Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

Appeals and Academic Matters (Full Committee)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010



Present:  Riley (ECE),  Hollengreen (CoA),  Ferri (ME), Montoya (BIO), Castro (COA), Benkeser (BME), Seitzman (AE), Bottomley (CHEM), Flamming (HTS), Pikowsky (REG)


Visitors: Howson (REG), Laros (REG), Redding (REG), Senft (REG), Gray (REG), Simon (REG), Zhou (ISYE), Baron (CHEM), Goodisman (BIOL), Collard (CHEM)

Academic Matters

  1. A motion was made to approve a request from the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry for new courses.  The motion was seconded and approved.  



CHEM 1211: Chemical Principles I (CHEM 1211K) 3-3-4

(Note: No credit is allowed for CHEM 1310 and CHEM 1211K)
CHEM 1212: Chemical Principles II (CHEM 1212K) 3-3-4

(Note: No credit is allowed for CHEM 1212K and CHEM 1311/1312)


The School plans to submit a proposal to deactivate CHEM 1311 and CHEM 1312.


Note: There was considerable discussion about these two new courses in relation to CHEM 1310. The question of how transfer credit will be treated was also discussed with the following clarifications. The Registrar’s Office will work with the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry to make sure the transfer articulation tables are updated appropriately. The Registrar’s Office will also send a notice to academic units on campus advising them, if they have not already done so, to review the new Chemistry courses and their degree requirements in regard to any reconfiguration that may now be possible using either CHEM 1310 or the two new courses.


For the Transfer Equivalency Table, the following changes will be made:


For USG institutions:

CHEM 1211 +1211L will transfer to Tech as CHEM 1211K

CHEM 1212 +1212L will transfer to Tech as CHEM 1212K

The letter “L” refers to a separate lab section.  The letter “K” refers to an integrated lecture/lab class.  In order to receive credit for CHEM 1211K, transfer students must complete both CHEM 1211 and CHEM 1211L.


Other Chemistry courses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as they have always been and an appropriate articulation will be determined by the School and reported to the Registrar.




For non-USG institutions:

Credit for CHEM 1310 will be awarded on a case-by-case basis as it has always been.

Credit for CHEM 1211 and 1212 will be awarded on a case-by-case basis as determined by the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.


The Registrar’s Office will work with the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry to update the prerequisites for CHEM courses to include CHEM 1211 and 1212 as appropriate.

2.      A motion was made to approve a request from the School of Biology for a new course. The motion was seconded and approved.




BIOL 4650: Bioethics 2-0-2


3.      The Registrar’s Office provided an update on changes to an existing course, BIOL 4015 that were necessary due to the Graduate Committee’s approval of BIOL 7015. The Graduate Committee approved BIOL 7015 but there were questions and some confusion about the structure of the course and whether it actually contains a lab component. The mode of presentation of the graduate version cannot be different than that of the undergraduate version so the two courses needed to be brought into alignment. The Registrar and the School decided that new course proposal forms for both needed to be completed. Since BIOL 4015 already exists, the IUCC does not need to vote on it again, but is now aware of the changes in the credit distribution. The revised new course proposal for BIOL 7015 that addresses the credit distribution and the mode of presentation will be reviewed at the next meeting of the Graduate Committee.


4.      The School of Industrial and Systems Engineering submitted notice of adding MATH 2401 as a prerequisite with concurrency for ISyE 2027. This prerequisite has been listed on the syllabus for the course in the past but was never submitted to the IUCC.  Therefore, it had not been coded in Banner and enforced. For future terms, this prerequisite with concurrency will be enforced for this course. This is an informational item brought before the Committee.


5.      The School of Industrial and Systems Engineering submitted notice of changing the GPA requirement from 2.8 to 3.0 for students who wish to change their majors to ISyE after completion of 60 hours. This is an informational item brought before the Committee.


6.      The Registrar’s Office asked the Committee for some guidance on Special Topics courses. After discussing various aspects of Special Topics courses, the Committee decided to implement some specific guidelines that would be helpful to the academic units in preparing new course proposals.


