Tips for the Course Proposal Form
- Cross-listing: Cross-listing requires the course to carry the prefix and number from another department or program. Indicate any department or program in which the course is to be cross-listed, and specify the cross-listed department/program and number. Please provide a rationale for cross-listing the course. Courses are very rarely cross-listed.
Note: In the past, requests to cross-list a Connections course in two different programs, with two different prefixes, have not been approved by the Curriculum Committee.
- Scheduling: Indicate the frequency with which the department anticipates that the course will be offered, and identify courses intended only for summer or otherwise planned for special scheduling. If a course is to be offered only once, please indicate the term.
- Prerequisites: If “permission of the instructor” is required for students to enroll, enter this requirement as a prerequisite, and state specifically what academically germane criteria will be used to permit enrollment.
- Course Number: The course number should reflect the level of students for whom the course has primarily been designed. This does not prevent either more advanced students or qualified lower-level students from enrolling.
- Grading: It is assumed that the standard grading pattern will be employed in the course proposed: letter grade or Pass/Fail at the student’s option. If a mandatory Pass/Fail system will be used, full justification must be provided. In general, only such activities as clinical experience or student teaching, where letter grades are impractical, should employ mandatory Pass/Fail grading. If In-Progress (IP) is to be used, a full explanation must be provided. IP grading should be used only where completion of the course requirements is designed to extend beyond the end of the semester. It should not be used interchangeably with the Incomplete grade.
About the Cover Letter
Submit a 2-page (approx.) cover letter that explains how the course fulfills the rubric of the Connections core requirement. Where there is apparent overlap in content with courses in other departments, explain the distinctiveness of and the need for the proposed course.
- The cover letter needs to address how the course fulfills the rubric of the Core category and/or KNOW requirement.
- The Connections core rubric consists of “Learning Objectives” and “Guidelines.” As highlighted below in the excerpt from Section IV of the Curriculum Statement, the Curriculum Committee evaluates and approves Core courses based on their adherence to the Guidelines, not the Learning Objectives. The Curriculum Committee’s review of the proposed course is greatly facilitated if each Guideline from the relevant rubric is systematically addressed in the cover letter.
From Section IV of the Curriculum Statement:
Each core rubric consists of two sections, "Guidelines" and "Learning Objectives." Faculty have developed the Guidelines section to achieve the particular Learning Objectives of the core rubric and, more broadly, the educational goals of the University. The Guidelines are intended to be used by faculty to develop core courses and by the Curriculum Committee to review core courses. The Learning Objectives are intended to provide a clear statement to students of what they can expect to learn from any given core area. Although the Learning Objectives will assist the faculty in developing Core courses and in meeting the spirit of the Core area, the Curriculum Committee will evaluate and approve Core courses based on their adherence to the Guidelines, not the Learning Objectives.
- The approval by the Curriculum Committee of Connections courses is often delayed because proposers do not explicitly or adequately define the multiple disciplinary approaches to be explored in the class. In the cover letter, the proposer should try to respond to the question: “What multiple disciplinary approaches to a subject are you bringing together in the course, and how?”
In the past, Guideline II.C about “participating in a cross-disciplinary dialogue” has often been addressed in one of three ways:
Most explicitly, some Connections courses are team-taught by professors in different disciplines.
The course is taught by a single professor with interdisciplinary expertise. For example, a course that has separate lab days for the scientific portion of the course, and other writing workshop days for the humanities portion of the course.
A single professor from a singular discipline draws on multiple disciplinary approaches to examine a single subject, thus “exploring the integration or synthesis of these approaches to foster an understanding of the subject” (Guideline II.D). For example, a history course that draws upon sociology and literature to better contextualize a topic in history. This is perhaps the most common, but least cross-disciplinary approach to the Connections Core.
About the Syllabus
Submit a syllabus for the course that includes:
- Clear enumeration of student learning outcomes
- Statement that the course counts towards the Connections core requirement
- Outline of content and schedule of coursework
- Student requirements (reading, assignments, written work, projects, etc.), including brief descriptions of major assignments and projects
- Evaluation criteria and grading structure (as appropriate)
- Required course material
- Statement of policies regarding Academic Integrity (this statement is developed by the course proposer)
- Required Syllabus Inserts
An incomplete syllabus may delay the course proposal review. If a syllabus does not contain all of the items listed above, please provide a brief explanation in the cover letter.
EXCERPT FROM SECTION IV OF THE CURRICULUM STATEMENT
Students in Connections courses develop their understanding of the interrelationship of fields of knowledge by exploring connections and contrasts between various disciplines with respect to disciplinary methodology and subject matter.
- Connections courses draw upon the curricula of either established disciplines or the university's interdisciplinary programs. These courses may involve the collaboration of faculty from more than one department or the efforts of individual faculty with interdisciplinary expertise and interests.
- In the Connections course, students engage the interdisciplinary process by
- identifying multiple disciplinary approaches to a subject;
- analyzing the subject from these perspectives;
- participating in cross-disciplinary dialogue; and
- exploring the integration or synthesis of these approaches to foster understanding of the subject.
- Connections courses explore these interdisciplinary issues at a level of sophistication expected of an upper division course. These courses may have appropriate prerequisites, so long as they do not unduly limit the audience in numbers or in level of disciplinary sophistication.
- The Connections course must be taken at Puget Sound.
CORE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BACHELOR'S DEGREE
The faculty of the University of Puget Sound have designed the core curriculum to give undergraduates an integrated and demanding introduction to the life of the mind and to established methods of intellectual inquiry. The Puget Sound undergraduate's core experience begins with two first-year seminars that guide the student through an in-depth exploration of a focused area of interest and that sharpen the student's skills in constructing persuasive arguments. In the first three years of their Puget Sound college career, students also study five "Approaches to Knowing" - Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics, Natural Science, and Social Science. These core areas develop the student's understanding of different disciplinary perspectives on society, culture, and the physical world, and explore both the strengths of those disciplinary approaches and their limitations. Connections, an upper-level integrative course, challenges the traditional boundaries of disciplines and examines the benefits and limits of interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge.
Further, in accordance with the stated educational goals of the University of Puget Sound, core curriculum requirements have been established: (a) to improve each student's grasp of the intellectual tools necessary for the understanding and communication of ideas; (b) to enable each student to understand herself or himself as a thinking person capable of making ethical and aesthetic choices; (c) to help each student comprehend the diversity of intellectual approaches to understanding human society and the physical world; and (d) to increase each student's awareness of his or her place in those broader contexts. Specific objectives of the core areas are described below.