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University-Wide Undergraduate Curriculum Handbook


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The Special Topics course is intended by the UWUCC to be used by a department when a course is in the experimental stage of development. The designation of a special topics course is to be used when it would be inappropriate to submit a formal request for a new course until the content, methods and procedures for offering the course are stabilized. It may also be appropriate for a department to offer a Special Topic when the subject for the course has a short life span or when a visiting professor, with unique expertise, is teaching in the department. The UWUCC recommends that proposers of Special Topics review other departments’ offerings to avoid duplication.

A tentative syllabus for each Special Topics course, using the UWUCC format, must be submitted to and approved by the department curriculum committee and the department chairperson in the semester prior to its being offered. In no case should a Special Topic be offered without a syllabus review by the department curriculum committee. Where a course is not departmentally housed, for example EDUC 481 or a special topics course in Women's Studies, the syllabus must be reviewed by the appropriate curriculum committee. Each department has two Special Topic numbers available: 281 for lower level courses and 481 for upper level courses.

Forward Course Descriptions with Scheduling Materials

Because a course description for a Special Topics course does not appear in the Undergraduate Catalog, department chairpersons must submit, with their scheduling materials, an appropriate course description for each of the Special Topics courses being offered by their department. These descriptions will be published in the Banner class schedule listing so that students will be informed about the content of such courses.

Restrictions on the Use of a Special Topics Course 

The Senate passed a policy governing the number of times a Special Topics course can be offered at the April 27, 1988 meeting. It states: University practice has restricted the offering of any Special Topics to three times.

It is the responsibility of the department chairperson and the College Dean, who must sign off on all class schedules, to monitor the offering of each Special Topic to insure it is not offered more than three times and that it does not become a normal part of a department's curriculum without a course proposal being received by the UWUCC or without receiving formal approval by the UWUCC.

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