Modifying the Undergraduate Curriculum: Overview

Making Significant or Insignificant Changes to the Curriculum
Changes Involving Requests for Additional Resources
Discontinuance of an Academic Program
Changing the Name of a Major, Minor, or Certificate vs the Name of a Department or other Unit

Making Significant and Insignificant Changes to the Undergraduate Curriculum

When a department or program is considering making a significant change to the undergraduate curriculum, the DEO or delegate should first review the possible change with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education as soon as possible before writing a proposal requesting the change.

The following are considered significant changes to the curriculum that require an initial conversation and initial agreement by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education that proposed idea is worth exploring further:

  • The addition or discontinuation of a major, minor, or certificate.
  • Changes to names of majors, minors, and certificates.
  • Revisions to a major, minor, and certificate involving restructuring and a change in s.h. required, such as the addition or removal of a track or the addition or removal of cognate course clusters, for example.
  • Any addition or reduction of total credit hours to a major, minor, or certificate.
  • Any request to add or remove an application or other process that students must complete before acceptance into a major or other programs of study. (Note: CLAS ordinarily does not approve selective certificates or minors and very rarely approves a selective process for a major.)
  • The addition of a grade attached to a cluster of prerequisite courses (such as C-) that functions as the gateway into a major and that limits access.

Changes considered insignificant are listed below; these do not require a prior conversation or initial approval by the Associate Dean but are made through a change to the Catalog when opened for editing. The College will review and approve (or deny) these changes during the Catalog workflow process:

  • Addition or removal of courses from a major, minor, certificates without making a change to the total credit hours of the major, minor, or certificate. 
  • Changes to the titles of course groupings that do not appear on a transcript and are not formal tracks, subprograms, concentrations, or emphasis areas but are a way to organize the major into a sequence by course clusters (such as foundational courses, intermediate courses, capstone, etc.)
  • Reorganizing the visual layout of a major, minor, or certificate or the sequencing of course work without changing requirements, or credit hours.
  • Additions and updates to the learning outcomes.
  • Changes to the sample plans of study as long as requirements are the same as those in the Catalog.

These changes are reviewed by CLAS during the Catalog editing and approval process. Websites may only be updated after the Catalog is published, generally in early June, with CLAS approval completed at that time.

Changes Involving Requests for Additional Resources

After a discussion about the proposed changes with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education has occurred, as outline above, and if additional resources for the proposed change are required at the time of approval or in the near future, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education will take the following steps:

  • The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education will update and discuss the proposal with the Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities and/or the Associate Dean for Natural, Mathematical, and Social Sciences, as appropriate.
  • The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education will also update the related associate deans and Dean of the College of related progress or changes to the proposal as appropriate.
  • The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education will decide if and when the proposal may be placed on the agenda of the Undergraduate Educational Policy Committee (UEPCC).
  • UEPCC will discuss and make a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education on the curricular strengths and on the necessity of the program, including its relation to the UI and CLAS strategic plans and to undergraduate success and to departmental expertise and strengths.
  • The proposal will move to Faculty Assembly for discussion if recommended by UEPCC for approval.
  • If recommended by FA for approval, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education will consult with the CLAS Dean and the related CLAS leadership team about the placement of the proposal on the agenda of the Executive Committee for a discussion about allocation of resources.
  • The Executive Committee does not make recommendations on the curricular content of the proposal beyond its relation to needed new resources.
  • The Dean will consider the recommendations of the proposed curricular addition from UEPCC and FA and the allocation of resources as recommended by EC while consulting with the related associate deans about the best decision concerning the allocation of resources. It is the responsibility of the Dean of the College to make this final decision.
  • The Dean may also choose to approve the proposal without any or only some of the requested resources.
  • If the administrative home of the proposal agrees to then move the proposal forward, the proposal will be sent to the Provost for a further decision.
  • The Office of the Provost decides when and if a proposal for a new major is placed on the Regents' agenda. The Office of the Provost must also approve minors and certificates but these do not need further approval by the Regents.

    Changing the Name of an Academic Program vs the Name of a Unit

    To change the name of an academic program, the above process is followed with a name change considered significant.

    To change the name of the department or unit, the proposal should be referred to either the Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities or to the Associate Dean for Natural, Mathematical, and Social Sciences, with the matter then discussed by the Executive Committee. 

    If approved in the appropriate elected committee, the request for either of the above is sent to the Faculty Assembly for a recommendation, and then to the Provost,and the Board of Regents. This process generally takes more than six months and areas are advised to begin it as soon as possible by consulting with the appropriate dean. A department or program may not advertise or use the new name until the change has been approved by the Regents. This is a Regent policy and may not be violated.

    Discontinuance of an Academic Program

    A request to discontinue a major or other academic program requires the same approval process as for the implementation of a new major.

    Departments are encouraged to consult with the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education before and during the creation of the proposal to terminate an academic program. No program may be terminated without permission of the Regents.

    After the last day before the fall semester begins following the approval of the proposal to terminate the major, students may no longer declare that major. Until that date occurs, students may enroll in the program and may complete the requirements for the major which were in place at the time of its declaration.

    Returning students, who previously had declared the major in question and who wish to continue the program upon their return, will be advised by the department on how best to proceed.

    Academic units should work closely with CLAS to make sure termination information is available on all relevant web sites and that all involved faculty and academic advisors as well as Admissions and the Registrar are aware of the date when students may not longer declare a major.