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Manual for the Graduate Committee Curriculum Procedures
This Graduate Committee Manual for Curriculum Procedures is intended for orientation of persons newly involved with the work of that Committee (either as new members or as preparers of proposals for action by the Committee). This manual also serves as a convenient reminder of established precedents and existing practice.
By-laws regarding the Graduate Committee
The Graduate Committee is a Committee of the Council of Rhode Island College and as such is subject to all the requirements and regulations of Council committees that apply.
1.1 Article on General Provisions Regarding Council Committees
Unless otherwise specified herein, the following provisions shall regulate the conduct and the execution of business of each committee constituted and empowered under the Charter:
- Unless a by-law governing a particular committee explicitly provides for a Council committee to take final action on a matter, Council committees serve in an advisory capacity to Council or to the President, or both.
- A quorum of each committee shall be a majority of the voting members of that committee.
- In those articles where the election of a committee chair is not provided for, the Committee on Committees shall appoint the chair.
- Each committee shall meet at least one time during each academic semester and as many times thereafter as shall be necessary and appropriate to execute its charge. A copy of each of the minutes of the committee meetings shall be forwarded to the Executive Committee when distributed.
- Each committee shall submit to Council a report of its activities at least once each year. Said report is to be placed and maintained in the Council's public file. Other reports may be requested by Council. If a committee makes a report to any authority other than Council, a copy shall be furnished to Council. Any significant departure from existing policy or normal procedure shall be reported to Council promptly, in advance if possible. The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to all committees defined as being under the jurisdiction of Council.
- The by-law governing a particular committee and the foregoing general provisions (a through e above) governing all committees shall take effect for a particular committee when the Executive Committee certifies that it is appropriate for the committee to be governed by them.
1.2 Article on Graduate Committee (XIX in the By-Laws)
- The mission of the Graduate Committee is to oversee graduate curricula and programs and to advance the interest of graduate programs and students at Rhode Island College.
- Powers and Duties
- Be responsible for the approval of graduate curricula, including Certificates of Graduate Study Programs. The Committees’ recommendations will be sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs for approval. Implementation of Graduate Committee decisions regarding graduate curricula is subject to action by the President of the College. Courses which carry both a 400- and 500-level number will require the approval of the Curriculum Committee and the Graduate Committee.
- Initiate study of new graduate curricula or changes in graduate curricula, and consider suggestions for graduate curriculum development from the administration, divisions, departments, individual faculty members, and students. The Graduate Committee shall consult faculty concerned with particular graduate curriculum proposals under consideration.
- Initiate semi-annual reports to the faculty on the decisions of the Committee and subsequent actions on these decisions, and list of proposals which remain on the calendar.
- Meet at least once a month during the academic year to review and evaluate the graduate curriculum in general, to consider important problems and deficiencies in the graduate curriculum, and to discuss its major goals and directions. Additional meetings may be conducted largely under suspension of rules and without a formal agenda of specific proposals. Any faculty member may attend any meeting.
- The recorded minutes of each meeting and meeting agenda will be posted on the Graduate Committee website.
- Periodically or as needed, review and interpret policies pertaining to graduate studies at Rhode Island College, and shall recommend changes to the Dean of Graduate Studies as appropriate.
- Seek to maintain high standards of quality of program, including recruitment, admissions, and assessment of graduate programs, in coordination with the Dean of Graduate Studies.
- Review and promote uniformity among graduate program so far as it is consistent with quality in coordination with the Dean of Graduate Studies.
- Advise the Deans of the Schools and the Vice President for Academic Affairs on other matters of mutual concern.
- Have the responsibility, through the proper and appropriate channels, of dealing with matters which extend beyond the scope of any one department and are entirely or predominantly concerned with graduate studies.
- Except in emergencies specified in the call of the meeting, an agenda shall be printed in the Briefs one week prior to each meeting.
The Committee shall consist of 9 voting members and 2 non-voting members:
- Three graduate program directors or graduate faculty members elected from among the graduate programs in the School of Education. (3)
- Three graduate program directors or graduate faculty members elected from among the graduate programs in the School of Arts and Sciences. (3)
- One graduate program director or faculty member elected from the School of Management. (1)
- One graduate program director or graduate faculty member elected from the School of Nursing. (1)
- One graduate program director or graduate faculty member elected from the School of Social Work. (1)
- Dean of Graduate Studies. (1; non-voting)
- One graduate student accepted in a graduate program, appointed annually as directed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. (1; non-voting)
The elected members of the Committee shall serve for two years in such a manner as to provide for staggered terms.
- The Executive Committee shall consist of the Chair of the Graduate Committee and two other elected members.
Framework of the Graduate Curriculum Committee
2.1 The Organizational Position of the Graduate Curriculum Committee
On most matters within the Graduate Committee's jurisdiction, the by-law delegates to the Committee the power to make decisions without referring back to the Council of Rhode Island College, subject to approval by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President of the College. In cases of new degree programs that were not included in previously authorized functions of the College, approval by the Board of Governors for Higher Education is required.
