- The Council meets on Wednesdays during the academic year. The meeting begins at 3:00 p.m. and ends no later than 4:30 p.m.
- A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of voting members.
- Proposals for changes to existing courses must reach the Council not later than October 15 in the fall and March 15 in the spring, in order to be entered into Banner before the next registration period begins. These deadlines do not apply to proposals for new courses or new programs.
- A UGC representative from the college proposing curriculum changes must be present in order for an item from that college to be introduced for action. Representatives from the department and/or colleges are encouraged to attend Council meetings at which their items are discussed and voted upon.
- Following discussion each curriculum change is automatically tabled until a subsequent meeting at which time the change is reintroduced for action.
- The agenda and approved minutes are posted weekly on the Council’s web site.
- A summary of actions taken at each meeting is published electronically to all faculty.
The curriculum process begins with the department’s faculty. Once approved at the department level each change requires the sequential approval of the college or school’s curriculum committee, college or school faculty, the appropriate Council, the provost, the chancellor, and in some cases the University of Arkansas System and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
Once an item is approved by the appropriate college committee, it should be sent to the Provost’s Office which will record the proposal and forward it to the appropriate council. If the item is relevant to both councils (e.g. a dual listed 4000/5000 level courses), it moves first to the Undergraduate Council. After the Undergraduate Council approves it, the item will be routed to the Graduate Council.
After approval by either of the Councils, the curriculum matters are returned to the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. This office is responsible for coordinating items’ progress through the rest of the approval process within UALR and, where appropriate, at the UA System and state levels. Questions and requests for additional information about the process should be addressed to the Dean of the Graduate School for graduate matters, and the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for undergraduate matters.
Approvals Required for Different Changes
Approvals Required at Department and College or School Level Only
Certain curriculum changes can be accomplished at the level of the department and college or school only, with notification to the central administration but without the need for University-wide approval. These are:
- A change in the methodology of teaching a course, so long as the content is not significantly altered.
- A change in the last two digits of a course number. Such a change must, however, be reported to the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, so the various record-keeping units can be notified.
- A change in the wording of the catalog description of a course, as long as the content or nature of the course is not significantly altered. Such a change should be instituted through the usual process for annual revisions of the Undergraduate Catalog and the Graduate Catalog.
The precise division of responsibility between the department and the college or school faculty and curriculum committee is determined by the governance procedures for each college or school. Departments and colleges and schools are responsible for establishing and operating a process for their curriculum reviews following the guidelines in the Faculty Handbook and University Assembly constitution.
Approvals Required at the University Level
The following curriculum matters go through and established University-wide procedure, in addition to action at the department and college or school level:
- The creation of the new programs (degrees, majors, minors, etc.); see below for additional steps necessary.
- A change in the existing course requirements for a major, minor or option leading to a degree, including the addition, deletion, or substitution of courses required for the major, minor, or option.
- The addition or deletion of prerequisites for individual courses (since such changes may have the effect of changing the requirements for the degree program, major, or minor).
- The addition of a new option or concentration in an existing degree.
- A change in the name of a major or minor, or degree program.
- The deletion of a major or minor, or a degree program.
- The addition or deletion of a course.
- The change in the level (first digit) or credit hours (second digit) of a course.
- A significant1 change in course title.
- A significant1 change in the catalog description.
- Approval of an upper level undergraduate course for graduate credit. (Requires approval of both Councils).
1In this context, “significant” means a change that would alter the scope or nature of a course even if the number and title remain the same.
The forms are identical for graduate and undergraduate matters, and are designed to provide the kind of information needed at all stages of the review process. One form is used to propose a new course or changes to an existing course. A new program requires the advance notice form (for commentary by the Council), the curriculum change form for a new program, and forms for any new individual course. Additional copies of all forms are available from the Dean of the Graduate School or the Office of Provost and Vice Chancellor.
Curriculum matters that do not require action beyond UALR are in effect as of the date of approval by the Chancellor, unless otherwise indicated during the review process.
Full minutes are kept on file in the offices of the Dean of the Graduate School (Graduate Council) and the Provost and Vice Chancellor (Undergraduate Council), and are also distributed to the members of each council, to the president and the secretary of the University Assembly, and are posted on the councils’ web sites.
The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs keeps a complete record of all curriculum developments, with an annual summary on a fiscal year basis. This record is available in the Office of the Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and versions of it are posted on the UGC web site and are included in the Annual Report.
Approvals Required Beyond UALR
Certain matters require additional steps beyond UALR, especially new programs. The definition of “new programs” used by UALR, the UA System, and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education is:
“…establishment of a college, school, division, institute, department, new curricula or majors leading to a new degree program, extension service, or other unit in any field or instruction, research, or public service not presently included in the program of the institution. The term does not include reasonable or moderate extensions as defined by the Department of Higher Education, of existing curricular, research, or public service programs which have a direct relationship to existing programs at the several public institutions of higher learning.”
After completion of the UALR internal process, the following matters must be reviewed by the UA System and the Department of Higher Education:
- New associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and professional degrees, including offering a complete degree program at an off-campus site.
- A new area of academic work not previously offered by UALR.
- Deletion of either of the above.
In addition to the matters requiring approval or recommendation by officials beyond UALR, certain other matters require formal notification to the same officials. These are normally recorded during the usual curriculum process with notification made by the Chancellor annually or as appropriate.
Please contact the the Associate Vice Chancellor for Policy, Assessment, and Diversity in the provost’s office for further information and assistance through these processes.
Other Related Issues
Interdisciplinary Projects: Although normally curriculum proposals originate within a department, occasionally individuals or groups may develop course or program concepts that are interdisciplinary in nature. Such matters should be proposed on the standard Curriculum Change Form, adapted as necessary, and should receive approval in the usual fashion in any department or college or school directly involved, before being submitted to the appropriate Council to continue the process in the usual way.
Core Courses: By action of the Faculty Senate, June 1, 1994, approval and modification of core courses follows the normal undergraduate curriculum process. However the appropriate curriculum change form is necessary in creating a core course.
Minimum Standards for Programs and Degrees: The University Assembly has adopted minimum standards for departmental honors programs at the baccalaureate level, undergraduate certificate programs, and associate degrees. Copies of the Assembly’s standards are available in the Provost’s office. These standards for baccalaureate and masters degrees are described in the appropriate catalog.
School of Law: The UALR School of Law, by action of the University Assembly, forwards its curriculum matters to the provost and vice chancellor and the chancellor, with information copies to the Graduate Council or other appropriate units.
Related Policies: Other written policies applicable to the curriculum process include the college or school procedures (in the college and school governance documents), the responsibilities and composition of the Graduate Council and the Undergraduate Council (in the Faculty Handbook), the UA system review and reporting process (in the System Administrative Memoranda Book, No. 625.1), and the Department of Higher Education’s “Criteria and Procedures for Preparing Proposals for New Programs, Revised 1993″ (in the offices of the Provost and Vice Chancellor and the Dean of Graduate School).
(Adopted January 26, 1983, and amended September 5, 1997, September 23, 2002, and September 15, 2010)