How to Propose New General Studies' Courses / 5-Year Review of Existing General Studies' Courses
An overview of General Studies teaching goals/learning objectives as well as links to other materials you might find useful when writing up your course proposal/5-year review can be accessed here.
Those proposing new General Studies courses should complete the New Course Proposal form (revised 2/2014); those whose General Studies courses are up for 5-year review should complete the 5-Year Review form.
These forms include;
- Agreement Form
- New Course Review Form
- Proposal Narrative Form
Guidelines for adjuncts:
Any adjunct who would like to teach a General Studies course may meet with Dean Gregg, Dean of the School of General Studies, and should provide the General Studies office with his or her CV/resume. All adjuncts should have a Master’s degree in a field related to the disciplines they plan to teach.
All adjuncts should complete the New Course Proposal Form and should have a full-time faculty sponsor; the sponsor should complete the Sponsor form. The sponsor should be available to the adjunct as a mentor. All completed forms should be sent to Dean Gregg, Dean of the School of General Studies one month prior to a scheduled New Course Proposal Meeting. An adjunct’s General Studies course will be scheduled by the Assistant Dean in the faculty sponsor’s School.
Adjuncts who have taught Program courses should follow the procedures described above for all adjuncts, including submitting their CV/resume to the Dean of the School of General Studies, completing New Course Proposal and Sponsor Forms, and scheduling through the Assistant Dean in the faculty sponsor’s School.
Staff adjuncts (those who work full or part-time at Stockton in non-teaching positions) should follow the procedures described above for all adjuncts, including submitting their CV/resume to the Dean of the School of General Studies, completing New Course Proposal and Sponsor Forms, and scheduling through the Assistant Dean in the faculty sponsor’s School.
Adjuncts teaching one/two sections of an existing multi-section course do not need to propose a new course; however, they should submit their CV/resume to the General Studies office.
Please read through the following text for a full description of the procedures for General Studies' new course proposal/5-year review of existing courses.
There are three ways to get involved with General Studies teaching.
1. Offer one of the existing courses typically offered in multiple sections. It’s important that a curriculum vitae be submitted so that the appropriate General Studies subcommittee can determine the faculty member’s suitability to teach the course (though on rare occasions, the faculty member may be asked to attend a committee meeting).
2. Propose to offer another section of a course previously developed or on our books. If the proposed section narrowly dovetails with the existing course, common courtesy makes it requisite to discuss the matter with the faculty member whose course one wants to emulate—and also to avoid scheduling overlap. Here again, the aforementioned process will generally suffice. If, however, the course focus is on the same topic but its design, content, goals and expectations are at variance from the existing course, the new course approval process should be undertaken (see below).
3. Propose a new course. This is the most common avenue, and outlined below is a guideline on how to do so.
B. Proposing a Course
- Examine the College Bulletin to determine whether the course is new or falls into one of the other two categories noted above.
- Generate an idea based on your academic or vocational interests, your confidence that the idea is worthy of a semester long course, and the confidence in your own ability to offer the course.
- In the design phase of your course you need to decide which of the five General Studies course categories is the most appropriate fit and why. The general intent of courses in each category is available on the College website or from the School of General Studies. During this phase the shaping of the course should be informed by the Primary Goals, General Competencies and General Content Experiences of General Studies (c.f. College Bulletin) and your course objectives should meet at least two of the goals, competencies and/or content experiences. In turn, your design should incorporate student learning outcomes established for each course category. Outcome measures exist for each General Studies course category and you are expected to apply within the framework of the student evaluations administered in each course. You may add other outcomes and associated measurements as appropriate.
- If you are an adjunct faculty member, find a full-time faculty member/College Program to sponsor you and your course proposal (there is a form to do so). Additionally, all part-time instructors need to have a post-secondary degree, at least a Master’s degree, from an accredited university.
- In terms of timing, the College course scheduling process, in general, and the approval process for General Studies courses, in particular, make it requisite that you propose a course a full year before it is taught.
Finally, you need to determine the level at which you want to teach this course (first year, et. seq.) and why.
Instructions for Completing the Course Proposal Application
Please describe the new course. This description should be 250-300 words long and should explain the overall focus of the course and the academic rationale for creating the new course.
Course Proposal Narrative:
The following criteria should be discussed thoroughly in narrative form.
