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RWU Curriculum Policies (2016)

RWU Curriculum Policies – FINAL (12/6/2016)

** RWU CurriculumPolicies PDF for download, **



This document sets out curriculum policies and procedures for the purpose of establishing an orderly, transparent and broad-based process for the thoughtful consideration of curricular matters at Roger Williams University.

Overview of the Process:

Petitions for curriculum changes all follow a similar path from initial planning stage to final approval and publication in the University’s Catalog and Web site.

There are two different types of curriculum petitions: Major changes, which include new programs and courses, and Minor changes, which do not.

There are three possible approval paths (see attached Flow Chart):

  • Undergraduate/Graduate curriculum
  • General Education (CORE) curriculum
  • Interdisciplinary program curriculum

Petitions move from the proposing area/program/department, division, or school to the appropriate Dean, Associate Dean (for CORE), or Associate Provost (for Interdisciplinary Programs), who reviews the petition and then forwards it to the appropriate (School-based, GECPC or University Studies) curriculum committee for initial faculty review. The appropriate committee gives each petition their consideration and accepts or rejects the
petition. If a petition is rejected by both the committee and the appropriate Dean/Associate Provost, it does not move to the next level for consideration. If a petition receives approval of either the committee or the Dean/Associate Provost it moves to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee for review. Petitions approved by the
Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee then move to the Faculty Senate for ratification before moving to the office of the Provost for final review and implementation.

Normative time frames (between 2 to 4 weeks) are given for each stage of the review
process. (See Flow Chart). If review of a
petition is not begun within an indicated time frame, the Provost may direct that the petition be forwarded directly to the next stage of curricular review. No petition may bypass review the FSCC or the Faculty Senate.


School and college curriculum committees are elected by the relevant departments, areas, or programs. School committee chairs are elected by majority vote of the elected faculty members of the committee. (NB: FS 20111005)

Initial Planning:

For all changes: Transparency is central to the curricular process. In the interest of avoiding unnecessary duplication, it is the ultimate responsibility of the petition
sponsor to make sure that all of the areas, programs, departments affected by the petition are informed of the details of the petition. The curriculum process requires evidence of communication across disciplinary boundaries to determine the effective use of resources.

Curricular petitions originate from area/program/department, division, or school meetings and proceed directly to the appropriate Dean. See below for definitions of Major and Minor changes.

Any New Programs or changes that are determined by the Dean, the Associate Dean of General Education or the Associate Provost for University Studies, to require additional resources, e.g., new majors, minors, core concentrations, degree or
e programs, go through a more extensive planning process, including the completion of a Business Plan. A summary prospectus must be presented to the Dean of the School or program involved prior to submission of the actual petition.
It is advisable that a preliminary consultation with the Dean and Provost occur.

Such a plan should include:

  1. description of the new program or major
  2. relevance to mission and strategic plan
  3. resource summary, including projected enrollments
  4. timeline for implementation.

Preparation and Submission of Petitions:

Following the initial planning process, petitions should be submitted to
the appropriate Dean. Undergraduate and graduate 
petitions are submitted to the
Dean of the appropriate school
 or program, Associate Dean (for CORE), or Associate Provost (for Interdisciplinary Programs). Petitionmust be submitted in electronic format through the RWU Curriculum website.


Documentation indicating review by all the faculty from the area, program, department, division or school submitting or reviewing the petition must be included in the Petition.
In the case of a area, program or department, either meeting minutes or a signature page must attached to the petition. For committee review, the vote tally must be noted in the petition by the curriculum committee chair and in the committee minutes. (NB: FS Motion

If the petition will impact the requirements of another program, the petition should include documentary evidence that communication between the parties (proposer and affected area, program, department, etc.) has taken place. Such documentation should include PDFs of the document used to communicate with the affected program regarding the proposed change and the affected program’s response, including agreement/concern/acknowledgment. (NB: FS 20120307)

For new programs, or substantial changes to programs, that require additional
human, facilities and/or financial resources, e.g., new majors, minors, core concentrations, degree or certificate programs, evidence that a business plan has been reviewed by the Provost is required as part of the petition. Either a PDF of the
email from the Provost or a PDF of the plan itself satisfies this requirement.

Major Curricular Changes:

Petitions for major curricular changes such as

  • a new course,
  • new major, minor, or degree programs including new certificate programs and non degree bearing programs,
  • new Core concentrations and structural changes within the Core Curriculum

should all include as a minimum the following information:

  • Brief (75 word) description of petition
  • Name of the Sponsoring College/School
  • Name of the Sponsoring Department/Program/Area
  • Name of the Sponsoring Faculty Member(s)
  • Title of Proposed Program or course
  • Description of the proposed new major, minor, program, or core concentration
  • Rationale for the proposed addition/deletion
  • A comprehensive list of new courses, changes to courses, deletions of courses and any other changes involved
  • Indication of resources necessary for offering this program or course, e.g., faculty, library resources, facilities.
  • Proposed catalog copy for any new courses or degree requirements
  • The impact of the change on the existing program or programs (e.g. cross-listing, banking)
  • Timeline for implementation of the petition.

        Additional requirements for New Courses:

  • If petition is for a new course, include proposed syllabus and/or a course outline with student learning outcomes (these should agree with those listed in the Student Learning Outcomes tab in the online RWU Curriculum site.)

