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Comprehensive Curricular Revision: FAQ

Below are the questions we're hearing most often. We will update these questions and answers throughout this period of planning, submitting proposals, and activating new curricula. If you have questions, please send them to your CRLC representative so we can address them.

For most programs undergoing significant curricular revision, or that are planning course/program revisions that will affect other programs, the revised curriculum will be reflected in the Fall 2023 course catalog.

A few departments, whose curricular changes are not interdependent with other programs' named requirements and/or whose changes were already submitted via CIM before the start of fall 2021 may be considered for Fall 2022 launch dates.

Each School has one or more representatives on the CRLC. You can find your representative(s) on the membership page. Please feel free to access our support for you. Most of us are integrated with the curriculum review process at the School or College level.

Yes, as the campus reaches the sustainable size, we will have fewer students taking ICC courses. If proposed revisions to the ICC are adopted, students will have considerable flexibility regarding the courses they take in any one of the perspectives. It will be important for departments to maintain availability of courses that hold ICC designations. If you transition to delivering ICC courses that are 4 credits (instead of 3 credits), and then offer fewer sections, you may need to increase course caps to accommodate that change, although precise needs will vary depending on the size of our student population. Your dean’s office will have guidance on seat expectations for your department.

To find a list of department’s courses with ICC designations, please see the Resources section of the CRLC website. We will update it periodically.

According to the Framework for Comprehensive Curricular Revisions 2021-2023, one of the baseline stipulations from the provost is that “changes to programs and majors should not result in an increase to the credits within the major” (p. 2). Exceptions may be considered by the dean, in consultation with the provost. Please see additional details and the rationale for the stipulation in the Framework document, available in the Resources section of this site.

The College is not requiring a campus-wide change to 4-credit courses. Historically, we have offered students courses with a range of associated credits, and we will continue to do so. Further, departments—depending on a range of variables—may change some, all, or none of their courses and the associated credits. This is a moment when departments who wish, for student-centered reasons, to make such a change will have support for considering this kind of curricular planning (e.g., an accommodating schedule grid, curricular mapping and instructional design support).

Many faculty at the College teach within departments that have offered courses with 1, 2, 3, or 4 credits, in varying combinations, to fulfill their annual teaching responsibilities. Department faculty members and department chairs, in collaboration with the deans' offices, have a responsibility for considering the mix of courses taught by faculty within and beyond the department and how each person's annual teaching workload is determined. The CRLC will support with curricular changes desired by the department, but the details of faculty teaching loads--and efforts to maintain balance and equity--will be worked out in departments and schools.

If another department relies on a course you offer, we encourage dialogue with that department to learn more about (1) what they need from your course, (2) whether that need still exists, (3) whether the changes you’re considering might continue to meet that need, or (4) what creative alternatives might help ensure that your department’s plans and their needs can be observed. The fact that another department relies on a course does not prohibit a department from considering changes to a course.

If the conversations between departments become tricky, you may find it helpful to pull in a member of the CRLC. We are here to help our colleagues problem-solve collaboratively.

If you're not sure what other programs might require a course that your department offers, you can use the CIM system to see which other programs list your course as a named requirement. This information can help you identify the other chairs to contact for an initial dialogue about your plans and the various programs' needs.

Several departments are considering how 2-credit courses, offered in a block format, might help programs offer special content (especially electives).

In these conversations, we've heard that some might consider 2-credit blocks to support specialized topics, and some are considering using a 2-credit Block 1 to support introductory content and then a 2-credit Block 2 to support a related, deeper-dive investigation of a topic within a discipline.

Even more creatively, possibilities exist for different departments to create pairings of courses that might, together, appeal to particular student audiences interested in interdisciplinary study of a topic (e.g., a Block 1 from Department A and Block 2 from Department B--in collaboration).

You can access a spreadsheet with courses and their ICC designations on the CRLC Resources for Faculty page. Your dean's office can also pull an up-to-date report from the Reporting Center to show all the courses with ICC attributes.

Careful academic advising and a partnership with your dean’s office are key components for departments with curriculum changes. This partnership will help faculty proactively support students who are finishing programs as the new programs are made live in the 2023-2024 catalog. For instance, departments should plan for providing course overrides for students taking courses where prerequisites have changed and course waiver/substitutions to allow students to use an updated or new course to fulfill an existing requirement. Note that we may not require students to take more credits to complete an existing program than was originally stipulated in their catalog. If a department is shifting from a 3-credit to a 4-credit based curriculum, you may find you have to waive credits for students as well as courses. Your dean’s office can help you determine the best way to approach this. 