- Explain how the course offers learning opportunities not provided in other General Studies or Program courses; demonstrate the importance of the new course in relation to others already offered; and elaborate on how the course will prepare students for effective citizenship, personal growth, and/or workplace success.
- Discuss the interdisciplinary nature of the new course; and, identify the two or more disciplines that the course encompasses as well as the ways in which students will learn to use the theoretical/practical/reflective tools of those disciplines to answer questions, create written/digital/material products, and/or gain a new perspective about a current/historical issue.
- Explain the ways in which the course meets goals of the relevant General Studies category and at least two of the General Studies Primary Goals, General Competencies, and General Content Experiences. Beyond the standard learning outcomes measurements for General Studies courses and for the respective General Studies category, please include additional learning outcomes and assessment measures as appropriate.
Applications should also include:
- A draft of your course syllabus consistent with the requirements for a course proposal as outlined above. In other words, the syllabus should demonstrate the criteria discussed in the Course Proposal Narrative. Please also include a thoughtful presentation of course readings, assignments, teaching goals, student learning objectives, and a brief overview of the semester plan.
- Course titles should be brief, 30 characters or less. Be mindful of the fact that titles will remain on a student’s transcripts forever: a title too closely related to a brief fashion or temporal topic may appear incomprehensible decades later.
C. The New Course Approval Process:
1) Those who seek General Studies course approval (or renewal of an existing course every five years) in all General Studies categories should submit completed course proposal applications (General Studies Agreement Form, General Studies Course Review Form, Course Proposal Form narrative, syllabus, and, if necessary, Sponsor Form and two-page C.V.) to the Dean of the School of General Studies at least one month prior to the scheduled review committee meeting.
2) The Dean of the School of General Studies will perform an initial vetting of each proposal to determine whether it meets General Studies objectives, fits the goals of the General Studies category identified on the course proposal, has an appropriate title, aims to produce interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students, and demonstrates sufficient course development. Course proposals that do not adequately meet such standards will be returned for further development.
3) The Dean of the School of General Studies will forward course proposals that are ready for review committee attention to the appropriate Convenor who will then read each proposal to make sure that it meets all the necessary criteria and includes all the necessary materials. If it does, the Convenor will put the course proposal on the review committee agenda.
4) The Convenor may also make helpful comments/suggestions to the instructor about ways to strengthen the proposal prior to the review committee meeting.
5) A Convenor will not deny approval before a proposal has been presented to the relevant General Studies review committee.
6) If the course is approved at a course review committee meeting (all faculty and staff, including the Convenor and instructors proposing courses, present at the review committee meeting can vote on proposals), the Convenor will forward proposal materials to the Assistant Dean of the School of General Studies who will assign a course number and work with BANNER to get the course in the Catalogue. The process involves several steps and takes time, so instructors should not plan to teach approved courses for two semesters. Please note: course scheduling of G-courses is done by individual schools.
7) Convenors will not offer provisional course approvals.
8) Those proposing to teach an existing General Studies course or a section of a General Studies course with multiple sections, should submit a standard syllabus to the Dean of the School of General Studies. The Dean of the School of General Studies will perform an initial vetting. If the Dean of the School of General Studies approves the syllabus, those proposing to teach an existing course or a section of a multiple-section General Studies course will not be required to complete a Proposal Application or to present their course at a review committee meeting. However, faculty proposing to teach a course that is part of the College’s course inventory but may have fallen into disuse because a faculty member either departed or no longer teaches the course, must submit a complete Proposal Application as if the course were new.
D. Policies and Procedures
The institution will publicize the dates/times and places for the review committee meetings that will take place during the academic year well in advance. Two weeks prior to a review committee meeting, the Convenor will send an email reminder to the full faculty and staff.
Courses approved at the General Studies course review meetings in the fall of one academic year will be processed for teaching the following fall; similarly, courses approved in the spring of one academic year will be processed for teaching the following spring .
Provisional approval, a frequent occurrence in the past, will not be granted by Convenors. This type of approval will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances, with approval from the Dean of the School of General Studies. The Dean may request written rationale for provisional course approval.
