Policy 2311 – Policies and Procedures of the Graduate Council
Revision Date: 12/08/2021
Original Effective Date: 08/12/2015
Last Reviewed Date: 12/08/2021
Responsible Office: Dean of the Graduate School
Description of the Council
The Graduate Council of Louisiana Tech University was created by a directive issued by the President and has been in existence since 1950. Selection to Council membership is made with utmost care, and each member’s position is considered one of honor as well as responsibility.
The Council reviews and recommends proposals for graduate courses and curricula, and may initiate or consider recommendations concerning instructional policies and programs of the Graduate School.
It is an examining and recommending body and makes its recommendations to the Office of the Provost. The Provost will review these recommendations with the Council of Academic Deans, of which he/she is Chair, and this group will make their recommendations to the President. The President of the University makes all final decisions. It is not the responsibility of this Council to determine if an item must go before the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors or the Board of Regents, or to decide the legality of a proposal submitted to it.
The membership consists of the associate dean/director of graduate studies for each college or a designee by the college Dean, one graduate faculty elected representative from each college, the Executive Director of Prescott Memorial Library or designee, the Director of Louisiana Tech Barksdale Instructional Site or designee, and one SGA student representative appointed by the President of the SGA. The University Registrar or his/her representative is an ex-officio member without voting privileges. Terms of elected members shall be for two years and shall begin in September. The Dean of the Graduate School serves as Chair of the Graduate Council and is approved by the President.
Substitutions are permitted for regular members when they are unable to attend Council meetings.
Regular meetings are scheduled monthly and announced for the academic year at the first meeting in September. Other meetings may be called by the Chair as the need arises.
The Council shall abide by Robert’s Rules of Order.
A quorum of the Council shall consist of one-half plus one of the voting members of the Council. The decisions of the Council shall be by a majority of the members voting.
Louisiana Tech University is dedicated to quality education, and, therefore, proposals for the alteration of graduate courses or policies are matters of great importance. These guidelines are furnished as a positive aid to persons preparing proposals to present to the Graduate Council. In making proposals, it should be borne in mind that all agents in the process will be taking their reviewing function seriously, and they should be aided as much as possible by 1) presenting proposals that are prepared accurately and completely, and 2) allowing time enough for complete review. Agenda items must be submitted to the Graduate School at least one week prior to a regular meeting.
The Council considers many factors during the evaluation of new proposals. No proposal should be submitted which fails to emphasize high academic standards.
Justification of a change solely on the grounds that certification, accreditation, or Federal funding depends on it is not sufficient. The Council certainly recognizes the importance of satisfying appropriate certifying, accrediting, and granting agencies, but where the satisfaction of such agencies constitutes the essence of the justification of the proposal, the rationale of the accrediting agent should be given. Moreover, the Council would like to see some sort of justification in the existing curriculum which would accommodate the new changes without introducing excessive proliferation or expansion. In any case, specific reference should be made to requirements of the agency and should accompany the submittal.
Establishing a New Course
Proposals normally should originate with the faculty of a Department under its appropriate leadership. A course should be thoroughly discussed and approved at the Departmental level prior to submission for College-level or University-level consideration.
The University requires all new or revised course proposals to provide justification for the level and number of credit hours for a proposed course. Proper justification of a course includes: the educational significance of the proposed course (including new capabilities, skills, and levels of awareness obtained by students taking the course); a list of measurable learning objectives for the course; an explanation of the rationale used by the Department to arrive at the course level; an explanation of how the course will be placed within a particular curriculum structure or program of study; the number of hours per week in lecture and in laboratory; and the number of credits for lecture, for lab, and the total credits for the course.
The Council’s request for a description and justification of a proposed course should be taken seriously. The description should be clear and the justification as specific as possible. While lecture-by-lecture details are not necessary, the outline should nevertheless plainly indicate the content and the objectives of the course. Courses offered for graduate credit must contain a graduate component in the course syllabi. This component must demonstrate graduate-level rigor and expectations.
