SECTION ONE

BACCALAUREATE DEGREE CURRICULUM

  1. Majors, Options, and Minors

Proposals to add, change, or drop majors/options/minors are initiated by completing the SCCA Major, Option, or Minor Proposal Form. It is important to note that before new majors, options, or minors, or changes in existing ones can be approved by the SCCA, all required courses need to be approved. This means that if new courses or changes in existing ones are being proposed as a part of this package, those proposals need to be included with the package. A signed, original Costing Analysis Form must be submitted with the original proposal to add a new major, add an option to an existing major, or add a new minor.

The preparation of the proposal should include a review of similar and related programs already offered across the University. The proposing unit must address the question of whether this major, option, or minor will be offered by other colleges. If the answer to this question is yes, consultation with faculty in the appropriate Penn State colleges should be sought and documented in the proposal. The consultation may be documented in the form of a grid in the proposal as long as one copy of the actual correspondence is attached to the original proposal.

If a Penn State college wishes to include an existing course in a program which it plans to offer, and this course has not been taught within the college, or in the Commonwealth College at a particular campus, the following guidelines apply. The dean of the college in which the program is being developed should request from the unit in which the course was originally created the necessary course and faculty information. The process of consultation (see Curricular Consultation Statement) should be documented as part of the new program proposal.

All proposals are reviewed, approved, or rejected by SCCA. All major/option/minor proposals will receive a "full" review with the exception of the following:

(1) Changes in requirements for a major in response to a name and/or number change with no substantive content change.
(2) Changes in requirements for a major in response to another curricular change where there is some actual change in content. (Example: A program changes the content of an introductory course, so all other majors requiring the content of the old course may have to reevaluate the prerequisites.)
(3) Addition or subtraction of a course to a selection list for a major due to changes previously approved. These proposals should include a letter of consultation from the relevant department.

In addition to SCCA approval, administrative approval is required (the provisions of Academic Administrative Policy P-1 should be followed) when adding new majors/options/minors, when dropping majors/options/minors, and when changing the name of a major/option/minor. This step includes costing by the Office of Budget and Resource Analysis (for new majors/options/minors), approval by the Executive Vice President and Provost, and review, as an informational item, by the Board of Trustees. Only after the approval of the Executive Vice President and Provost may these proposals be implemented and published in the Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin.

If a college wishes to offer an SCCA-approved academic program (major, option, minor) which it has not offered before, this needs to be authorized by the Provost (the provisions of Academic Administrative Policy P-3 should be followed).

Proposals to change requirements of majors, options, or minors that have been approved by SCCA, and do not require administrative approval, may be implemented. If the major, option, or minor is offered in several colleges, a joint proposal should be submitted. The implementation date may be the first semester following approval, if students are properly informed of these changes; otherwise, students are held to what appears in the Bulletin when the student matriculated. Archived program descriptions are available in the electronic version of the Bulletin. These archived descriptions can be found by College under the listing of Majors and Minors. The implementation date will be the same for all colleges offering the changed major, option or minor.

Diplomas show the name of the major, the degree received, and the name of the college granting the degree. Transcripts show the name of the major, the degree received, and option, minor, and certificate, where appropriate.

The General Education Component of the Baccalaureate degree consists of 45 credits, which may include one credit of a First-Year Seminar. Colleges or departments which require First-Year Seminars for more than one credit and which propose a course that cannot be completed within the 45 credits of General Education need to account clearly for the additional credits in their academic programs under the categories of College or Major Requirements.

1. New Majors

A major is a plan of study in a field of concentration within a type of baccalaureate degree. Colleges and other degree-granting units may have common requirements for all of their majors. Each major may have requirements identified in the following categories: Prescribed Courses, Additional Courses, and Supporting Courses and Related Areas. (SR:1/23/90, Appendix IV)

Guidelines for preparing the proposal are outlined below and on the Major, Option, or Minor Proposal Form (see the Appendix). A signed, original Costing Analysis Form must be submitted with the original proposal to add a new major, add an option to an existing major, or add a new minor.

The proposal must be presented in the following format for new majors, options, and minors:

  1. Provide a complete set of requirements in the Bulletin format.
    Include a description limited to about 200 words or approximately 15 lines. If there are options (or additional special features, e.g., dual degree programs, cooperative programs such as work study), the description should be limited to an additional 75 words per option. The description should contain objective language, not generalized, colorful, or vague statements that might be ambiguous or misleading. The description should cover the following items:
  2. (1) a statement of objectives that describes learning outcomes for the major;
    (2) fields of study within the major, emphasizing any unique aspects or facilities specifically related to this major;
    (3) requirements and recommendations or limitations regarding competencies, skills, or abilities needed for admission, retention, transfer, and graduation; and
    (4) if space remains, a general statement about subsequent academic or professional work possible in the field.

    Include total number of credits required for graduation.
    Include an arrangement of courses along with the recommended scheduling pattern.

  3. For baccalaureate majors, indicate a minimum of 15 credits in the major that require a grade of C or better, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.
  4. Provide a list of new courses to be established as part of the new offering.
  5. Provide a list of changed or dropped courses.
  6. In instances where a requirement is selected from a department list, or area, include a copy of the list of courses that are acceptable for meeting the requirement.
  7. Provide an explanation of how the proposal meets the educational objectives and/or strengthens existing programs of the college(s) and the University, and indicate what students may expect to accomplish through the new program.
  8. Provide a justification statement that explains how the proposal fits within the strategic planning goals of the college.
  9. Provide a statement of consultation with affected units. The consultation can be documented in the form of a grid in the proposal as long as one copy of the actual correspondence is attached to the original proposal.

2. New Options

An option is a specialization within a major that involves at least one-third of the course credits required for the major, but need not be more than 18 credits. All options within a major must have in common at least one-fourth of the total required course credits in the major. A student can only be enrolled in an option within his/her own major. (SR:1/23/90; Appendix IV)

A major with options must include a minimum of two options. All options in the major must have a common General Education component (45 credits) and a Common Requirements for the Major (All Options) component. The Common Requirements for the Major (All Options) must include at least one-fourth of the total required credits for the major. The requirements may include the three categories Prescribed, Additional, and Supporting Courses and Related Areas, or any combination of the three.

A signed, original Costing Analysis Form must be submitted with the original proposal to add a new major, add an option to an existing major, or add a new minor. A separate Costing Analysis Form must be submitted for each option.

3. New Minors

A minor is defined as a supplemental academic program of at least 18 credits. A minor program may consist of course work in a single area or from several disciplines, with at least six but ordinarily not more than half of the credits at the 400-course level. Total requirements are to be specified, and generally limited to 18 to 21 credits. Any program proposing a new minor or changing an existing minor such that more than 21 total credits will be required or more than half of the requirements will be at the 400 level must include a written justification explaining why the requirements for the minor must exceed the generally accepted parameters for a minor. Entrance to some minors may require the completion of a number of prerequisite courses that are not included in the total requirements for the minor. Grade requirements for the minor shall consist of 'C' or above for all courses required for the minor. (SR:6/2/81; Appendix. IV)

If a minor is sponsored by one academic unit, it would consist of course work in that single area. If a minor has an interdisciplinary focus and is sponsored by a program committee composed of faculty from several departments, it would include course work from several discipline areas. The names of the committee members should be submitted with the proposal. All minors are identified in the Bulletin with a general description prepared in accordance with the guidelines. Requirements for a minor may include the three categories, Prescribed, Additional, or Supporting Courses and Related Areas, or any combination of the three.

The qualitative standards of a minor and the method of communicating to students the University's academic expectations are as follows: "Departmental grade requirements for the minor shall conform at least with the minimum requirements for the major. In the case of minor programs where there is no corresponding major, minimum requirements for the minor must be established following the normal procedures for curriculum approval." (SR:4/26/88)

The Academic Administrative Policy L-6 gives a detailed explanation of admission and certification procedures. A student's academic transcript will record the successful completion of the minor at the time of baccalaureate graduation.

A signed, original Costing Analysis Form must be submitted with the original proposal to add a new major, add an option to an existing major, or add a new minor.

4. Changes in Majors, Options, and Minors

Guidelines for preparing the proposal are outlined below and are available with the Major, Option, or Minor Proposal Form. As part of the revision request, the unit making the request must demonstrate that other Penn State colleges offering the major, minor, or option have been involved in the revision process.

A signed, original Costing Analysis Form must be submitted with the original proposal to add a new major, add an option to an existing major, or add a new minor.