2.2 The Responsibilities of Members
As specified in the By-Laws, the Graduate Committee consists of 11 members, 9 of whom are voting and two non-voting. The 9 voting members include: three program directors or graduate faculty from the School of Education; three program directors or graduate faculty from the School of Arts & Sciences; 1 program director or graduate faculty from each of the following: School of Management, School of Social Work, School of Nursing. The two non-voting members include the Dean of Graduate Studies, and one graduate student.
It is the responsibility of each member of the Graduate Committee to exercise his/her best judgment as to the good of the College's programs as a whole, even though the member is chosen by, or on behalf of, a particular constituency.
The principal exercise of this judgment is in the discussion and voting in the meetings. Experience shows that in order to exercise this judgment well, members need to "do their homework"—to read and digest before the meeting the materials distributed for consideration. Discussion in the meeting may bring out aspects not clear in the proposal or alternative ways of accomplishing the desired result. Members should try to contribute to this in appropriate cases.
At times, members are needed for subcommittees or special studies.
Members also have a liaison function, both with the College community as a whole and especially with their own constituency. This includes answering questions, alerting appropriate persons to matters of interest to them, and helping preparers of proposals who are unfamiliar with Graduate Committee procedures.
2.3 The Responsibilities of Officers
The officers of the Graduate Committee consist of the Chair, the Secretary, and the Executive Committee elected annually from and by the membership of the Graduate Committee.
- The Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee has the following responsibilities:
- Receive proposals and check for completeness.
- Assign document numbers for proposals received, and record reception dates
- Inform the preparer of proposals that they have been received.
- Prepares and publish the agenda for each meeting in collaboration with the Secretary.
- Convene and conduct the regular monthly (and any special) meetings of the Committee according to the rules of order.
- Serve as a member of the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island College Graduate Committee; convene and chair the Executive Committee.Inform the College community of the meeting dates of the Graduate Committee, of the Executive Committee's deadlines for submission of proposals, and of Graduate Committee action.
- Inform the College community of the meeting dates of the Graduate Committee, of the Executive Committee's deadlines for submission of proposals, and of Undergraduate Curriculum Committee action.
- Forward the Graduate Committee's recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and to the President. If recommendations are approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President, the date of approval will be noted on the Committee website and those affected will be notified. Since approved recommendations are viewed by the Office of News and Publications, all proposals should contain accurate copy for catalog additions, deletions, and/or revisions.
- Appoint a member of the Graduate Committee to sit on the College Mission and Goals Committee and serve as liaison between the Graduate Committee and the College Mission and Goals Committee.
- Ensure that minutes of meetings are recorded.
- Act as Corresponding Secretary for the Graduate Committee.
- Communicate with the preparer of a proposal about the reasons for committee action, in the event that a proposal is rejected or referred back to the preparer.
- Appoint members to any subcommittees or ad hoc committees.
- Inform subcommittee chairs, directors, and deans of reporting requirements.
- Keep the Graduate Committee manual up to date.
- Ensure that the Elections Committee, or the appropriate nominating body, is notified of any upcoming openings on the Graduate Committee.
- Prepare and submit annual reports of actions taken by the Graduate Committee and distribute such materials to the membership, to the Council of Rhode Island College, and to other appropriate persons.
- Others as required.
- The Secretary of the Graduate Curriculum Committee has the following responsibilities:
- Prepare the minutes of each Graduate Committee meeting (Minutes must include revisions and/or amendments to proposals resulting from action taken by the Graduate Committee so that an accurate record of this action is available).
- Draft the meeting agenda in collaboration with the Chair.
- Keep records of attendance by committee members. Names of members with more than three unexcused absences shall be referred to the Executive Committee of the Council of Rhode Island College for appropriate action.
- Serve as a member of the Executive Committee Graduate Committee and prepare minutes of each Executive Committee meeting.
- The Executive Committee of the Graduate Committee shall include the Chair, the Secretary, and one faculty elected from and by the membership. The election of these officers is to be held in the preceding May to facilitate transition. The officers and members of the Executive Committee take office in May.
The Executive Committee of the Graduate Committee has the following responsibilities:
- Meet with the Chair of the Graduate Committee at least ten days prior to any scheduled meeting of the Committee to set the agenda and plan procedural steps for the upcoming meeting.
- Screen documents submitted to the Graduate Committee for clarity, completeness, and correctness, as well as contradictions to policy and/or practice of the Committee and the College.
- Recommend "return to sender" actions for documents that need major revisions in order to meet above requirements. It is the policy of the committee that documents returned for major revision must come to the Executive Committee a second time for a second screening.
- Make amendments for those documents that need only minor alteration so these documents may proceed to action of the Committee with the agreement of the proposer, without return to sender and a second screen. Members of the Executive Committee shall make the determination of minor or major revisions.
- Identify substantive curricular and/or policy issues that are explicit or implicit in proposals received by the Committee, and prepare statements identifying these issues, and (possibly) make recommendation for action to be considered by the Committee.
- Prepare recommendations and/or proposals for revisions, additions, and/or deletions of policy, procedures, and/or practice of the Graduate Committee.
- Assist the Chair of the Graduate Committee regarding committee policy, procedure, or practice of the Committee as its policy, procedure, or practice extends beyond the committee to other committees and/or segments of the College.
