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Curriculum Guidelines and Help

III. Programs

1. Program terminology

Certificates
Certificates are programs that are designed to better prepare students for employment in specific career areas.

Majors
Major programs can have a concentration or a focus.

Concentration

  • Concentration is the term used when at graduation the concentration is posted to the WOU transcript.
  • Majors that include concentrations need to specify if the concentrations are optional or required as part of the major.
  • A “concentration” is an optional or required set of courses within a major that constitutes a sub‐specialty within the discipline. In practice, sub‐specialties have a minimum of 12 credits. (4/12/16 Faculty Senate Concentrations, Catalog Language Update)

Focus

Focus is the term used when at graduation the focus is not posted to the WOU transcript.

Majors that include focus areas need to specify if the focus areas are optional or required as part of the major.

2. New certificate program

  • See the approved Faculty Senate Certificate Program Requirements for details about WOU certificates before beginning your proposal.
  • Select Request for a: Program to propose a new undergraduate or graduate certificate
  • Select Level: Graduate or Level: Undergraduate
  • Select Type of Request: New (course, program, or temporary course)
  • Select Type of program: Certificate
  • Complete the attributes that apply to your proposed certificate. Specific items from the Faculty Senate Certificate Program Requirements to address in your summary (or possibly in other proposal form fields)
    • C. Certificate Programs must be specifically linked to and/or aligned with professional development.
    • E. In most cases, Certificate Programs at WOU should have a minimum of 12 upper-division undergraduate credit hours or 12 graduate credit hours, with the exception of language certificates at the elementary or intermediate level. In some cases, such as language certificates at the elementary or intermediate level, lower-division courses or fewer credit hours may be permissible. The curriculum must be designed such that the coursework purposefully targets a specific profession or professions, except for language certificates and other areas which by design enhance a student’s degree in a wide variety of professions. Programs that include a significant number of electives in broad content areas will not be approved. Certificate programs of different scopes and purposes that do not conform to the above requirements- such as those aligned to specific industry training or certification- may be approved.
  • Note items 1 – 6 of the HECC Proposal for a New Academic Program, used for review by the WOU Board of Trustees, are now included on the WOU Portal curriculum eform, additional documents are not required.
  • You must provide catalog text that is accurate and consistent with university catalog formatting. See Listing program course options under 5. Modifying existing program under Programs and review similar majors in the current catalog for display ideas.
  • Approved new program descriptions will be included in the catalog and Degree Tracks from this new program description entered in the curriculum eform. Rationale/attachment statements cannot be entered into the catalog system.
  • Advising note: Both undergraduate and graduate free-standing certificates that are at least one year of full time study, that is 27 quarter credits for graduate certificates and 36 quarter credits for undergraduate certificates, are eligible for Federal Financial Aid if the certificate has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education via the Program Participation Agreement approval process. Check with the Registrar to determine if the certificate is approved. These requirements are per U.S. Department of Education regulatory action regarding Gainful Employment.

 

3. New minor program

  • Select Request for a: Program to propose a new minor.
  • Select Level: Undergraduate
  • Select Type of Request: New (course, program, or temporary course)
  • Select Type of program: Minor
  • Complete the attributes that apply to your proposed minor.
  • Note items 1 – 6 of the HECC Proposal for a New Academic Program, used for review by the WOU Board of Trustees, are now included on the WOU Portal curriculum eform, additional documents are not required.
  • You must provide catalog text that is accurate and consistent with university catalog formatting. See Listing program course options under v. Modifying existing program under Programs and review similar majors in the current catalog for display ideas.
  • Approved new program descriptions will be included in the catalog and Degree Tracks from this new program description entered in the curriculum eform. Rationale/attachment statements cannot be entered into the catalog system.

4. New concentration or focus area

Step One: Propose the new concentration or focus area (proposal 1)

  • Select Request for a: Program
  • Select Level: Undergraduate or Graduate
  • Select Type of Request: New (course, program, or temporary course)
  • Select Type of program: Concentration or Focus
  • Complete the attributes that apply to your proposed concentration or focus area, including catalog ready copy for the description

Step Two: Update the major program to reflect the new concentration or focus area (proposal 2)

  • Select Request for a: Program
  • Select Level: Undergraduate or Graduate
  • Select Type of Request: Modify Existing
  • Select Type of program: Major
  • Complete the attributes that apply to your proposed changes, including listing the new concentration or focus area in the catalog ready copy of the modified major description

