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3.4.10 Responsibility for curriculum

The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum with its faculty. (Responsibility for curriculum)

Judgment of Compliance

Sam Houston State University places the primary responsibility for the content, quality and effectiveness of its curriculum with its faculty. The faculty under the guidance of their respective chairs, deans, and academic committees are charged with the creation of new courses, revision of existing courses, the removal of outdated material and courses, and the addition/deletion of degree programs. All proposals for adding, deleting courses or programs must be reviewed and approved by departmental curriculum committees composed of faculty members. Subsequent reviews of these proposals at the college and university level are made by committees composed of faculty and administrators. In a similar fashion, these same individuals and groups are charged with evaluating the effectiveness of their degree programs (See Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1).

Curriculum Content
The curriculum review process applies to proposed changes either at the course level or the degree program level. As addressed in Core Requirement 2.5 and Comprehensive Standards 3.4.1, the initial review and approval of all proposals for new courses and/or programs are the responsibility of the faculty through their respective departmental curriculum committees. Typically, faculty make suggestions to departmental committees as to the need for adding or deleting a course. Proposals for new courses require detailed faculty input on such issues as need, course duplication, and course content [1] [2]. In addition, the proposed new course must be integrated into the curriculum, connected with suggested course prerequisites, sequenced within the program, assigned appropriate credit hours, and matched with the intended audience. Any proposal for a new course must include a course outline and textbook.

All proposals approved by a departmental curriculum committee are forwarded to the respective college curriculum committee for a broader perspective review. Again, this committee is composed of faculty members and departmental chairs from across the college. All proposals recommended for approval by a college curriculum committee are subsequently forwarded to the University Curriculum Committee for review and recommendations [3]. Approved proposals are sent to the Academic Affairs Council for review and recommendations[4]. Proposals approved by the series of internal reviews are submitted to The Texas State University System Board of Regents and The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The University expects the faculty to be responsible for course content. One of the primary facets in meeting this responsibility is the selection of the textbook(s). The faculty bear primary responsibility for delivery of curriculum as evidenced by the “Curriculum Changes, Textbook Adoption, and Syllabi” section of the Faculty Handbook [5]. The handbook explicitly indicates that textbooks are selected by the teacher(s) of the course.

Additional support for the faculty responsibility for the curriculum is found in the Graduate Faculty Status Policy that states “. . . the academic integrity of graduate programs rests primarily with the Graduate Faculty. The main responsibilities of the members of the Graduate Faculty are to (1) teach graduate students effectively, . . . (6) ensure graduate programs in their discipline are relevant and of high quality” (SHSU Academic Policy Statement 801014 [6]).

Assessment of degree programs is required with respect to student learning outcomes. Summary results including findings and actions are recorded and publicized in the University’s online assessment tracking database (OATDB). Faculty within each department are responsible for developing the goals, objectives, indicators, and criteria related to assessing student learning outcomes in their respective areas. Furthermore, the faculty develop, collect, and assess all relevant data associated with measuring the effectiveness of the curriculum as addressed in Comprehensive Standard Effective fall 2008, all doctoral programs must conduct a self-study every five years. Included in the self-study is a section on the quality and effectiveness of the program curriculum [7].

In addition to internal expectations in assessing effectiveness, the University must also be responsive to state regulations. Every four years the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) requires all public institutions to justify the existence of any low producing degree programs. THECB requires a written response to justify the continuation of programs that are not productive in terms of degrees produced [8] [9]. Input from departmental chairs and faculty is used to produce the response.

Supporting Documentation
Documentation Reference
Document Title
[1] Curriculum Form B, Request for Addition of a New Course
[2] Curriculum Form B, Request for Addition of a New Course - Example - BIO 434
[3] University Curriculum Committee
[4] Academic Affairs Council, SHSU
[5] Curriculum Changes, Textbook Adoption and Syllabi - Faculty Handbook
[6] Academic Policy Statement 801014 - Graduate Faculty Status
[7] Doctoral Program Review Manual, SHSU
[8] Review of Degree Programs, Mission Statement, and Table of Programs, Memo from Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
[9] Low Producing Degrees Response Letter from SHSU to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2004

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Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341
(936) 294-1111