The proposal must be presented in the following format for changes in majors, options, and minors:

  1. The section that is being revised must be shown as it currently appears in the Bulletin (or most recent revision). Minor changes may be noted on a photocopy (or a copy printed from the Web) of the existing Bulletin listing; major changes will require retyping of the program.
  2. Provide a list of all new courses, a list of changed courses, and a list of courses that will be removed from the program.
  3. In instances where a requirement is selected from a department list, or area, include a copy of the list of courses that are acceptable for meeting that requirement.
  4. Provide a justification statement that explains the reason for each of the changes. An estimate of expected enrollment and effects, if any, on existing programs should be addressed. Course changes necessitated by the program revision should be submitted simultaneously with the program proposal.
  5. Documentation of the necessary consultation.

5. Dropping of Majors, Options, and Minors

Majors--To drop a major, both Senate and administrative approval is required. A proposal must be submitted following the procedures outlined in Academic Administrative Policy P-6.

The approval process requires submission of a Major, Option, or Minor Proposal Form and supporting documentation. If the Major, Option, or Minor is offered within several colleges, a joint proposal should be prepared by the colleges. One copy of the proposal with documentation goes to the Provost and 25 copies to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office.

The approval process is (a) proposal originates in the offering unit(s), (b) is approved by Dean(s), (c) forwarded to the Provost, who transmits the request and supporting documentation simultaneously to the Senate Chair and the Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education for recommendation, (d) the Senate Chair seeks input from appropriate Senate committees prior to review and recommendation by Senate Council (at this time the proposal is listed on the Senate Curriculum Report), (e) the Senate Chair reports the recommendation of Senate Council to the Provost, (f) the Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education reports a recommendation to the Provost, (g) the Provost acts on the request, (h) the Provost, via the Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education, informs the President, the Board of Trustees, the College Dean(s), and the Senate Executive Secretary when the decision is made to drop and phase out a program. In no case should students be informed of a defacto closing prior to Provost's approval.

The supporting documentation accompanying the proposal form as it originates in the offering unit(s) should include evidence that consideration has been given to the following:

  1. Students--admissions/entrance, advising, academic outcomes
    Enrollment data--5-year actual enrollments
    Planned date to stop offering students entrance to program, planned date to stop offering required courses, planned date for Registrar to stop awarding degrees
    Students currently in program need to be given reasonable options for completing the program or enrolling in alternative programs
  2. Tenured and untenured faculty--availability, notification, and consultation
  3. Consultation with personnel responsible for other academic programs, their concurrence, or objections and how they have been addressed
  4. Consultation with appropriate organizational support units of the University, their concurrence, or objections and how they have been addressed

Options and Minors--To drop an option or minor, submit 1 copy of the Major, Option, or Minor Proposal Form and 25 copies of supporting documentation to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office. The supporting documentation must include a justification statement that explains the reasons for dropping the option or minor. If the Option or Minor is offered by several colleges a joint proposal should be prepared.

 

B. Senate Policies Concerning Majors, Options, and Minors

1. Certificates

Certificates are issued in the name of the University for the successful completion of a degree program or a baccalaureate minor. The certificate to be awarded will be of standard format and will be provided by the Office of the University Registrar.

Transcripts will include a notation that a certificate was issued, where appropriate.

2. Consultation with Adviser Statement

Effective with the 1982-83 University Baccalaureate and Associate Degree Bulletins (currently called the Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin), the reference to "approval of the adviser" was reworded to read either "consultation with the adviser" or "departmental approval." The change is consistent with Senate legislation regarding the role of the adviser. (SR:5/5/81; see also, Senate Policy 34-27)

3. 400-Level Credits Required in a Major

SCCA urges the faculty of the academic unit to include a minimum of 15 credits at the 400 level, or the equivalent of a 400-level course, before submitting the proposal to the committee. If this 15-credit recommendation is not met, the committee may request a justification as to why it is not deemed necessary. (SR:5/1/79)

4. Retention and Transfer Requirements

The faculty in an academic unit may want to impose more restrictive academic requirements for entrance into or retention in a college/major/option/minor. The criteria for making such requests must be based on academic considerations. (Agenda Appendix C, 2/18/92)

The request for more stringent entrance, transfer, and/or retention requirements must be submitted to the dean of the college. If approved by the dean, the Retention and Transfer Proposal Form is submitted to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the University Faculty Senate Office, 101G Kern Graduate Building, for review by the Subcommittee on Retention and Transfer. If approved, the more restrictive requirements are published in the Senate Curriculum Report and will be included in the Bulletin.

When enrollment controls are needed for administrative (resource based) purposes, Administrative Policy P-4 should be followed. If the administrative enrollment control is to be published in the Bulletin, the information must be sent to the University Curriculum Coordinator for publication in the Senate Curriculum Report. After being published to the University community for 30 days, the enrollment control information will be incorporated into the Bulletin listing.

5. ROTC Credits

All baccalaureate majors must provide within the number of credits required for graduation, at least 6 credits which may be substituted with basic ROTC. (SR:4/6/65)

6. Total Credits Required for Graduation

The range of credits required for graduation from 8-semester baccalaureate majors is 120 to 144 credits; from 10-semester baccalaureate majors, 150 to 180 credits. (SR:4/6/65)

 

C. Courses

The Course Proposal Form (see form in Appendix) has been revised so that the same form can be used for all courses, i.e., undergraduate, graduate, intercultural and international competence, general education, and writing. Additional documentation, which will be supplied to the appropriate subcommittee, is required for general education, intercultural and international competence, and writing intensive course proposals.

Course proposals will receive one of two types of reviews: Full Review--SCCA requires 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 25 copies of supporting documentation; Expedited Review--SCCA requires 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 4 copies of supporting documentation. Proposals should be forwarded to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office.

An expedited review will be conducted for course proposals under the following circumstances:

(1) Limited changes in name or number (without substantive change in course content).
(2) Prerequisite changes affecting only courses within a department.
(3) Updated course descriptions of a limited nature.
(4) New 400-level courses, which do not affect courses in other majors.
(5) Course drops affecting only majors in the department.

To ensure a timely review and approval, course proposals must be submitted in the formats shown in the Appendix. Proposals that are not prepared in the proper format may be returned.

All course changes must be approved by the Senate in order to be included in the Bulletin. Changes submitted directly to the Catalog Editor will not be accepted.

1. Course Adds

Guidelines for preparing proposals are outlined below and are available with the Course Proposal Form (ADD). The guidelines are as follows:

  1. The heading as it would appear in the Bulletin
  2. (1) Abbreviation
    (2) Number
    (3) Title
    (4) Abbreviated title (18 bytes or less)
    (5) Credits
    (6) Description (20 words or less)
    (7) Prerequisite(s)
  3. Course outline
  4. The course outline should include the following:
    (1) A brief outline of the course content.
    (2) A listing of the major topics to be covered with an approximate length of time allotted for their discussion.
    (3) A succinct stand-alone course description (400 words maximum) to be made available to students and faculty on the World Wide Web. This single description must encompass all course sections at all locations over a period of time and, therefore, must focus on the common and durable aspects of the course. If the course is offered in multiple relatively stable formats, each may be described. The description should include the course objectives; relationship to courses and programs of study (but generally without course numbers); and, when possible, evaluation methods, special facilities, and frequency of offering and enrollment.
    (4) The name(s) of the faculty member(s) responsible for the development of the course.
  5. Justification statement
    The justification statement covers nine major concerns and each area must be addressed separately.
  6. (1) Instructional, educational, and course objectives:
    This section should define what the student is expected to learn and what skills the student will develop. Additional materials are required for courses in special categories such as Intercultural and International Competence, General Education, Writing (refer to appropriate section of the Guide for details).
    (2) Evaluation methods:
    Include a statement that explains how the achievement of the educational objectives identified above will be assessed. The procedures for determining students' grades should be specifically identified.
    (3) Relationship/linkage of course to other courses:
    This statement should relate the course to existing or proposed new courses. It should provide a rationale for the level of instruction, for any prerequisites that may be specified, or for the courses' role as a prerequisite for other courses.
    (4) Relationship of course to major, option, minor, or General Education:
    This statement should explain how the course will contribute to the major, option, or minor and indicate how it may function as a service course for other departments. If applicable indicate if course is remedial and may not be used to satisfy the basic minimum requirements for graduation in any baccalaureate degree program.
    (5) Consultation (see Curricular Consultation Statement) with appropriate departments and academic support units:
    The unit originating the proposal should consult all units with a known interest in the subject field, not simply those in the same college. Consultation should take place at the department and/or college level and should include department members at all locations. Some duplication of instruction is inevitable, but SCCA is concerned with keeping such duplication to a minimum. A written statement of consultation from related units and programs is required. The consultation may be documented in the form of a grid in the proposal as long as one copy of the actual correspondence is attached to the original proposal. Such advance consultation is one way to avoid later holds or referrals.
    (6) If the course is to be offered by several colleges, consultation from the other colleges should be provided.
    (7) A description of any special facilities (e.g. labs or equipment) required to teach the course effectively should be included in the proposal.
    (8) The Technology Needs for Course Proposals form (see Appendix) must be completed for new courses or changes in courses that have technology needs, i.e., computers, projection equipment, etc. The information on the completed form will not be used as a criterion for accepting or rejecting a proposed course, but provides information on the ever-expanding computer needs of the University.
    (9) Frequency of offering and enrollment:
    Indicate how many students are expected to enroll and how often the course will be taught.
  7. Effective date:
    The standard effective date for new courses is the first semester following approval on the Senate Curriculum Report.