Most departments, especially those with credit-intensive programs, should be undertaking an evaluation of how to streamline requirements and increase flexibility where possible. For professional programs, this will likely require an analysis of the content required for licensure/accreditation, the content of the current curriculum, and an analysis of whether the content is REQUIRED to be delivered with a particular credit hour attached to it (e.g., a 3 semester-credit hour course in X content) or whether that content must simply be taught/learned/assessed within the curriculum but without a particular number of credits associated with it.

Likewise, programs that currently require content they anticipate graduate schools will expect as prerequisites for further study in their discipline should consider transitioning, where appropriate, from a strategy where all students take the same requirements for the major, regardless of their post-graduation plans, to one based on advising guidance for students interested in pursuing graduate study, who are advised to take additional courses if graduate study is their goal.

Additionally, the proposed changes to the ICC (to be considered by APC in Fall 2021) will allow students greater flexibility in how they meet ICC requirements (e.g., removal of a college-wide CLA requirement, possibility of the major department exempting students from an associated perspective, more choice for students to study across themes in their perspective courses), so even if additional ICC courses transition to 4-credits, students should have room in their studies to take either 3-credit or 4-credit courses depending on what content/topics they wish to study.

It’s okay if you’ve never prepared a NYSED proposal to revise a program. You will have the support of your associate deans and the Provost’s Office. Don’t worry. We’ll also post guidance on our CRLC Resources for Faculty page to help you prepare a successful proposal.

No, the CRLC is not responsible for developing a new schedule grid. We do recognize, however, that the availability of a schedule grid that permits 4-credit classes to be scheduled on-grid is important to departments that are considering 4-credit courses in their program revisions. Therefore, in our resources for faculty, we’ve included the basic architecture for standard course delivery in a 15-week semester (i.e., instructional time and credits, consistent with current College policy on awarding academic credit).

While it’s not the work of the CRLC to develop a grid, we have heard many questions about the schedule grid development, so we’re sharing information here to help address those curiosities.  

The short answer is that faculty members already have been and will continue to be involved in the development of a new schedule grid.  If it would help to have more information, extra details are below. 

Background

As many faculty members will recall, the development of a common academic schedule grid was identified as a priority objective for the campus in Year One of the Ithaca Forever Strategic Plan implementation. An action group of faculty and staff was charged in 2019-2020 with the development of this new common grid, but the action group of faculty and staff first committed to examining a range of existing data sources and to collecting new evidence that would help them better understand the problems or issues a new grid would be seeking to address.

The action group collected information directly from department chairs and students, examined time override requests and other relevant workflow reports, examined course schedules across the College, and reviewed earlier efforts to introduce new grids at the campus.

The group’s work was interrupted by the pandemic, prior to the stage in which focus groups were convened, but their work was restarted by the Office of the Registrar and the Office of the Provost after the distribution of the Shape of the College, which accelerated the need for the schedule to offer times for departments planning to offer 4-credit courses. Designated 4-credit time bands are not present in the schedule grid we presently observe, except for the addition of a “fourth hour.” In the late spring 2021, a variety of faculty, student, and staff stakeholders were consulted in meetings for input about schedule grid possibilities and goals they hoped a new schedule grid could help address.

What’s next?

Faculty can anticipate additional outreach from the Office of the Provost and the Registrar's Office as a draft of a new common schedule grid is developed. A very initial draft will be informed by the data collection and analysis from the faculty/staff working group convened in 2019-2020, input from department chairs and program coordinators in late Spring 2021 meetings, and insights from Spring/Summer 2021 meetings with other campus stakeholders. The plan is then to establish an advisory committee that will include faculty representation; this committee will be charged with helping to engage in iterative revisions of the emerging draft by soliciting feedback from stakeholders, many of whom will be in the process of engaging in curricular revision as this new draft is being revised and refined. The committee will consult with various faculty governance bodies both for awareness and to collect and incorporate additional suggestions for revision. Please be on the lookout, this fall, for additional communication regarding upcoming opportunities for faculty involvement in the process.