5. New major program

  • See the HECC Proposal for a New Academic Program document for required information about a new major or minor program before beginning your proposal.
  • Select Request for a: Program to propose a new major.
  • Select Level: Graduate or Level: Undergraduate
  • Select Type of Request: New (course, program, or temporary course)
  • Select Type of program: Major
  • Complete the attributes that apply to your proposed major.
  • Supporting documents to include:
    • New program proposals require the HECC Proposal for a New Academic Program document to be completed prior to dean approval. These requirements should be considered as you design your new program proposal, and the HECC Proposal for a New Academic Program document should be completed in collaboration with your division chair and dean.
    • HECC Proposal: Include the requested HECC Proposal for a New Academic Program document (required for WOU Board and for external review) with your proposal as an Supporting attached supporting document.
    • 4-year plan: Include a draft of a 4-year (12-term) grid of how the student would be expected to progress through the degree as an attached supporting document.
    • Pathway to graduation: Include estimated total credits for degree completion, including any prerequisite credits needed for the college ready Freshman. This will be an essential document to support review by the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the WOU Board of Trustees.
  • For your program description on the eform, you must provide catalog text that is accurate and consistent with university catalog formatting. See Listing program course options under v. Modifying existing program under Programs and review similar majors in the current catalog for display ideas.
  • Approved new program descriptions will be included in the catalog and Degree Tracks from this new program description entered in the curriculum eform. Rationale/attachment statements cannot be entered into the catalog system.

Complete list of HECC new program documents and resources

6. Modifying existing program

  • Select Request for a: Program
  • Select Level: Graduate or Level: Undergraduate
  • Select Type of Request: Modify Existing
  • Select Type of program
  • Complete the attributes that apply to your proposed changes.
    • Select What is being modified? Program content/requirements and/or catalog description if you wish to change any program requirement.
    • You may select Catalog front matter (mission) only, without other changes to program title, content, or requirements if you wish to change your mission, but not your program.

Concentration and focus area changes

  • Concentrations and focus areas are listed on separate pages in the catalog than the main program. Concentration and focus area changes require a separate proposal for each concentration or focus area that you wish to modify.
  • If you are submitting a program change, simply duplicate the program change (see Proposal submission), then switch the program selection to the concentration or focus area, and complete the form. Be sure to indicate in the Summary section that this is a concentration or focus area change associated with a program change.
  • If you are changing from concentration to focus area or from focus area to concentration, include this in your curriculum proposals so that it is captured correctly for Degree Track programming by the Registrar.

Listing program course options

  • Standard recommendations from the Registrar: Use “Choose number” followed by a bulleted list of courses (with complete title and credits) rather than credits where possible.
  • Be sure to list all program requirements as part of the program core requirements, not as notations at the beginning or end of a program.
  • Example 1 | Choose One from a list. List each course requirement on a separate line and include the credits
    Choose One
    • ED 200 Foundations of Education Credits: 3
    • ED 220 Introduction to Early Childhood Education Credits: 3
  • Example 2 | Choose One from a list including options. List each course choice requirement on a separate line and include the credits
    • MTH 231 Elements of Discrete Mathematics I Credits: 3 AND MTH 232 Elements of Discrete Mathematics II Credits: 3
      OR
    • MTH 251 Calculus I Credits: 4 AND MTH 252 Calculus II Credits: 4

Program display tips

  • When thinking about changes to a program, be sure to look at the program in the current online catalog.
  • When you select an existing program from the drop-down menu on the e-form, the current program description should autofill in both the current and proposed modified program description areas.
  • Modify the description in the proposed modified program description area as needed. Be sure to use catalog ready copy with complete words, titles, etc.
  • Non-catalog ready copy cannot be processed by the Registrar’s office and cannot be recommended for approval by the curriculum evaluation committees. You must provide catalog text that is accurate and consistent with university catalog formatting.
  • Approved modified program descriptions will be included in the catalog and Degree Tracks from this new program description entered in the curriculum eform. Rationale/attachment statements cannot be entered into the catalog system.

7. Modifying existing program learning outcomes, but no other part of the program

  • Select: Request for a: Program Outcomes Only
  • Program learning outcomes changes only are not evaluated by any curriculum evaluation committee.
  • Use the catalog or this link to look up exiting Program Learning Outcomes (they will also populate on the eform).
  • You may also modify program learning outcomes as a component of a program modification proposal.
  • See the office of Academic Effectiveness for additional help.

8. Creating additional degree (B.A., B.S., B.F.A, B.A.S) pathways

  • Each major at WOU is a specified degree type. B.A., B.S., B.F.A, B.A.S, or B.M.
  • For an existing major with one of these degree type designations, you may modify up to 25% of the course requirements within the major to add an additional degree designation pathway. Since this is a modification to an existing program, this is not a new program proposal.

Modify your program

      1. Follow the directions for Modifying existing programs on this page.
      2. Include in the Summary/Rationale section your intention to add an additional degree designation pathway, and also keep the current degree designation pathway.
      3. Under the prompt “What is being modified?”, select BOTH Program content/requirements and/or catalog description* and Title .
      4. Under the Modified Program Information, use the title field to add the title with the new degree type, for example
        Current: Astrology, B.A.
        Modified: Astrology, B.S.
      5. Select the new degree type in the Degree Type (required) menu.
      6. Complete the modified program description to show the changes to an existing major that alter the major to the other degree designation pathway.

*You may skip selecting modifying the Program content/requirements and/or catalog description if no changes are required (for example, when adding an A.B pathway).