2. Course Changes

Guidelines for preparing the proposal are outlined below and are available with the Course Proposals Form (CHANGE). For a full review, submit 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 25 copies of supporting documentation to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office; for an expedited review, submit 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 4 copies of supporting documentation. Written evidence of consultation (see Curricular Consultation Statement) with units affected by the course change must be included with the proposal. The guidelines are as follows:

If the course is offered by several colleges, consultation from the other colleges should be provided.

  1. The heading as it would appear in the Bulletin
  2. (Include the current heading.)

    (1) Abbreviation
    (2) Number
    (3) Title
    (4) Abbreviated title (18 bytes or less)
    (5) Credits
    (6) Description (20 words or less)
    (7) Prerequisite(s)

    (Include the items in the new headings that will be changed.)

    (1) Abbreviation
    (2) Number
    (3) Title
    (4) Abbreviated title (18 bytes or less)
    (5) Credits
    (6) Description (20 words or less)
    (7) Prerequisite(s)

  3. Course outline (optional for course changes qualifying for expedited review)
    Include both the old and new course outline, if change listing the major topics to be covered with an approximate length of time allotted for their discussion, if changed.
  4. Description of the course (if a current long-course description is not on file)
    Include a succinct stand-alone course description (400 words maximum) to be made available to students and faculty on the World Wide Web. This single description must encompass all course sections at all locations over a period of time and, therefore, must focus on the common and durable aspects of the course. If the course is offered in multiple relatively stable formats, each may be described. The description should include the course objectives; relationship to courses and programs of study (but generally without course numbers); and, when possible, evaluation methods, special facilities, and frequency of offering and enrollment.
  5. Faculty names
    Include the name(s) of the faculty member(s) responsible for making the proposed changes in the course.
  6. Justification statement
    Include a justification for each change. The extent of the proposed changes will determine the extent of supporting documentation required. Particular attention should be paid to the effects of the change within the unit and in other units where the course may be required within a major or used as a service course. When a unit submits several course changes, with or without new course proposals, a general statement covering the programmatic effects of the changes should be submitted.
  7. For courses in which all or major elements (such as credits, description, prerequisites and General Education designations) are changing, follow the justification procedure for new courses. Minor changes such as renumbering a course or changing a course title for clarity can be justified with a single sentence stating the reasons for the change.

  8. Include a completed copy of the Technology Needs for Course Proposals, if appropriate.
  9. Effective date
    The standard date for all changes is the date of the first published Schedule of Courses listing the changed course following approval on the Senate Curriculum Report.

3. Course Drops

Guidelines for preparing the proposal are outlined below and are available with the Course Proposal Form (DROP). For a full review, submit 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 25 copies of supporting documentation; for an expedited review; submit 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 4 copies of supporting documentation. Written evidence of consultation (see Curricular Consultation Statement) with units affected by the course drop must be included with the proposal. The guidelines are as follows:

If the course to be dropped is offered by several colleges, a joint proposal should be submitted.

  1. Heading as it appears in the Bulletin
  2. (1) Abbreviation
    (2) Number
    (3) Title
    (4) Abbreviated title (18 bytes or less)
    (5) Credits
    (6) Description (20 words or less)
    (7) Prerequisite(s)
  3. Justification statement
    Include a statement setting forth reasons for the proposed drop and written evidence of consultation (see Curricular Consultation Statement) with any unit affected by the drop. The consultation may be documented in the form of a grid in the proposal as long as one copy of the actual correspondence is attached to the original proposal.
  4. Effective date
    The standard effective date for dropping courses is the first semester following approval on the Senate Curriculum Report (unless otherwise specified).

 

D. Senate Policies and Procedures Concerning Courses

1. Course Credits

An academic unit may schedule an entire section of an undergraduate course for fewer credits than the maximum authorized. For 400-level courses, an offering unit may schedule an individual student for fewer credits than the maximum authorized. In no case, however, may the course be scheduled for 0 credit or may the total credits scheduled for any student exceed the maximum number authorized for the course.

If a course may be repeated, the words per semester follow the number of credits, e.g., 3 per semester. These courses may be repeated indefinitely unless the credits are followed by the maximum number of credits allowed, such as 3 per semester, maximum of 12.

Courses may have variable credits, such as 1-3, 2-6, or 3-10. The largest number signifies the total credits that can be accumulated for the course over an indefinite number of semesters unless otherwise specified. For example, a course listed with (1-6) could be taken six semesters for 1 credit each semester, or three semesters for 2 credits each semester, or once for 6 credits. In some courses with variable credits, students may be permitted to accumulate more than the largest number shown, e.g., 1-3 per semester, maximum of 12.

2. Course Numbers

Reuse of Course Numbers:

Course numbers that have been dropped may not be reused for 6 years, in order to avoid confusion on student records. The ISIS screen ARICU can be used to verify the end date of a course number.

Common Course Numbers:

Common course numbers must first be established through the normal approval process (with submission of a Course Proposal Form for each number and the approval of SCCA). Once the specific number(s) is approved, the course(s) is available for offering on a semester-by-semester basis by the academic area within different colleges. Titles may be added for a given semester by requesting that an alpha suffix be attached to the course number. The ISIS screen ARICU should be accessed to verify that a particular course number and suffix is available. A unit wishing to use a common course number submits the request to the University Curriculum Coordinator via the college dean's office. The Honors Courses Request Form and the One-Semester Titles Course Request Form are available on the web. The completed form should be sent to the college dean's office. Upon approval, the form will be forwarded by the dean's office to the University Curriculum Coordinator at e-mail ID univfs@psu.edu. The University Curriculum Coordinator assures that no unintentional duplication of course titles will occur and then updates the University Course Master. The recommended deadline for requesting special titles is four weeks prior to registration for the semester in which the course will be offered.

Special titled courses may be offered only two times. If the department wishes to continue to offer the course, it should be proposed as a permanent course.

The following is a list of common course numbers used throughout the University:

294,494 Research Topics Courses (1-12 credits)
Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small group basis. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. (Agenda Appendix D, 6/2/81)
295,395,495 Internship (1-18 credits)
Supervised off-campus, nongroup instruction including field experiences, practicums, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. Prerequisite: prior approval of proposed assignment by instructor. (Agenda Appendix C, 6/3/80)
296, 496 Independent Studies (1-18 credits)
Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. Students may not register for these courses without prior written approval of a faculty member in the department in which the courses are listed. (Agenda Appendix I, 11/1/77)
097/098, 197/198, 297/298, 397/398, 497/498 Special Topics (1-9 credits)
Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest. Several different topics may be taught in one year or semester. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. (Senate Agenda Appendix H, 3/17/92)
99, 199, 299, 399, 499 Foreign Studies (1-12 credits)
Courses offered in foreign countries by individual or group instruction. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. (Senate Agenda Appendix D, 6/2/81)

The following is a list of available suffixes for special titled courses:

A-G, I, K - special topics courses
H - honors courses or sections
J - individualized instruction courses
L, P, R - lecture, practicum (or laboratory), recitation sections
M - both an honors and a writing-intensive course
S - First-Year Seminar courses
T - both an honors and a first-year seminar course
U - both intercultural and international competence and honors
V - intercultural and international competence courses by section offering
W - writing-intensive courses
X - First-Year Seminar courses and writing-intensive courses
Y - intercultural and international competence by section and writing course

3. Crosslisted Courses

Crosslisting courses should be for reasons that are of academic benefit to students and to course offering units involved.(SR:4/7/70) The following guidelines should be used when preparing crosslist proposals:

New Courses:

  1. The academic unit responsible for the course must submit 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 25 copies of the supporting documentation to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office.
  2. The crosslisting department must submit 1 copy of the completed Course Proposal Form and 1 copy of the supporting documentation.

