Chapter IV

Curricular Policies

Curricular Policies

(Senate: 1/30/96, 4/9/96; President: 5/7/96, 7/24/96; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01; 9/03)

Responsibility for the development of the curriculum rests with the faculty, subject to system guidelines in the Administrative Code, Title 5, and in other pertinent statutory documents.

New degree programs, including options and concentrations, are projected on the University's Academic Master Plan prior to their detailed design.  Undergraduate degree programs with options, concentrations, or special emphases must have a common core requirement of at least five courses.  Departments/divisions/schools may request a variance based on the standards of the discipline.  This variance must be approved through academic governance processes.  Each graduate degree program with options, concentrations or special emphases must include a common core experience.  Each college within the University must establish a policy defining acceptable core experiences.  Each college within the University must establish a policy defining acceptable core experiences for graduate degrees within the college.  This college policy shall be subject to approval by the Curriculum Subcommittee and the Educational Policy Committee.  Justification for their addition to the program is developed concurrently, in terms of academic and professional needs, student and community interests, and fiscal feasibility. Modifications in existing courses and programs also are given formal consideration, and all programs are reviewed in an ongoing process which has a five-year cycle.

The curriculum has both residence and external components, and includes undergraduate and graduate segments. Courses, degree and certificate programs, and modifications thereof are proposed by the faculty in the respective disciplines or interdisciplinary areas. Following departmental/divisional/school approval, these proposals are reviewed by the Instructional Affairs Committee of the corresponding college.

At the university level, new major programs, options, minor/credential programs and certificates and resolution of unresolved challenges to curricular modifications are considered by Curriculum Subcommittee.  The subcommittee submits approved proposals to the Educational Policy Committee, where the curricular actions stand approved unless questioned and agendized for further consideration.

Detailed policies and procedures on curriculum development appear in Appendix E.

Curriculum Calendar

(Senate: 1/16/90; President: 3/15/90; Editorial Amendment: 9/00; 8/01, 1/21/15)

Curricular proposals may be considered by departmental/divisional/school, college and University committees and subcommittees only during fall and spring semesters. Curricular proposals which did not receive final action prior to the end of spring semester shall be held on the agenda of the committee or subcommittee until fall semester.

The Educational Policy Committee subcommittees shall not meet during summer term. Non-curricular items which cannot wait until fall semester, such as policy issues requiring timely response and referrals of student petitions which cannot be handled by executive action, shall be referred to the Senate Executive Committee for consideration.

Academic Advisement

(Senate: 10/22/91, 10/28/97, 12/1/15; President: 11/5/91, 11/20/97, 3/2/16; Editorial Amendment: 1/21/15)

Advisement is central to the educational process. It is a multifaceted all-university function intended to facilitate student success. Advisement is an ongoing process during which the student develops an educational plan in consultation with an advisor and completes a curricular program of study. Students benefit from regular advisement to achieve their academic goals, clarify their career objectives and better understand how the University can assist them in realizing their goals and objectives in a timely and efficient manner.

To this end, advisement is a campus-wide, integrated support service which provides appropriate resources to students. The purposes of advisement include the following:      

  • Assist students to maximize the benefits of their educational experience by providing guidance in the selection of curricular programs and courses;
  • Familiarize students with academic policies, procedures and University requirements for graduation;
  • Help students develop a plan to complete all University requirements for graduation in an efficient and timely manner;
  • Familiarize students with career opportunities directly and indirectly related to their academic interests and professional ambitions;
  • Inform students about campus resources and services, including how these can help meet their educational goals and individual aspirations;
  • Encourage students to develop the independence and personal skills necessary to make informed judgments about their educational objectives, careers, and use of University support systems and other opportunities available on or through the campus. 

While the faculty bear responsibility for academic advisement, other campus personnel also provide important advisement services. All individuals involved in advisement are part of the overall system for advisement and must interact with each other in order to be effective,

An effective system of advisement is an important factor in student retention and is the essential first step in facilitating student success at Cal State L.A. Collectively and individually, each unit that provides advisement services makes an important contribution to each student's ultimate academic and personal success. This contribution not withstanding, students share major responsibility in contributing to and ensuring their own success, and, as such, must be active participants in the advisement process.

Advisement is conducted with respect for the individual student being advised. The ultimate success of effective advisement depends on the individual commitment of faculty and staff to perform their duties in a professionally competent manner and professional expertise within a campus-wide system of support.