Extreme care should be exercised to avoid needless duplication of instruction on the same subject at the same level in different Departments and Colleges. Major consideration should also be given to student needs and to strength of course offerings in related areas. Inclusion of specific data of this type will help expedite the proposal.
Prerequisites specified for a course should realistically delineate the advance preparation requirement of students entering the course. Prerequisites should not be redundant but should specifically list the highest levels of achievement that students entering the course will be expected to have.
Courses numbered at the 400-level may include provision for listing with a “G” designation. In order for courses to be labeled with a “G” designation, they must be approved by both the Instructional Policies Committee and the Graduate Council. Students take the 400-level course for undergraduate credit and the 400G-level course for graduate credit. The undergraduate and graduate sections may be taught concurrently. In these courses, students earning graduate credit are expected to complete additional and more advanced course requirements above those completed by a student earning undergraduate credit (e.g., additional projects, research, presentations, etc.). Qualified faculty determine these additional requirements that must bring the course to a level of rigor commensurate with a graduate level course and are described in the course syllabus. Courses with a “G” designation are to be taught by faculty holding Graduate Faculty status.
- The faculty of a Department will decide criteria for a new course, and when all matters are agreed upon, the proposal is drafted (including the Proposal for Change(s) to Catalog Form) and submitted to the appropriate Dean of the College.
- The signed original is forwarded to the Graduate School following approval by the Courses and Curricula Committee and the Dean of the College if offered for graduate credit only, or following approval by the Instructional Policies Committee if the course is offered for undergraduate and graduate credit.
- The Graduate School reviews the material and distributes the proposal to the Graduate Council for action.
- The Graduate Council meets and takes action on the proposal. Three decisions are possible: 1) the course can be approved, 2) the course can be disapproved, and 3) the proposal can be returned with a specific request for more information, further clarification, etc. If the proposal is disapproved, it cannot be resubmitted to the Graduate Council for a full academic year. Frequently, the request for additional information can be expedited if the Head of the submitting Department is available to the Council during the meeting in which it considers the proposal.
- If the course is approved by the Graduate Council, it is then reviewed by the Provost and the Council of Academic Deans. If approved by CADs and the Provost, the proposal is forwarded to the President for final approval. If the course is disapproved, or if additional information is needed, the proposal is returned to the Graduate Council with the reason(s) for the action. If additional information is required, the Department should reply by sending the necessary information through the Dean of the College. In certain instances, the Graduate Council may invite a representative for further clarification.
A copy of the “Proposal for Change(s) to Catalog” form is included as Appendix A. The form heading Part A, Part B, and “Course Addition” must be completed when proposing the establishment of a new course.
The “Effective Date” is the quarter that the Department wants to begin teaching the new course. In order for a Department to offer a new course for the quarter it wishes, it should submit its proposal to the Graduate Council according to the following schedule:
|Meeting Day||Earliest Effective Date|
No course can be listed in the Quarter Class Schedule or the catalog until it has received the final approval of the President.
Departments should submit a complete catalog description, not to exceed twenty-five words, in the formal catalog format. For example:
303: Intermediate Accounting. 0-3-3. Preq., ACCT 301. The theory and application of accounting procedures to financial reporting.
Courses that may be repeated for multiple credit should show the maximum number of hours credit that may be obtained. For example, a course that may be repeated twice for a total of six hours credit would be indicated 0-2-2 (6).
Minor Change in an Existing Course
Individual Departments are authorized to make minor editorial changes in the catalog descriptions of their courses without formal submittal through the Graduate Council by following the procedure below. A minor change is defined as slight changes in one of the following: course title, prerequisites, or course description. Changes in course credit or credit hours are never considered minor.
Requests for minor changes are made to the Office for Academic Affairs in the form of a memorandum which should set forth clearly the changes in the description of the courses by listing the current description and the proposed description. Approval of these minor changes requires only the signature of the Provost. If the changes are not considered minor, they will be returned to the appropriate Unit Head for submission to the Graduate Council.