9. Dropping a program

  • Select Request for a: Program
  • Select Level: Graduate or Level: Undergraduate
  • Select Type of Request: Drop Existing
  • Complete the proposal.
  • In the Summary/Rationale section of your proposal, include “teach out” arrangements for all affected students and the implications of dropping the program on the faculty appointments in your division.

10. Consultation with others

If you are proposing a program modification that may affect other areas, please check in with the department head or program director in that area and collaborate about the proposed additions and changes. Make a note of who you worked with, when you worked with them, and the result; you will need this information to complete your curriculum proposal. The curriculum form includes:

Programs affected/consulted (required)
Please include the name(s) of those contacted, with the date(s) and the result(s) of the consultation/collaboration.

For program changes involving courses from other areas, the Registrar will search for impacted areas and bring those to the attention of the Curriculum Evaluation Committees, but it is best to identify impacted areas yourself early in the process.

11. Credit guidelines for programs

Undergraduate certificates

  • Must have a minimum of 12 upper-division undergraduate credit hours

Graduate certificates

  • Must have a minimum of 12 graduate credit hours

Minor

  • Must have a minimum of 12 upper-division undergraduate credit hours
  • A common number of credit hours for a minor at WOU is about 27 credit hours

Major

  • Must have a minimum of 36 upper-division undergraduate credit hours
  • A major may have up to 90 credit hours, inclusive of all required coursework for the major.
    This includes any required, but “hidden” prerequisites for the college-ready Freshman.
  • Some major degree programs may, to meet state or national accreditation requirements, require more than 90 credits. Be sure to consult with your dean and the provost if this is the case for a proposed new program.

Total Credits

  • Total credits are displayed for all WOU programs in the online catalog.
  • If applicable (i.e.,there is a range of credits in course options), a credit range will be displayed to indicate the minimum and maximum credits within which the student could complete the program (e.g. Total Credits: 60-90). Credit totals for all programs are calculated based on the lowest to highest credit hours within which a student can complete minimum and optional program requirements.
    • Example 1: A major with requirements that total 60 credits and also requires a focus or concentration ranging in credits from 20-30 credits will have a total credit range of 80-90 (60+20 to 60+30).
    • Example 2: A major with requirements that total 60 credits and that allows for a student to complete an optional focus or concentration ranging in credits from 20-30 credits will have a total credit range of 60-90 (60+0 to 60+30).
  • See: the University Graduation Requirements under the Baccalaureate Requirements in the catalog for a complete reference.

12. (Sample) Four-year plans

What are the four-year plans?

  • Each undergraduate major at WOU has a sample four-year plan on the WOU website at wou.edu/academics.
  • The sample four-year plans are available for prospective students and their families, and also for initial advising for incoming freshman.
  • With the click of a button, each plan can be illustrated as a nice downloadable one-page pdf, so these plans are a great place to share information with students who are considering WOU.

Who is responsible for the four-year plans?

  • Each division is responsible for the upkeep of the four-year plans for their majors.
  • Division chairs, department heads/program coordinators and APAs should find the Google sheets we use to update these plans in their “Shared with me” area on Google Drive. If you don’t, if there is a plan that is missing or if there is a plan that shouldn’t be there, please contact the Faculty Senate programmer (see VI. Help > i. Current contacts).

What can the four-year plans be used for?

  • The sample four-year plans are a great place to include advising information such as the (year) order in which to take certain courses for your major, and recommended specific courses from the approved General Education list that will help students move efficiently through your major.
  • For example, you might indicate the category “Foundations: Mathematics” in your plan, or you might indicate the category and a specific recommended General Education course such as “Foundations: Mathematics – MTH 111 College Algebra” or “Foundations: Mathematics – MTH 251 Calculus I” that will help students effectively navigate your major.

When should the four-year plans be updated?

  • Annually, concurrent with spring catalog review for the upcoming catalog year.
  • Four-year plans should reflect the current / incoming catalog description of your major programs.

13. Notifying NWCCU about program changes

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) requires notification from our accreditation liaison officer for some program changes.

This does not require additional work from you, but you may notice the liaison officer is alerted when your program change is fully approved. For more information, see the NWCCU Substantive Change Manual.

14. Tips for program proposals

  • New to curriculum proposals? Check in with your division curriculum chair or other senior members in your area to review the basic ideas behind curriculum proposal requests.
  • For all proposals, be sure to check in with other areas if there is any possibility of your proposal impacting their program. Record the specific results of this collaboration, including the name of key faculty collaborators under “Programs affected/consulted”. Proposals without this information are more likely to take longer to process and to require full Faculty Senate review.
  • Review comparators in the course catalog for component and presentation ideas.
  • For program proposals that include associated course proposals, enter the program request before entering the associated course requests, and then select the program request from the associated program proposal menu.
  • Programs descriptions (new or modified majors) may not list requirements for other areas (General Education or electives). Suggested choices for General Education courses may be included in department website or advising materials, but may not be included as program requirements.
  • List program requirements as part of the program core requirements, not as notations at the beginning or end of a program. Notes may not be used to list any type of program requirement.