Petitions for major curricular changes that affect three or more courses (removal, addition or substitution) or those that affect another program, should include as a minimum the following information:

  • Brief description of petition
  • Name of Sponsoring College/School
  • Name of Sponsoring Department/Program/Area
  • Name of Sponsoring Faculty Member(s)
  • Detailed description of the proposed change
  • Specific rationale for the proposed change.
  • Analysis of impact of proposed change on students.
  • Analysis of impact of proposed change on other programs.
  • Indication of any existing courses or programs that will be dropped if the proposal is approved.

Minor Curricular Changes

Petitions for minor curricular changes (those which do not affect another program), such as addition or deletion (banking) of a course from the catalog, changes of course number, name, catalog description, or prerequisites, should include as a minimum the following

  • Brief description of petition
  • Name of Sponsoring College/School
  • Name of Sponsoring Department/Program/Area
  • Name of Sponsoring Faculty Member(s)
  • Indication of the Specific Change, such as:
    • Changes involving Banking/Unbanking of course(s)
    • Changes describing a specific course
    • Changes to catalog copy describing a Program, Major, Minor or Concentration
    • Changes to Requirements of a Program, Major, Minor or Concentration involving fewer than three courses
  • Rationale for the change.

Petition Review:

Review by Dean/Associate Dean(Core)/Associate Provost (Interdisciplinary Programs):

The Dean/Associate Dean/Associate Provost will review the petition within two weeks from the petition arriving in their approval queue. It is the responsibility of the Dean/Associate Dean/Associate Provost to offer suggestions and recommendations to the proposing faculty regarding the submitted petition.

The Dean/Associate Dean/Associate Provost will do one of the following:

  1. Recommend the petition be moved forward to the appropriate faculty curriculum committee.
  2. Return the petition to the faculty submitting the petition with suggestions for
  3. Reject the petition and forward it to the appropriate faculty curriculum committee along with a written rationale for objections to the petition (FS Motion 20120404).*

Following review, the Petition moves forward via the curriculum website to the chair of the appropriate faculty committee:

  • School curriculum petitionare forwarded by the Dean of the school to the chair of the school’s Curriculum Committee.
  • Core curriculum petitions will be forwarded by the Associate Dean of General Education to the GECPC.
  • Interdisciplinary Curriculum petitions will be forwarded
    by the Associate Provost for Teaching and Learning to the University Studies  Curriculum Committee.

Initial Committee Review:

Once a complete petition is received electronically by the chair of the appropriate reviewing committee, the petition will be included on the agenda of the committee’s next regularly scheduled meeting providing the petition is received one week before the scheduled meeting date. Each committee may establish their own procedures for reviewing petitions and these procedures must be published.

All petitions must be reviewed in a timely fashion, and the agenda and minutes of the meetings must be sent to all faculty in the School. See Curriculum Flow.

The committee may:

  1. Return the petition to the petitioner with suggestions for changes.
  2. Approve the petition and forward it to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee.
  3. Reject the petition and forward it to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee with comments (FS Motion 20120404).*

After reviewing the petition, the Chair of the appropriate committee will electronically forward the petition with their recommendations, if any, to the chair of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee.

*  If a petition receives a negative vote by both the Dean and the School’s review committee it does not move to the next level of consideration. If a petition receives a positive vote from either the appropriate committee or the Dean, it moves on to the next level.

Review by the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee (FSCC):

Upon receipt of the petition from the initial reviewing committee, the Chair of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee will place the petition on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled meeting providing the petition was received one week prior to the date of the meeting. The Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee may establish their own procedures for reviewing petitions and these procedures must be published. All petitions must be reviewed in a timely fashion, and the agenda and minutes of the meetings must be sent to all faculty.

The FSCC may:

  1. Approve the petition and place it on the agenda of the next Faculty Senate meeting for ratification.
  2. Return the petition to the petitioner requesting changes.
  3. Reject the petition and place it on the agenda of the next Faculty Senate meeting for evaluation with an explanation of the FSCC objections (FS Motion 20120404).

Review by the Faculty Senate:

Upon receipt of the petition from the FSCC, the President of the Faculty Senate will place the petition(s) on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Faculty Senate meeting. The Faculty Senate may establish their own procedures for reviewing and ratifying petitions and these procedures must be published. All petitions must be reviewed in a timely fashion, and the agenda and minutes of the meetings must be sent to all faculty.

The Faculty Senate may:

  1. Approve the petition and forward it electronically to the office of the Provost.
  2. Return the petition to the petitioner requesting changes.
  3. Reject the petition and move it to the Provost with an explanation of the Senate’s
    objections (FS Motion 20120404).

Review by the Provost:

Upon receipt of the petition from the Senate, the Provost will review the petition in a timely fashion.

The Provost may:

  1. Accept petition and notify Registrar and University Faculty.
  2. Return the petition to any of the previous reviewing bodies, and/or the
    petitioner, with concerns.
  3. Reject the petition with an explanation to the petitioner and to those bodies that have approved it (FS Motion 20120404).


Upon receipt of the petition from the Provost, the Registrar will include the new curriculum in the upcoming catalog.

RWU Curriculum Flow

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