University Manual

University of Rhode Island

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Chapter 8 – Regulations for Students

Part III – Procedure for Approval and Review of Courses, Programs and other Academic Ventures

Part III contains rules and regulations governing procedures for the approval of courses, programs, centers, institutes and bureaus, and procedures for review of new programs and for periodic review of existing programs.


8.80.10 Types of Courses. The University offers permanent courses and temporary courses for credit toward degree requirements. In addition, non-credit courses are offered. Approval procedures for all courses are found in Appendix E of the University Manual.

8.80.11 A permanent course is one which has no restrictions on the number of times it may be offered. A permanent course may be open-ended; that is, a course whose subject matter may vary between offerings. Open-ended courses may include workshops, seminars, colloquiums, special topics, special problems, and special projects. Only permanent courses may be listed in the University Catalog.

8.80.12 A temporary course may be offered no more than twice and only during a two-year period following its approval. A temporary course must meet one or more of the following criteria: a) it is experimental in nature. It is innovative, using unconventional devices or pedagogical methods, course materials, approach to course content or student-teacher relationships; b) it is being tried out on a temporary basis so that its value and effectiveness can be tested before it is added to a department’s permanent curriculum; c) it is intended for a limited duration, such as in the case of employing a visiting specialist temporarily available or to satisfy temporary needs and interests of students or to deal with timely issues.

8.81.10 Course Approval. All new courses must first be approved by a vote of the faculty of the originating department. A course which does not originate in a specific department or college must be approved by the governing committee(s) with responsibility for administering it. After departmental or committee approval, a permanent course must gain the approval of the college(s), where applicable, the Curricular Affairs Committee and/or the Graduate Council, and the Faculty Senate. #15-16-5

8.81.20  Open-ended Course. An Open-ended Course shall be administered by the department which originated it. Initially, an open-ended course shall be proposed and approved in the same manner as other permanent courses (8.81.10). Prior to offering a specific topic the content of the course shall be approved in a department meeting. #01-02–19

8.81.21 After approval of each offering of an open-ended course topic, a copy of the title, subtitle, and description shall be forwarded for schedule authorization to the Office of Enrollment Services via the dean of the college in which the department resides. The dean’s authorization shall ensure that no overlap exists between specific topics and existing courses. #01-02–19

8.81.22 A specific topic within an open-ended course may be offered three times. After three offerings the topic shall be 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 University Catalog. #01-02–19

8.81.30  Temporary Course.  A Temporary Course shall have approval of the department(s) or committee proposing it, the dean(s) of the college(s) involved, and the Curricular Affairs Committee and/or the Graduate Council, except that a temporary University College mini-course (a one-credit lower-level undergraduate course taught during the fall or spring semester) does not require the approval of the Curricular Affairs Committee. The Curricular Affairs Committee shall, however, receive information about any temporary University College mini-course after it has been approved by the college dean. The Graduate Council may refuse to grant or may attach conditions to the granting of graduate program credit for a temporary course. Each college may require internal channels of approval in addition to those specified here.

8.81.31 The Curricular Affairs Committee and the Graduate Council shall give priority at their meetings to the consideration of proposed temporary courses. Prior to approving temporary courses, these committees shall distribute to all faculty a description of these courses and shall provide faculty members with a seven-day period in which to register comments with the Chairperson of the Curricular Affairs Committee and/or with the Dean of the Graduate School.

8.81.35 Intensive Short Courses. Information regarding intensive short courses is found in sections 8.32.10-8.32.13.

8.81.40 Writing Intensive Courses. Writing Intensive Courses shall have the following mandated features: the opportunity for writing with guidance from the instructor; the opportunity to improve one’s writing in response to regular feedback from the instructor, especially by revising drafts, writing a series of comparable papers, writing long assignments in shorter units, or through similar teaching and learning opportunities; writing assignments that clearly define features expected for the papers and that receive precise positive and negative responses from the instructor; clear, consistent practices in the grading of writing; writing assignments constitute a significant portion of the overall grade. If possible such courses should include: peer reviewing and other forms of collaborative learning; extensive student to student interaction as well as student-teacher interaction; opportunities for collaborative writing; and both informal and formal writing assignments. If possible upper level courses should include: a variety of professional writing assignments, such as patient charts or client reports, case studies; laboratory reports; reviews of research; critical essays; longer term papers; project proposals; a sustained attention to writing, perhaps of one longer assignment, that gives students time to fully explore a topic and to learn a wide range of relevant material and rhetoric, that encourages depth in the exploration and expression of ideas, that calls for extensive revision, and that is clearly addressed to an appropriate audience and context.

8.81.41 A “WI” label shall be appended to the course description of writing intensive courses to indicate that writing is a significant feature of the activities, learning processes, and assessment of student performance in the course. Lists of writing intensive courses (or sections of courses) shall appear in the University Catalog, the Schedule of Classes and in a yearly publication from the Faculty Institute on Writing.

8.81.42 The faculty member sponsoring the course shall initiate the approval process for a writing intensive course. Either new courses or redesigned existing courses may be proposed for the writing intensive [WI] designation. Following approval by the appropriate departments and colleges, proposals shall be sent to the Curricular Affairs Committee. In those instances when the WI label is not recommended, the Faculty Institute on Writing should make every effort to work with the faculty member to bring the course features in line with the accepted WI design so that a label may be granted. #01-02–22

8.81.43 To assist faculty in developing WI courses and assignments, Writing Across the Curriculum Workshops shall be supported by the college deans and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Faculty who develop WI courses should receive recognition during annual review.

8.81.50 Scheduling Courses. Courses submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services for scheduling shall be certified by the department chairperson via the academic dean as being permanently approved or authorized temporary courses.  A new course or course change proposal form must be processed through the college curriculum committee, Curricular Affairs Committee and/or Graduate Council, and approved by the Faculty Senate before being scheduled.

8.81.60 Limitations. It is the responsibility of the Office of Enrollment Services to limit the offering of a temporary course to only twice during a two-year period and to limit to three times the offering of a specific topic within an open-ended course. #01-02–19

8.81.61 A course that has been formally deleted may not be offered again without formal approval. The code and number of a deleted course may not be re-used before four academic years have elapsed. #01-02–19

8.81.62 A course not taught for two successive calendar years and not scheduled to be taught for the third year shall be deleted from the public list of curricular offerings (Official University Catalog). Enrollment Services shall verify annually which of these courses will be scheduled to be taught for the following academic year as requested by the department chairs or college deans. Courses not taught will be considered suspended and will remain on the Enrollment Services non-public list for 4 years. If the suspended course is taught any time during the four-year period, it will be returned to the public list of curricular offerings (Official University Catalog). If the suspended course is not taught within 4 years it will be considered deleted and may not be taught without approval as a new course. #00-01-21, #07-08-19, #12-13–32

8.81.70 Course Approval Records. The permanent record for all temporary and open-ended courses shall be maintained by the Office of Enrollment Services and shall consist of the certifications required in sections 8.81.21 and 8.81.50.

8.81.80 Course Jurisdiction. The content, textbook, over-all conduct and method of presentation of single section courses shall be the responsibility of the instructor. The administration of multi-section courses shall be determined by departments.  Modifications that significantly change a course (e.g. lecture to online offering, lecture and lab to lecture) require approval through the proper curricular channels (e.g. college curriculum committees) to the Curricular Affairs Committee and/or the Graduate Council, and the Faculty Senate. #06-07–33

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