Existing Courses:

  1. To add a crosslisting to an existing course, the academic unit responsible for the course submits 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form along with 4 copies of a memo of agreement to crosslist.
  2. The crosslisting department submits 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form along with 4 copies of the original documentation (to be provided by the academic unit responsible for the course), including a copy of the current course outline.

Change Courses:

  1. The academic unit responsible for the course must submit 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 25 copies of the supporting documentation to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office.
  2. The crosslisting department submits 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 4 copies of a memo indicating their knowledge and approval of the changes.

Drop Courses:

  1. The academic unit proposing to drop the course must submit 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form along with 25 copies of supporting documentation.
  2. If the course is retained by one of the units, a memo to that effect must be attached to the Course Proposal Form.
  3. The crosslisting department submits 1 copy of the Course Proposal Form and 4 copies of supporting documentation for an expedited review.

4. Teaching of Existing Courses in Colleges in Which
They Have Not Been Taught Before

The dean of the college in which the course is to be taught requests the necessary course and faculty information from the Dean (or his/her designate for curricular matters) in which the course was first developed. The information about the course that is to be made available should include the material requested in regular course proposals that are submitted to the SCCA for approval (see Section One,C.1, Course Adds)

While it is expected that the course objectives, the broad course outline, and the desired outcomes of student learning would be the same for the courses offered in different colleges, the individual course outlines may vary from instructor to instructor.

If difficulties should arise in the acquisition of the necessary course information, the SCCA will offer its good offices to assist in the matter.

5. Definition of a 400-Level Course

An advance course built on lower division undergraduate courses, the content of an approach to which is more sophisticated than lower division courses, but not beyond the level of current textbooks or their equivalent. Independent or original work may be expected of the student Honors courses and Senior thesis work would correspond more closely to 500-level courses. (SR: 4/7/70)

In addition to the definition approved by the Senate, a 400-level course is defined as an advanced undergraduate course open to graduate students, students with fifth- to eight-semester standing and, with the special permission of the offering unit, to qualified students in earlier semesters. Courses at the 400-level are generally distinguished from courses at the 001-399 level by increased depth and by the requirement of a greater and more independent effort on the part of the student.

A 400-level course generally includes as a prerequisite another course, a specific number of credits in an area, some other type of prerequisite, or a semester standing of seven or higher. A 400-level course that does not include a prerequisite must explain why the course is not a 001-399-level course.

6. Five-Year Automatic Drop Rule

Courses that have not been offered for a period of five years are dropped from the University's approved course offerings following consultation with appropriate academic units. (SR:5/1/58)

7. Full- and Half-Semester Courses

In general, credit courses offered through undergraduate education should be full-semester courses. Half-semester courses may also be authorized to permit academic units to offer, for example, special summer courses, coordinated courses, or integrated studies programs. When offering courses for less than a full semester, care must be taken to make sure students expected to schedule the courses may do so without impacting their ability to schedule a normal full-time load, as specified in Academic Administrative Policy C-1.

8. Honors (H) Courses

To obtain approval of an honors course on a permanent basis, the offering unit should consult with the Schreyer Honors College office regarding the criteria for an honors course before preparing the documentation. A letter of endorsement from the Schreyer Honors College office should accompany the new course proposal.

9. R Grades

An R grade may be used for courses that meet all of the following criteria: (a) variable credit, (b) continuing for more than one semester, (c) involving extensive research on a problem, and (d) a required thesis or major paper on which the final grade will largely depend.

To obtain approval to use an R grade on an indefinite basis, a request should be addressed to the Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs and forwarded to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office.

At the discretion of the instructor, R grades may be used for Honors courses that are numbered 294H, 296H, 494H, and 496H.

A notation on the University Course Master (UCM) will indicate if a specific course has been approved to be offered with an R grade.

10. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (SA/UN) Grading

Academic units that want to have courses designated as only SA/UN grading must request approval through the Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs. The request must include a justification for why the course should be graded only SA/UN, and why the course is not suitable for standard grades. (SR: 3/25/86; see also, Senate Policy 49-60)

Courses approved by SCCA for offering only with an SA/UN grade will be so identified in the Bulletin as part of the course description.

 

E. First-Year Seminars

The University Faculty Senate, at its meeting on December 2, 1997, approved a requirement that each student complete, during the first academic year, a seminar course for a minimum of one credit. These First-Year Seminars are expected to be taught by full-time, regular Penn State faculty (Fixed Term I appointments with at least 3 years of teaching experience at Penn State, instructors and tenure-line faculty) and are expected to be taught in small sections.

To fulfill the requirements for First-Year Seminars, as established by the University Faculty Senate, all First-Year Seminars must possess the following characteristics:

  1. They will have academic content and be offered for academic credit.
  2. They will be the responsibility of the colleges, but once taken, all other colleges will accept them.
  3. They will be taught in small classes, with an expected maximum enrollment of 20.
  4. They are expected to be taught by full-time, regular Penn State faculty.
  5. They should be taken during the student's first academic year.

The objectives of the Penn State First-Year Seminar, as stated in the supporting information from the Senate Legislation:

  1. Engage students in learning and orient them to the scholarly community from the outset of their undergraduate studies in a way that will bridge to later experiences in their chosen majors.

  2. Facilitate student's adjustment to the high expectations, demanding workload, increased academic liberties, and other aspects of the transition to college life.

1. Modes of Delivery for the First-Year Seminar

Academic units may offer courses meeting the First-Year Seminar requirement in several ways. The Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs (SCCA) foresees four basic approaches to these offerings:

  1. Specially designed 1 credit First-Year Seminar courses. (See special PSU course numbers)
  2. Specially designed 2 to 3 credit First-Year Seminar courses offered by academic units, with unit course name and number, which exceed the minimum University-wide requirement of one credit.
  3. General Education courses, or sections of General Education courses, that meet the objectives of the First-Year Seminar.
  4. Other existing courses which meet the objectives of the First-Year Seminar.

Since the First-Year Seminar is a new concept, colleges will require a period of experimentation (1999-2001) to discover which approaches work and which do not. For that reason, the SCCA seeks to provide the colleges with the greatest possible amount of flexibility in implementing the guidelines. The SCCA also understands that colleges will fulfill this new requirement in a variety of ways.

After a two-year experimentation period, each college will review critically its First-Year Seminar program according to the criteria for success that it outlined in its original plan. Colleges will submit their report to the SCCA, which will report to the Senate on the outcome of the First-Year Seminar program and make recommendations as appropriate.

2. Course Numbers and Proposals

The one credit "Penn State First-Year Seminar" may be offered under PSU XXX for academic units wishing to approach this offering in this manner. Each college has been assigned a unique number for its use in offering these seminars. Academic units may also use their own numbers for these courses. An appropriate suffix will be appended to unit specific course numbers. Colleges which have provided in their plan a description of the specific objectives to be achieved through the 1 credit seminar and a set of criteria through which the attainment of these objectives can be assessed, may use either the PSU number or the unit specific number to teach the First-Year Seminars. No additional course proposal will be required.

The following course numbers have been assigned by SCCA:

PSU 001 First-Year Seminar Abington
PSU 002 First-Year Seminar Agricultural Science
PSU 003 First-Year Seminar Altoona
PSU 004 First-Year Seminar Arts and Architecture
PSU 005 First-Year Seminar Berks-Lehigh Valley
PSU 006 First-Year Seminar Business Administration
PSU 007 First-Year Seminar Behrend
PSU 008 First-Year Seminar Commonwealth
PSU 009 First-Year Seminar Communications
PSU 010 First-Year Seminar Earth and Mineral Sciences
PSU 011 First-Year Seminar Education
PSU 012 First-Year Seminar Engineering
PSU 013 First-Year Seminar Capital
PSU 014 First-Year Seminar Health and Human Development
PSU 015 First-Year Seminar Liberal Arts
PSU 016 First-Year Seminar Science
PSU 017 First-Year Seminar School of Information Sciences and Technology

First-Year Seminars that are to be offered for more than one credit will require a full course proposal addressing the criteria for the First-Year Seminar. It is important that these proposals address the impact, if any, of the use of a seminar of more than 1 credit, on the total credits in programs for which the seminar might be required. If the number of credits in a program is changed as a result of the multiple credit First-Year Seminar requirement, a program revision will need to be submitted for each of the affected programs at the same time as the proposed course. Multiple credit First-Year Seminars will have regular program course numbers from the academic unit offering the course, with the appropriate S (Seminar), T (Honors Seminar) or X (Writing Across the Curriculum Seminar) suffix.