- Call attention to and raise discussion of issues regarding policy, procedure, and practice of the College and/or the governing and legislative bodies beyond the College that have curricular relevance.
- Assist and advise the Chair of the Graduate Committee in the execution of his/her responsibilities.
- Others as needed.
2.4 The Jurisdiction of the Graduate Committee
The Graduate Committee is responsible for approving graduate curricula, including program requirements, program retention requirements, addition of new courses, course descriptions, and course credits—but not grade index requirements for graduation, nor most administrative arrangements. The curricular responsibility of the Committee is generally exercised by acting on proposals sent to the Committee.
The Committee also has responsibility for initiating study of new curricula or changes in curricula and for considering suggestions for curriculum development. In some cases, initiative may come from the Committee on the Mission and Goals of the College.
Note: Implementation of Graduate Committee decisions is subject to action by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President of the College.
2.5 The Graduate Committee's Relationship to Other Bodies
The Graduate Committee is established by a By-Law of the Council of Rhode Island College but most actions of the Committee do not require reference to the Council. A member of the Graduate Committee is appointed by the Chair to sit on the College Mission and Goals committee to serve as a liaison.
The number of credits each student receives for a course is specified by Graduate Committee action. Faculty load credits for instruction are determined in accordance with the collective bargaining contract. The grading system to be used for a course is determined by the specific department subject to the approval of the Graduate Curriculum Committee.
The sub-Committee on Individualized Graduate Programs has authority to approvead hoc designs for individual students. The Committee uses established criteria and procedures for the development of individually designed programs. The Committee will submit an annual report of their activity each May to the Graduate Committee.
2.5.1 The Sub Committee on Individualized Graduate Programs (IGPs)
The IGP Committee is empowered to receive and act upon proposals submitted for individually designed graduate programs that lead to one of the four individualized graduate degrees: I.M.A., I.M.S., I.M. Ed., or I. C. A. G. S. granted by Rhode Island College.
The Committee on Individualized Graduate Programs is chaired by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Dean of Graduate Studies will appoint other subcommittee members as appropriate and determined by the nature of the proposal. The Dean is responsible for convening the sub committee meetings......
The Committee is responsible for assuring that the proposal contains a coherent Plan of Study with courses clearly related to the future goals of the student and consistent with the mission of the College.
Final approval of proposals shall be given according to policies established by the IGP Committee. In the case of disapproval of a proposal, a statement of the reasons for disapproval shall be sent to the student and the advisor(s) with suggestions for revision.
The Dean of Graduate Studies will forward recommendations and approved Plans of Study to the Dean(s) of the appropriate school(s) and will inform the candidate regarding acceptance.
2.6 Reports from subcommittees
The Chair of the Graduate Committee is responsible for assuring that reports are presented in a timely fashion.
- College Mission & Goals: in May,
- Individualized Graduate Programs: in May.
In writing reports, the subcommittees of the Graduate Committee should follow the format found in the Appendix of this manual.
Procedures of the Graduate Committee
Meetings of the Graduate Committee are regularly scheduled for the lst week of each month from September through May, except when this conflicts with vacations, convocations, etc. These meetings usually last about two hours. Extra meetings may be scheduled by the committee or called by the Chair of the Graduate Committee in an emergency.
It is urged that all members attend meetings to give their information and insights and to assure the representation of their constituency. Substitutes and proxy votes are not authorized. Though the Committee is usually willing to listen to remarks by someone speaking for an absentee, it is urged that members be present by the scheduled starting time to avoid delay for lack of a quorum.
The By-Law gives any faculty member the right to attend meetings, and this is generally extended to all members of the College community. This does not confer to all members of the College community the right to speak, but the committee usually will hear any remarks that would contribute to an understanding of the issues. It is expected that the originator of a proposal, or someone who can speak for him/her, will be present in case committee members wish to ask questions. Lack of such representation is often cause for postponing consideration of a proposal.
The By-Law provides that the Chair of the Graduate Committee prepare an agenda according to Robert's Rules of Order. A typical agenda for a regular meeting includes
- Approval of the minutes of the previous meeting.
- Report of the Chair of the Graduate Committee.
- Report from Dean of Graduate Studies
- Report from committees
- Old business.
- New business.
Proposals are not placed on the agenda until the Executive Committee reviews them, and all the necessary signatures have been collected and handed in. The meeting times for the Executive Committee are published each September. Proposals for each meeting should be in the hand of the Chair of the Graduate Committee two weeks before the full committee meeting. Copies of the agenda and documents to be considered are published on the Committee website prior to the meeting of the Graduate Committee.
3.3 Conduct of Meetings
Meetings of the Graduate Committee are conducted under Robert's Rules of Order, except when modified by action of the committee.
Accordingly, most of the business of the meetings is conducted by voting on motions made and seconded by any members of the committee. Occasionally, other procedures (such as straw votes on several alternatives) may be used. On some matters, general consent is often requested and received as a way of expediting the business, but major motions are usually voted on, even if their approval is not in doubt.
