P: CURRICULAR PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES

Curricular Program Prospectus submission forms:

Preface

Penn State University's academic units offer baccalaureate, associate and Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate (IUG) degree programs. Academic program authority resides in academic units. Program delivery may be accomplished through single-college residence-based instruction, joint college and campus instruction, or through World Campus and Continuing Education. New technologies, learning assessments, the full involvement of university-wide disciplinary communities, and increasingly sophisticated approaches to teaching and learning encourage an openness to experiment with pedagogy and recognition that learning outcomes are the primary basis of formative and summative academic assessment. In all cases, the University's academic degree programs must receive administrative authorization granted by the Provost through the Office of Undergraduate Education and by the University Faculty Senate. The principles, guidelines and procedures that follow provide the authorization protocols to develop, revise, and deliver (P-1), share (P-3), and discontinue (P-6) academic programs.

I. Curricular Roles, Principles and Guidelines

The Provost, as chief academic officer, maintains authority for the Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures that govern the undergraduate curriculum and may, in consultation with faculty, deans, and other appropriate offices, make exceptions to them.

The Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education serves as the Provost's designee and reviews curricular proposals on the Provost's behalf. In this capacity, the Office of Undergraduate Education associate deans are available for curricular consultation involving programs and may facilitate arbitration among colleges and other units.

Decisions regarding undergraduate programs, majors, options, IUGs and minors require both academic and administrative review and approval.

Proposals for academic programs, program amendments, and program terminations are developed in consultation with disciplinary communities and administrative units and reflect strategic as well as academic deliberation. New programs must be justified by considerations of academic rigor, cost, enrollment, impact upon availability of senior faculty to engage in lower division instruction, implications for other programs and courses; program duplication: university, college, and campus mission; market need and demand; and resource feasibility. New majors, options, IUGs and minors should be proposed only when the variation from existing curricula is substantial, and when the program fulfills a demonstrable demand by students that is likely to continue.

Programs should reflect curricular integrity across all colleges and campuses of the University. Curricular integrity requires planning and implementation that reflects academic rigor, coordination, and consultation among and across units with common curricular interests, regardless of location or delivery mode.

Communication about program changes must be broadly shared. The initial intention to develop a program proposal for a new, revised or shared program, or a proposal to discontinue a program must be shared across the University utilizing an ACUE Prospectus, a process which must be completed prior to submission of a P-1, P-3, or P-6 proposal.

Consultation provides the foundation of disciplinary continuity and scholarship and a basis for principled, shared faculty governance. Evaluative analyses and assessments are accepted as contributions toward a common goal of academic coherence and achievement and do not in and of themselves restrict the development, alteration, or phasing out of programs. Consultation should include those likely to have a common interest in a proposed curricular action and include any faculty group or program that would reasonably and predictably offer courses or programs that seek academic outcomes similar to the proposed program. This includes all Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education (ACUE) deans, academic units within the college or campus in which the proposal is made, other colleges or campuses in which the proposed program/major, option, IUG or minor is offered or will be offered or will in any way be directly affected. Consultative comments, and responses to them, must be included in proposals sent to the University Faculty Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs, which will forward the correspondence with the proposal when it is delivered to the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education for further review.

Programs may occasionally require the support of shared administrative and delivery structures. P-1 and P-3 processes allow colleges or campuses to share authorization to deliver programs and to award degrees. Under special circumstances involving accreditation, licensing, or other extraordinary elements, a college or campus that does not have authorization to award a particular degree may nonetheless deliver the degree curriculum as an "extended degree program" through the auspices of an authorized Penn State college.

II. ACUE Curricular Program Prospectus for New Academic Programs, Delivery of Academic Programs at Additional Campuses, and Phase-Out of Academic Programs

The Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education facilitates ACUE's consideration of new academic majors, options, IUGs, minors, substantial program amendment likely to carry implications for other colleges, campuses, or delivery units, program name changes, and the delivery of existing academic programs at additional campuses during the pre-proposal germination period. Accordingly, a curricular program prospectus must precede development and submission of formal P-1 (New Undergraduate Major, Option, IUG or Minor), P-3 (Moving/Discontinuing Degree Programs), and P-6 (Academic Program Phase-Out) proposals.

World Campus and Continuing Education must be considered as additional campuses for purposes of P-1, P-3 and P-6 program proposals and the prospectuses that precede them. Accordingly, a college offering an existing program that wishes to move the program to World Campus or Continuing Education (including Video Learning Network), or to deliver the program through World Campus or Continuing Education as well as through residence instruction, must treat World Campus and Continuing Education as additional locations.

The curricular program prospectus requires three steps:

  1. The college or campus associate dean in which the proposed academic program will be housed must submit a brief curricular program prospectus at least one week prior to the ACUE meeting utilizing the on-line submission form.

    Curricular Program Prospectus submission forms:

  2. The information collected should enable ACUE membership to engage in a collegial conversation centered on the need for the program, resource availability, and impact on other academic units across the University. Unlike a fully developed P-1, P-3, or P-6, the prospectus is intended to generate early consultation at ACUE and to identify or flesh out issues that must be addressed in the full P-1, P-3, or P-6 proposal.

  3. Curricular program prospectuses will be distributed electronically by the Office of Undergraduate Education to ACUE membership, including the Office of the University Faculty Senate, prior to each ACUE meeting. ACUE members, serving in an advisory capacity, should use this opportunity for formative consultation with appropriate colleagues in their college, across the University, and with the originating college. In the case of P-1 proposals, the prospectus committee will determine whether a full or limited proposal is required and whether other unique elements should be included in the proposal.

  4. Following discussion of the curricular program prospectus at ACUE, an ACUE committee consisting of the ACUE chair, the University College associate dean who serves on ACUE, the chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs and an Office of Undergraduate Education associate dean will review the prospectus. The ACUE committee may also invite others as appropriate to add expertise. The ACUE committee will provide a brief recommendation to the submitting college, taking into consideration the ACUE discussion, curricular integrity, and strategic university considerations such as physical, fiscal, and faculty resources. The submitting unit may respond to the suggestions in the prospectus memo when the full proposal is developed. If there is a recommendation to not move forward with a proposal, the submitting unit may consult with the Office of Undergraduate Education to determine whether a revised prospectus should be submitted.

Upon receipt of the ACUE recommendations, a full P-1, P-3, or P-6 proposal, including evidence of consultation and attention to ACUE recommendations, may be submitted to the University Faculty Senate (P-1, P-6) or to the Office of Undergraduate Education (P-3) as appropriate. P-1, P-3, and P-6 proposals must include a copy of the ACUE recommendations.

Approved: ACUE (9-5-02)
Revised: ACUE (9-2-04, 10-7-04)
Revised: Editorial (10-26-05)
Revised: ACUE (11-3-05)
Revised: ACUE (3-2-06)
Revised: ACUE (7-6-06)
Revised: ACUE (3-1-07)
Revised: ACUE (2-7-08)
Revised: Editorial (2-4-09)
Revised: ACUE (1-7-10)
Revised: ACUE (7-7-11)
Revised: Editorial (5-11-12)
Revised: ACUE (9-6-12)
Revised: ACUE (12-6-12)
Revised: ACUE (11-7-13)


The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn State academic adviser for more detailed information. Penn State is an affirmative action, equal opportunity university.