Implementation of Advisement at Cal State, Los Angeles

(Senate: 10/22/91, 12/1/15; President: 11/5/91, 3/2/16)

In order to accomplish the goal of providing effective and successful advisement, the University shall:

  1. Maintain a coordinated, integrated system of advisement that supports the teaching and academic mission of the University, meets the needs of a culturally diverse student body, increases the retention of students, and promotes their educational success.
  2. Provide advisement services to students in a manner that encourages them to be responsible, informed and active participants in the achievement of their educational goals.
  3. Make available to students, especially prior to and during their first term, comprehensive information about student academic policies and procedures and advisement programs and services on campus.
  4. Provide faculty with the necessary resources, including training to ensure that they effectively perform their academic advisement responsibilities (including workshops, on-line training, mentors, manuals, resource guides, etc.).
  5. Maintain a University advisement center that provides advisement services to undecided majors and provides staff advisors with appropriate resources, including training and information on all aspects of academic advisement, including General Education.
  6. Support college advisement centers that provide advisement services for majors in that college and provide staff advisors with the necessary resources, including training and information on all aspects of academic advisement in their college, as well as General Education requirements.
  7. Establish an assessment plan to evaluate the effectiveness of academic advisement.

Timing of Undergraduate Advisement

(Senate: 10/22/91, 7/11/06, 12/1/15; President: 11/5/91, 8/3/06, 3/2/16)

Academic advisement shall be required for all new students prior to or during their first term in attendance. After the first advisement session, each student shall be advised annually or more often as necessary to enhance academic success. Prior to the completion of 90 quarter units or 60 semester units students must meet with an academic advisor to select a major and develop an approved degree plan.

All transfer students who are admitted with fewer than 20 semester units shall declare a major by the time they complete three semesters in residence. All transfer students admitted with 20 semester units or more shall declare a major by the end of their second semester in residence. Upon declaring a major, students shall meet with an academic advisor to develop a degree plan.

After reaching 90 quarter units or 60 semester units and before completing 135 quarter units or 90 semester units, all students shall meet with an academic advisor to review their progress toward graduation based on the results of an on-line degree audit. Upon the completion of 135 degree eligible quarter units or 90 degree eligible semester units, students must meet with an advisor to determine when they should apply for graduation.

Students who reach 180 quarter units or 120 semester units and have not filed a graduation application shall meet with an academic advisor to review their progress toward graduation based on the results of an on-line degree audit and develop a plan to help ensure timely and efficient progress toward graduation.  The plan shall include remaining requirements and dates of future progress checks.

Entry Level Proficiency in Mathematics and English

(Senate: 8/27/85, 5/26/15; President: 9/9/85, 10/13/15; Editorial Amendment: 8/01)

The CSU requires all entering undergraduate students to demonstrate entry level proficiency in Mathematics and English. Entry level proficiency is determined in Mathematics by the CSU Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) examination, and in English by the CSU English Placement Test (EPT). A student might also demonstrate entry level proficiency in Mathematics and/or English by qualifying for one of the CSU approved ELM and/or EPT exemptions listed in the general catalog. Entry level proficiency in Mathematics is a prerequisite to enrollment in a course that satisfies the General Education Breadth Requirement in quantitative reasoning. Entry level proficiency in English is a prerequisite to enrollment in a course that satisfies the General Education Breadth Requirement in written English communication.

Students who do not demonstrate the requisite proficiency in Mathematics, English, or both shall be required to begin remediation prior to the term for which they have been admitted (by participating in the CSU Early Start Program), to continue to enroll in appropriate developmental courses/activities during the first term of enrollment and progress every term toward achieving entry level proficiency. Those who have not completed their developmental courses/activities within one year of matriculation are subject to disenrollment.

Proficiency scores on the English Placement Test (EPT) and the Entry Level Math examination (ELM) for placement in developmental courses shall be set by the Educational Policy Committee in accordance with CSU policy and/or guidelines and with recommendations from the Departments of English and Mathematics regarding GE basic subjects and developmental courses in their department.

Early Entrance Program

(Senate: 3/8/83; President: 3/30/83)

Purpose. The Early Entrance Program is created to meet a demonstrated demand for educational programs to serve students who are extremely gifted and who need the academic challenges of a university environment to develop intellectually, but who are chronologically younger than traditional undergraduates and who have not yet graduated from high school.

Organization. The administration of the program will be coordinated by an Academic Program Coordinator, serving part-time and reporting to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. An Administrative Program Coordinator will serve as a resource person to the Academic Program Coordinator. Both coordinators will be appointed annually.

Admission Criteria. Student participation in the program will be by invitation, based on performance in an academic assessment inventory administered by the Academic Program Coordinator, on personal interviews of the student and parents, and, where appropriate, on interviews of the Gifted Coordinator or the Principal of the student's school of origin.