Voting is normally by show of hands, with the secretary recording the number of ayes, nays, and expressed abstentions. Voice votes may be used if the outcome appears to be almost unanimous. If the chair cannot tell the outcome of a voice vote, a show of hands is requested. A member can refrain from responding to any of these categories. Individual votes are not recorded, except in the case of a specific request. A secret ballot could be asked for in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order and in the election of officers. Substitute and proxy votes are not authorized.
3.4 Distribution of Materials
Documents are made available in advance of the meeting so that committee members will have a chance to study the material and perhaps seek further information. These will be uploaded to the Graduate Committee website.
Minutes of the meetings (once they have been approved by the Committee) and reports of the committee's actions will be published on the Graduate Committee website.
An Action Form is completed to report each Graduate Committee action and/or recommendation to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and to the Office of the President and all other persons who must know the action of the Committee. (See the Appendix II-A: Action Forms.)
3.5 Deleting Courses from the Catalog
The Graduate Committee has the following course deletion policy:
- Annually, at the beginning of September, the Chair of the Graduate Committee will request from the Director of the Records Office a report indicating which graduate courses listed in the College Catalog have not been taught for three or more calendar years, and the last semester the course was taught. This report will be shared with the academic deans/director and members of the Committee.
- The appropriate academic dean will notify appropriate department chairs/program directors of the courses that have not been taught for three or more years and are subject to deletion.
- The department chair/program director has four weeks within which to object to the deletion of the course(s) and to supply an appropriate rationale as to why the course(s) should not be deleted. If the department chair/program director does not communicate with the academic dean in this regard, the academic dean will notify the Chair of the Graduate Committee of their sole recommendation regarding deletion of the course(s).
- If the academic dean is notified that the department chair/program director objects to the deletion of a course(s), the two will discuss the situation and attempt to arrive at a mutually agreeable recommendation. If they agree, the academic dean will notify the Chair of the Graduate Committee of their joint recommendation.
- If the two cannot arrive at a mutually agreeable recommendation, the academic dean will notify the Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee of the two opposing recommendations.
- Decisions for permanent exemption from this deletion policy and procedure can be granted only by the Graduate Committee upon recommendation of the academic dean.
- All recommendations must be submitted to the Chair of the Graduate Committee by the first Friday in November. The Chair will place on the agenda of the November meeting of the Graduate Committee a proposal regarding the deletion of courses not taught for three or more calendar years and the recommendations regarding deletion of these courses. If the decision is to delete the course, the Chair of the Graduate Committee will submit an Action Form for approval by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President.
Since these policies and procedures are within the authority of the Graduate Committee, notification by way of courtesy will be given to the Council of Rhode Island College. The course deletion policy will be in effect upon approval of the Graduate Committee and supersedes all other policies or procedures in regard to deletion of courses. All other course deletions shall be accomplished through the process of submitting a course revision form.
Proposals and their preparation
4.1 Types of Proposals
This chapter is concerned mainly with proposals for new or changed graduate programs and new courses or changes in courses, such as changes in title, course number, credits, description, or prerequisites. All forms are available for download on the Graduate Committee website, along with instructions as to how to fill them in. The Graduate Committee looks at all proposals affecting 000 to 400L courses; however, proposals affecting 400L courses that are also offered as 500L, must first be approved by the Graduate Curriculum Committee before coming to the Graduate Committee. All proposals that affect only graduate programs and 500-600L courses go through the Graduate Curriculum Committee alone.
There are four different forms: one for proposing courses, one for revising courses, one for proposing a program, and one for revising a program. The form you will use depends on the type of change you want to make. See detailed information on the Forms and Information Link on the Graduate Committee home page.
The form used depends on the type of change needed. A single form may be used to make multiple changes to a single course. A single form may be used to make the same change to more than one course (for example, to make the same prerequisite change to two or three courses). When making different changes to several courses, please use separate forms for each course. If the recommendation is for a new program then the proposal must appear in the format described in the Regulations Governing Academic Changes in Rhode Island Public Institutions of Higher Education, which can be found on the RIBGHE website: at http://www.ribghe.org/regulations.htm
The Graduate Committee also receives proposals for policy statements, investigations, etc. either from individuals or from subcommittees. It is helpful to the Committee to have as specific a proposal as possible, particularly something that can easily be put in the form of a motion. An individual wishing to communicate with the Graduate Committee for any of these purposes should contact the Chair of the Graduate Committee.
4.2 Information about the Preparation of Proposals
Proposers should remember that the audience for the proposal, primarily the members of the Graduate Committee, will usually be much less familiar with the matter, especially its details, than is the writer of the proposal. Exposition in the proposal should be pitched at a level appropriate for the readers. Likewise, if the proposal is adopted, then many of the people affected by it—such as students, advisors, Records Office, and Publishing Service personnel—may not be familiar with the details or nuances. The proposal (with perhaps a partial exception for course descriptions) should be clear to nonspecialists.
Filling Out Forms
The proposal form is a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx). It is designed to be downloaded to your workstation, completed electronically, saved, and emailed to the Chair of the Graduate Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Committee also needs one paper copy with signatures.
Save the proposal in Microsoft Word, rather than converting it to a read only form, such as a PDF. This will allow the Chair of the Graduate Committee to make minor changes, such as correcting typos, without your having to resubmit the form. Any changes, including minor ones, will be reviewed with the proposer before forms are sent to the Graduate Committee at large. Maintaining the proposal as a Word document also allows it to be posted to the Graduate Committee web site, where all members of the college community may view proposals and track them through the approval process.
