Part 3 - Comprehensive Standards
  

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

Compliance
Partial Compliance
Non-Compliance

Narrative

The educational programs offered at the University of New Orleans directly relate to the University mission, and are supported by the curriculum.  Faculty members are primarily responsible for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum.

The fundamental importance of faculty’s role in determining course content and curriculum is underscored by a statement included in Section 2.0 of the Employee Handbook [Page: 29] :

A faculty is preeminently responsible for the definition, quality, and character of a university.  The faculty body is responsible for the development and delivery of curricula and for the institution’s record of scholarly contributions.

Section 3.3 of the Employee Handbook describes faculty authority to determine educational policy:

The faculty has the authority to establish curricula, fix standards of instruction, and determine requirements for degrees, and make recommendations for the granting of degrees through its respective colleges. It has legislative power over its own meetings and may delegate its own authority to the Faculty Senate and/or to other standing committees. The faculty's authority is limited to matters proper to the faculty, and the UNO President or the UL System President may suspend any faculty action that is deemed administrative in nature or which seriously affects the interests of another faculty of the university or of the system.

The University of New Orleans faculty generally exercises its authority over educational policy through the Faculty Senate and its committees and through departmental, college-level and campus-level committees on courses and curricula.

Likewise, University of Louisiana System Bylaw Chapter 3, Section I details rights, duties and responsibilities of academic staff.  The bylaw provides an explanation of academic freedom and duties that include instruction, research and public service.

Content of the Curriculum

Initiation of and responsibility for the curriculum content is faculty driven.  All educational programs and courses at the University of New Orleans are approved by the faculty through the curriculum committee structure at the department, college, and University levels.  All course additions, deletions, and changes, as well as curriculum revisions require the approval of college curriculum committees, as well as the approval of the department head and dean.  The University Courses and Curricula Committee is charged with reviewing undergraduate courses and curricula changes while the Graduate Council is charged with reviewing graduate courses and curricula changes.  Both groups are comprised of representative faculty and include administrative staff.  Ultimately, the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs approves course and curriculum changes.

Faculty control the processes through which curriculum is developed, changed, and approved.  The faculty’s responsibility in matters of course content and curriculum is manifested in the University’s process for establishing new courses and programs, which typically begins in the departments, with faculty proposals and input.  For additional information, please see Comprehensive Standard 3.4.1: Academic Program Approval.  When changes in curriculum are motivated by outside professional or state governing board reviews, final responsibility for their implementation rests with the faculty.

Quality of the Curriculum

It is the responsibility of the faculty to periodically assess the curriculum for quality and make changes as appropriate.  The quality of a program entails the currency and relevancy of theories and practices in the field or discipline, intellectual rigor appropriate to the level of the degree program, as well as connectivity among components of the curriculum.

All academic programs are reviewed periodically at the departmental, college and university levels to evaluate their quality and effectiveness in supporting the University’s mission.  Annual program reports occur at the conclusion of each academic year.  The 2013-14 reports included program enrollment and completer numbers derived from PeopleSoft data via the Registrar’s office.  A space to list any key accomplishments of the department for the academic year was included so that highlights and context could be documented.  A WEAVE Detailed Assessment Report was included to demonstrate student learning outcome achievement at the program level, as well as institutional effectiveness progress at the department level.  A Faculty 180 Activity Overview By Faculty Report was included to present details regarding teaching, scholarly and other activities by faculty member for each department.  The Office of Academic Affairs reviewed these reports in early summer to make decisions for the following academic year.  An example of an annual program report from each college is provided.

College of Business Administration – Accounting

College of Education and Human Development – Educational Leadership, Counseling and Foundations

College of Engineering – Mechanical Engineering

College of Liberal Arts – English

College of Sciences – Psychology

The Louisiana Board of Regents periodically reviews and evaluates program quality and productivity.  Academic Affairs Policy 2.06 provides a brief explanation regarding review of existing academic programs and units.  The program review process, including assessing low completer programs, is described in the 2011 Academic Program/Low Completer Review documentResults and board actions from program reviews conducted in 2013 are presented.

Those academic programs accredited by professional agencies benefit from an additional level of review.  A list of accrediting bodies and programs as well as details regarding recent and anticipated visits are provided.

For information regarding intellectual rigor appropriate to the level of the degree program and the connectivity among components of the curriculum, please see Core Standard 2.7.2: Program Content,  Table 1 which provides multiple academic program examples with details regarding a) coherence in sequencing, b) increasing complexity, and c) linkage between and among program components.

Effectiveness of the Curriculum

It is the responsibility of the faculty to periodically assess the effectiveness of curriculum and make changes as appropriate.  Faculty within each academic program have established student learning outcomes appropriate for the degree.  Student learning outcomes include competencies related to knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are key to the program and representative of a range of thinking skills.  Often these skills identify a) increasingly complex understandings of theories, principles, and practices; b) increasingly complex levels of analysis and development of skills; and c) application of theories and principles.  Further, faculty select assessment methods to measure the extent to which students are achieving the identified student learning outcomes.  Data collected are used to inform program improvement.  Therefore, faculty judge the effectiveness of the curriculum through formal and informal evaluation of student learning outcomes associated with each degree program.  For information regarding the institutional effectiveness process for educational programs, please see Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.1:  Educational Programs.