Academic Program. Following admission to the Early Entrance Program the student's university study list will be determined by the Academic Program Director, based on the student's diagnostic scores, previous performance, interviews with student and parents, and, for continuing students in the program, on performance at Cal State L.A. and on faculty recommendations. The Academic Program Director also will assume responsibility for identification of the Cal State L.A. faculty members in whose courses these students will enroll, until a proven record of university work is established. Instructors will be asked to provide mid-quarter progress reports to the Academic Program Coordinator, who also will interview students periodically to assess their adjustment to the program and suitability for retention.

Students accepted for the Early Entrance Program will ordinarily enroll in 4 or 8 units per quarter for a maximum of four quarters. They may progress to regular undergraduate status when in the judgment of the Coordinators and the Director of Admissions, the students' university records, academic preparation and personal performance warrant admission to a degree program.

It is anticipated that full matriculation will be attained within one calendar year. Students who are admitted to the University following participation in the Early Entrance Program will be encouraged to participate in the General Education Honors Program and to maintain affiliation with the Early Entrance Program. Students who are not selected for full-time matriculation through the Early Entrance Program will be redirected to the PACE or ACE program, as appropriate.

The allocation of academic credit for university coursework completed at Cal State L.A. will be arranged by the Administrative Program Coordinator.

Procedures During Enrollment. The Academic Program Coordinator will be charged to provide continuing contact with Early Entrance Program students while they are on campus, and will inform participants and their parents in writing of the University's behavioral expectations for students while they are enrolled in the program. While chronological ages of participants will require that the University assume a limited role in loco parentis with regard to mandatory out-of-classroom activities initiated by the Academic Program Coordinator, it must be clearly understood by all persons that the University cannot and will not assume unusual custodial or supervisory responsibilities for these students.

Evaluation of suitability for participation therefore will reflect an assessment of the student's personal resources for adjustment to a university environment. However, the supportive function of the Program's peer group activities will provide assurance that the participants are not left wholly to their own devices or made to feel socially or culturally isolated. The Academic Program Coordinator will develop a procedure for reintegrating students within their elementary or secondary school community if participation in the Early Entrance program is terminated short of full matriculation on the basis of parental request or the Academic Program Coordinator's decision, or by mutual consent.

Periodic Review. The Undergraduate Studies Office, which directs coordination and furnishes support for the Early Entrance Program, will review it annually to assure that it conforms with all university regulations and meets appropriate academic standards.

Definition, Purpose, and Guidelines for Assessment

(Senate: 11/23/93, 12/1/98; President: 1/13/94, 2/1/99; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01)

General Definition of Assessment. Assessment is the process by which academic institutions evaluate student progress in learning and success in achieving educational goals. Assessment of courses, programs, and University activities, involve among other things, a measure of student outcomes.  Achievement may be assessed directly by measuring the changes, progress and/or gains that occur with students or indirectly, by using other indicators such as employment, employers' satisfaction and the percent of students who continue their education in graduate or professional programs.

Purpose of Assessment. The purpose of assessment is to assist in improving learning, teaching and academic advising at the individual, course, program and institutional levels. Assessment should be on-going, consistently applied, and based on teaching and learning goals and objectives.  Each academic department/division/school or program should utilize information from assessment to analyze and improve the effectiveness of its academic programs in such areas as curriculum, academic advisement, faculty development and student services. Data from outcomes assessment will not be used for cross-program rankings or comparisons of individual faculty.

Assessment Plan. Faculty, students and academic administrators shall work together to develop a campus strategy for coordinating and supporting student outcomes assessment activities that includes:

  1. development of an institutional plan for assessment;
  2. incorporation of evaluation of assessment data in the review of the effectiveness of the general education program;
  3. incorporation of the evaluation of assessment into program review procedures; and
  4. development of an assessment program to review the academic support programs (e.g. Writing Center, Library, Tutoring Center).

Assessment of Programs

Assessment is a significant portion of both the academic and academic support programs review.  It should assist in unit planning and improvement.  Program review shall include an evaluation of the extent of assessment measures have been used to document effectiveness and to improve the program.

Each unit shall develop, in consultation with the college dean or other college level entity as determined by the college, an assessment plan based on the goals and objectives of the unit, college and University.  The assessment plan shall identify the methods for evaluating the student outcomes of the program.  The plan shall include a description and justification for the selection of current evaluation practices, as well as a description of other assessment measures the unit might consider using in the future, and a timetable for implementation of the plan.  Assessment methods should generate both quantitative and qualitative information.  A summary of assessment activities shall be provided triennially to the college dean and included as part of the program review self-study.

The General Education Subcommittee, working with units that offer courses in General Education, shall be responsible for assessing the General Education program. The program review of General Education shall include an evaluation of the extent to which student outcomes assessments have been utilized to improve the program.

Administration and Students

Academic Administrators shall support faculty and departments by providing resources for a reference library, workshops and other appropriate activities.

Student input shall normally be sought in the development of assessment activities of academic programs and departments/divisions/schools.

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