After a proposal has been drafted or revised, the proposer and any reviewers should check it over for consistency, completeness, and clarity. (The Graduate Committee rejects, defers, or refers back more proposals because of inconsistencies, omissions, or obscurities rather than because of disagreement with the essence of the proposal). Even when time presses, omission of the checking may delay rather than expedite matters or may take up time of the members of the Graduate Committee that they could better devote to other matters.
Submission of Proposals
After completing the proposal, please forward it to your department or program chair and your dean for approvals and signatures before submitting it to the Chair of the Graduate Committee. If proposals involve more than one department, department chairs and deans of all affected programs must approve and sign the proposal. While the Executive Committee will look over a proposal without the completed signature page, it will not be placed upon the agenda of the Graduate Committee until the Chair has a hard copy of the signature page, and the agenda is typically published one week before the Graduate Committee's scheduled meeting. This means that the hard copy of the signature page must be received by the Chair of the Graduate Committee one week prior to the scheduled meeting.
The completed electronic copy of the proposal is due two weeks prior to the scheduled Graduate Committee meeting (as a reminder, the Committee meets on the first Friday of every month). Email an electronic version of your completed proposal as an attachment (without signatures, but with names typed onto the signature sheet of those who will be signing). Make sure that any required tables, course outline or syllabi are pasted into the proposal so that you are sending a single file (please do not send as a separate documents), to the Chair of the Graduate Committee at email@example.com. The only additional file that you may include is the revised catalog copy. Please send only the pages that will need changes rather than whole sections of the catalog. You do not need to include page numbers. Download the sections of the current catalog that appear on the GCC website which apply to your proposed changes, and cut out the pages that need alteration. Place all of these in a single document, with page breaks to indicate different sections of the catalog. Ensure when you make the changes on this edited selection that you are tracking the changes so that they can be seen on both the original and edited copy. On completing your proposal, please acquire all of the necessary signatures. The copy of the form with signatures should be sent in paper form to the Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee.
The Board of Governors must approve proposals for new programs and/or substantial revisions of existing programs once they have passed through committee. The Graduate Committee website will indicate when the necessary approvals have been made, and the date on which the proposal, if passed, will go into effect.
The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee of the Graduate Committee examines proposals for completeness and conformity to committee policy. This Committee then recommends or does not recommend that the proposal be placed on the agenda of the next Graduate Committee. Failure to recommend placement on the agenda means the proposal is returned to the author for repairs or revision or consultation with other concerned elements of the College community. If a proposal is returned to the author, the Chair of the Graduate Committee confers with the author about needed revisions. If there are minor problems with a proposal, the Executive Committee may recommend placement on the agenda and the Chair may inform the author that amendments should be made and returned to the Chair prior to the scheduled meeting.
The necessary amendments are discussed by the Chair of the Graduate Committee and the author and the representative. Only members of the Graduate Curriculum Committee may make motions to amend a document before the Committee.
The Graduate Committee
The Graduate Committee receives proposals listed on its agenda, and after deliberation, approves or disapproves a proposal.
If a proposal is not approved by the Graduate Committee, it may be referred back to the author with an explanation of the reasons for disapproval. The proposal may be revised and resubmitted. If the proposal is approved, an Action Form (see Appendix II-A) is completed by the Chair of the Graduate Committee, which includes an explanation of the proposal. This is forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who signs or does not sign the Action Form after checking it for content and forwards it to the President who approves or disapproves an action by the Graduate Committee. Proposals that are disapproved by the President are returned to the Graduate Committee for reconsideration.
Notice of approved proposals is sent to the author. The Graduate Committee website shows when the proposal has been forwarded from the Executive Committee to the Graduate Committee, and when it has been approved or rejected by the Graduate Committee, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the President, and, if necessary, the Board of Governors, along with the date on which the proposal will go into effect.
The action contained in a proposal becomes official only after presidential approval and, if needed, Board of Governors approval or notification.
It is the policy of the Chair of the Graduate Committee with the advice of the Executive Committee of the Graduate Committee to refuse to accept, for purposes of the agenda, proposals that are incomplete or that do not contain necessary information as outlined in the Graduate Committee Curriculum Manual. It is the responsibility of the proposer to keep abreast of any changes in these requirements. The Executive Committee may ask for minor revisions. Please return revised proposals as soon as possible but at least one week before the scheduled meeting of the Graduate Committee as a whole. The Executive Committee may also suggest major revisions to a proposal or recommend that a proposal be withdrawn or reconsidered. These recommendations are made based on the consensus that the proposal would not be approved by the Committee as a whole. The proposer may decide to revise the proposal or elect to withdraw it entirely.
If your proposal will require any additional resources managed through Information Services, then the VP of Information Services must be informed prior to submitting the proposal to ensure that such resources will be available. This action should be noted on the proposal in the relevant section, where you are asked to describe the impact of the proposed change on college resources.
