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Special Topics Course Proposals (Policy 4060)

University Policy 4060

Download a Printable Version of Policy 4060

Effective Date

July 1987

Last Revision Date

July 1995

Responsible Party

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, (208) 426-1202
Office of the Registrar, (208) 426-4249

Scope and Audience

This policy applies to all faculty seeking to offer a special topics course.

1. Policy Purpose

To establish criteria for special topics courses.

2. Responsibilities and Procedures

a. Courses of instruction involving material of timely, special, or unusual interest not contained in the regular course offerings of the University may be offered by faculty members with the approval of their department chair. These may be courses exploring areas of special interest to the proposing faculty member, department, or to the students. Special topics courses are not required to be submitted to curriculum committees and the Faculty Senate for approval prior to their initial offerings. Prior to a new course receiving approval (see University Policy 4050 – Minor Curriculum Change Procedures), the special topics procedure may be used for a “trial run” of the new course.

b. Any special topics course proposed will be accompanied by sufficient documentation to provide academic validity. This documentation will be reviewed by the department chairperson and dean and will reside with the department chairperson.

c. The proposals for special topics course(s) will be submitted on the regular schedule of classes (see University Policy 4160 – Development of Schedule of Classes). The course description approved by the dean for publication should be submitted at the same time.

d. Any special topics course can be offered up to three (3) times without being approved by the University Curriculum Committee. After a third offering, it must either be approved as a regular course offering (see University Policy 4050 – Minor Curriculum Change Procedures) or be approved by the University Curriculum Committee to continue as a special topics course for no more than two (2) additional times. If neither option is followed, the special topics course must be discontinued.

e. Special topics course grading options (P/F, CR/NC, or regular grade), within allowable options, will be determined by the department offering the course and submitted with the course description to the Registrar’s Office.

2.1 Procedure

a. Proposal to department chair for special topics course.

b. Review of special topics course by departmental faculty in accordance with procedures established by that department.

c. Approval of special topics course by department chair.

d. Approval of special topics course by the appropriate academic dean.

e. The Registrar, upon scheduling a special topics course for the third time, will immediately notify the appropriate department chair and remind him/her that any further offerings of this course can only occur after the appropriate curriculum review has been followed. Three options are available:

(i.) Discontinue the course offering.

(ii.) Offer it as part of the regular curriculum following the procedure outlined in University Policy 4050 (Minor Curriculum Change Procedures).

(iii.) Make an application to the University Curriculum Committee for authorization to continue to offer this special topics course up to two (2) more times because of the unusual nature or circumstances of this course.

f. The Registrar will make a copy of the above-mentioned notice to the chair of the University Curriculum Committee.

g. The department chair, within two (2) weeks after receipt of the notice from the Registrar, will notify the chair of the curriculum committee on the course of action the department intends to take regarding the special topics offering. A form for this purpose will be provided by the Registrar.

h. The Registrar will not schedule a special topics course offering a fourth time without written approval from the University Curriculum Committee.

3. Related Information

University Policy 4050 (Minor Curriculum Change Procedures)
University Policy 4160 (Development of Schedule of Classes)

Revision History

July 1995