Course Toolbox for Faculty & Staff

Course Toolbox for Faculty and Staff

Course approval procedures for Current Online System (OCA)

New Online Curriculum System (coming Winter 2019) check for updates

Overview of Course Approval Process:

Course approval requests are initiated by the faculty of any course sponsoring agency (department, college, academic program, or division). 

  • All Deadlines must be adhered to, the committee only meets bi-weekly
  • Instructor or department initiates a course.
  • Faculty: fills out appropriate forms (see below for types, FAQs) per department and divisional procedures. These include a completed course approval form and separate supplemental form for undergraduate and graduate courses, and a syllabus.
  • Disciplinary Communications (DC) courses require a DC statement form and appropriate form per request such as revision or new addition to.
  • Course Contact: enters course information into the online Course and Curriculum Leave Plan (CCLP) database per established process.

What are the levels of review for a course?

  • Department Chair: reviews and approves course proposals. The Department Chair’s role may be delegated to another faculty person (e.g., curriculum committee chair or other proxy), depending on the department’s procedures. The proposal is automatically routed to these reviewers and once approved, sent to the Dean who has authority to comment on, but cannot delay, submission to the Academic Senate approval process.

    Registrar Staff:
    conducts a preliminary review of proposals and syllabi for completeness,
    and may contact department Course Contacts if more information is needed.

    Academic Senate:
    Members of the Committee on Courses of Instruction (CCI) and Graduate Council (GC) sub- committee members review the proposal and either approve or have concerns and questions that will require more information. CCI and GC have noticed some confusion about the course approval process, in particular with respect to the Dean’s approval or disapproval of new courses, major modifications to existing courses, and suspension of existing courses.  We would like to clarify authority and responsibility in the course approval process. GC has delegated approval for graduate courses for the 2018-19 academic year.

    Deans do not have curricular authority; the Regents vest this authority in the Academic Senate.
    The need or lack of need of any specific course or type of course is an academic decision under the purview of Committee on Courses of Instruction and the Graduate Council, as agents of the Academic Senate and requests that a Division forward any course for which the supervising Dean has not indicated approval (but can comment on).  This would give CCI or GC the opportunity to understand the positions of the department and the dean in making its decision. The approval of a course is an academic matter, in the purview of the Senate, while the offering of a course may, or may not, be a matter of funding and resource allocation.

Course Approval Deadlines

Course Approval Calendar:
Late submissions or last minute requests negatively impact staff and committee member workload and may not be reviewed.

Faculty sub committees do not routinely review courses during the summer. Courses submitted for review after the end of the quarter in June will not be reviewed until the start of the following fall quarter.

Exceptions will be granted to address emergency issues, such as last minute staffing changes due to an unexpected separation, medical emergency or similar issue. To ensure timely approval of courses, departments and programs must prioritize meeting course approval deadlines.

What are Course Actions and Modifications?

Fill out Course Approval Form and supplemental course approval form for either undergraduate or graduate course offering, or both for a joint grad-undergrad course
To number a new course, use a new number that has not been used in the recent past, for a number that is not active, check with the Registrar’s Office if it can be re-used
Provide a syllabus for the course being proposed.

For every new course, or for any request to substantially change an existing course, a syllabus is required. CCI expects certain components to be included in every syllabus:

  • The requirements for the course (what students will be expected to do to pass), and the relative weight of each requirement toward the final grade (usually expressed as percentages)
  • Requirements for undergraduate courses must include a comprehensive final examination, unless an alternative method of final assessment has been noted in the proposaland explained in the syllabus.
  • A chronological schedule of topics, usually in a week-by-week format
  • A list of required readings
General Course Approval Information: (changes coming in 2019)
  • A Course approval form and the supplemental sheet are attached for new courses, major revisions, courses changing from one to two quarters, courses changing from lower to upper division (or vise versa), or undergraduate courses changing to the graduate course level
  • Separate supplemental forms are required for undergraduate and graduate courses
  • Disciplinary Communications (DC) courses require completed forms. (see directions below)

Cross Listed Courses:

  • A course that is shared between two departments for joint sponsorship
  • Cross listed courses use the cross listed course approval forms for new and revised course requests
  • Both department chairs must sign off before the course can be moved through the approval process.

What is a Course Revision:

  • Renumbering with substantail changes to the content
  • Revision to an exisiting course with substantial changes
  • Reactivating a course with substantail changes and or a new instructor
  • Prerequisite changes
  • Credit unit changes
  • GE addition, removal, renumbering with
  • Enrollment restrictions
  • Change from lower to upper division
  • Change default grading option to P/NP only
  • Cancellation
  • Reactivation with same instructor
  • Suspension 
  • Number change
  • Title change
  • Interview only
  • Repeat for Credit
  • Withdraw a course

 Written justification from the Department Chair or other authorized proxy is required for the following:

  • Change default grading option to P/NP only: CCI views these types of requests as a restriction on students ability
    to choose their grading option.  P/NP grading option is only for courses where the instructor has no basis for evaluating 
    student performance, e.g. field study. 
  • Create a new subject area code: courses for new majors  

Online Courses: A new form was developed by the Committees on Educational Policy and Courses of Instruction for submissions. 
Existing courses can be revised into an online course, the major course revision form and the online supplemental form are required. For submission of new online courses the course approval form, undergraduate supplemental form and the online supplemental form are required. Hybrid or flipped courses are not considered online courses; an online course is one which all interaction with student, instructors and teaching assistants is online. These types of courses can offer optional in person sections for help. These courses are reviewed the same as traditional course offerings and CCI evaluates online courses with the same rigorous vetting system accepted by our campus and based on engagement specified in the syllabi, rather than exclusively on their mode of delivery.

Disciplinary Communication: This general education and major requirement curricula was approved by CEP during the reform.
Most departments would only be submitting changes or additions to the existing approved curricula.
• For revisions to a DC plan use
• For a new DC plan use

Reference Materials
Comprehensive Course Syllabus:

  • Title
  • Clearly spelled out learning outcomes aligned with overarching program outcomes
  • Course assignments
  • Sections divided by headers
  • Course readings
  • Weekly assignments with course hour breakdown for each task; letting students know what expected with regard to time limits and priorities (e.g. 150 hours for a 5 credit course)
  • Assessment and exam dates
  • Grading Scale: how the instructor will determine a student's final grade and how each element of the final grade will be weighted
  • Required noticing in the syllabus and/or course home page, information regarding DRC, CARE, Title IX and misconduct.

CCI strongly encourages instructors to visit the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning (CITL) website, which contains useful teaching resources and a guide on designing courses & syllabi. 


For Policies and other definitions please see the Committees on Educational Policy (CEP) and Courses of Instruction(CCI)

Contact the Senate Analysts for Committee on Courses of Instruction (CCI) tba or Graduate Council (GC) Analyst Esthela Bañuelos (esthela at any questions.