(Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What are the different types of proposals that can be made?
A. Curriculum changes are broadly grouped into four categories that facilitate
their passage through the review process. Each category has a specific
associated form to be completed. Currently, proposals (and the specific forms
associated) are any of these types: 1) Course Proposal (New or Existing); 2)
New General Education Course; 3) Distance Education Course Proposal Form for
Existing Courses; 4) Major Program Revision; 5) Program Revisions Requiring
Board of Governors or Chancellor’s Approval; and 6) Academic Policies,
Procedures and Standards.
Q: How long does it typically take for a proposal to be fully approved and
ready for implementation?
A: It is recommended that major program revision proposals and related sets of
proposals be submitted no later than January for consideration in that same
year. However, consideration by UCC is just one step in the curriculum process;
all proposals that have been approved by UCC must then be presented to Forum
and the President’s office as informational items or for approval before the
Registrar can update the schedule. Some
proposals must also receive final approval from the Board of Governors before
they can be implemented (see additional FAQ for more information). Thus, a department that would like
to have changes implemented before spring scheduling can begin should plan on
having proposals to UCC nearly a full year beforehand. The UCC Manual provides
sample charts in the Curriculum Routing section.
Q: What can I do to facilitate a smooth and timely review process?
A: To facilitate your proposal through the review process, it is first strongly
recommended that you:
• understand exactly what type of proposal you have and use the appropriate
• anticipate impacts of your proposal beyond your department prior to its being
formally submitted. Meet with those potentially impacted and work to address
• provide clear, accurate and complete information submitted with your
proposal, especially in terms of resource demands (how does your department
plan to work teaching of the new course and sections of the course into faculty
teaching loads? Are demands placed on other departments? Are there special
• gain departmental review, approval, endorsement, and sponsorship of your proposal
• appear at the meeting of the University Curriculum Committee when your
proposal is placed on the agenda and at any other meetings where your proposal
may be part of the agenda.
• appear at other meetings where questions concerning your proposal may arise,
such as the appropriate college council.
Q: What are some pitfalls and common errors in putting together a curriculum
A: There are a number of pitfalls in the curriculum review process, however,
most of these result from incomplete or inarticulate proposals that slip past
careful departmental review. In the past, the major problems in seeing a
proposal successfully through the review process have been:
• curriculum conflicts with other classes, departments, and colleges,
especially where content potentially overlaps.
• failure to comply with the “verification grid” (discussed as another FAQ) or the “one-for-one” policy where, generally, one course must be
withdrawn for every new course proposed.
• failure to address or comply with the “40% rule,” where 40% of a department’s
course offerings should be upper level courses.
• Improper assessment or presentation of resource demands. For example, if a
new course is being added, is there staff available to teach the number of
sections scheduled? What are the implications for enrollment into other
• a misunderstanding of what type of proposal is actually being made -
sometimes proposals entail more wholesale curriculum changes than the form
• a proposal that is related to a series of previous and forthcoming proposals.
Oftentimes it may be logistically simpler and conceptually easier to consider
several related proposals together.
Q: What types of courses require distance education approval?
A: Shippensburg University uses the definition of distance education stated
in the 2007-2011 statewide APSCUF CBA. Courses in which 80% or more of their
instructional time is offered online and at most 20% (7.5 hours) of their
instructional time is offered face-to-face are required to gain DE approval
through the UCC curriculum approval process.
Blended courses are defined by PASSHE and Shippensburg
University as being those in which 30-79% of the face-to-face instructional
time is replaced by online instruction. Such courses offer 7.875 to 26.25 hours
of their instructional time face-to-face, with the remainder of the 37.5 hours
of instructional time offered online. The 2007-2011 statewide APSCUF CBA is
silent on blended courses. Blended courses are not considered to be DE courses and
do not require approval by UCC.
Face-to-face courses are defined by PASSHE and Shippensburg
University as being those in which 29% or less of the face-to-face
instructional time is replaced by online instruction. Such courses offer 26.625
to 37.5 hours of their instructional time face-to-face.
Q: Does a course which has been approved for videoconferencing
delivery need to be approved separately for online delivery?