General Education courses, or sections of a General Education course, which are offered by an academic unit and which were identified in the College First-Year Seminar Plan as meeting the objectives of the First-Year Seminar do not need to be submitted to the SCCA for review and approval. The appropriate suffix will be appended to the course number upon request to the University Curriculum Coordinator. The unit should monitor the achievement of the First-Year Seminar objectives and should include these courses in their two-year college report.

Existing 1 credit courses, offered by an academic unit, that fulfill the First-Year seminar requirement and that were identified in the College First-Year Seminar Plan as meeting the objectives of the First-Year Seminar do not need to be submitted to the SCCA for review and approval. Upon request, the appropriate suffix will be appended to the course number. The unit should monitor the achievement of the First-Year Seminar objectives and should include these courses in their two-year college report. Existing multiple credit courses that are intended to be used for the First-Year Seminar will require a full course proposal addressing the criteria for the First-Year Seminar. Both 1 credit and multiple credit courses in this category will be identified with the appropriate suffix.

3. Criteria for First-Year Seminars

Proposals for First-Year Seminars must address the objectives stated above in this section. They must show that the course will:

  1. Have academic content;
  2. Introduce students to University study;
  3. Introduce students to Penn State as an academic community, including fields of studies and areas of interest available to them;
  4. Acquaint students with the learning tools and resources available at Penn State;
  5. Provide opportunities for the students to develop relationships with full-time faculty and other students in academic areas of interest to them;
  6. Introduce students to their responsibilities as members of the University community.

 

F. General Education Component

The University Faculty Senate, at its meeting on April 30, 1985, adopted a comprehensive definition of General Education. This definition was revised in the General Education report adopted by the Senate on December 2, 1997, as follows:

General Education encompasses the breadth of knowledge involving the major intellectual and aesthetic skills and achievements of humanity. This must include understanding and appreciation of the pluralistic nature of knowledge epitomized by the natural sciences, quantitative skills, social-behavioral sciences, humanities and arts. To achieve and share such an understanding and appreciation, skills in self-expression, quantitative analysis, information literacy, and collaborative interaction are necessary. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. General Education, in essence, aims to cultivate a knowledgeable, informed, literate human being. In addition, the University Faculty Senate, at its meeting on December 2, 1997, mandated an integration of key competencies and emphasis on active learning (writing, speaking, quantitative skills, information and computer literacy, problem solving and critical thinking, team-work, and intercultural and international competence), as appropriate, in all General Education courses.

An effective General Education program enables students to:

(1) acquire knowledge through critical information gathering - including reading and listening, computer-assisted searching, and scientific experimentation and observation;
(2) analyze and evaluate, where appropriate in a quantitative manner, the acquired knowledge;
(3) integrate knowledge from a variety of sources and fields;
(4) make critical judgments in a logical and rational manner;
(5) develop the skills to maintain health, and understand the factors that impinge upon it;
(6) communicate effectively, both in writing and orally, and using the accepted methods for presentation, organization and debate particular to their disciplines;
(7) seek and share knowledge, independently and in collaboration with others;
(8) gain understanding of international interdependence and cultural diversity, and develop consideration for values, lifestyles, and traditions that may differ from their own;
(9) comprehend the role of aesthetic and creative activities expressing both imagination and experience.

Courses taken to meet General Education program requirements may not be taken under the Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory option.

The following describes the processes by which the Senate legislation on General Education is to be implemented. Most of it originated from the 3/25/86 Informational and Legislative reports to the Senate. (SR:3/25/86) On April 26, 1994, the legislation was modified, eliminating references to the Breadth and Depth categories. This action became effective Summer Session 1994. (SR:4/26/94)

1. Structure of General Education

Baccalaureate Degree Summary of the General Education Program:

The General Education program consists of 45 credits distributed among two General Education components: Skills (15 credits) in Writing/Speaking and Quantification and Knowledge Domains (30 credits) in the Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Health and Physical Activity. There are three additional requirements that may be completed as a part of either General Education courses or courses required in the major. These requirements, which every baccalaureate degree student must complete, are at least 1 credit of First-Year Seminar, 3 credits of Intercultural and International Competency, and 3 credits of Writing Across the Curriculum course work.

To help students and advisers identify approved courses in each General Education category, as well as First-Year Seminar, Intercultural and International Competence, and Writing Across the Curriculum courses, each approved course is identified in the Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin and the Schedule of Courses by descriptive suffixes as follows:

GENERAL EDUCATION

Skills (15 credits)

WRITING/SPEAKING (9 credits)
Courses designated with the suffix GWS satisfy this component.
QUANTIFICATION (6 credits)
Courses designated with the suffix GQ satisfy this component. (3-6 credits are selected from mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics; 3 credits may be selected from computer science or symbolic logic.)

Knowledge Domains (30 credits)

HEALTH AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (3 credits)
Courses designated with the suffix GHA satisfy this component.
NATURAL SCIENCES (9 credits)
Courses designated with the suffix GN satisfy this component.
ARTS (6 credits)
Courses designated with the suffix GA satisfy this component.
HUMANITIES (6 credits)
Courses designated with the suffix GH satisfy this component.
SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES (6 credits)
Courses designated with the suffix GS satisfy this component.

A student may, in consultation with the adviser and the approval of the student's college dean,

Students whose academic majors are in the areas of Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences may not meet the General Education Knowledge Domains components by taking courses in the department or program identical to that of the academic major. All General Education courses are to help students explore and integrate information beyond the special focuses of their majors.

NOTE: When a course is used to satisfy more than one requirement, the credits in the course can be counted only once.

Additional Baccalaureate Degree Requirements:

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR (1 credit)
Courses with the designation PSU will fulfill this requirement, as will other courses with the suffix S (seminar), T (honors seminar), or X (writing across the curriculum seminar).

INTERCULTURAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMPETENCE (3 credits)
Courses with the suffix GI will satisfy this component, as well as approved University Study Abroad programs.

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM (3 credits)
Courses with the suffix W satisfy this component, as will other courses with the suffix M (both honors and writing across the curriculum), X (both first-year seminar and writing across the curriculum), or Y (both intercultural and international competence by section and writing across the curriculum).

Blue Book Description

Three models are presented below showing how the First-Year Seminar will be shown in the Blue Book Description:

The first shows how it is shown for a major that has a required FYS.

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(27 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in front of Bulletin.)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

INTERCULTURAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMPETENCE:
(Included in GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 120 credits
(This includes 27 credits of General Education courses: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GA courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GS courses; 3 credits of GWS courses; 1 credit of First-Year Seminar; and 3 credits of Writing Across the Curriculum)

This shows a major that has a required 3-credit FYS which will also meet part of the General Education requirements.

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(0-13 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in front of Bulletin.)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in GENERAL EDUCATION)

INTERCULTURAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMPETENCE:
(Included in GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

ELECTIVES: 18 credits

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 61-75 credits [1]
(This includes 0-13 credits of General Education courses: 0-6 credits of GS courses, 0-3 credits of GWS courses, 0-4 credits of GQ courses and 3 credits of Writing Across the Curriculum.)

This third program will use its elective credits to satisfy the FYS.

GENERAL EDUCATION: 45 credits
(9-12 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in front of Bulletin)

FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR:
(Included in ELECTIVES)

INTERCULTURAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMPETENCE:
(Included in GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM:
(Included in REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)

ELECTIVES: 14-17 credits

BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE REQUIREMENTS: 24 credits
(See description of Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements in front of Bulletin.)

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR: 48-49 credits[1]
(This includes 9-12 credits of General Education courses; 0-3 credits of GA courses; 3 credits of GH courses; 6 credits of GS courses and 3 credits of Writing Across the Curriculum.)

2. Criteria for General Education Courses

The criteria given below have been derived from the objectives for General Education approved by the Senate on April 30, 1985, and on December 2, 1997.

No one course must achieve every General Education objective, but each proposal must specify clearly which objectives it proposes to meet. The Senate legislation of December 2, 1997, and February 27, 2001 (see Appendix "D" of the 2/27/01 Agenda and 2/27/01 Senate Record), requires that typically three or more core competencies, activities and strategies for enhanced learning be integrated in the courses offered in the areas of Health and Physical Activity, Natural Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Core Competencies, Activities, and Strategies for Enhanced Learning:

Knowledge domain courses must require each student to engage in activities promoting learning course content through practicing, typically, three or more of the following core competencies, activities, and strategies for enhanced learning:

  1. writing, speaking and/or other forms of self-expression,
  2. information gathering, such as the use of the library, computer/electronic resources, and experimentation or observation,
  3. synthesis and analysis in problem solving and critical thinking, including, where appropriate, the application of reasoning and interpretive methods, and quantitative thinking,
  4. collaborative learning and teamwork,
  5. activities that promote and advance intercultural and/or international understanding,
  6. activities that promote the understanding of issues pertaining to social behavior, scholarly conduct, and community responsibility,
  7. a significant alternative competency for active learning designed for and appropriate to a specific course.