Once the Executive Committee forwards proposals to the Chair, the Chair will place them on the agenda of the Committee in chronological or logical order as received with other proposals. Representatives of the proposers will be asked to be present and discuss the proposal with the Committee. A proposal with interdepartmental or institutional concerns may be considered at one meeting with final action postponed until a subsequent meeting.
Information from proposals will be included in the College Catalog according to the published timeline. In general, proposals approved prior to April 1 will appear in the following Fall catalog.
The Graduate Committee does not have jurisdiction over administrative arrangements for implementing approved proposals. Hence, mention in the proposal of administrative arrangements is viewed by the committee as only informational.
Acknowledgement signatures (with dates) are needed from:
- The chair or director of any department or program which offers a course that you are revising or deleting as part of their program, along with the Dean of that department/program.
- Any person in charge of other elements of the College that are affected by the proposal. For example, proposals that directly or tangentially involve or affect resources provided by or activities of other elements of the College, such as the computer center, multimedia center, or other departments.
- The library will automatically be informed of all proposals once they have been approved, and so proposals will no longer require the acknowledgment signature of the Director of the Library, unless specialized resources are needed.
Acknowledgment signatures indicate awareness (not necessarily endorsement or approval of the impact of the proposal. If appropriate, these signatures may be accompanied by statements of support or nonsupport for the proposal. Affected persons may also appear before the Graduate Committee to speak for or against a proposal.
Approval signatures (with dates) are needed from:
- The chair or director of the department originating the proposal as well as the appropriate dean.
- The chair or director of any department or program that will be offering any courses you request in a new or revised program.
- Proposals that involve more than one school of the College must be signed by all concerned deans.
NB Proposals that do not have the necessary signatures prior to a Graduate Committee meeting will not be included on that meeting agenda.
4.3. Revision of Existing Policy or Practice or a New Policy or Practice
Proposals for revisions of existing curricular policy, curricular practice, or for new policy or procedures may be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Committee. Such proposals should include a clear rationale and explanation of the need for the proposed revision or addition of policy or practice. It should also describe the possible impact on the College—faculty, students, staff, administration and resources. The Graduate Committee may schedule open hearings on proposals of far-reaching implications, if appropriate, or may agree if requested to do so. Note that proposals for changes in Academic policy or practice must be sent to the Committee on Academic Policy and Procedures or to the Executive Committee of the Rhode Island College Council.
4.4 Glossary of Terms
The following glossary of terms is used to define parts of programs:
Capstone means culminating or crowning. It is used to describe a course that is the culminating experience for a program of study.
Certificate of Graduate Studies (CGS) : Primarily for post-baccalaureate-level students, where the certificate components consist mostly of RIC graduate-level courses. Admission and retention requirements are extensive. These certificates typically provide advanced applied academic and/or professional training
Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS): Primarily for post-master's-level students. Application requirements for Certificate Programs are the same as those for Degree Programs with the following exception: standardized tests are not required.
Cognates are required courses in disciplines related to the degree; they are intended to broaden and enhance the program of study.
Concentration is the area of specialization. Courses in the concentration are a group of courses that relate specifically to the student's area of study.Course Delivery MethodDistance Learning designation means that the course is delivered entirely online, with no in person classes.Curriculum represents the student's total program of study (normally requiring a minimum 30 credits). At least 24 of these will be formal course credits exclusive of the thesis.
Hybrid course designation means a blend of online and traditional class meetings, with generally 50% online.
Online course designation means that at least 80% of classes are taught online, and may require initial meeting in person.
Traditional courses are those made up of in person class meetings, but which may include the use of an on-line learning management system.
Electives are courses that the student may choose beyond the specifically required courses in order to fulfill the degree requirements.
Sequence is a listing of courses in the order they are to be taken by the student.
Other terms such as focus, module, cluster, track, emphasis etc. should not be used to define programs and should be avoided in the text.
I Annual Reports
The Graduate Committee and its subcommittees are charged with making reports of activity during the year. The Graduate Committee reports to the Rhode Island College Council and the format for its annual report must follow the reporting requirements for that parent body as well as provide a detailed record of all actions taken by the Graduate Committee, so that a record is available for the future. Items required for the report are listed in Appendix I-A. The subcommittees of the Graduate Committee report to the Committee all action taken during the year. The format for this report is in Appendix I-B.
Content of Graduate Committee Annual Reports
The Graduate Committee report should conform to information requirements of the Council of Rhode Island College.
- Membership (names, terms, department, constituency)
- Membership of the Executive Committee of the Graduate Committee.
- Meeting dates of the Graduate Committee and the Executive Committee.
- Dates of any special meetings and purpose of such.
- Subcommittees' membership and terms.
- Annual reports of subcommittees attached to the annual report.
- All ad hoc committees, their charges, memberships, reports, if any, and dates of task completion (refer to the minutes of the meeting in which the report was made).
- All special task force(s) formed, membership copies of the charge(s) of the task force(s), and progress reports and/or final reports.
- All special policy actions taken by the Graduate Committee summarized with dates of appropriate minutes.
- All actions taken by the Graduate Committee classified by origination source (departments), with indication of action by the President.
- All other information required by the Council of Rhode Island College.
The following may also be included:
- Specific recommendations to the Council from the Committee in the form of resolutions to the Council.