A: Per the 2007-2011 statewide APSCUF CBA, videoconferencing and online
delivery are types of distance education. UCC approves courses for distance
education delivery generally, rather than a specific type of distance education
delivery. If the course proposal approved by UCC states a specific type of
distance education delivery format (e.g. videoconferencing, online), the course
has been approved to be offered by all types of distance education.
Q: Do courses which are part of an official distance education
program require UCC approval to be offered via distance education?
A: Courses which are listed in the distance education program proposal reviewed
and approved by UCC do not specifically need to be approved for distance
education delivery. Such courses should be considered as being pre-approved for
distance education delivery by virtue of their inclusion in the original
distance education program proposal. Additional courses not listed in the
original distance education program proposal approved by UCC must be separately
and specifically approved for distance education delivery by UCC, via the
appropriate approval route (i.e. existing course DE approval or new course DE
Q: Do Special Topics courses require UCC approval to be offered
via distance education?
A: The same principles that apply to face-to-face Special Topics courses apply
to distance education Special Topics courses. Departments do not have to submit
a new UCC proposal every time a Special Topics course is going to be offered
face-to-face with a different content topic. Similarly, once the Special Topics
course number has been approved for distance education delivery by UCC a
department or faculty member does not have to submit a separate UCC proposal
for each new Special Topics content area they would like to offer via distance
Q: What types of proposals may be expedited and why? How are
A: Existing courses that are being requested to move to Distance Education
status are expedited and will be considered by UCC within 30 days of being
posted to the UCC website (after which they are presented to Forum and the
President). They are first examined by the UCC Academic Standards and Policies
Subcommittee. The Subcommittee then recommends the proposal for either
disapproval or disapproval by the UCC at large. This expedited process is
developed to comply with Article 42 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Q: When do I have to submit a Program
A: Shared governance, catalog, and DegreeAudit
changes are all triggered by the curriculum review process, so it is important
that revisions be submitted as necessary.
A Program Revision proposal must be submitted in the following
* a new course is added to the
* a course is deleted from the program
* any changes in credits are made
* the program is restructured in any way
(e.g. moving a course from elective to core, rearranging courses into topical
A Program Revision
proposal is not needed if previously included courses are simply renumbered or
Q: Who can submit a proposal?
A: While curriculum proposals are typically
started at the academic department level by faculty members, any faculty,
staff, student, or administrator is permitted to submit a proposal.
Q: Why do I have to submit my proposal electronically?
A: In recent years the increased number of proposals and widening variety of
considerations needed in the review process, along with efforts to make the process more transparent and accessible, overwhelmed the traditional
process. Anybody experiencing difficulty with the electronic process may
contact the UCC Chair or the UCC Secretary.
Q: What is the “one-for-one” rule and why should I be aware of it?
A: As per the President’s Memo of February 18, 1997, a “one-for-one” rule was
instituted. This rule states that, generally, for every new course, program, or expansion of existing programs proposed, an equivalent
number of such units must be discontinued. Further, this discontinuation must
be documented in the proposal. The rule is intended to avoid “curriculum creep”
that may “injure institutional integrity.” This requirement may be waived, for
example, in the case of new courses related to certain grants, or, approved new
programs. As of 2006, a verification grid may be used instead of the
“one-for-one” rule (see FAQ below).
Q: What is the verification grid that replaces the “one-for-one” rule?
A: In 2006, the President approved the following language: I am also approving
the proposed clarification of the curriculum management and expansion of
courses (one-for-one) policy as proposed by the University Curriculum Committee
and endorsed by the University Forum: “In order to ensure that fiscal
responsibility and student needs are balanced with legitimate reasons for
curricular change, the University Curriculum Committee recommends that each
department proposing curricular change provide a three year departmental
verification matrix of course offerings annotated with the number of people
within the department who could teach this class; as well as the faculty
position and/or specialization area (rather than the individual faculty names.)
The UCC also proposes that yearly, the registrar notify department chairs and
deans with a list of courses that have not been taught in the previous three
years. Courses not taught for the previous five years will be dropped from the
official university catalog by the registrar. Exceptions to this policy will be
made on a per case basis after consultation with the appropriate dean and
department chairperson.” I believe the recommendation is consistent with the
policy, while giving the departments and the University Curriculum Committee
more information and documentation for decision-making.