Rationale:
Students should be actively involved in a significant part of their own learning in all General Education courses at Penn State. Through the use of active learning in assignments, exercises, and other formal activities associated with a course, students become engaged participants in the particular course's content and, simultaneously, build competencies, skills, and abilities that are necessary to promote learning in any situation.

A successful General Education course typically will involve students in several active-learning activities, not all of the same type. However, evidence of significant involvement by students is more important than the count of activities. Activities that promote intercultural and international competence, or that help students assess social behavior and scholarly conduct in the community, are especially valuable.

Criteria for determining whether a course meets the general objectives of General Education

All General Education Course proposals must be responsive to the following questions:

    1. Does the course proposal show which of the following general objectives will be addressed in the course?
    2. Through General Education courses, students:

      1. should enhance their key competencies for active learning,
      2. should develop their intercultural and international competence,
      3. should be enabled to acquire knowledge through critical reading,
      4. should learn how to acquire information and data through a variety of means (including electronic),
      5. should learn how to analyze and evaluate, where appropriate in a quantitative manner, the acquired information and knowledge,
      6. should learn how to integrate knowledge from a variety of sources and fields,
      7. should learn how to make critical judgments in a logical manner,
      8. should learn how to communicate effectively.

    3. Does the course proposal outline methods for achieving the General Education objectives identified as important components of the course?
    4. Does the course proposal show how key competencies for active learning are integrated in the course?
    5. Does the course proposal identify means through which the intercultural and international competence of the students is enhanced?
    6. Does the course proposal show how the course assignments develop the ability of the students to analyze problems or questions and evaluate them critically?
    7. Does the course proposal identify opportunities for students to integrate knowledge acquired from a variety of sources?
    8. Does the course proposal show opportunities for students to formulate and express informed judgments?
    9. Does the course proposal indicate how students will be examined to determine their attainment of the general objectives of General Education?
    10. Does the course proposal show how the course is related to other fields of study or courses and how this relationship is communicated to students?

Criteria for determining whether a course meets the Skills objectives of General Education

WRITING/SPEAKING (GWS)

The objective is for students to communicate information clearly and set forth their beliefs persuasively both orally and in writing. In particular, they must be sufficiently proficient in writing, such that their expository prose meets the expectations of educated readers in both form and style. Gaining communication skills in a natural language or languages other than English may be incorporated as part of the objectives of communications. (Senate Agenda, 4-30-85.)

In the review of the course proposal the General Education subcommittee will examine whether the proposal meets the general General Education course criteria stated above and in addition shows how the course will:

    1. teach students to organize materials in a logical and clear manner.
    2. teach students to write clearly.
    3. teach students to write proficiently with respect to form and style.
    4. teach students to express ideas orally in a logical and clear manner.
    5. provide constructive criticism of the efforts of students to meet the General Education objectives of the Writing/Speaking Area.
    6. assess the degree to which its stated Writing/Speaking General Education objectives are met.

QUANTIFICATION (GQ)

The objective is for the students to work with numbers so as to measure space, time, mass, forces and probabilities; to reason quantitatively; and to apply basic mathematical processes to daily work and everyday living. (Senate Agenda, 4-30-85)

In the review of the course proposal the General Education committee will examine whether the proposal meets the general General Education course criteria stated above and in addition shows how the course will:

    1. teach students to reason quantitatively.
    2. teach students to measure probabilities.
    3. apply basic mathematical principles and processes to practical problems of day-to-day living.
    4. provide opportunities for students to formulate informed judgments based on quantitative reasoning.
    5. assess the degree to which its stated Quantification General Education objectives are met.

Criteria for determining whether a course meets the General Education objectives of the Knowledge Domains for which it is intended.

General Education courses in the Knowledge Domains may be either courses that cover an area of knowledge of a field of study in a broad context or courses that treat a certain topic or field of study in greater depth or detail.

HEALTH AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (GHA)

Courses will focus on the theory and practice of life span wellness and fitness activities, and on the knowledge, attitudes, habits, and skills needed to live well. Courses are expected to promote an active and healthful lifestyle and are understood to include such diverse topics as diet, exercise, stress management, the wise use of leisure time, alcohol consumption and drug use, sexual health awareness, and safety education. Courses may be knowledge-focused or practice-focused or integrated in any manner. Theory-focused courses are understood to emphasize the transmission of knowledge about some aspect of healthful living. Practice-focused courses are understood to emphasize attitudes, habits, and skills needed to engage in healthful living. Traditional dance, exercise, and sport activity classes are understood to meet the practice-focused criterion if they will promote healthful living across the life span.

In the review of the course proposal the General Education committee will examine whether the proposal meets the general General Education course criteria stated above and in addition shows how the course will:

    1. teach students to achieve and maintain good health.
    2. promote an active and healthful lifestyle.
    3. transmit knowledge about some aspect of healthful living, when emphasizing theory.
    4. develop attitudes, habits, and skills needed to engage in healthful living and promote healthful living across the life span, when emphasis on practice (dance, exercise, and sport activity).

NATURAL SCIENCES (GN)

The goal of the Natural Sciences is to reveal the order, diversity, and beauty of nature and in so doing enable students to develop a greater appreciation of the world around them. The objective of the Natural Sciences is to understand the nature of science through exposure to the broad divisions of science--physical science, biological science, earth science, and applied natural science. The students should know how to acquire scientific factual information, to use scientific methodology and to develop an appreciation of the natural world.

All divisions of Natural Science employ inductive reasoning and establish theories and laws of nature based on observation, and deductive reasoning to draw conclusions based on these theories and laws. Such reasoning is applied to the study of both non-living and living matter. Students should gain an understanding of how scientists reason and how they draw conclusions. (Senate Agenda 4-30-85)

In the review of the course proposal the General Education committee will examine whether the proposal meets the general General Education course criteria stated above and in addition shows how the course will:

    1. broadly survey the existing knowledge in the discipline.
    2. develop an understanding of the inductive reasoning process and develop a studentís ability to reason inductively.
    3. develop an understanding of the deductive reasoning process and develop a studentís ability to reason deductively.
    4. include, if appropriate, laboratory work.
    5. relate its field of study to other fields of the natural sciences.
    6. assess the degree to which its stated Natural Sciences General Education objectives are met.

ARTS (GA)

Students should understand and appreciate some of the more important creative works, traditions, literature and history of the arts and architecture. The student should recognize the comprehensive role of arts and architecture as an expression of the cultural values of a society and the need to preserve these expressions for the benefit of future generations.

Students should recognize aesthetic values as an integral part of society's essential need and gain lifelong benefits through the acquisition and appreciation of arts-related skills. Students should be conversant with the terminology, techniques, attitudes, ideas and skills which comprise the arts areas so as to understand the approaches to human existence and distinguish among the arts. (Senate Agenda, 4-30-85)

In the review of the course proposal the General Education committee will examine whether the proposal meets the general General Education course criteria stated above and in addition shows how the course will:

    1. develop an understanding of creative works of arts and architecture.
    2. develop an understanding of the historical developments in arts and architecture.
    3. provide an opportunity for students to comprehend the role of arts and architecture as an expression of the cultural values of a society.
    4. help students become conversant with the terminology, techniques, and ideas that comprise the Arts Area.
    5. lead students to a recognition of aesthetic values.
    6. relate its field of study to other arts disciplines.
    7. assess the degree to which its stated Arts General Education objectives are met.

HUMANITIES (GH)

The objective of humanistic studies is to direct students toward interpretation and evaluation for the sake of a more significant form of participation in reality, rather than in the direction of methodologies for the technical manipulation of natural and cultural phenomena. Humanistic studies are divided into four categories: (1) literature, (2) history and culture, (3) advanced language, and (4) philosophy.

The study of the Humanities should develop competency in interpretive understanding of the human condition and of the values inherent in it. This interpretive understanding should evolve into the development of insights and a critical evaluation of the meaning of life, in its everyday details as well as in its historical and universal dimensions. Through this development students should acquire knowledge of and concern for the humanistic values which motivate and inform all humanistic studies.

