Academic Affairs

New Course and Program Proposals

1. New academic programs and substantive program changes

Any new major, new academic for-credit certificate, diploma or degree program, or any substantive change (25% or greater) to an existing academic program must be approved by all of the following bodies, in the following order, before being offered:

  1. The appropriate Dedman College Curriculum Council (i.e. the Undergraduate Council or the Graduate Council)
  2. The Educational Programs Committee (EPC) of the Provost
  3. The SMU Board of Trustees
  4. SACS-COC

Use these forms for submitting proposals for new programs and substantive program changes:

Once the proposal has been approved by the college’s council, the college will forward it to the EPC for approval at its next meeting. The EPC office will notify the proposer of the time and date of the EPC meeting at which the proposal is to be reviewed. The proposer and the Dedman College Associate Dean for Academic Affairs should attend the EPC meeting to answer any questions the EPC has about the proposal.

Deadlines: Meeting times and deadlines for proposal submissions to the college councils are posted on the academic affairs section of the Dedman College website. Please note that, in order for the institution to meet SACS-COC submission deadlines for new programs (i.e. by January 1), all new programs must receive institutional approval from the EPC and Board of Trustees by the fall semester prior to the fall of the academic year in which the program is to be offered. Thus, proposals for new programs or substantive program changes should be submitted to the college council early in the fall semester for implementation in the following fall semester.

* Instructions for Cooperative Agreements: Any program that relies on resources from another department must obtain an agreement from that department (and their Dean's Office if not Dedman College) to provide what is necessary to support the proposed program. Specifics must be provided. For example, faculty to teach courses, agreements to teach specific courses with a specified regularity, agreements for availability of seats, etc. Please include these agreements as part of the appendices for the EPC Long Form.

** Instructions for Completing the Faculty Roster Form: One of the more rigorous SACSCOC requirements for institutional accreditation is that every instructor be competent and well-qualified for each of the courses they are assigned to teach. Teaching a university course that is outside of one’s academic degree preparation and that is not adequately justified with alternate and compelling evidence of the instructor’s competence and expertise in the content of that course is grounds for a finding of noncompliance with accreditation standards. Please complete the Faculty Roster Form as follows:

  • Column One: Name followed by "(F)" if full time and "(P)" if part-time (e.g. adjunct).
  • Column Two: Courses (prefix: number. title) taught in the last academic year. (Please ignore the coding for D, UN, UT, G.)
  • Column Three: Degree information (degree, institution, year and subject matter of the degree).
  • Column Four: If the degree subject matter is different than the course subject matter, please describe the instructors expertise in the field, e.g., years of research in "course subject", hours of graduate work in subject, previously employed doing directly related work.

The official SACS-COC instructions are here and provide an example of a completed roster.

2. Non-substantive revisions to majors and academic for-credit certificates

Proposals to make non-substantive revisions to existing majors and academic for-credit certificate programs require approval by the appropriate college curricular committee. Once approved, they are then submitted by the college to the EPC as informational items. Please note that an increase or decrease in the number of credit hours required to fulfill a major is considered a substantive program change; proposals that involve such changes must be submitted following the procedure outlined in point 1, above.

To submit a proposal involving non-substantive revisions to an existing major or an academic for-credit certificate program, simply submit a memo to the appropriate council outlining the nature of the proposed change, the justification or rationale for the change, and any changes in program assessment related to the change. When there are numerous changes, please submit a “before and after” table summarizing the existing and proposed program requirements. This simplifies the council’s task of reviewing the proposal.

3. New minors and changes to existing minors

Proposals for new minors and changes to existing minors require approval by the appropriate college curriculum committee. Once approved, the proposal is submitted to the EPC as an informational item. Proposals for new minors and changes to existing minors should be submitted using the following forms:

* Instructions for Cooperative Agreements:Any program that relies on resources from another department must obtain an agreement from that department (and their Dean's Office if not Dedman College) to provide what is necessary to support the proposed program. Specifics must be provided. For example, faculty to teach courses, agreements to teach specific courses with a specified regularity, agreements for availability of seats, etc. Please include these agreements as part of the appendices for the EPC Short Form.

4. New courses

New courses must be approved by the appropriate college curriculum council. Courses that have not been taught in five or more years must also be approved by the council before they can be reactivated.

Proposed courses that will also be submitted for inclusion in the University Curriculum must be approved by the college council before being submitted to the UC council (the same form is used for both the college and the UC council). Please use this form for submitting a proposal for a new course or reactivating a course that has not been taught in five or more years:

For undergraduate courses:

  • Please use the Undergraduate Course Proposal form whether or not the course to be proposed is to be included in the University Curriculum (UC). If the course is not to be included in the UC, simply indicate so on the form and ignore the sections of the form that are specific to the UC, i.e. Section II (Overview of the Course): Questions 5 and 7.
  • Regardless of whether the course will satisfy UC criteria, please include Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) on the syllabus and on the UC form (Question 1 of Section II).

Policy on Credit Hours: The unit of measure for the valuation of courses is the credit hour. Based upon the federal definition of a credit hour, each credit hour requires one hour of direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours per week of preparation on the part of students, for approximately 15 weeks a semester. Most courses are valued for three credit hours, i.e., three contact hours per week and at least six hours of preparation. For three-credit-hour courses deployed via different course types, modes of delivery, or calendars, total number of direct contact hours should be equal to or greater than 45 hours, with the total out-of-class work equal to or greater than 90 hours. Courses that deviate from this standard must provide documentation illustrating how the number of contact hours and/or work outside the course equate to this standard within the term in which the course is offered. (SMU Catalog 2017-2018 forward)

Advice/Clarification on Above Credit Hours Policy: Please be mindful of the language of the federal definition while working with the simple formulae below for a standard 3 credit hour course. SMU’s 50-minute classes are accepted as 1 hour. Similarly, 80-minute T-TH sessions are accepted as 1.5 hours. 3 hour sessions count as 3 hours even though there is a brief break in the middle of those classes.

  • 15 weeks x 3 hours = 45 contact hours
  • 15 weeks x 6 hours = 90 out of class hours
  • 15 weeks is inclusive of finals

If you have questions about course or program proposals, please contact Karen Jung in the Academic Affairs office: 214-768-2691 or kkjung@smu.edu.

Undergraduate and Graduate Council Meeting Schedule

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