Curriculum Committee Consultation on Curricular and Policy Matters
The L&S Curriculum Committee serves as the primary vehicle for the consideration of new curricular initiatives such as Freshman Seminars, and advising the Dean and L&S Student Academic Affairs on the interpretation of L&S curricular policy as the need arises. As part of this responsibility, the Curriculum Committee completed a multi-year assessment of the L&S BA/BS requirements. That assessment led to changes to the L&S baccalaureate degree requirements that were approved by the L&S Senate in April 2005, and which have since been the focus of much of the committee's work. As questions arise, the committee continues to consider issues related to the implementation of those changes in the L&S degree requirements (a.k.a. BABS07).
This document summarizes the role the L&S Curriculum Committee has in policy matters.
The Committee has issued recommendations related to the following topics:
- Endorsement of the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates Advising Proposal. The Committee was asked to review and comment on a proposal to use MIU funds to improve the advising system on campus. The Committee endorsed the proposal and provided feedback to the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning.
- A College assessment of student learning. The Committee has begun a discussion of College wide learning outcomes and assessment of student learning across the College's academic programs.
- Consultation of Service Learning Courses. The Morgridge Center for Public Service submitted a proposal for a service learning course designation and outlined criteria for courses to receive the designation. The L&S Curriculum Committee provided feedback on the proposal.
- L&S Undergraduate Catalog Text. These changes are intended to explain more clearly what students can expect in the course of pursuing a degree in the liberal arts and sciences, and how breadth of study intersects with depth of study in more focused inquiries in the major. Importantly, the various types of "breadth" are described (albeit in general terms). This work will lay the foundation for future efforts to assess student learning in breadth areas.
- Directed Study. The Committee's inquiries into student course taking patterns and faculty surveys about the role and use of Directed Study courses led to specific advice to departments about how to use these courses more effectively.
- Topics courses. The Committee has discussed the issues presented by an aging course array, and noted that many departments and programs lack "topics courses" under which infrequently offered courses might be taught. The committee has issued advice regarding the role topics courses might play in the curriculum.
- Mandatory Major Declaration. The committee discussed the significant benefits of declaring a major, including timely graduation, connection to department resources and advising, connection to other students pursuing similar academic interests, and 'locking' in major requirements in the case of changes. Given these benefits, the committee approved a policy that requires L&S undergraduate students to declare a major prior to reaching 86 credits (senior standing).