Curriculum Review Process
The mission of the University Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) is to ensure that the curriculum of Bastyr University meets accreditation and professional guidelines and supports excellence in academic achievement.
Bastyr University, through the University CRC, evaluates degree and certificate programs and courses against the criteria specified by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) with respect to credits, length, orientation and level as well as the requirements of each program’s professional accrediting agency and licensing for Washington state (as appropriate).
The CRC reviews the curricula for all programs that are offered for academic credit and makes recommendations for revisions/changes to the provost, who provides final approval. Each school shall have a curriculum review committee that considers curricular changes for academic programs in that school. The school/department representative shall present all proposed revisions/changes to the University CRC after endorsement by the appropriate school committee.
All new programs and existing program revisions and changes must be evaluated by the CRC as part of the University academic review and approval process to ensure that the curriculum meets credit-hour standards, supports learning outcomes and addresses other course- or program-related faculty concerns. The CRC makes recommendations regarding proposed programs or program changes to the provost, who provides final approval.
Frequency of Meetings and Process
The CRC shall meet monthly on the second Friday of the month at noon, unless there is a need for additional meetings due to catalog or program-related deadlines or in order to have a quorum for matters that require a vote. Two meetings are required for new program proposal review. Minutes of each meeting shall be recorded by staff provided by the provost’s office. Draft meeting minutes shall be approved by the voting members of the CRC and then posted on MyBU by the Office of the Provost.
Two faculty members shall be elected from each school to serve as voting members of the CRC. Faculty members eligible to serve are core faculty members actively involved in teaching and who do not serve as a dean or associate dean. Whenever possible, elected faculty members should have experience working on curriculum development at the department and/or school level. CRC members serve two-year terms, with each of the two members from the school elected in alternate years (to prevent the entire committee membership from changing every two years). In addition, the Registrar of the University shall serve as a voting member of the committee. The committee chair shall be a faculty member and will be elected each year at the September meeting by the voting members of the CRC.
A quorum shall consist of at least one faculty member from each school plus the registrar or his/her designee. A school/department representative may substitute for a voting member, but a quorum must be present for a vote on any proposal. A department chair or dean may serve as a designee for a voting member in order to obtain a quorum, but must abstain from voting on proposals from his/her school/department. The assistant vice president (AVP) for recruitment and retention or an advisor from the registrar’s office may serve as a voting member designee for the registrar in the case of absence.
Ex Officio Members
Deans, department chairs who are not voting members, advisors from the registrar’s office, the AVP for recruitment and retention, director of Library Services and the University librarian are ex officio members of the CRC. Ex officio members are encouraged to attend meetings and participate in discussions whenever possible but shall not vote (except if serving as a designee for a voting member) nor designate a substitute meeting attendee if they are not able to attend in person.
The sections below address CRC procedures for:
- New program review and recommendation (voting item)
- Changes to program curriculum (voting item)
- Minor changes that require CRC notification
- Minor changes that do not require CRC notification
New Program Review and Recommendation Process
The sponsor of a proposed new program must first obtain approval and funding from the provost to undertake an academic risk analysis and/or market study to determine if the proposed program is likely to be successful. New program development is primarily the responsibility of the dean and/or department chair and faculty of existing departments, although the University may seek/receive ideas for new academic programs from external sources.
The appropriate individual will complete an academic risk analysis and/or market study for any new program curriculum, working collaboratively with marketing and admissions. The academic risk analysis must be presented to the appropriate school CRC for discussion. If the school CRC endorses the proposal, the dean/chair supporting the proposal must consult with the faculty and chairs of other programs that may interface or overlap with the proposed program along with the registrar and the admissions director to consider instructional, implementation and funding concerns.
Proposals for new degree programs must be presented to the Academic Council for review, discussion and approval to advance to the Academic Leadership Council (ALC). The ALC recommends the proposed program to the provost, who advances the program to the University CRC.
The school CRC representative and dean sign and submit course proposal forms for each new course to the University CRC for review. If the new program involves any possible crossover or overlap with any other University program, the appropriate dean/department chair must be directly consulted prior to the University CRC meeting and attend all University CRC meetings at which the proposal is discussed.
After receiving the CRC’s recommendation, the provost presents the new program proposal to President’s Cabinet and the Academic Affairs Committee. The Academic Affairs Committee is responsible for recommending new program proposals to the University Board of Trustees for authorization to proceed with accreditation review and implementation.
The provost is responsible for submitting the final program prospectus to NWCCU for institutional accreditation. If the new program requires professional accreditation, the dean/chair must work with the provost to coordinate submission requirements. NWCCU as well as the professional accrediting association must provide final approval prior to new program promotion, student recruitment and implementation.
Changes to Program Curriculum
New course proposals, course revisions (including courses under consideration for deletion) and changes to course credit values must be reviewed by the University CRC, which submits its recommendations to the provost.
Proposed changes shall be submitted on course proposal forms to the dean and/or chair and the school CRC for discussion prior to submission to the University CRC. The school CRC representative and the dean sign and submit the forms to the University CRC. Course proposal forms are submitted to the provost’s office and chair of the University CRC at least one week prior to the next scheduled meeting date.
After the proposal forms are also signed by the CRC chair, registrar and provost, copies of the forms are forwarded to the registrar for signature and appropriate action (e.g., assignment of new course numbers, implementation into the curriculum, inclusion in the catalog, etc.). Minor changes to individual courses and substitutions that are equivalent in credit hours may be implemented and published in course syllabi and updated in the next catalog. The marketing and admissions departments are also advised by the dean or designee of any changes for inclusion in or corrections to student recruiting and marketing materials.
Minor Changes that Require CRC Notification
School CRCs are responsible for proposing changes to corequisites and prerequisites as well as individual courses that impact delivery and/or sequencing of other courses. The University CRC should be notified of these kinds of changes through submission of a course proposal form and receive clarification through attendance of the appropriate dean/department chair at the CRC meeting during which the changes are discussed. If the changes are significant (i.e., they affect all or most of the courses in a program), the changes are no longer considered minor and must be reviewed and voted on by the CRC. If the change affects the curriculum of another school/department, the appropriate dean/chair must be consulted prior to proposing the change. The dean/chair of the affected program and the registrar must be informed of the final outcome as well.
Minor Changes that Do Not Require CRC Notification
The University CRC does not need to be notified of schedule changes. Proposed changes involving the scheduling of individual courses are discussed between the dean/chair or designee and the registrar. Implementation of proposed changes is dependent on room availability and the degree of impact on other courses and programs.
Special Topics Courses
Special topics courses on selected subjects may be approved by the department chair or dean and offered on a trial basis up to two times without notification to the University CRC. For a course that has been offered as a special topics course to become part of the regular curriculum as a requirement or an elective, a course proposal form must be submitted to and reviewed by the University CRC. Electives are not required to be offered as special topics courses before they are submitted to CRC for review. ALC may require that the CRC review and the provost approve Interdisciplinary Studies courses prior to being offered.
Review by the University CRC and approval by the provost and accreditor(s) do not constitute budgetary approval for new programs or courses that are revised to include additional credits. To offer the newly approved course, the school/department must either substitute the new course for an already-scheduled course (with an equivalent number of credits) or request funding for additional credits during the annual budget planning process.