3.4.10 Responsibility for Curriculum

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

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

Faculty at the University have primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of its curriculum. The content of the curriculum at PVAMU is initiated and approved by faculty and follow the approval process outlined in the Curriculum Review Process flow chart [1]. Requests are initiated by faculty and routed through the department curriculum committee and the department head. The curriculum committee and the department head approve changes, deletions, or additions before they go to the dean and the college/school curriculum committee. If after review, the college/school curriculum committee and the dean approve the request, the dean, department head, or designee present their recommendations and case to the University Academic Council [2] or Graduate Council [3] where appropriate. Membership on these councils consists primarily of faculty from the University's eight colleges and schools [4] [5].

In the case of new program proposals, the councils forward recommendations to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs who makes recommendations to the President. The President initiates the process for approval by the Chancellor, the TAMUS Board of Regents, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as appropriate [6] [7] [8]. In the case of approved updates to existing courses or new courses that will strengthen the curriculum of an existing program, the council's recommendations are sent to the Provost, who is delegated final authority on curriculum matters by the President and CEO. Changes are vetted for correctness and then submitted to the Office of the Registrar for transmittal through an electronic system to the THECB. Once received and reviewed, the THECB notifies the University when courses have been added to the course inventory which is tied to funding via a CIP code [9]. Once a change has received all required approvals [10] [11], implementing and monitoring the approved program or change rests upon the faculty, department head, and dean.

Some approved courses or programs are offered through distance learning. The Distance Learning Council approves and recommends programs and courses that have been developed in compliance with the approved distance learning procedures and requirements [12] [13]. The Distance Learning Council is comprised of faculty members from across the University, and includes administrators such as the associate provost [14] [15].

Quality and effectiveness of the University's curriculum are also maintained by faculty in other ways as well. Course/Program Learning Outcomes Alignment and Review Matrices in 2007 asked faculty to align their program learning outcomes with courses taught in the program. Alignment of this nature allows faculty to ascertain the relevance of the curriculum to the unit's program learning outcomes and to reflect on the course goals and outcomes. The process also helps ensure that outcomes are being taught, integrated, and reinforced. Alignments from Nursing [16], Construction Science [17], Finance [18], Biology [19], and Management Information Systems [20] are samples that illustrate what is done to help ensure the quality and effectiveness of the curriculum. Similarly, faculty completed matrices for upper-level courses in 2007-2008 in order to identify upper-level courses that reinforce the General Education/Core Curriculum Exemplary Outcomes [21] given to universities across the state by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Core curriculum alignment matrices [22] from English [23] and Agriculture [24] are samples that illustrate additional ways that the faculty help realize a strong and effective curriculum. Units may also conduct curriculum alignments for accrediting bodies such as Council on Social Work Education [25], AACSB [26], and National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission [27].

These curriculum matrices assist faculty in placing and aligning course-level learning outcomes in the University's assessment tool, TrueOutcomes. Course learning outcomes are also given to students as one of the required elements on course syllabi. [28] For assessment purposes, assignments at the course-level are considered "artifacts" (items of coursework that serve as evidence that course objectives are met) and are loaded into TrueOutcomes. The assignment(s) to be used as artifacts are identified by the faculty member teaching the course or in collaboration and are assessed generally via rubric(s) designed by the faculty member(s) teaching the course or through discussion at the departmental level. Courses can be aligned with program learning outcomes, with accrediting body outcomes and competencies, as well as with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Exemplary Outcomes for the core curriculum. Sample screen shots from TrueOutcomes illustrate the way course outcomes are assigned at the course-level by all units on campus [29] [30]. Programs can further align their programs and courses, regardless of whether they are offered on campus or via distance education, with accrediting body outcomes to help ensure the quality and effectiveness of the University's curriculum [31] [32].

Faculty are also given data from instruments such as the MAPP, CLA, CIRP, and NSSE (fifteen different instruments are available through the Data & Services Request Form on the web) to help guide them in assessing and making curriculum and programmatic changes [33].

Faculty examine curriculum in unit meetings or in University-wide strategic planning meetings such as those held most recently as part of the annual faculty and professional staff conference, held this year on May 19, 2009. Sample minutes from the Division of Social Work, Behavioral and Political Science [34], Biology [35], Kinesiology [36], and Mathematics [37] demonstrate faculty’s  responsibility for the curriculum and other areas of planning and assessment.

If faculty determine that curricular modification to ensure quality and effectiveness are needed, they follow the process outlined above for curriculum changes. Provided are sample course deletion [38], addition [39], and change request forms [40] presented to the University Academic Council or Graduate Council. Sample minutes of council meetings can be found in Comprehensive Standards 3.4.1 and 3.6.1. The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of its curriculum with its faculty.

Supporting Documentation and Links

Comprehensive Standards 3.4.10

© 2009 Prairie View A&M University