The verification grid will be attached to any new course proposal in which an
existing course is not dropped.
Q: What is “curriculum duplication” and why should I be aware of it?
A: Curriculum duplication exists when a program, course, or other curriculum
component addresses the same subject matter and learning outcomes as in another
program or course. Curriculum duplication results in unnecessary courses and
programs and is a waste of campus resources. On occasion, courses are proposed
which substantially or appear to substantially overlap in both style, content,
and learning outcomes with courses. If substantial overlap exists, the new
proposal is appropriately jeopardized. If in actuality there is very little
duplication, then the sponsor of the proposal needs to provide clarity as to
how the proposal is distinctive from existing courses or programs.
Q: Under what conditions would Graduate Council Review and approval be
A: Graduate Council review is required of any courses that graduate students
could take for graduate credit, including those 400 level courses that are
approved for graduate credit.
Q: Under what conditions would Board of Governor’s or Chancellor’s review and
approval be needed?
Q: Under what
conditions would Board of Governor’s or Chancellor’s review and approval be
A: Generally, action by either Board of Governor’s or Chancellor’s is required
for new major programs.
Office of the Chancellor notification
(but not action) is required for a) new concentration, track, specialization,
or emphasis, b) new academic minor c) new sub-baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate
(graduate) or post-master’s certificate programs; and d) conversion of current
program to online or interactive video learning modality; and e) degree
program, minor, concentration, specialization, certificate, letter of
completion placed into moratorium. Office of the Chancellor Action is required
for a) reorganization of existing approved degree program (changes in name,
student learning outcomes, degree designation, credit length that exceed
policies); and b) reactivation of a degree program in moratorium. For details, see “Board of
Governor’s Policy 1985-01-A: Requirements for Initiation or Change of
Credit-Based Academic Programs” and “Administrative Procedure for Board of
Governor’s Policy 1985 - 01: Requirements for Initiation or Change of
Credit-Based Academic Programs.” These are available on the University
Curriculum Committee website as well as from the Pennsylvania State System of
Higher Education (PASSHE) website.
Q: What resource issues seem most pressing?
A: Resource issues that are most pressing relate to faculty FTEF. Other
resource issues relate to instructional equipment demands.
Q: Who can attend a UCC meeting? When are they scheduled?
A: The meetings, which are typically held the first Tuesday of every month at
3:30 p.m. in Lehman Library 106, are open to the
entire campus community. If you are sponsoring a proposal or impacted by a
proposal you are certainly encouraged to attend.
Q: What if I wanted to find out what happened at a particular UCC meeting?
A: For the current Academic Year, all UCC meeting minutes will be posted online
at the UCC website (www.ship.edu/ucc). The posting usually occurs within 10
days of the meeting. The minutes are also distributed to all members of the UCC
distribution list (see below) and presented to University Forum. Draft minutes
are typically approved at the next meeting of the UCC. All subcommittee meeting
minutes are included with that respective month’s committee wide meeting
minutes. Meeting minutes dating back to the 1999 – 2000 academic year are also
available at the web site. For previous years, contact the UCC Secretary.
Q: What is the UCC distribution list? Who is on the list and why?
A: The UCC distribution list, also known as the mailing list, consists of
academic deans, department chairs, program directors, members of University
Forum, members of the UCC and administrative personnel including the Provost,
Associate Provost, and Registrar. This is broadly representative of all
stakeholder groups in the curriculum process and includes APSCUF and student
representation. The purpose of the distribution list is to make the campus
community aware of all developments of substance and process relating to
Q: Who is on the UCC? How is the committee’s composition determined?
A: The committee’s specific composition was arrived at in a re-organization of
university governance in the 1980s and is compliant with the Collective
Bargaining Agreement. The composition is provided for in Subsection 1A of the
UCC Manual. Twelve faculty members, each of the three college deans, and three
student representatives together comprise the 18 regular members of UCC. Of the
faculty membership, eleven are elected across the academic divisions and
non-teaching faculty; one is appointed by APSCUF. Ex officio members include
the Registrar and Associate Provost.
These are a few of the most commonly asked questions. If
you have others, please contact the UCC chair.