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3.4 All Educational Programs

Comprehensive Standard:

3.4.10 The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum with its faculty. (Responsibility for curriculum)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

As per Board of Regents and University of West Georgia policies, responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum falls primarily to the members of the faculty. This responsibility is stipulated in Article IV, Section 1, B. (1) of the University Policy and Procedures Manual: 

"…the General Faculty has primary authority and responsibility in formulating policy and rules and regulations in all matters concerning curriculum (including, but not limited to, programs and courses of study, major field requirements, core curriculum, and individual courses)…" [1].

This responsibility is further fulfilled by individual faculty members and the scope and success of their efforts in that regard affect all promotion and tenure considerations. For example,  Section 103.03 of the UWG Faculty Handbook notes that performance in the area of teaching should include the faculty member’s "…successful development of courses, development of effective curricula and/or institutional methods, and evidence of student learning" [2].

Accordingly, procedures for creating and modifying courses and degree and certificate programs at the University of West Georgia are developed and implemented primarily by the faculty.  Program or course proposals originate in academic departments through requests by faculty. Courses and programs that are approved by the respective department are next evaluated by faculty curriculum committees within each college and school [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]. The report for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.1 provides details on the approval and modification process that involves the Faculty Senate [10]. Thus, minutes from the Faculty Senate Meetings provide evidence that faculty are involved in the curriculum development process [11]. For example, the agenda for April 6, 2011 proposed changes to "the composition and charges for the Faculty Senate standing committees by amending Article IV, Section 2,I of the Policies and Procedures Manual" [12]. The Faculty Senate standing committees are those responsible for the review and approval of all degree and certificate programs and individual course proposals.

It should be noted as well that all programs and courses offered at the University of West Georgia are treated the same regardless of the mode of delivery. The courses and programs offered off-campus are equal in length and content to their face-to-face counterparts. Thus, the Faculty Senate is involved in the decision-making related to off-campus courses and programs.   

In addition to developing and authorizing the curriculum, the faculty is responsible for assessing the curriculum periodically for quality and effectiveness, and to make changes as appropriate. The most important assessment mechanisms for this process are the Comprehensive Program Review (CPR), the Assessment of Academic Programs, and the Assessment of Core Curriculum.

The Comprehensive Program Review (CPR) is the key long-term review of academic programs at the University of West Georgia [13]. CPR serves as the catalyst for systematic and thoughtful evaluation of an academic program. It is distinctly different from annual assessments of student learning. CPR evaluates the long-term history and sets the long-term plans for an academic program. This review focuses on three characteristics of an academic program: quality, viability, and productivity. Each academic program is reviewed through CPR at least once every seven years. Programs that do not measure well against the review characteristics are subject to review at least every three years. Although the university administration is involved, the CPR process is faculty-driven. It begins with department-level assessment and concludes with review by committees of the University Faculty Senate.

The Assessment of Academic Programs and the Assessment of Core Curriculum are related but distinct elements of the University of West Georgia SACS Assessment System. The details of the assessment of academic programs and the assessment Core Curriculum are discussed in the narrative for Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.1. Further details regarding the assessment Core Curriculum are available in the report for Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1.  All assessments are designed and submitted on an annual basis by the program coordinators (see report 3.4.11 for information about the role of the program coordinator). Moreover, the learning outcomes for the specific academic programs are developed by program faculty with the guidance of the respective program director. However, the learning outcomes for the Core Curriculum were developed by the Faculty Senate and approved by the University System of Georgia the Board of Regents. These learning outcomes are outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog [14].

The University of West Georgia ensures that the curriculum is relevant to the institution's mission and program offerings. This is accomplished, primarily, through review by individual Colleges and Schools, Faculty Senate committees, and various University of West Georgia administrative officers. A review is initiated for all new courses and academic programs, and after an existing course or academic program has been modified. The assessment mechanisms discussed in this narrative play an important role in the process. The report for Federal Requirement 4.2 provides more information on how UWG program curriculum is related to the University mission.   

Supporting Documentation: