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

Roles and Levels of Curriculum Approval

A. Department

Department faculty have primary responsibility for the development and maintenance of the programs they offer. Each department should maintain published policies and procedures for approval of curriculum proposals. Typically these procedures provide a voice for all department/unit faculty. Departments should also maintain records of deliberations and votes on curricular matters.

Department chairs are responsible for the organization and quality of their department’s curriculum; for this reason and because program revisions affect the use of resources and faculty assignments, chairs must be part of the curriculum approval process.

Changes to programs delivered through the joint efforts of several departments must be approved by each department participating in the program’s administration.

In developing curriculum proposals, departments consult their deans as well as other units whose programs might be affected by the changes. Departments prepare and submit all curricular proposals, auditing them to insure accuracy and completeness for the next level of review. Department chairs, program directors, and faculty representatives attend college and university committee meetings to present the proposal and respond to questions.

B. College

Each college has its own process for curriculum approval as described in its constitution and bylaws. The faculty body responsible for curriculum in each college reviews proposals following the auditing, deliberation, and decision-making processes described in this document, and maintains documentation of its discussions and votes.

The dean is responsible for maintaining academic quality in the college. Deans consider how curricular proposals respond to the college’s strategic plans and weigh proposals in light of the resources available to support the suggested modifications. These considerations and others are communicated to departments in the developmental phases of curriculum change and form the basis for dean level approvals. The dean or his or her representative reviews the documentation and process of consultation to ensure accuracy and completeness of the proposal and its readiness for review outside the college.

C. University Offices and Councils

The University maintains broad policies and standards that all curricula must meet. Several offices and groups are responsible for these.

Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs reviews proposals to assure that they fit within University and State guidelines and to assess resource implications. It consults with college deans and program directors in the early stages of proposing new programs, interdisciplinary programs, and major changes in Foundational Studies. The office determines if a proposal requires review by the Board of Trustees, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, or other external entity. In addition, it reviews proposals for completeness, clarity, consistency, accuracy, and may send them back to the dean of the appropriate college for correction or modification by the originating department, if necessary. The Office of Academic Affairs also maintains the university catalogs (Acalog).

The Office of Academic Affairs notifies the campus community of curriculum proposals through: 1) maintaining a website that presents, tracks, and summarizes actions for each program and course proposal, 2) publishing the submitted proposal in Academic Notes (available at the Academic Affairs website), and 3) publishing approved proposals in Academic Notes.

The Office of Academic Affairs routes proposals to the appropriate university-level review groups, including the Foundational Studies Council, the Dean of the College of Education, the Teacher Education Committee, and CAAC or Graduate Council.

Academic Affairs works closely with the Office of Registration and Records to maintain the University’s curriculum inventory and facilitate the implementation of curriculum changes. Both offices offer informal consultation with colleges and departments about curriculum proposals.

Office of Registration and Records

The Registrar maintains records of the University’s curriculum inventory including Banner and the degree audit system (the program requirement tracking and advising software). Prior to the approval process, the Registrar reviews proposals for accuracy of program codes and prefixes, conflicts with existing numbers or titles in the course inventory or courses that have been banked or eliminated, and incompatibility between a proposed curriculum and the degree audit structure. Concerns about such matters must be resolved before the proposal can move forward.

The Registrar identifies programs across the University that may be affected by a proposed course or program or modification and contacts those departments to initiate the consultation process.

The Registrar is also responsible for transfer agreements and articulations with other colleges and universities, including the state’s Course Transfer Library. The office informs departments when these agreements are affected by proposed curricula.

Office of the Dean of the College of Education

Proposals that affect educator licensure programs (whether degree or non-degree) are reviewed in the College of Education to assure they conform to State rules. The College assists departments in preparing additional documentation to meet these requirements.

Teacher Education Committee (TEC)

This committee assures that courses and programs for teachers meet State requirements in teacher education, fit within general University guidelines for education programs, and provide quality educational experiences. Through the Dean of the College of Education, TEC reports its recommendations about undergraduate curriculum revisions to CAAC and its recommendations about graduate curriculum revisions to the Graduate Council.

Foundational Studies Council (FSC)

This committee is responsible for developing policies affecting the Foundational Studies Program and approving Foundational Studies courses. Modifications to the basic structure or outcomes of the Foundational Studies program go from the Foundational Studies Council to CAAC for approval. Major changes to the Foundational Studies program must be approved by Faculty Senate. FSC is also responsible for insuring the integrity of the statewide general education Transfer Core.

D. University Faculty Governance

The Curriculum and Academic Affairs Committee and the Graduate Council

Proposals for undergraduate curricula are reviewed by the Curriculum and Academic Affairs Committee (CAAC). Proposals for graduate curricula are reviewed by the Graduate Council. These bodies are responsible for faculty review of curricular quality. They focus on policy and proposals that have broad impact. These committees generally do not review minor revisions of existing curricula, but focus on “new curricula and programs, and revisions sufficiently extensive that the curricula or programs are substantially new” (University Handbook, p. II-9).

Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Faculty Senate review proposals for new programs, for revisions so substantial that the program essentially is new, and for revisions that involve major policy changes. If the Executive Committee or Faculty Senate requires changes in proposals, other than minor editorial changes, they send the proposal back to Graduate Council or CAAC with information on desired changes. Proposals approved by the Faculty Senate are forwarded to the Office of Academic Affairs.

E. University Administration and Governance

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

The Provost is responsible for the academic direction and resource allocation for academic programs. When a proposal has been approved by all appropriate committees and governance bodies, the Provost reviews it according to its impact on the University’s overall strategic direction and in relation to the State’s system of higher education. Proposals that receive the Provost’s approval are forwarded to the President who transmits them to the Board of Trustees when appropriate.

Board of Trustees

The Indiana State University Board of Trustees must approve new programs. The Board of Trustees has the power and duty “To prescribe the curricula and courses of study offered by the institution” (p. I-3, University Handbook).

F. State Approval

Indiana Commission for Higher Education

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education approves new programs and changes in CIP codes. The ICHE is responsible for: defining the educational missions of public colleges and universities; planning and coordinating Indiana’s state-supported system of post-high school education; reviewing budget requests from public institutions; approving or disapproving the establishment of new programs for public institutions.

Commission staff weigh the following criteria and issues: quality and efficiency, appropriateness to institutional mission, availability of similar programs, personal and social utility, student demand; student access, flexibility of program design, market demand, inter-institutional and inter-departmental cooperation, and flexibility of providing institution. Dean’s offices and the Office of Academic Affairs will provide guidance on proposals requiring ICHE approvals.

Indiana Department of Education

New educator licensure programs or significant revisions of existing educator licensure programs require approval by the Indiana Department of Education.

G. Accrediting Bodies

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association

NCA is the University’s national accrediting body. Approval from the Higher Learning Commission is required for instructional sites (including off-campus, out-of-state or international sites), new programs, and distance programs. NCA evaluates documentation that the offerings are appropriate to the organization’s mission, have all necessary approvals, and will be effectively developed and supported.