Major Change or Dropping of an Existing Course
Changes in course numbers, credit hours, number of hours of lecture and laboratory per week, and substantial changes in course content or prerequisites are considered to be major changes.
A strong effort should be made to coordinate changes in existing courses with all Departments that have an interest in the course. Courses offered in one Department and either required or considered a desirable elective by another Department have sometimes proved troublesome items when submitted for revision or for dropping.
The procedure for obtaining approval of a major course change or for dropping of an existing course is identical to that for the establishment of a new course.
A copy of the “Proposal for Change(s) to Catalog” form is included as Appendix A. Requests for major course change or for dropping of an existing course must include completion of the form heading and responses to Part A, Part B, “Course Change” or “Course Drop,” as is appropriate.
The Unit Head should keep in mind that, after receipt in the Graduate School, approximately 30 days are required to obtain final approval of a course proposal, and six weeks of additional lead time prior to the beginning of a term is necessary for schedule printing. Therefore, the proposal should be submitted early enough to obtain final approval before the desired effective date.
Dropping or Changing an Existing Curriculum, Option, or Degree Program
The procedure for obtaining approval for dropping or changing substantially an existing curriculum, option, or degree program is identical to that for establishing a new curriculum or option. After approval by the appropriate on-campus bodies, the request will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors and to the Board of Regents.
A copy of the “Proposal for Change(s) to Catalog” form is included as Appendix A. The form heading and Part C must be completed.
On a separate sheet, in two columns labeled “Present” and “Proposed,” list the courses to be dropped and the courses to be added, respectively. The total hours required for present and proposed curricula must be included.
If an existing curriculum, option, or degree program is to be dropped, a short statement to that effect and a brief explanation must be attached to the proposal form to the Graduate Council.
Each new course contained in the proposal must be individually submitted to the Council in accordance with the section involving the establishment of a new course. Each course being dropped must likewise be submitted in accordance with the section concerned with “Major course change or dropping of an existing course.”
In determining the “Effective Date,” the Unit Head should consult 2b on the second page of the proposal form.
Establishing a New Degree Program
Requests to establish new degree programs are to be developed with input and discussion among Departmental and College faculty with review and approval of appropriate campus units. Constitutionally, new degree programs are established by approval of the Louisiana Board of Regents following statewide adopted policies and procedures. The procedure involves submission of a Letter of Intent to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors and Board of Regents for initial consideration. If approved, the institution will submit a full program proposal for consideration by both Boards. External reviews are required for selected undergraduate and all graduate level programs. Degree programs cannot be initiated until final proposal approval is granted by the Board of Supervisors and Board of Regents.
Copies of the Board of Regents Guidelines for New Degree Programs are available from the Office of the Provost. Requests must be prepared in accordance with these policies and University curriculum requirements. Initial factors to be addressed include program relationship to role and scope of the institution, relationship to other similar degree programs at other institutions, and compliance with State mandates. The Letter of Intent/Proposals require documentation of the following: Need, Students, Faculty, Library and Other Resources, Facilities and Equipment, Administration and Costs. Final program curricula must be approved in accordance with Graduate Council guidelines, including approval by the Graduate Council, Council of Academic Deans, and the President, prior to program publication or student enrollments.
A copy of the “Proposal for Change(s) to Catalog” form is included as Appendix A. The form heading and Part C must be completed.
On a separate sheet, list the courses to be included in the new degree program. The total hours required for the curriculum must be included.
Special Topics Courses
A procedure for approval of College special topics courses has been established by the Council of Academic Deans to encourage the development and offering of new special topics courses. Special topics courses may be proposed by faculty with departmental support. The College dean, if recommending the offering, will submit a request to offer, including rationale and course syllabus, to the Council of Academic Deans for approval. If approved, the course offering will be forwarded to the President for final approval. Special topics courses will be identified with the college designation, appropriate course numbers (189/194, 289/294, 389/394, 489/494, and 589/594), and topic title. An approved course may be offered two times in the special topics category. If the department wishes to continue the offering, the graduate course must be submitted and approved in accordance with the Graduate Council policy and procedure.