Guidelines for New or Changed Courses or Curriculum

All changes or additions to the curriculum at Valdosta State University follow the campus process outlined below. Other curriculum and course changes may also require notification of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), VSU’s accrediting agency; the Board of Regents; or the University System of Georgia’s General Education Council. This process can be time-consuming; depending on the change being proposed, official approval from VSU and any outside approvals may require up to 12 months or more. If programs have questions about whether their proposed changes will need to move beyond the VSU campus, they should consult VSU’s SACS Liaison or the Office of Academic Affairs.

If a department or a program wants a change to appear in the catalog for the beginning of the academic year in August, the entire process must generally be completed by February of that year.

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

For new courses:

  1. What is the rationale for this new course? Is this course required by an outside accreditor? If so, why?
  2. Will this course be required? Why?
  3. If required, what in the current program of study will it replace?
  4. Which program learning outcomes will this course support and how?
  5. What specific qualitative and quantitative data does the program currently have to support the need for this course?
  6. How, and how often, will the program assess the success of this course in meeting the specified learning outcomes?
  7. What personnel and resources will the program provide to offer the course on the schedule indicated?
  8. What other university courses have similar learning outcomes or subject matter?
  9. What distinguishes this new course from these other course offerings?

For revisions to existing courses:

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

For revisions to the curriculum:

  1. What is the rationale for this revision? Is this change required by an outside accreditor? If so, why?
  2. What qualitative and quantitative data already collected supports this revision?
  3. How will assessment of the curriculum be adjusted to reflect these revisions?
  4. Will this revision require additional faculty or resources?
  5. If new courses are being added, what in the old curriculum is being replaced to account for the adjustment and why?
  6. Are specific courses being changed to reflect this revision; if so, how and why?

Proposing a New Academic Program: Prospects

If a department, college, or division is proposing a new degree, it must first submit a prospectus to the University System of Georgia. The prospectus should follow the University System of Georgia’s Guidelines for the New Program Prospectus This prospectus should be no more than 7 pages long, including appendices. Departments should use the Prospectus Submission Form. This prospectus should be approved by the department, the appropriate dean or director, and then forwarded to the Dean's Council. If approved there, Academic Affairs will submit it to the system office and send copies of the prospectus to the Academic Committee and the Graduate Executive Committee (if it is a graduate program). Once the program has been reviewed by the system office, the department may be invited to submit a formal proposal using the appropriate USG form. This formal proposal must go through the usual on-campus approval process before returning to the system office for its final approval.

Changing the Method of Delivery for an Existing VSU Program:

If a department, college, or division wishes to offer an existing degree program at another location or online, the External Degree Proposal Form from the University System of Georgia must be used, guidelines and forms available at the USG.  A “Request for Revised Catalog Copy” form may also be needed for any catalog changes. These forms must follow the same campus process outlined above before being submitted to the USG.

Proposing New Certificates:

If a department, college, or division is proposing a new certificate program, the appropriate proposal form from the University System of Georgia must be used, guidelines and forms available at the USG. A VSU Request for a Curriculum Change form should be completed as well. After the on-campus process is complete, a Certificate Notification Form must be submitted to the USG.

Proposing New Minors:

If a department, college, or division is proposing a new minor, the appropriate proposal form from the University System of Georgia must be used, guidelines and forms available at the USG. A VSU Request for a Curriculum Change form should be completed as well. This form must follow the on-campus process outlined below. After the on-campus process is complete, a Notification form for New Minors must be submitted to the USG.

Proposing a New Course for VSU's CORE Curriculum:

If a department, college, or division is proposing a new course for VSU's core curriculum, the VSU Request for a New Course form should be used as well as the "Core Curriculum Course Proposal Form" for the University System of Georgia's General Education Council (available at. These forms must follow the same campus process outlined below before being submitted to the USG General Education Council. A copy of the USG online Core Course Proposal Form are available.

Deactivating or Terminating a Program:

If a department, college, or division wishes to deactivate or terminate a program, the appropriate University System of Georgia form must be used, guidelines and forms available at the USG.  This form must be accompanied by the VSU “Request to Deactivate a Course/Program” form and follow the same campus process outlined above before being submitted to the USG.

A Note About Substantive Change:

 The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools requires institutions to report substantive changes in a timely manner to remain compliant with Standard 3.12. According to SACS, "substantive change is a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution." VSU's Academic Committee, Academic Deans, and Provost's Office are the principal initiators or approvers of items which may be considered a substantive change. The SACS Liaison works with VSU administrators to assemble required SACS documentation as needed throughout the year. The SACS Substantive Change policy is available online.

To determine whether any academic changes constitute a substantive change, please consult the SACS Substantive Change webpage.

On-Campus Process:

At any part of the process, departments may wish to consult with the SACS Liaison or the catalogue editor for tips on preparing submissions.

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 must be approved by the VSU Faculty Senate. (Schedule for Faculty Senate)

Off-Campus Process:

Substantive changes must be submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools through VSU’s SACS Liaison;

New academic degrees, majors, or changes to the name of degree programs must be submitted to the Board of Regents for approval

Additions to VSU’s core curriculum must be submitted to the University System of Georgia General Education Council.

Forms:

The academic forms below are available in Word 2007; users should be able to save copies of these forms to their computers, title them appropriately, type in the required information, print forms, and then subsequently revise the forms as needed. Signed hard copies of the forms should be submitted for all required meetings; after the Academic Committee has approved a form, programs should also submit electronic copies of the form to the catalog editor.

Tips on Preparing the Catalogue Description for a New Course:

Catalogue descriptions proceed in the following order:

Course Prefix, Number, Course Title, and Hours

Additional grading requirements; Prereqs, Co-reqs

Opening fragment giving brief overview of the course. Subsequent sentences, if any, may add some details but should be kept as brief as possible.