- Specific recommendations to new communities.
- Self-evaluation with recommendation for alterations in structure and duties for the By-Law Committee.
- Implications of current fiscal or personnel agreements relative to program, personnel, curriculum facilities, etc. as they impinge on the work of the Committee.
Content of Graduate Committee Subcommittees' Annual Reports
- Committee Title:
- Submitted to: Chair of the Graduate Committee
- Prepared by: Chair
- Members of the Committee:
- Meeting Dates:
- Review of Committee Activities:
- Decisions Approved:
- Include descriptions of the significant and critical events in the life of the committee which may or may not have precipitated committee action, but of which future committees and the Committee should be informed.
- Include any suggestions for changes or additions in Graduate Committee policy or committee structure that should be considered by the Committee; such as changes in the responsibilities, membership, and/or procedures of the committee.
Report of Graduate Committee Action to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and to the President
The report of recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and to the President is prepared by the Chair of the Graduate Committee. The form used for this report is in section II-A. The recommendations must include a summary of all revisions (deletions or additions), with brief explanatory comments.
When and if the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President approve the action of the Graduate Committee by affixing their signatures, dates of approval, and date effective to the form, the form is held at the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the website is amended accordingly.
Form for Report of Graduate Committee Action
Policies Governing Off Campus and Special Format Courses.
- Control of Off-Campus and Special-Format Courses:
- Full control of off-campus courses should reside in the academic departments and utilize the defined existing processes for such decisions that:
- pertain to initiation of courses and their validity
- approve course descriptions
- determine the amount of credit to be granted
- approve the course for program credit
- establish course requirements
- determine the scheduling of the course
- determine the assignment of teaching personnel
- The departmental control of courses resides with the most appropriate and proper department related to the course offerings.
- Off-campus course proposals are approved by the appropriate dean or deans.
- "Off-campus courses" in this sense are not intended to include practica and other classes with an off-campus component.
- Need for an Efficient, Qualitative Mechanism to Respond to All Outside Requests for Workshops
It is recommended that the College:
- Maintain the present procedure whereby all sources of course proposals are introduced to the College community. These are identified asAppropriate Department Chair
- Disseminate among members of the faculty and department chairs identifying all elements in the approval process.
- Time Needed to Study Requests and Render a Decision:
Emergency approval of off-campus courses should be avoided.
- All approvals should be obtained under conditions that permit adequate time for consideration of proposed off-campus courses.
- When school is not in session, or the appropriate department chair and/or personnel are not available, an ad hoc committee may be appointed by the appropriate academic dean for consideration of off-campus courses.
- When approval is granted by the ad hoc committee, it will be for one semester only and subject to review when the usual department personnel become available.
- Staff Qualifications and Availability
To obtain the most qualified personnel to instruct the off-campus offering:
- Instructors for said courses should be regular, full-time faculty of the College except where departments shall explicitly approve special instructors for specific courses.
- Instructors, other than full-time College faculty, shall be approved each and every time they receive an assignment for teaching off-campus offerings.
- Appropriate Rigor of Offerings Along with Necessary Support Systems
To insure the integrity of the off-campus course offerings:
- When on-campus courses are to be taught off-campus the necessary resources are to be made available.
- All requests for courses already taught on campus shall be subject to the approval process already identified for off-campus course approval.
- The college policy whereby the maximum student load is one graduate credit per week for summer courses shall also be applied for all workshops and off-campus course offerings.
Policy on the Administration of Interdisciplinary Courses
- Urban education and bilingual-bicultural programs are to be administered by the Department of Educational Studies and the Dean of the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development.
- International education programs are to be administered by the President's Office.
- Social science programs are to be administered by a director responsible to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Chairs of the social science and history departments or their designees will serve as an advisory committee to the director.
- All other existing programs are to be coordinated by the Assistant or Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
- The assistant or associate dean will cooperate with the coordinator of programs or teachers (of courses) to work out a mode of evaluation for programs or courses; copies of reports of results of the use of any mode of evaluation will be sent to the secretary of the Graduate Curriculum Committee.
Certificate of Graduate Studies
- Certificate definition and nomenclature
NOTE: Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study (C.A.G.S.) are a graduate degree and so are not included in this category.
Certificate of Graduate Studies (CGS): Primarily for post-baccalaureate-level students, where the certificate components consist mostly of RIC graduate-level courses. Admission and retention requirements are extensive. These certificates typically provide advanced applied academic and/or professional training.
- Certificate Program Review
Certificate programs are important to the college and merit considerable care in their development and administration. When academic credit is awarded, these programs should be afforded the same level of guidance and scrutiny given to other applications of academic credit, which is the purview of the Graduate Committee. CGS programs are reviewed and approved like all other academic programs.
- CGS Program Requirements The CGS certificate program will be composed of at least 15 credit hours, primarily consisting of existing RIC courses at the 500-600 level. The completion requirement for the certificate is typically a 3.0 or greater minimum cumulative GPA unless otherwise specified. Five hours are required in CGS programs for the student to be eligible for financial aid.
- Certificate Program Registration, Transcription, and Graduation
- Certificate program coordinators will notify the Records Office when a student is admitted to a certificate program.
