Loyola University Chicago

The Graduate School

Bylaws: Appendix B

Guidelines for Review and Evaluation of New Course and Program Modification Proposals

See also: Procedures/Checklist, Course Proposal Form


The Curriculum Review Committee will review proposals for changes in existing courses and proposals for new courses. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the appropriateness of each proposal and ensure that the proposed course logically fits within the context of the particular program. The Curriculum Review Committee oversight is also designed to ensure that courses meet general university interests, that is, avoid unnecessary course duplication, reflect attention to issues relating to student concerns about advertised goals and ground rules, and recognize demands placed upon units outside of the department necessary for the proper execution of the course, such as library resources.

The Curriculum Review Committee will review changes in existing programs in addition to its evaluation of proposals for new courses.  The purpose of the review is to assess the nature of the proposed change(s) in terms of overall program design, academic rigor, and trends in the field.  Once evaluated by the Curriculum Review Committee, proposals will go before the Council of Graduate School Programs for approval.  If approved, the proposal then goes to the Academic Affairs UPC for review.  Implementation of proposed changes cannot occur until the proposed changes receive approval from the AAUPC.

Guidelines for Review of Proposals for program modification

All proposals for program modifications should include the following elements:

  1. Presentation of the existing program components and the proposed change(s).
  2. A substantive rationale/justification for the proposed change(s).
  3. A discussion of the strengths of the proposed change(s).
  4. If the proposed change(s) draw upon the resources of other units, permission from the appropriate Department Chairs and Dean must accompany the proposal.
  5. A discussion of how the proposed change(s) fit within what goes on at the program’s benchmark institutions.
  6. A substantive statement of support from the Dean/Director of the School (when appropriate).
  7. A description of the plans for implementation of the proposed change(s).

Guidelines for Review of Proposals for New Courses

For new courses, the following general guidelines shall be in effect, the submission of 1) a complete Application for Approval of a New Course, 2) three critical reviews by experts within the area of expertise from outside the department or academic unit proposing the course, 3) recommendation to accept the course by the Curriculum Review Committee, and 4) the majority approval of the Council. If a course appears to duplicate an existing course, there must be specific justifications for why it is still needed. Should the Curriculum Review Committee consider a new course to be acceptable, this recommendation will be made to the Council at the next regularly scheduled meeting, provided the title, short description, target group, and objectives of any new courses have been distributed to members of the Council at least seven days in advance of the meeting. Minority reports of the Curriculum Review Committee will be presented by their author at the meeting of the Council. Specific procedures for approval of a new course are outlined below:

  1. The department, program, or institute proposing the course submits the stipulated number of copies of a complete Graduate School Application for Approval of a New Course form to The Graduate School.

  2. The department, program or institute proposing the course submits at least three names of reviewers external to the program who posses expertise in the academic field of the proposed course.

  3. The course proposal is submitted to at least three of these external reviewers for evaluation and comment.

  4. The Curriculum Review Committee receives copies of the proposal and the comments of at least two of the reviewers.

  5. The Curriculum Review Committee discusses the course proposal with attention to the following types of issues:

    a. Clear description of the course's goals and content, including for purposes of illustration a relatively detailed schedule, a list of readings, and the evaluation procedure. The evaluation segment should indicate the percent of grade dependent on tests, papers, class presentations, and class participation, while recognizing that not every course will utilize all of these evaluative categories.

    b. The nature of prerequisites, if any, for the course.

    c. The nature of the role of the course in terms of the program, i.e., required for the degree or elective, and how this relates to the proposed schedule of offerings.

    d. The relationship of the new course to existing courses in the program. Does this replace an existing course? Are plans underway to drop such a course? What is the timetable for doing this?

    e. The reasons for adding this course.

    f. Adequacy of library resources.

    g. Number of faculty available to teach the course. If there is only one person, is this appropriate?

    h. An analysis of the course evaluations provided by external reviewers.

    i. Presence of course duplication, if any.

  6. The Curriculum Review Committee recommends action to the Council:

    a. Acceptance as is.

    b. Acceptance based on specific revisions or recommendations to be incorporated into the proposal.

    c. Request for further information/clarification. In this case, the Curriculum Review Committee returns the proposal to the department, program, or institute for clarification or correction. At times, the Curriculum Review Committee may ask the faculty member proposing a course to attend a committee meeting to answer questions or clarify issues.

    d. Not approve the proposal. Failure to recommend adoption can be due to negative external reviews or refusal of the department, program, or institute to consider the suggestions made by the Curriculum Review Committee. The proposal is returned to the department, program or institute for final revision or retraction.

    e. If course duplication appears to be an issue, the Curriculum Review Committee may offer one of two solutions:

    • The course be cross-listed with the two departments involved.

    • The existing course be made available to the students who would be served under the proposed course, thereby alleviating the need for said course.

Meetings of the Curriculum Review Committee

The Curriculum Review Committee shall meet a minimum of four times per year sufficiently in advance of a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council to insure that brief descriptions of new courses and/or program changes recommended for approval can be distributed to the Council in advance. As a general guideline, all materials necessary to the evaluation of a new course and/or program change are to be submitted to the members of the Curriculum Review Committee at least 21 days prior to an upcoming Council meeting and at least 7 days prior to the scheduled meeting of the Curriculum Review Committee. No course or program change will be evaluated by the Curriculum Review Committee without complete documentation and the prior distribution of this material to the committee members as indicated above.

Presentation of a New Course or program change to the Council

It will be the responsibility of the Chairperson of the Curriculum Review Committee to present new courses and program changes to the Council for approval. Should any questions arise, then it will be the responsibility of the chairperson to address the question at issue either at that meeting of the Council or at a subsequent meeting of the Council.

Approval of a New Course or program change

A new course or program change can be approved at the regularly scheduled Council meeting in which the course or change is presented, provided the title, brief description target group and objectives of the new course or rationale for the program modification has been made available to Council members at least seven days in advance of the meeting. A majority vote of the Council shall be sufficient to approve a new course or program change.