Sac State University Policy Manual

Course Proposals

Policy Administrator: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Authority: FS 12/13-34
Effective Date: 3-15-01; (Revisions approved by Faculty Senate)
Updated: December 18, 2012
Index Cross-References:
Policy File Number: FSC00060.htm

Click here for Guidelines for Catalog Course Descriptions

Course Proposals

  1. New Course Proposal Policy

    1. New course proposals require department and college approval. [ Note: Original course proposal forms with appropriate signatures must be submitted to the Office for Academic Affairs.] (See section D for policy governing CCE course approval.)

    2. New course proposals should normally be initiated by department faculty, should be reviewed according to written department faculty curriculum policies and procedures, and should be evaluated for their curricular soundness.

    3. If the proposed new course involves a program change, a separate specific request for the program change must accompany the new course proposal through the review process at the college level.

    4. Each new course should be submitted as a separate proposal.

    5. All new course proposals must include:

      1. a one paragraph description of the general course content;

      2. a description of the expected learning outcomes (e.g., process, content, skills, objectives) and the assessment instruments (e.g., portfolios, examinations, performances, pre- and post-tests, conferences with students, student papers) which will be used by the instructor to determine the extent to which students have achieved these learning outcomes;

      3. a list of the required recommended course readings and activities [ NOTE : it is understood that these are updated and modified as needed by the instructor(s)].

    6. Each new course proposal must indicate for which students and/or programs this course is being developed (e.g. majors in the department, minors in the department, majors of other departments, general education).

    7. New course proposals must include a statement which affirms either: (a) that the department currently (without any additional funding or resources) has the necessary faculty, facilities, support materials and support staff to offer this course on a regular and continuing basis A minimum offering of once every three academic years constitutes "Regular and continuing basis," or (b) from where the additional funding, facilities, support materials and staffing expenditures required to provide the new course are expected to come and a breakdown of these additional costs.

    8. Departments, with the approval of their College Curriculum Committee and the Dean of their College, can offer a course that is developmental (e.g., 96, 196, 296) as an experimental offering. With the approval of the dean of their College, departments may continue to offer a course under an experimental number while the proposal for a permanent course number is under consideration at the university level. Such offerings must follow the normal course review and approval process. If, after being offered two times, the department or program unit wishes to offer the course again, the experimental course must be resubmitted and reviewed under its new permanent number. The proposal for a permanent new course must include all the accompanying documentation required for any new course proposal, and must undergo the entire new course review process.

    9. Departments, in order to promote consistency in student outcomes, have the right to agree to standardize courses, whether in terms of general content, or scope, or textbooks, or software packages, or requirements, or other aspects. Examples of course for which standardization might be appropriate include service courses which must contain specific content, General education courses, courses offered in sequence and courses taught across multiple sections. Once a department has agreed to such standardization, all members must abide by the decision. (9-23-94 AS 94-62)

    At the Department Level

    1. The faculty shall review and decide whether to propose the course. The standards by which course proposals should be evaluated are as follows [departments, of course, may develop additional standards]:

    2. Course proposals are reviewed according to department procedures to determine
      1. completeness of a syllabus (as per item 5 above);

      2. appropriateness of the proposed number for the course and the rationale for the course level (e.g., lower division, upper division, graduate level only) and type (e.g., lecture, seminar);

      3. reasonableness of the explanation provided for developing/offering the new course (e.g., to satisfy a need within the department curriculum, to meet the service needs of the College or university, to fulfill certain certification requirements, to fulfill the department's stated mission or program goals, to meet recommendations of the most recent program review);

      4. concordance of the content and/or method of the proposed course with the department's academic discipline (as indicted, for example, by narrative description, by an attached bibliography of works in the discipline which use or discuss the content or methods in the proposed course, or by some other means);

      5. availability of qualified faculty (as indicated, for example, in resumes, professional development activities and projects) in the department to staff the course;

      6. consistency with department program priorities as reflected in the University Academic Plan and the Instructional Program Priorities Documents;

      7. suitability of the method(s) of teaching and learning (e.g., laboratory experimentation, seminar discussions, lectures, fieldwork) and the mode of delivery (on campus classroom meetings, television/distance classrooms with on-site facilitators, computer "virtual" classrooms) to be used in the class.

The department is responsible for consulting with other departments and/or Colleges affected by the course change proposal.

At the College Level

  1. The faculty and the dean shall conduct a substantive review and shall decide whether to approve the new course. The following criteria shall be used to evaluate each new course proposal [Colleges, of course, may develop additional criteria and standards]:

      1. the curricular soundness of the proposed course;
      2. consistency with relevant department, College, and university curriculum policies and procedures for new course proposals;
      3. adequacy of budgetary resources required to offer this course;
      4. nonduplication of current university offerings or reasoned and relevant explanation for substantive duplication when duplication appears to exist.

  2. Upon approval by the appropriate College faculty body and the dean, a signed approved proposal shall be forwarded to the Office of the Associate Vice President. If the College faculty body or dean recommends disapproval of the course, a written explanation of the disapproval shall be transmitted to the department.

  3. The Dean recommends the appropriate course classification for the course that accompanies the proposal through the University review process.

  4. Course change proposals submitted by Colleges carry no implicit request for change in program requirements or supplemental funding . If a course change proposal requires either of these, it is the responsibility of the College Dean (or designee) to support the program change and/or provide supplemental funding when the course change proposal is conveyed.

