Guidelines for New or Changed Courses or Curriculum

One of the primary responsibilities of the faculty is oversight of the curriculum, proposing new or revised courses; the course of study in an academic program; or new majors, minors or other credentials. All changes or additions to the curriculum at Valdosta State University are initiated by the faculty in an academic program and then follow the campus process outlined below.

ON-CAMPUS PROCESS

Process:

  1. Course or curriculum change or addition originates with a faculty member or curriculum committee in the Academic Program. (Complete required forms—Links to forms below).
  2. Course or curriculum change or addition must be approved by academic program’s department or division.
  3. Course or curriculum change or addition must be approved by academic program’s college.
  4. Graduate course or curriculum change or addition must be approved by the Graduate Executive Committee(Schedule for Graduate Executive Committee)
  5. Course or curriculum change or addition must be approved by the University Academic Committee(Schedule for Academic Committee)
  6. Course or curriculum change or addition is presented as part of the Academic Committee’s minutes at the VSU Faculty Senate(Schedule for Faculty Senate)

Other curriculum and course changes may also require further notifications or approval from offices outside of the VSU campus.

OFF-CAMPUS APPROVALS/NOTIFICATIONS

All of the items below must be forwarded by the Academic Affairs Office to the appropriate destination, whether Board of Regents (BOR), the University System of Georgia (USG), or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Substantive Change Administrative approval by the USG System Office
Notification/approval to SACSCOC
New Academic Programs BOR Approval
Notification/approval to SACSCOC
Termination of a Degree and/or Major BOR Approval
Notification to SACSCOC
Deactivating a Major Program USG Notification
Degree Program Name Change USG Administrative Approval
New Certificate USG Notification
New Course to VSU Core Curriculum  USG General Education Council Approval

Forms for VSU Proposed Course and Curriculum Changes

The academic forms below are available in Microsoft Word; users should be able to save copies of these forms to their computers, title them appropriately, and complete the required information.

  • Request for a Revised Course (used for changes in hours, pre- or co-requisites, course titles, number, and/or course descriptions)
  • Request for a New Course (used for completely new courses. These forms should be accompanied by a short sample syllabus)
  • Request for Revised Curriculum and Catalog Copy (used to change or add curriculum as well as learning outcomes, admissions, or other program policies)
  • Request to Deactivate/Reactivate a Course/Program (used to request a course deactivation (i.e., the course will no longer be listed in BANNER or in the curriculum, but it can be reactivated if needed) or to begin the process of terminating a program. Deactivated programs will no longer admit any students; the termination should be requested when no students remain in that program).

SUGGESTIONS FOR CATALOG–READY MATERIALS

Schedule

VSU has online undergraduate and graduate catalogs. Although these catalogs are online, a new edition is “published” yearly—typically in mid-May. Calendars are the official repository of classes and curriculum for each academic year. Students follow the curriculum of the catalog published in the year they entered VSU (unless an official waiver form is completed to waive that requirement). For this reason, curricular changes can only be made on a yearly basis (that is, a curricular change cannot be proposed in the fall and implemented in the spring). New courses, however, may be offered in the semester subsequent to when they are approved.

All new courses and course changes are added by the Registrar’s Office into BANNER and are then imported periodically into the online catalog. Curriculum changes approved by VSU’s Academic Committee are entered by VSU’s Catalog Editor into the next year’s catalog. The Catalog Editor may correct minor non-curricular errors in the current catalog from the date of the catalog’s publication in mid-May until December 1st. After that point, the current catalog is frozen so the editor can make updates. To guarantee their appearance in the next year’s catalog, all curricular updates should have been approved by Academic Committee by its February meeting.

DATE  CATALOG EVENTS
Mid-May Calendar for the upcoming academic year is published.
Mid-May-December Departments, programs, or offices may send any minor corrections to the catalog editor.
September-April Academic Committee and Graduate Executive Committee generally meet once per month to review and vote on proposed curricular items.
February Academic Committee Meeting Any proposed curricular changes for the next calendar year should be approved by this meeting to guarantee placement in the upcoming catalog.

Tips on Preparing the Catalogue Description for a New Course:

Catalog course descriptions follow a specific format: an opening fragment giving a brief overview of the course. Subsequent sentences, if any, may add some details but should be kept as brief as possible. The general maximum length is around 50 words.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PROPOSING OR REVISING COURSES OR CURRICULUM

Before beginning to initiate any curriculum changes, programs should thoughtfully consider the following questions and be able to provide documentation to support their answers:

For new courses:

  • What is the rationale for this new course? Is this course required by an outside accreditor? If so, why?
  • Will this course be required? Why?
    • If required, what course in the current program of study will it replace?
    • Will the curriculum as printed in the catalog need to be adjusted?
    • Will the program map for majors need to be adjusted?
  • Which program learning outcomes will this course support and how?
  • What specific qualitative and quantitative data does the program currently have to support the need for this course?
  • How, and how often, will the program assess the success of this course in meeting the specified learning outcomes?
  • What personnel and resources will the program provide to offer the course on the schedule indicated?
  • What other university courses have similar learning outcomes or subject matter?
    • What distinguishes this new course from these other course offerings?
    • Should the program consider using any of these alternative courses? If so, reach out to the program for further discussion.

For revisions to existing courses:

  • What is the rationale for these proposed changes? Is this change required by an outside accreditor? If so, why?
  • What qualitative and quantitative data already collected supports this revision?
  • How will assessment of the course be adjusted to reflect these revisions?
  • Will this revision require additional faculty or resources?

For revisions to the curriculum:

  • What is the rationale for this revision? Is this change required by an outside accreditor? If so, why?
  • What qualitative and quantitative data already collected supports this revision?
  • How will assessment of the curriculum be adjusted to reflect these revisions?
  • Will this revision require additional faculty or resources?
  • If new courses are being added, what in the old curriculum is being replaced to account for the adjustment and why?
  • Are specific courses being changed to reflect this revision; if so, how and why?
  • Will any course substitutions/waivers be needed for students in the midst of the program?