course will introduce the basic concepts of journalism to majors. It will cover introductory material as it relates to the history of journalism, the role of journalism in a free society, and some of the ethical issues that contemporary practitioners face.

Preferred – Introduces basic concepts of journalism, including history, role of journalism in a free society and contemporary ethical issues.

What is the CAC looking for in a detailed syllabus?
Syllabi must communicate clearly and fully to students. “Learning outcomes” should make it possible for anyone to understand what the course seeks to accomplish. Students must be told what will be expected of them and must be given a reasonable sense of the deadlines for work. How and when their work will be evaluated is also important to students. The statement of policies, including those for attendance and plagiarism, are in the best interest of students and instructor.  For syllabus recommendations, refer to Syllabus Development on the website of the Office for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

How do I know if a proposed course might overlap with an existing course outside my department?
Consult the e-Campus Course Schedule or catalog to discern related offerings. Communicate with colleagues in other departments/colleges. Contact department chairs or college curriculum committee members to discuss your proposed course idea.

What are the approved methods of instruction?
The CAC has developed a list of definitions for methods of instruction for courses. Consult this list when preparing your course proposal.

How do I propose an open-ended Topics course?
A new open-ended topics course is a NEW COURSE. Propose the course code, course number, and title of the topics “shell” for the first offering of an open-ended topics course using a NEW COURSE Proposal form along with the syllabus for at least one topic.  Subsequent to the establishment of the topics course “shell,” additional topics may be scheduled through Enrollment Services using this form. Approval by the department chair and college dean are required for each topic. Specific topics may be offered three times. After three offerings, the topic may not be offered unless it is approved through the appropriate channels as either a permanent course or as a permanent topic within an open-ended course and shall be included in the catalog. Departments are encouraged to include recurring topics in the open-ended course description.

What’s in a title?
Keep it brief.  The title is limited to 50 characters; the abbreviated title, used on the student’s transcript, is limited to 29 characters.  Do NOT use the word “Topics” in the title unless the course is a Topics course (see item above).  Use “Subjects” or “Issues” instead.

How do I know when my course proposal has been approved?
Check the Proposal Tracker found through the Faculty Senate website.

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