Departmental faculties conduct the evaluation of courses and curricula differently, depending on the college and discipline.  The variety in faculty review mechanisms and the way in which curricular improvements are made is illustrated by these examples:

Table 1.  Curricular Changes –Interdisciplinary Studies, Bachelor

Issue Data Source Improvement
No defined required percentage of upper division courses in integrative learning plan

Academic program degree requirements review mandated by Academic Affairs.

2014-15 Catalog revised to reflect minimum percentage of upper division courses in integrative learning plan.

Students require more time and assignments to develop ability to integrate discipline via research.

Results from faculty-juried capstone paper in IDS 3091 course. Develop IDS 4091 course on integrative learning theories and practices to help students conduct research in the field of interdisciplinary studies. More substantial assignments including midterm, oral presentation in front of peers, capstone paper that requires integrating and citing research. Course proposal Fall 2014, course implementation Spring 2015.

 

Table 2.  Curricular Changes – Chemistry, BS

Issue Data Source Improvement

Logistics surrounding ability for program to administer the ETS Major Field Test in Chemistry

ETS Major Field test measure not administered

Developed capstone assessment course and added to curriculum; approved by University Courses and Curricula Committee

Effective Spring 2014, all BS students will be required to enroll in CHEM 4000 to take the ETS Major Field Test prior to graduation

Difficulty assessing students’ overall satisfaction with program and perceived level of preparedness for advanced study

Exit survey

All BS students will be required to enroll in CHEM 4000 and take the exit survey prior to graduation.

 

Table 3.  Curricular Changes – College of Education and Human Development

Issue Data Source Improvement
Lack of resources (faculty and budget lines) Program review conducted by Academic Affairs in conjunction with programs and colleges

Combining Curriculum and Instruction and Special Education PhD programs

Lack of resources (faculty and budget lines) Program review conducted by Academic Affairs in conjunction with programs and colleges Dropping Early Childhood Education BS program

 

The University recently announced a plan to review all academic programs in an effort to revitalize and restructure them. The Faculty Governance Committee adopted seven criteria to evaluate all academic programs.

A working group comprised of the deans of the five academic colleges and the library, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Faculty Governance Committee jointly established a set of criteria to assess all 84 degree programs. The focus of the group will be to determine which programs best fit the long-term strategic direction of the University as well as those that are a lower strategic priority.

The process is being led by Dr. Richard Hansen, interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Pamela Jenkins, professor of sociology and president of the Faculty Senate. The working group will make recommendations by Oct. 31 to President Fos, who will submit plans for final actions to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. Faculty and students in the affected programs will be notified no later than the beginning of the spring 2015 semester, with potential changes to take effect in the spring 2016 semester.

Supporting Documents

Document Description
Document IconAnnual_Department_Report_Accounting_2012-14Annual Department Report – Accounting Department – 2013-14
Document IconAnnual_Department_Report_EDLCF_1314Annual Department Report – Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations Department – 2013-14
Document IconAnnual_Department_Report_English_1314Annual Department Report – English – 2013-14
Document IconAnnual_Department_Report_Mechanical_Engineering - 2013-14Annual Department Report – Mechanical Engineering – 2013-14
Document IconAnnual_Department_Report_Psychology_1314Annual Department Report – Psychology – 2013-14
Document IconCL_CHEM_4000_ProposalChemistry Course Add Proposal
Document IconCL_CHEM_Curriculum_ChangeChemistry Curriculum Change Proposal
Document IconCL_IDS_3091_Capstone_Scores_RubricInterdisciplinary Studies: Capstone Rubric Scores
Document IconCL_IDS_BS_DegReq_webInterdisciplinary Studies: Academic program degree requirements review mandated by Academic Affairs
Document IconCL_IDS_Curric_ChangeInterdisciplinary Studies: Curriculum change
Document IconGraduate_Council_PolicyGraduate Council Charge
Document IconLA_BOR_AA_Policy_206_Program ReviewLouisiana Board of Regents Academic Affairs Policy 2.06: Review of Existing Academic Programs/Units
Document IconLA_BOR_Low_Compltr_Review_ProcessLouisiana Board of Regents Academic Program/Low Completer Review
Document IconLA_BOR_Program_Review_Board_Actions_2013Louisiana Board of Regents Program Review Results and Board Actions 2013
Document IconProgram_Review_CriteriaMission included as a criterion for program review
Document IconUCCC_ChargeUniversity Courses and Curricula Committee Charge
Document IconULS_Bylaw_Chpt_3_Section I_Academic_StaffUniversity of Louisiana System Bylaw Chapter 3, Section I: Faculty and Staff
Document IconUNO_Employee_HandbookUNO Employee Handbook
Document IconUNO_Employee_Handbook_3_3Description of Faculty Authority to Determine Educational Policy in University of New Orleans Employee Handbook
Document IconUNO_Program_Accreditation_ListUNO Program Accreditation List
Document IconUNO_Program_Accreditation_Visit_DetailsUNO Program Accreditation Visit Details
Document IconUNO_Program_Review_RestructureUNO Program Review for Revitalization and Restructuring