In literature, students should achieve these objectives through the study of works in which the human condition is presented and evaluated through aesthetic means. In the study of Western and non-Western culture and history, the student should gain access to various human traditions and their changes through the course of time. In studies of the development, structure, and use of language, students will probe the foundations of communication and thought and become aware of the scope and limitations of human communication. In philosophical studies, students will encounter philosophical and religious concepts and traditions which attempt to bring ultimate sense to human existence. (Senate Agenda, 4-30-85)

In the review of the course proposal the General Education subcommittee will examine whether the proposal meets the general General Education course criteria stated above and in addition shows how the course will:

    1. develop broad, coherent overviews of major cultural or ideological currents throughout history.
    2. develop emphases on important figures, ideas and events which influence the values of different societies.
    3. develop competence in interpretive understanding of the human condition and of the values inherent in it.
    4. lead the student to an appreciation of aesthetic values.
    5. teach the student techniques for the objective evaluation of readings and the formulation of clear and valid responses.
    6. assess the degree to which its stated Humanities General Education objectives are met.

SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES (GS)

The objective of the Social and Behavioral Sciences is an understanding of the diverse personal, interpersonal, and societal forces which shape people's lives and to approach these subjects through the concepts, principles and methods of scientific inquiry. The general goal is a theoretical understanding of the interrelationships of the determinants of the organization of human behavior. Students should be introduced to the scientific analysis of: (1) the forms, practices, and theories of politics; (2) the nature and operation of economic analysis; (3) the interrelationships of social institutions; (4) the dynamics of individual and group behavior and change; and (5) the processes and functions of human communication. Through the application of the methodologies of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, students should develop an understanding of the multiple nature of causality in social settings. The Social and Behavioral Sciences require a comprehensive, integrative, empirical and theoretical view of the social world. (Senate Agenda, 4-30-85)

In the review of the course proposals the General Education subcommittee will examine whether the proposal meets the general General Education course criteria stated above and in addition shows how the course will:

    1. broadly survey the existing knowledge in the discipline.
    2. develop the studentís understanding of the scientific methodologies of social and behavioral sciences.
    3. develop an understanding of the multiple nature of causality in social settings.
    4. relate its specific field of study, where appropriate, to other areas in the social and behavioral sciences.
    5. lead the student to an integration of the empirical knowledge and theoretical views of the social world.
    6. assess the degree to which its stated Social and Behavioral Sciences General Education objectives are met.

3. Procedures for Submitting General Education Course Proposals

Proposed courses must:

    1. be consistent with the definition of General Education.
    2. include a complete course outline including a statement of course objectives.
    3. explain how the course meets General Education criteria (see section #2).
    4. identify and explain any intended linkages, thematic or sequential, between the proposed course and other courses.
    5. indicate what size student audience will be addressed and whether there will be specific limits set for enrollment in the course; if the course includes discussion or lab sections their enrollment limits should be given.
    6. include pertinent information on the General Education aspects of the course in the long course description (see item b.3. under Course Add).
    7. include documentation of participation of all colleges in which the course is to be taught in the preparation of the proposal.
    8. include the name(s) of the faculty member(s) who has major responsibility for the development of the course.

Mechanism for action on proposal:

    1. The proposal is submitted to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office using the Course Proposal Form and following the standard procedures.
    2. The General Education Subcommittee reviews and makes recommendations to SCCA.
    3. SCCA acts on the proposal and publishes the results in a subsequent issue of the Senate Curriculum Report.

G. Intercultural and International Competence Requirement

On March 20, 1990, the University Faculty Senate established a Cultural Diversity graduation requirement effective Summer Session 1991 for all students entering the University as baccalaureate degree candidates. Students had to take either 3 credits of Diversity Focused (DF) courses or 12 credits of Diversity Enhanced (DE) courses. The legislation was modified on April 26, 1994, eliminating the Diversity enhanced requirement. This action became effective Summer Session 1994. On December 2, 1997, the University Faculty Senate recommended an enlargement in the scope of this part of the student's education and named it the "Intercultural and International Competence Requirement". Courses fulfilling this requirement have a GI suffix. Students may satisfy the Intercultural and International Competence requirement with experiential learning, including University-approved study abroad, specific and structured internships, Peace Corps experiences, and their equivalents. Petitions for all experiential learning intended to satisfy the Intercultural and International Competence Requirement must be submitted to SCCA for review.

The goal of Cultural Diversity courses was to encourage students through their studies in many disciplines to (a) consider the various historical backgrounds, cultural and scientific contributions, economic, psychological, and political situations of a wide range of diverse peoples; and (b) appreciate the impact of the developing global community on American society (SR:3/20/90). The report of December 1997 accepted this view but asked to sharpen the focus of the requirement and to include courses or experiences (study abroad, in-service work, etc.) that pertain to what students come to know and learn to do.

1. Objectives for Intercultural and International Competence Courses

The criteria for the approval of Intercultural and International Competence courses have been derived from the previously stated goals of the Cultural Diversity requirement and expanded by the goals of the December 2, 1997 report. The guidelines for the implementation accompanying this legislation asked that courses fulfilling this requirement require students to make comparisons, particularly with their own realm of experience, and to emphasize student engagement and active learning. Each course must meet the objectives stated below for Intercultural Competence, International Competence, or both.

  1. Gaining "Intercultural Competence" in this context means to develop an understanding of the relationships between and among cultures through focused studies of particular forms or stages of civilization, such as that of certain nations or periods. It also means to increase the comprehension of the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of particular social groups within a pluralistic society distinguished by characteristics related to their culture, ethnicity, race, class, religion, gender, physical/mental disability, and/or sexual orientation. Gaining competence refers to the acquisition of skills needed to deal constructively with questions which arise between cultures and within a society consisting of diverse cultural groups. Courses emphasizing development of intercultural competence of students should provide a study of one or more of the following elements:

    1. The nature of relationships among cultures, their change over time, and impact on the global society;
    2. The interrelations between dominant and non-dominant cultures, either in the United States or elsewhere.
    3. Significant cultural experiences and/or achievements of individuals (identified by ethnicity, race, class, religion, gender, physical/mental disability, or sexual orientation) and the relationship between the individual experiences, the group's culture, and other cultures.

  2. Gaining "International Competence" in this context means to acquire a global perspective through study of the impact of other countries and their peoples on society and to develop skills which enable a student to function effectively in a complex and increasingly interdependent global community. Courses emphasizing development of the student's international competence should provide a study of the philosophy, history, culture, work, organization, economy, science, and technology of societies as they impact on the developing global community.

2. Procedures for Submitting Intercultural and International
Competence (GI) Course Proposals

  1. Course proposals must follow the appropriate course proposal form format for new or changed courses. A GI course proposal must be consistent with the objectives of the Intercultural and International Competence requirement. Specifically, each proposal must:


    1. State whether the course meets the definition of 1) an intercultural course, 2) an international course, or 3) both an intercultural and international course.

    2. Include a complete course outline including a statement of course objectives that reflect the GI content, and a listing of major topics with an approximate length of time for their discussion.

    3. Include pertinent information on the GI aspects of the course in the long course description (Item B.3. on Course Add proposal form).

    4. Describe how the course encourages students to develop understanding of the historical backgrounds, cultural and scientific contributions, economic, social, psychological, and political circumstances of the group being studied. While no one course or section is expected to achieve every criterion, each course proposal must clearly specify which criteria it proposes to meet. Thus the proposal should explain how students, within the context of the course, will be encouraged to do or achieve several of the following:

      1. see nations and cultures not in isolation, but in relation to each other;

      2. cultivate their awareness of the pluralism and diversity within international cultures;

      3. convey consideration for different cultural values, traditions, beliefs and customs;

      4. appreciate the diversity that exists among persons who share a particular social identity;

      5. increase their knowledge about the range of cultural achievements and human conditions through time;

      6. recognize and be sensitive to the different ways social identities have been valued;

      7. re-examine their beliefs and behaviors about social identities (ethnicity, race, class, religion, gender, physical/mental disability, or sexual orientation);

      8. be more sophisticated in their understanding of the nature of stereotypes and biases;

      9. be able to interact successfully with representatives of other nations;

      10. be able to interact effectively with persons of different social groups;

      11. increase their ability to locate and evaluate information, and to gain knowledge, about other peoples of the world.

    5. Explain which of the core competencies, activities, and strategies for enhanced learning (Recommendation #7, Senate Report, December 2, 1997) will be integrated into the course and how the students will be engaged, through active learning, to develop their Intercultural and International Competence.

