Approval Process

  • University-Wide Undergraduate Curriculum Handbook

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    The University-Wide Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UWUCC), as a standing committee of the University Senate, is the body that coordinates the approval process for curricular changes (additions, deletions, or revisions of courses or programs). All such changes normally originate within the academic department and are reviewed and approved by the department curriculum committee. After the proposal has been discussed and approved by the full department, the department chairperson will approve the change before submitting it to the appropriate college committee. (In some colleges this committee will be the College Curriculum Committee and, in other colleges, the Dean’s Advisory Committee or the college chairpersons will review curriculum proposals).

    Upon approval by the college committee, the proposal is submitted to the dean of the appropriate college. It is possible that some curricular changes may require the approval of more than one dean. For example, a change in the B.S. in Education in Biology program may need the approval of the dean of Education as well as the dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

    Approval by the college dean indicates that the proposed change is consistent with long range planning documents; that all requests for staff, facilities, and resources, made as part of the proposal, can be met; and that the proposal has the support of the administration. If staff, facilities, and resources are affected, the college dean consults with the provost before granting approval to any curricular changes.

    Letters of Support or Acknowledgement

    Anytime a proposed curriculum change impacts on other programs and/or departments, it is expected that the proposer seek appropriate letters of support/acknowledgement. This may be necessary with course revisions, deletions, new course proposals, new programs, and program revisions.

    The request for letters of support or acknowledgement should be in writing (hard copy or e-mail). Generally, requests should be directed to department chairs. Chairs may respond as the spokesperson for the department or may direct the request to a department committee. It is recommended that the request for letters of support be copied to the appropriate dean(s). Likewise, it is recommended that when letters of support are written the appropriate dean(s) receive copies of this correspondence.

    It is expected that the proposer allow departments a reasonable period of time to consider the curriculum change and write a letter of support. If, however, a department does not respond to the request for a letter of support, the proposer is encouraged to include in the proposal a copy of the dated request for such a letter and an indication that no response was received. If significant changes in the original proposal are made during the approval process, it is necessary to share the revised proposal with interested departments.

    If the proposer receives a response that does not support the proposed change, the UWUCC strongly recommends discussion among involved parties in hopes that the proposer and involved departments are able to come to some agreement. If, however, that does not seem possible, the proposer is to include a copy of the letter of nonsupport with the proposal. The UWUCC will deliberate on this matter and decide to approve or not approve the proposal on a case-by-case basis. Proposers are reminded that discussion on various points of controversy may be raised again on the floor of the Senate.

    Where to Submit/How Many Copies?

    Once approved at college/provost level, the original copy of the proposal, including the signed cover sheet, is sent to the Liberal Studies Office, 103 Stabley; telephone 724-357-5715. This office provides secretarial support for the UWUCC as well as for Liberal Studies. The office will route the proposal to the Liberal Studies Committee, if applicable, or directly to the UWUCC.

    In addition to the signed original copy, e-mail the proposal as a Word or Rich Text Format file attachment to The committees will make their own copies from your original; they do reserve the right to return excessively long proposals for editing before they are duplicated. (If you happen to have extra copies of the proposal, you are invited to send multiple copies to save unnecessary copying.) Both committees give proposals a preliminary screening for completeness and clarity, and you may be asked to amend your proposal before it is duplicated for the entire committee.

    Once a proposal is approved by the UWUCC, you may be asked to submit a final electronic copy with catalog descriptions, new programs, program revisions, etc., which will be used to prepare the Senate agenda.

    Exception: SSHE approval for new programs

    The addition of a new degree program, or of a new minor program where no major exists, requires prior support by the Office of the State System of Higher Education before it receives further review by the university. Once approved by SSHE, these proposals can be submitted to the UWUCC. (All overtures to SSHE must go through the provost’s office).

    Dual-Level Courses

    A dual-level course is approved by the UWUCC who will then submit it to the Graduate Committee of the University Senate (see page 17). Since the UWUCC and the Graduate Committee do not collaborate on the approval of dual-level courses, departments can expect that these proposals will be reviewed according to each committee's schedule and might be reported to the Senate on separate occasions. Approval of a dual-level course by one Senate committee does not mean that the course is, or will be, approved at both levels.

    UWUCC Action

    Action by the UWUCC may vary depending on the nature of the proposed curriculum change. For example, minor changes to catalog descriptions or course number changes will often receive quick review and approval by the committee, while major program revisions will take more time for review. The committee’s workload at the time your proposal is submitted will be an additional factor. The action taken by the UWUCC for each type of proposal will be explained later in this handbook.

    Once approved by the UWUCC, a cochairperson of the committee will submit the proposal for University Senate action. If approved by the Senate, the proposal must then receive final approval of the provost on behalf of the president and of the Council of Trustees, if required. It is only upon these approvals that the proposed changes can be implemented. It is important to note that, once approved, a syllabus of record or program outline becomes a contract that the university will offer the course or program as approved by the Senate. Any substantive changes in the course or program are a violation of that contract. Such changes must be submitted to the UWUCC as a course or program revision and must be approved by the UWUCC, the Senate, the provost on behalf of the president, and the Council of Trustees, if appropriate, before they can be published or implemented.


    Curricular changes will usually be approved in this order: department curriculum committee, department chairperson, college curriculum committee, college dean, honors college committee (if appropriate), TECC (if appropriate), liberal studies committee (if appropriate), UWUCC, Senate, provost on behalf of the president, and Council of Trustees (if appropriate). In some instances, as outlined later in this handbook, the provost and SSHE may also be directly involved in the approval process. Typically, it takes eight to twelve months for a proposal to be approved by all levels from college curriculum committee to Council of Trustees (if appropriate) if it is a major revision.

    Next: Changes in the Undergraduate Catalog