Comprehensive Standard 3.4.10

 

The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of its curriculum with its faculty. (Responsibility for Curriculum)

 

COMPLIANCE

 

Narrative:

 

Vernon College places primary responsibility for the content, quality and effectiveness of its curriculum with its faculty. To this end, the College has adopted, in a Mission Statement on academic freedom and responsibility, the following stance: The mastery of a subject makes a faculty member a qualified authority in that discipline and competent to choose how to present its information and conclusions to students. The following are among the freedoms and responsibilities which should reside primarily with the faculty, with the advice and consent of the Dean of Instructional Services-  planning and revising curricula, selecting textbooks and readings, selecting classroom films and other teaching materials, choosing instructional methodologies, assigning grades, and maintaining classroom discipline.

 

In keeping with academic responsibility, Vernon College faculty members recognize their responsibility to maintain competence in their disciplines through continued professional development and to demonstrate that competence through consistently adequate preparation and performance, as measured by the Student Survey of Instruction and Faculty Evaluations.

 

The Curricula Review Process excerpted from the Vernon College Employee Handbook illustrates that the College has adopted a program development and approval process that is led by the faculty and administration and that aligns with the policy and procedures required by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  The Academic Council (minutes) oversees the addition, review, and evaluation of curricula. Members of this council include the Dean of Instructional Services, Associate Dean of Career and Technology Education, representatives from the Admissions and Financial Aid/Registrarís Office, a counselor, a librarian, Division Chairs, Director of Continuing Education, Faculty Senate representatives, Director of Institutional Research, Director of Distance Learning, Assistant to the Dean of Instructional Services, and select faculty members. If a new program is being considered, it is developed only after a need has been demonstrated and financial resources secured. If an instructional program is discontinued at Vernon College, it is done in a way that will not harm studentsí transfer requirements and graduation needs. Any new Workforce Education Program must be approved by an advisory committee, the Academic Council, the College President, the Board of Trustees, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) prior to implementation. Except for the use of advisory committees, the same review is required for transfer degrees. This review ensures that the curricula are directly related to the Mission Statement of the College. This approval process may also involve required or voluntary external agency approval. The Workforce Education Programs follow the curriculum development process as published in Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education and in the Workforce Education Course Manual. Academic transfer degrees must include the Texas core curriculum requirements, and courses chosen from the Academic Course Guide Manual and the Common Course Numbering System.

 

Faculty members at Vernon College work in conjunction with the Academic Council to develop new courses and degrees and to evaluate the quality and relevance of current courses, programs, and disciplines. The Collegeís administration is involved in curriculum development and review primarily through the Academic Council. The Board of Trustees at Vernon College is involved with the following actions (when recommended by the President): approving all new programs, the number and types of degrees offered by the College, the number and nature of the divisions at the College, and the extent to which the College offers off-campus programs.

 

Programs and disciplines are evaluated according to a five-year rotating basis schedule to ensure consistency with the College Mission Statement, programmatic quality and improvement, adequate enrollment and student demand, accountability, and efficient management. Preliminary evaluations are assigned to faculty members and Division Chairs and a Program/Discipline Evaluation Task Force. Evaluations are reviewed by the Dean of Instructional Services, Academic Council, and then by the College President, who makes decisions on the future status of programs or disciplines. The Board of Trustees alone has the authority to continue or terminate a program/discipline, based upon the recommendation of the College President. These evaluations and procedures are available in the Program Evaluation, General Education Program Evaluation, and Discipline Evaluation documents.

 

 

For each major in a Workforce Education Degree Program, the College assigns responsibility for program coordination, as well as for curriculum development and review, to persons academically qualified in the field. At least one full-time faculty member with appropriate credentials must have primary teaching assignment in a workforce education program offering an associate degree. In those degree programs (Associate in Arts and Associate in Science) for which the College does not identify a major, at least one full-time, academically qualified faculty member must be assigned to a curricular area.

 

Documentation

 

1.    Academic freedom and responsibility, Vernon College Employee Handbook

2.    Curricula Review Process, Vernon College Employee Handbook

3.    Academic Council minutes, January 28, 2008

4.    Program Evaluation

5.    General Education Program Evaluation

6.    Discipline Evaluation