At the University Level

  1. The Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs shall:

    (a) post to the Academic Affairs website ( http://www, ) a list of all new courses, changes or deletions, including CCE offerings, periodically to the campus community (i.e., Deans, Department Chairs, President's Staff, members of the Academic Senate's Executive Committee, and the appropriate Senate Curriculum Committee). Faculty who have substantive or jurisdictional concerns about proposed course changes are to notify the Associate Vice President through a dean, department chair, unit head or appropriate Senate committee chair within ten days of the posting of the list. Any courses that are a part of programs for the preparation of school personnel will be forwarded to the CPSP for consideration and recommendation. These course proposals are then forwarded through the Curriculum Subcommittee and then to the Faculty Senate. All other courses are forwarded directly to the Curriculum Policies Subcommittee.

    (b) ensure that all proposals comply with current CSUS and CSU policy.

    (c) consult with involved departments, programs and/or Colleges in cases of objections by a department, program or College against a new course or a program change proposal;

    (d) inform departments, programs and colleges of their right to appeal to the Sub-committee under these procedures;

    (e) advise members of the Sub-committee in case of an appeal.

  2. After the completion of these procedures, Academic Affairs recommends approval or disapproval of the proposals to the President.

  3. The CPC Curriculum Subcommittee and the Vice President of Academic Affairs (or designee) shall consider appeals AGAINST NEW COURSE OR PROGRAM CHANGE PROPOSALS ONLY by:

    a) A department, program or college against a proposed course or program change;

    b) A department, program and college against an CCE offering;

    c) An individual member of the Sub-committee against any proposed course or program change from any source including CCE.

  4. The CPC Curriculum Subcommittee shall serve as the first level of appeal for substantive and jurisdictional disagreements that cannot be resolved at the College level, and for substantive jurisdictional disagreements between Colleges on curricular matters. Decisions of the CPC Curriculum Subcommittee shall be transmitted to the Academic Senate and to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

  5. Final decision of whether to offer an approved course rests with the College Dean and Department Chair based on a judgment of the impact the change will have on other existing College programs given the resources available to support the change.

  6. The Sub-committee will consider other course or program changes as the Provost may request.

    After the completion of these procedures, Academic Affairs recommends approval or disapproval of the proposals to the President

  B.   Substantive Course Change Proposal Policy

  1. All substantive course change proposals shall require department and College approval. The members of the Curriculum Policies Committee's Curriculum Subcommittee are specifically charged with reviewing substantive course change proposals for both undergraduate and graduate courses offered on campus through distance learning (PM 95-0l) as well as credit and noncredit courses offered through Regional and Continuing Education. Substantive course change proposals require the use of the "New Course Proposal Policy" and procedures.

  2. Substantive course changes include one or more of the following:

    1. a significant departure from existing catalog description;

    2. a change in the number of units granted for a course;

    3. moving a course from one classification (e.g., lower division undergraduate, upper division undergraduate, both graduate and undergraduate) to another.

  C. Guidelines for Catalog Course Descriptions

      Use the following criteria for course catalog descriptions. The descriptions should:

    1. provide an overview of the course purpose in one or two brief sentences or phrases.

    2. describe course content in specific terms; i.e., list the major course topics in brief phrases.

    3. be less than 80 words in length.

    4. specifically state the number of units granted for the course and the number of lecture and/or laboratory hours per week. Courses which count for full time enrollment but not graduation should be identified as such. Courses that are graded Credit/No Credit should also be identified as such.

    5. provide information on prerequisites, corequisites, etc. in a consistent order; e.g., prerequisites, corequisites, required concurrent enrollment, standard language for "corequisites." A suggested form is "Prerequisites: Math XX, YY and ZZ; concurrent enrollment in Math ZZZ permissible."

    6. explain enrollment restrictions such as class level requirements, course open to majors only or non-majors only, course not open to students who have completed a specific similar course, and instructor's permission in lieu of completion of a prerequisite being acceptable or unacceptable.

    7. co-requisite is used for concurrent enrollment.

    8. use a consistent style within programs; in particular, all course descriptions within a program should be complete sentences or not complete sentences, but not a mixture of both in any one description or within a given program's offerings. Example:

      Introduction to differences between historical periods. Site visits to various historic locations of interest. Lecture three hours/discussion one hour.


      Course offers an introduction to the differences between historical periods of related interest. Class visits will be made to the various sites to be discussed in lecture presentations. Course format includes a three hour lecture followed by one hour of interactive discussion.

      1. include instructional method only if it is pertinent to the course or is unusual; e.g., a self-paced course in math.

      2. include CAN (California Articulation Number) designation if applicable.

      3. specifically include when the course is offered by indicating semester references for all courses. Include one of the following references: "offered alternate years only," "Fall only," "Spring only."

      4. omit ambiguous phrases such as "additional topics as time permits."

      5. use standard abbreviations consistent with the class schedule for all subject designations; e.g., abbreviation "ECON 1A" should match the class schedule abbreviation.

      6. do not include any reference to G.E. categories; these designations appear in each semester's Class Schedule.

Catalog course description copy should be formatted using the following text sequence

    1. Number
    2. Title
    3. Content Description [notes, i.e., open only to seniors or other enrollment restrictions]
    4. Lecture and Lab Hours per Week
    5. Misc. info., i.e.,
      1. Prerequisites and Co-requisites
      2. When offered
      3. Credit/No Credit
      4. Enrollment restrictions, if any Designation (when applicable) that course may be taken for workload credit toward full-time enrollment status, but is not applicable to the baccalaureate degree.
      5. Number of Units

D. CCE New Course and Course Change Proposals

    1. New CCE credit courses and substantive changes in courses for credit must be submitted through the regular curriculum review approval process. New CCE courses offered for CEUs and substantive changes in courses offered for CEUs will require the approval of the department and the College Dean. New CCE non-credit courses will be subject only to internal CCE review.