- CGS students are not matriculated and will be recognized and coded as non-degree students. The Records Office will establish and use uniform certificate coding procedures.
- The coordinating department will track student progress and notify students of impending program completion.
- Coordinating departments will acknowledge students completing certificate requirements.
Policy on x50 x60 and x80 Courses
Each department may offer topics courses, seminars and workshops--X50 and X60 and X80. Topics courses and workshops may be repeated with a change in content and credits may vary.
Within the general category of "Courses with Variable Content," no department may offer any X50 topics courses, X60 seminars, or X80 workshop courses with the same content more than three times. After three offerings, the graduate course in question must either be approved by the Graduate Committee as a regular catalog course or the sponsoring department must receive in advance the written approval of the appropriate academic dean for exception to this policy. The Deans shall report to the Graduate Committee in April each year on any exceptions given.
Policy on Mode of Instruction
- Standard Classroom: A course that meets at a pre-determined time and place, in-person, on a regular schedule throughout the term. The course may include use of online learning management system(s).
- Hybrid: A course in which a portion of standard classroom instruction is replaced by online learning.
- Distance: A course in which all teaching and learning takes place online. There are no in-person meetings.
Policy on Field Experience, Internship, Practicum Policy
Field experience, internships, practica, etc. are important methods of learning for students. Classroom content can be enhanced by a planned program that allows students to put theory and skill into practice. The use of this educational tool should be purposeful and planned: such experiential learning will supplement and reinforce classroom learning in actual life situations. In such learning experiences, students should be involved directly in the work of the agency and not merely be there as an observer with only vicarious involvement. Student tasks should be consistent with the educational goals of the student and the school.
All such experiences should be treated as a course, requiring Graduate Committee action. The proposal should include:
- Clearly stated objectives.
- Method of instruction.
- Method of evaluation.
- Procedure for placement by the department/school offering the experience.
- A plan for coordination with learning site.
- The objectives should be related to the experience the student will have. This permits a learning contract to be developed, which provides a basis for evaluation. It also provides for a link with theoretical knowledge already learned.
- Commitments with outside agencies shall not be made by students.
- Each program should develop a field manual that must be approved by the appropriate dean and that spells out:
- Specific learning objectives
- Procedures for placement of students
- Procedures for on-site supervision
- Responsibility of all parties involved: college faculty, students, agency personnel
- Process of evaluation
- Process of coordination between faculty and agency based supervisors
- Method of grading
- Credit for field work associated with courses that are principally theory and/or method in content should be given on a formula basis of two (2) hours per week equals one (1) semester hour credit. Credit for field work with courses that are practice in content (e.g. student teaching, internship) should be given on the formula basis of approximately four (4) hours per week equals one (1) credit.
Policy on the Renumbering of Courses
Courses Numbered 400-499 – courses normally taken in the junior and senior years; open to graduate students for credit toward graduate degrees. The number of credits acceptable in a graduate program is limited by graduate program policies.
Courses Numbered 500-599 – courses open to graduate students. Normally these courses require a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite. In certain circumstances, qualified undergraduate students who have earned at least 90 credit hours may be admitted, with documented consent of the instructor and the appropriate dean.
Courses Numbered 600-699 – courses open to graduate and doctoral students only
Courses Numbered 700-799 – courses open to graduate and doctoral students only
In general, when the middle digit of a course number is 6, the course is a seminar or a general education core course; 8, a workshop; 9, directed study
FSEHD Policy on Continuing Education For-Credit Courses
Note: These guidelines must be followed for CE for-credit courses using FSEHD discipline codes, but other RIC schools and OCESS are not obliged to follow these guidelines.
Credit-bearing graduate FSEHD courses are being offered through off-campus partners, and it is essential that Rhode Island College apply its academic policies, procedures, and governance equally to all courses.
- Any entity, whether affiliated or not affiliated with FSEHD, may request that an existing course that has been approved through college governance be delivered to a specific group of individuals, either on or off-campus. The requests should be submitted to the Dean, Feinstein School of Education and Human Development in writing or online at least three months before the class starts
- Requests may include recommendations for instructor appointment and the adaptation of content, but academic departments retain full control of the academic content and faculty appointments regardless of the nature of the relationship with the partner organization or any historical precedents. Typical recommendations might include:
- 2.1. Dates, times, and location (for class meetings or course format (online, hybrid, etc.)
- 2.2. Potential audience, expected class size
- 2.3. Recommendations with respect to overall course content, possibly referencing a topical outline or a pre-existing syllabus
- 2.4. Recommendation of one or more persons qualified to teach the course
- Part time instructors assigned to teach a course must submit their detailed syllabus, in FSEHD template form
(http://ricreport.org/SyllabusTemplate.docx), to the Department Chair for approval at least one month before class begins. The Chair may choose to delegate syllabus approval to another full time faculty whose area of expertise matches the proposed course. The approved syllabus will be filed electronically with the department and Dean's office, along with a record of approval.
- In case of repeat offerings, the syllabus must be reviewed at least annually.
- No course maybe entered into RIC's PeopleSoft scheduling system without prior written approval by the Department Chair and Dean.