    6. Include a statement that explains how the achievement of the GI educational objectives will be assessed.

    7. Identify and explain any intended linkages, thematic or sequential, between the proposed course and other courses.

    8. Indicate what size student audience will be addressed and whether there will be specific limits set for enrollment in the course. If the course includes discussion or lab sections their enrollment limits should be given.
  2. The sequence of action on GI proposals is:

    1. The proposal is submitted to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office using the Course Proposal Form and following the standard procedures.

    2. The Intercultural/International Subcommittee (and the appropriate subcommittee for General Education or Writing Intensive proposals, if necessary) reviews the proposal and makes recommendations to the Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs.

    3. The Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs acts on the proposal and publishes the results in a subsequent issue of the Senate Curriculum Report.

    3. Procedures for Submitting One-Semester Intercultural and
    International Competence (GI) Course Proposals

    1. Course proposals should be submitted 6 weeks prior to the deadline for submitting courses for inclusion in the Schedule of Courses.
    2. Fall Semester - first week of January
      Spring Semester - mid-November
      Summer Session - first week of April
    3. The faculty member submits a GI proposal to the University Subcommittee on Intercultural and International Competence via the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office, simultaneously forwarding informational copies to her/his department head, director of academic affairs (if located at a Commonwealth Campus), and the college dean for undergraduate instruction. If the course is to be offered with a special topics number, the proposal must be approved and forwarded by the department head.

      The one-semester course offering will be assigned one of the following suffixes:

      U - both intercultural and international competence and honors
      V - intercultural and international competence courses by section offering
      Y - intercultural and international competence by section and writing course
    4. Any one of the three informed groups can put a hold on the proposal by informing the University Subcommittee on Intercultural and International Competence. The hold would require discussion and possible revision. A need for substantial revisions would probably postpone the potential GI listing until the next semester in which the proposer is scheduled to teach the course.

 

H. Writing Across the Curriculum

On April 18, 1989, the University Faculty Senate established a Writing Across the Curriculum graduation requirement effective Summer Session 1990 for all students entering the University as baccalaureate degree candidates and Summer 1992 for all associate degree candidates. Students are required to complete at least 3 credits of writing-intensive courses selected from W courses offered within a major or college of enrollment. (Senate Agenda Appendix E, 3/19/91)

Pending Senate approval, courses may be offered as writing-intensive on a permanent or one-semester basis. Writing-intensive courses are reviewed by the University Writing Subcommittee which makes a recommendation to the Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs. (SR:4/18/89)

1. Supporting Documentation for Writing-Intensive
Course Proposals

Penn State writing-intensive courses reflect that students (1) write to learn in ways that help them think about new material and (2) learn to write in discipline-specific genres. A writing-intensive course must balance those two writing activities.  "Write to learn" means that students use informal, writing early in the process to think and explore without regard to formal elements of writing (e.g., Thomas Edison's lab notebooks fraught with misspellings, fragments, and cross-outs).  "Learn to write" means that students learn to use writing standards such as unity, coherence, development, style, and mechanics that their discipline requires of formal documents (e.g., Thomas Edison's patent applications). The criteria for writing-intensive courses have been derived from the goals outlined in the writing-intensive course legislative report presented to the Senate on April 18, 1989. These criteria are used by the University Writing Subcommittee in reviewing course proposals. The Senate recommends a maximum enrollment of 25 students per section.

Each course proposal must include the following supporting materials:

  1. A statement of the expected course enrollment and the number of sections offered per semester.
  2. A concise explanation (in about one page) of how the proposed course will fulfill each of the following criteria:
  3. (1) Writing Assignment Design
    Both informal and formal writing assignments should relate clearly to the course objectives and should serve as effective instruments for learning the subject matter of the course. Instructors should communicate to students the requirements of formal, graded writing assignments in writing, not just orally. In writing-intensive courses, writing assignments are characteristically designed to help students investigate the course subject matter, gain experience in interpreting data or the results of research, shape writing to a particular audience, or practice the type of writing associated with a given profession or discipline. Much of the writing may be informal and ungraded, yet meaningful, so students are encouraged to think and discover through a process in which mistakes are a natural part of learning. Examples of such writing include one-minute papers at the beginning, middle, or end of class; reactions to lectures, labs, and readings; journals, logs, and notebooks of observations, readings, and other experiential activities; letters to classmates; weekly digests; e-mail dialogues; records of peer group discussions; and stories of one's thinking on a problem.
    (2) Treatment of Writing as a Developmental Process
    Students will be afforded opportunities to practice writing throughout the semester, with emphasis given to writing as a process that develops through several iterations. Typically, writing-intensive courses require multiple writing assignments, a sequence of preparatory writings (outline, formulation of thesis, first draft) leading to a final product, or informal writing assignments (e.g., regular journal entries, field notes, short in-class papers, revision of first draft) that aid students in developing other written documents. Experimentation with assignments is encouraged.
    (3) Written Feedback from the Instructor
    Opportunities for students to receive written feedback from the instructor and to apply the instructorís feedback to their future writing will be built into the course. The instructor will clearly identify and explain the type of writing required in the course and will provide guidance as needed. A writing-intensive course may also include peer review of written work, tutorial assistance, instructor conferences, group writing projects, the use of writing or learning centers, teaching assistant feedback, and classroom discussions of assigned readings about writing. The use of diverse feedback mechanisms is encouraged, but none of these mechanisms should substitute for the instructor as the principal source of written feedback to the student.
    (4) Evaluation of Writing
    Writing will be evaluated by the instructor, and writing quality will be a factor in determining each studentís final grade. Before students begin writing, instructors will communicate to students the criteria by which their writing will be evaluated. Sound criteria for assessing writing quality include, but are not limited to, the writerís ability to direct the material to an intended audience, the employment of organizational strategies, the development of both content and reasoning, adherence to conventions of a particular discipline, accuracy of the information presented, citation and integration of sources, grammar, diction and syntax, and spelling. Writing assignments should be worth at least 25 percent of each studentís final grade.
  4. A copy of the course syllabus, which should include a statement of course objectives, a definition of writing-intensive teaching that helps students see how this "W" course is different from other courses that assign writing, a sequence of class activities, references to writing assignments, and weight of writing assignments in relation to the final course grade.
  5. One or two examples of the actual writing assignment sheets the instructor plans to use in the course.

2. Procedures for Submitting Writing-Intensive Course Proposals

Faculty may request SCCA approval for either a one-semester Writing Course offering or permanent Writing Course. The documentation for both a permanent and a one-semester W-course offering is the same. The procedures for submitting permanent and one-semester course proposals are slightly different and are listed below.

Permanent Proposals

Proposals are submitted to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office following the standard Curricular Affairs procedures. Proposals must include a completed Course Proposal Form (1 copy of the form and 25 copies of supporting documentation. The documentation must be presented in a format shown above (items 1 through 4). The University Curriculum Coordinator transmits the proposals to the University Writing Subcommittee. The University Writing Subcommittee reviews the proposals and makes a recommendation to SCCA before they are published in the Senate Curriculum Report.

One-Semester Proposals

Proposals must include a completed Course Proposal Form (1 copy of the form and 12 copies of supporting documentation). The documentation must be presented in the format shown above (1 through 4). In addition, all proposals must include the instructorís name, course section number, and if it has been taught before, indicate the semester and year.

While both the permanent writing course proposals and the one-semester writing course proposals are treated identically when they reach the Senate Office, the prior process differs with location.

University ParkóThe department head submits 12 copies of the proposal to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office, simultaneously forwarding an informational copy to the college dean for undergraduate education.
Campuses of the Commonwealth CollegeóThe Director of Academic Affairs submits 12 copies of the proposal to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office, simultaneously forwarding informational copies to the college dean for undergraduate education.
Colleges at locations other than University ParkóThe division head submits 12 copies of the proposal to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office, simultaneously forwarding informational copies to the college dean for undergraduate education.

The associate deans for undergraduate education can put a hold on the requested proposal by informing the University Curriculum Coordinator. The hold would require discussion and possible revision. A need for substantial revisions would probably postpone the potential W listing until the next semester in which the proposer is scheduled to teach the course. If the University Curriculum Coordinator receives no written objection, it will be assumed the informed parties have approved the proposal.

If the course is to be offered with a special topics number, rather than a permanent number, the proposal should be submitted to the Senate Office for approval by the Writing subcommittee.

If an instructor has offered a one-semester writing-intensive course or course section and would like to offer the previously approved course a second time, he/she should state this in a memorandum to the Chair of the University Subcommittee on Writing and submit it along with one copy of the course documentation to the University Curriculum Coordinator at the Senate Office. If a third offering is requested, the subcommittee will ask the offering unit to consider proposing the course as a permanent W course.