A Self-Study Guide (Revised Spring 2022)

Background

When the Faculty adopted the present curriculum plan in 1976, it established the expectation that each department and major would be reviewed periodically. After the first cycle of basic curriculum revision, regular triennial reviews of departments and schools commenced in the fall of 1982. This pattern was revised by the Faculty Senate on October 1, 1984, to establish a quadrennial cycle. In 1990, we began moving toward five-year intervals between scheduled reviews. In 2015, the Curriculum Committee moved to a seven-year review cycle.

Purpose

Seven-year reviews are intended to ensure that curricula of departments, schools, and programs continue to meet the educational needs of students and the objectives of the university. In conducting a review, each department is asked to reassess its purpose, requirements, and courses, as well as its future directions and goals. The reviews also allow the Curriculum Committee, acting on behalf of the faculty as a whole, to exercise the responsibility for the curriculum that rests squarely with the faculty. These functions include fostering ongoing discussions about curricula and pedagogy, maintaining an ongoing educational assessment plan, and assuring the quality and integrity of the University’s academic programs.

References

The principal reference on the curriculum is the Curriculum Statement. This statement derives from the Curriculum Plan originally passed by the faculty on May 10, 1976. Parts of this document were amended by the faculty during the 1990-1991 and 1999-2000 academic years. A revised version was adopted on May 7, 2001, and the dates of subsequent revisions are noted at the start of the document.

Procedure

Each department, school, or program should design and conduct its review in the manner it regards as most appropriate. It is expected that every ongoing member of the department who is not on leave will contribute to the review. Any existing materials on the current curriculum may be used as resources; data is available from the Office of Institutional Research to support departments in their review. The department should also draw upon the annual assessment reports submitted to the Provost’s office over the previous seven years. Upon completion of the review, the department chair should send to the Curriculum Committee a report, either as a PDF attachment or as a Google link with permission set to "Share with University of Puget Sound."

The report should take the form of a succinct narrative that describes the procedures followed in the review and addresses the question and subquestions below. The PDF or link should be emailed to curriculum@pugetsound.edu by May 15 if the department is requesting significant changes to the Bulletin copy of the year following the review, or by October 15 if the department wishes to work on the review during the summer and understands that changes may not take effect for an additional year. The report should be accompanied by a zipped folder of Word documents or PDFs, or as a Google folder with permission set to "Share with University of Puget Sound" containing a copy of the current syllabus for each course in the department or program curriculum.

If the department or program elects to add and/or modify requirements or individual courses at this time, course proposals should be submitted using the standard course proposal forms at the same time as the program proposal is submitted; copies of these course proposals should be included as addenda to the program proposal. If any course changes, scheduling changes, or changes in requirements discussed in the seven-year review affect requirements or courses in other departments or programs, please conduct a Curricular Impact Statement, indicating the courses or requirements involved and the departments or programs affected. Finally, if the department wishes to revise its catalog copy, the new copy should be submitted as part of this review.

Report Prompt

In what ways is your department’s curriculum successful? What may need to change (or is in the process of changing)? What evidence informs your answers?

The department’s report should include explicit discussion of the following issues. It need not be organized according to this list. The Curriculum Committee encourages departments to include in their reports any additional issues that feel valuable or urgent to faculty as they reflect on the department’s curriculum.

  • The department’s educational goals and learning outcomes
  • The intellectual and educational directions of your discipline or field
  • The role of the department as part of the university (including core and non-major courses)
  • The structure, sequencing, and content of the department’s major(s) and minor(s)
  • The way the curriculum addresses the requirement for written and oral communication (see Addendum A)
  • The integration of the university’s Diversity Statement and Diversity Strategic Plan into the department and its curriculum (see Addendum B)
  • The integration of information literacy, including the use and evaluation of library and information resources, into the department’s curriculum
  • The way the curriculum incorporates experiential learning opportunities and high-impact practices
  • The way the department or its members have engaged or plan to engage in faculty development activities, especially with regard to diversity and inclusion, pedagogy, and curriculum development, and changes resulting from these activities.

After the Report

A Working Group of the Curriculum Committee will carefully review the report and any supporting materials submitted. Collected syllabi will be used for reference. The WG will communicate any clarifying questions to the department head. If any listed issues are insufficiently addressed, the WG will request additional material. Upon verifying that the report is complete and sufficient, the WG will present the review to the full Curriculum Committee for its approval.

The WG will then compose a brief but substantive written response to the department. One or more members of the WG will then meet with the department chair and any interested members of the department to discuss the report and offer feedback on curricular issues from the viewpoint of other knowledgeable faculty members.

Course Changes

If the department or program elects to modify requirements or individual courses at this time, the new material should accompany the review report. The standard course proposal forms are to be used to request approval for any course changes. If any course changes, scheduling changes, or changes in requirements discussed in the seven-year review affect requirements or courses in other departments or programs, please indicate specifically the courses or requirements involved and the departments or programs affected. Finally, if the department wishes to revise its catalog copy, the new copy should be submitted as part of this review.

Addendum A

WRITTEN AND ORAL COMMUNICATION IN THE MAJOR

  1. The Educational Goals of the institution expect that a student completing the undergraduate curriculum will be able to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing. While students begin this learning in the Seminars in Scholarly Inquiry, the Educational Goals anticipate a further development of writing and speaking abilities throughout the undergraduate years. Each department, school, or program with an undergraduate major shall demonstrate to the Curriculum Committee that students will encounter meaningful writing and speaking experiences within their curricular requirements.
  2. Departmental and program responses should emphasize writing and speaking within the discipline or, when appropriate, within an interdisciplinary context. Faculty members within the major area can best emphasize the connections between writing, speaking, and critical thinking in that area; explain the conventions of communication in a given discipline; and explore with students the varieties of writing and speaking appropriate to communication with specialists and other audiences.
  3. A variety of approaches may meet the educational goals as developed within the major. A department or program might address the educational goals regarding oral and written communication, for example, by offering (a) a single, intensive communication course within the major or (b) an integrated pattern of writing and speaking spread over a series of courses.

Addendum B

Addressing Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity

Recognizing that issues of inclusion and equity may have different resonances in different disciplines, and in accordance with the University’s Diversity Strategic Plan, each department or program shall demonstrate to the Curriculum Committee how it integrates equity, inclusion, and diversity into its program, including both its curriculum and the composition of its faculty, staff, and students.

  1. The department or program shall consider its overall curriculum as well as individual courses within the curriculum in regard to inclusivity, equity, and diversity, and reflect upon past alterations and possible future alterations which support inclusive curriculum.
  2. The review shall demonstrate to the Curriculum Committee that the department or program has taken steps to address and mitigate areas of concern related to inclusive pedagogical practices and opportunities, including in course and departmental policies, and their impact on students in the classroom and program.
  3. Departments and programs should reflect on the fact that the demographic makeup and areas of scholarly expertise of faculty and staff may have an impact on processes and practices that affect the community of students within courses of a department or program.