Special Topics numbers (4800-4899) are undergraduate –level courses developed by academic units for addressing existing needs for content coverage that is new or experimental in nature, that is taught by resident or visiting faculty experts in specific subject areas not included in regular courses, or that is of timely interest to the profession and is not covered by a regular course. These courses are intended to provide flexibility in bringing timely content to course offerings and to allow for an avenue for experimentation with what might become permanent courses.


The Committee discussed whether there is a need to require justification for academic units in scheduling Special Topics courses.  The outcome of the discussion was that this is not necessary, and would not be a good use of time. These courses do serve a valuable purpose and, for the most part, are being used responsibly. The guidelines that are being offered should be useful to the academic units in better understanding and keeping track of these courses.


The Committee discussed whether we should require academic units to offer all new courses as Special Topics before submitting a new course proposal. The Committee decided that this should not be a requirement, but should be encouraged.  There are situations in which it might make sense to proceed immediately with a new course proposal. It was suggested that the New Course Proposal form be updated to ask for an explanation if a course that is being proposed has not been taught before in the special topics format.


The Committee discussed whether there should be a requirement on the number of times that a course must be offered as Special Topics before it becomes a permanent course. This is related to the discussion about whether to require this at all. The general agreement was that offering courses as a Special Topics twice would be a good way to determine if the content was appropriate and structured in an effective way.


The Committee noted throughout the discussion that proliferation of new courses that may be taught only once and then abandoned clutters the Catalog and uses up course numbers. The Registrar noted that for record keeping purposes, course numbers cannot be reused. It is possible to extend the course numbers into more characters, but proliferation should still be a concern. If content is expected to be short-lived for any reason, keeping it under the Special Topics umbrella makes more sense.


The Committee discussed whether there should be a limit on the number of times a course can be taught as a Special Topics before it must be submitted for a permanent number.  There was general agreement that requiring this is not necessary, but a guideline that encourages this to occur after a course has been taught 3 times would be appropriate.


Since Special Topics vary in content, the Committee discussed whether there should be a limitation on the number of Special Topics courses that can be used to complete degree requirements.  It was noted that no more than 6 semester hours of Special Topics courses may be included in a minor program. However, the Committee came to the conclusion that this is likely an isolated problem with some specific majors and asked the Registrar to bring forward those specific cases as it identifies them for further discussion.



Guidelines for Special Topics Courses


a.       Although courses that are being proposed for permanent numbers are not required to be offered in the special topics format before being reviewed by the IUCC, it is encouraged. Offering the course in the special topics format is helpful in adjusting the format and delivery of courses that are being considered. 

b.      If a new course is being proposed and has not been offered previously in the special topics format, an explanation as to why this is not the case would make the discussion at the IUCC meeting flow more efficiently. This question is routinely raised by the Committee, and should be addressed in the proposal.

c.       If a course has been taught 3 times in the special topics format, it is highly recommended that it be presented to the IUCC for a permanent number. This would appear to demonstrate a demand for the content and an on-going interest in it, with the faculty resources to deliver it.

d.      The appearance of the student record and degree auditing processes are important considerations in the use of Special Topics courses. Academic units are encouraged to be mindful of how many special topics courses are being used to meet degree requirements, why this is occurring, and whether it is the best way to address that content. Schedulers in the academic units are strongly encouraged to use the forms in Banner to record the secondary titles of Special Topics courses. Secondary titles entered on SSASYLB will display on the transcript.  They will not show in the Schedule of Classes unless entered on the SSATEXT form. 


7.      The Registrar’s Office wishes to record a clarification in a request that was approved for the College of Computing in the Minutes of July 15, 2009. It was discovered after the fact that the change needed to be clarified.


At the July 15, 2009 IUCC meeting, the College of Computing requested and received approval for the addition to the BSCS degree of a new mandatory “pick” course choice group, “User Support Technology”, for the People Thread. To accommodate this addition, the number of Free Elective hours for each People Thread combination would be reduced by 3 credit hours.


The College of Computing amends this change as it applies specifically to the Media and People combination. Instead of reducing the number of free electives for this combination by 3 credit hours, the requirement for a “Thread Elective” (3 credit hours) is eliminated.


The total number of hours required for the degree remains at 126.


The College of Computing will continue to work with Registrar’s Office staff and the Provost’s Office to make sure the paperwork that is sent to the Board of Regents for approval is clarified as appropriate.




Reta Pikowsky