All approved courses taught by full-time faculty are to be reviewed every five years (i.e., five years from the first academic year the course is taught). Adjunct faculty is also required to have their General Studies courses reviewed by the appropriate committee; however this review should occur every two years. Refer to the previous section of this document entitled “The Review Process” for a fuller description of five-year/two-year review process and procedures. Courses that are not reviewed when they are up for review will be tagged for, potentially, elimination from the General Studies curriculum. Convenors will inform instructors who teach courses that are up for five-year review of this fact at the end of the fourth academic year allowing adequate course review preparation for faculty during the fifth year. Since the practice has not been rigorously enforced in the past, a large number of General Studies courses may be scheduled for review in the next few years.
As noted, adjunct faculty, staff members, and those from outside Stockton who propose General Studies courses will need to have a Master’s degree from an accredited university and a faculty sponsor. The faculty sponsor should be a full-time Stockton faculty member. The sponsor will need to complete a Sponsor Form, which should be returned to the instructor proposing the course. The instructor proposing the course will submit the Sponsor Form to the Dean of General Studies with the other course proposal materials. A sponsor is expected to attend the review committee meeting with the instructor proposing the course.
Those proposing courses should be aware that review committees may recommend significant revisions to course proposals, rethinking of course design, or reworking of assignments/other aspects of the course. When this is the case, a review committee may decide not to approve the course and request that the instructor present a revised course proposal at a subsequent course review meeting.
A minimum of 6 committee members must be present at each review committee meeting, including the Convenor, instructors presenting courses, and if necessary, sponsors. If there is not a quorum, instructors proposing courses will need to attend the next scheduled review committee meeting. If it seems that there will not be a quorum, the Convenor can ask additional faculty members to attend the course review committee meeting. Those presenting courses can also invite faculty to join the review committee.
If a course receives a split vote (for instance, 4 yes to 3 no, or 5 yes to 5 no) by the course review committee, the proposal will be reviewed and voted on at the next scheduled General Studies Committee meeting. This Committee consists of the Dean of the School of General Studies, the Committee Chair, the Committee Vice-Chair, Convenors for all the General Studies Course Review Committees, the Provost, and the SFT Representative to the General Studies Committee. The Chair of the General Studies Committee will decide whether or not to invite the instructor proposing the course to the Committee meeting; if the instructor is invited, he/she should be prepared to answer questions from the Committee members about the course proposal. In this situation, only General Studies Committee members can vote to approve/not approve a course proposal. A negative decision by the Committee may be appealed to the Faculty Senate.
E. A Final Word
Proposing a General Studies course requires forethought, attention to detail, and a variety of documentation. Remember that, in the current college-wide General Studies requirement, students take just one or two courses in each General Studies category. Thus, every course should be clearly interdisciplinary and demonstrate intellectual breadth, depth, and clear focus. Although it is important to approach the process of proposing new courses and adding to the curriculum in a serious manner, the General Studies course review committees offer faculty across the College an opportunity to talk about courses and pedagogy in an informal, collegial setting. During these course review meetings, for instance, faculty might receive input about aspects of a new course that may require some fine-tuning, and colleagues may be helpful in suggesting course readings — although, ultimately, the choice of course texts falls broadly under academic freedom — offering help with assignments, and sharing tips about course design, as this discourse is a good College tradition. Faculty proposing new General Studies courses are encouraged at any time to seek the advice of others, as appropriate, e.g., Convenors of General Studies Course Review Committees, the Dean of General Studies, faculty mentors, and last but not least, colleagues in other disciplines. Such consultation, too, is a good College tradition, and occurs much more frequently at Stockton because of the nature of Stockton's General Studies curriculum than it does at institutions organized along departmental lines. Good luck and thank you for your future contributions to the General Studies curriculum.
GAH General Arts & Humanities
GEN General Interdisciplinary Skills & Topics
GISGeneral Integration & Synthesis
GNM General Natural Sciences & Mathematics
GSS General Social & Behavioral Sciences
Click on each link for a description of each category. If you are unsure of which category of your course will fit in, contact several convenors. They can provide you with specific information about each category and help you decide which category is best for your course. They can also help you
understand the difference between a program course and a General Studies course.
(Subscript and Attribute approval is separate from the new/revised/adapted course approval
process. Once a General Studies course is approved, those courses with W1 or W2 attributes should be submitted to the Writing Program; courses with Q1 or Q2 attributes should be submitted to the QUAD Committee. Courses with A, H, V, or I subscripts should be submitted to the appropriate Chair. The faculty member proposing the new/revised/adapted course is responsible for seeking attribute and subscript approvals.)