For assistance with curriculum proposals, please contact your appropriate associate dean

Curriculum Development Process

Curriculum change begins with program and department faculty. Before submitting a proposal for approval, faculty members must discuss planned changes among themselves and with their chair, consult other departments and programs who may be affected, and confer with the dean’s office for guidance and expertise.

Developing proposals for curricular change includes consideration of many factors. Designs for programs of academic study incorporate information from sources such as assessment results and plans, alumni and employer feedback, professional and accrediting body guidelines, and programs at other universities. Program designs require the development of staffing plans, enrollment projections, and course scheduling plans. Departments may need to present such information to reviewing committees in the approval process. New programs requiring ICHE approval that have been approved at the college level must have ICHE materials attached before they are forwarded to CAAC. These materials include detailed data on employment and enrollment projections as well as program budgets. See the Academic Affairs website for additional information.

Departments contemplating substantial program modifications or proposals for new programs should discuss these with their dean and associate dean to assure their advisability and feasibility, as well as to review the approval processes and paperwork involved.

A. Assessment

As departments develop curriculum plans, they must formulate goals for their students’ programs of study, including student outcomes. Assessment plans should be developed in parallel with curricula. The assessment plans for new and substantially modified programs must accompany curriculum proposal forms and are reviewed during the approval process.

Information on how to develop assessment plans is provided through the Office of Assessment:

If the department has established entry-level benchmarks, such as minimum GPA requirements, minimum grade for courses to count, and/or minimum test scores on standardized tests before a student can be admitted into a program, then in addition to these existing requirements, the department should also develop another series of benchmarks to be maintained by the students in order to continue further study in their chosen area. All such benchmarks must be published prominently in program descriptions featured in the catalog.

B. Resources

Departments consult their dean’s office regarding budget and staffing implications of their proposals, and the availability of resources to support them. These include course fees, space, equipment, materials, etc.. For major proposals, both new and modified, resource planning is linked to staffing plans. Staffing plans include consideration of faculty qualifications to offer the proposed program, and so may have implications for future faculty hires, or retirements.

Departments should consider resources to support development and delivery of instruction via distance and other modalities. Departments planning program changes or proposing new programs or courses should consult with the Library, Extended Learning, and IT offices regarding resources for program enhancement.

C. Four Year Plans

For new and modified undergraduate programs, departments must develop course rotation and staffing plans that can support and be sustained by a critical mass of student enrollments. A student four year plan of study must accompany the curriculum proposal and be posted on the department’s website. Highly structured programs must include a statement in the catalog copy informing students of the time and scheduling constraints necessary to complete the program of study in eight semesters.

D. Consultations

Departments must consult the Office of Registration and Records, as well as departments whose programs might be affected by the proposed change. When departments submit proposals for approval, this consultation process is documented on the proposal form, including notations of how any concerns were addressed. The Registrar informs the department of matters of record such as program code and course number availability. The Registrar’s office provides information about any departments and programs affected by a proposed change, as well as transfer and articulation agreements. The Office is also available for informal consultation before the approval process begins.

Departments wishing to propose changes consult other affected departments for purposes of notification, and to identify and resolve of problems that might arise from the change. Deans’ offices can assist departments in consultation and resolution of issues. If issues arising in consultation can not be resolved by the departments, the issues may be reviewed during the approval process.

E. Transfer and Articulation

Access is a major part of ISU’s mission. Curriculum changes should facilitate transfer whenever possible. Departments whose courses and programs are parts of transfer agreements with other institutions, or Transfer Indiana must consider these in proposing curriculum changes. Degree audit consultation notifies the department of any transfer and articulation agreements.

F. Transition Plans and Student Notification

When a program undergoes substantial revision, or is suspended or eliminated, departments must consult with their dean’s office, degree audit specialists, and the Registrar to develop transition plans and to move students into active or new programs. When a program is proposed for suspension or elimination, the Registrar notifies the appropriate dean’s office of all majors in the program in the last seven years who have not graduated from ISU. Deans’ offices notify students of program eliminations, suspensions, and substantial revisions so they can be advised into transition plans.

The goals of the transition plan are to minimize impact on students, clearly communicate the timeframe to complete the old/suspended/eliminated program to students and others, and minimize the need to offer courses required by the old/suspended/eliminated program. The transition plan should include:

  1. Schedule of course phase out for the suspended/eliminated program
  2. Timeline for changes and deadlines for students to complete the old program
  3. Plans for moving students into active programs (including Registrar)
  4. Plans for notifying and advising students (including degree audit)
  5. Proposed blanket course substitutions that can be implemented by deans' offices (students will not need to petition individually)
  6. Proposed revisions to degree audit reports for previous catalog years that can be implemented by deans' offices where appropriate

If a program title only is changed, with no changes to the program itself, no transition plan is necessary. In such cases, the Office of Registration and Records will move registered students and students eligible to register to the new title. No students will remain under the old program title.

When all consultations have been completed, all curriculum changes have been developed, and department votes have been taken, the final version of the proposal is prepared. Departments identify individuals to prepare the necessary forms and review them for accuracy and completeness. Detailed instructions for identifying forms necessary to prepare, and for completing the forms is contained in the following section of this manual—Directions for Proposal Forms Preparation. The proposal is now ready to leave the department and begin the approval process.