Use the following Frequently Asked Questions to find out more about Longwood’s curriculum development process. If you have a question that you don’t see answered here, in the Curriculum Handbook, or on the blog, please add a comment.

Q:  Why do we have a curriculum development process?

A:  The curriculum development process allows departments and faculty to create the curriculum they believe will be best for the students while maintaining consistency with the department’s programs and the university curriculum as a whole.  It also helps faculty to develop a curriculum that meets the requirements of accreditors and the state.

Q:  Where does the curriculum process start?

A:  To see the current curriculum, check the most recent catalog or the web page of the appropriate department.  To make a change in the curriculum, start at the departmental level with faculty members and the departmental curriculum committee.  You should also consult the Curriculum Handbook.    If you have something that you do not think fits in the process as it currently exists, talk to the chair of EPC.

Q:  Why do I have to fill out all these forms?

A:  To make sure that everything that should be standardized about a course or program is written down in a way that everyone can see and understand.  The forms document the curriculum change process for accreditors, and guide the Registrar in integrating curriculum changes into our computer systems.

Q:  What is the biggest problem I will have filling out all these forms?

A:  Completeness and consistency.  Information on the forms should match the syllabi exactly, and program changes should carefully account for the addition and subtraction of credit hours.  Program changes should also reflect an awareness of how changes might affect students currently enrolled in a program.

Q:  What has to be on a syllabus submitted with a new course?

A:  Everything required by the FPPM (see the Longwood syllabus format).  But the syllabus must be complete and understandable to the average Ph.D.  The various committees should be able to tell that this course is appropriate for our students and curriculum, can be taught with available resources, and does not conflict with other programs.

Q: Does everyone have to follow the syllabus that is submitted with the forms?

A: No and yes.  The specifics of grading, materials, etc. will change from instructor to instructor.  The course description, number of credits, course student learning outcomes, and potential Civitae attributes will not change.  The material required by the course description should be covered every time the course is taught, although the details may vary.  Section student learning outcomes can be changed when different instructors teach the course, or when offered in a different semester.

Q:  Can a department’s curriculum be changed without notice?

A:  No.

Q:  Even if the state or program accreditors require it?

A:  Still no.  Once an academic program has been approved, we have never been required to change it by the state or our main accrediting body.  Even in the case of licensure or program accreditation, the appropriate department must decide whether to initiate the change.

Q:  How long does it take for curriculum changes to be approved?

A:  It can often take several months for a change to work its way through the various committees, and it is not unusual for a proposal to be sent back to the originator for modification during this process. Curriculum changes should be initiated well before the deadlines for submission to the college curriculum committees and EPC. For new degree programs, plan for a minimum two and a half years before implementation. See the approval matrices on the Resources page for more information.

Q: Who has final approval for the curriculum process?

A:  Faculty Senate has final approval for the curriculum.  New degree programs and certain substantive changes must also be approved by administration, the Board of Visitors, SCHEV and SACSCOC

Q:  When do I need to complete an Academic Initiative Planning Checklist, and why is it necessary?

A:  Both SCHEV and SACSCOC have substantive change reporting requirements related to new programs (including certificates), closing programs, off-campus locations, distance education, and cooperative arrangements. Completing the form when you first start discussing these kinds of changes allows the SCHEV and SACSCOC liaison to help you avoid unnecessary delays and to keep Longwood in good standing.

Q:  Can any existing course be converted to online or hybrid format? What about programs?

A:  All faculty who have an up-to-date LOTI status may convert an existing face-to-face course to online or hybrid format, where 50% or more of physical class meetings are replaced by electronic interaction. Approval to offer a course in a given semester is part of the regular schedule approval process.

Programs cannot change format without prior approval. Check with your department chair and program coordinator/director, and see the Online/Hybrid page for more information.

Q:  Why do off-campus locations have to be reported and approved?

A:  This is partly related to financial aid and partly related to SCHEV and SACSCOC ensuring that students at off-campus locations have the same quality of instruction and services as those on the main campus. If you want to offer your program away from the main campus, see the Off-Campus Locations page.

Q:  Why are there so many acronyms?  What do they stand for?

A:  See below.

  • BOV — Board of Visitors
  • DEC — Digital Education Collaborative
  • EPC — Educational Policy Committee
  • LOTI — Longwood Online Technology Institute
  • SACSCOC — Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • SCHEV — State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

This FAQ is maintained by the chair of EPC and the Office of Accreditation and Compliance.

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