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Part 6: How should academic programs proceed?

For each program, the first step in the process has been to determine whether the program will merely convert to a semester-based program, or go through a more substantive transformation process. Programs submitted proposals for one or the other, and (as planned) received their funding announcements on December 1, 2016.  Thirty programs elected to convert and 91 programs decided to transform as they move to semesters.

Next, departments will decide on the program leads, committee(s), and participation levels (many programs determined these at least partially before submitting their proposals.) Methods vary, but ultimately the goal is for these determinations to be made democratically and for the overall process of conversion or transformation to be as inclusive and collaborative as possible.

There is a natural tension between a need for coherence across programs and individual program perspectives, needs, and creativity. One of the challenges of both the conversion and the transformation processes will be to coordinate between programs that are interdependent, with an added layer of complexity when programs must also satisfy external accreditation requirements. It is recommended that conversion/transformation leaders determine early on which programs have such an interdependency with theirs, and coordinate their processes and timing with those programs.

Bottom line: please proceed as collaboratively, inclusively, and collegially as possible!

Fostering a collaborative community for program design

One way to do this might be to think about this work in terms of what Etienne Wenger, among others, refers to as a “community of practice.”  Although communities of practice develop organically, a carefully crafted design can drive their evolution. In the excerpt from their book, Wenger, McDermott et. al. detail seven design principles: Design for evolution; Open a dialogue for inside and outside perspectives; Invite different levels of participation; Develop both public and private community spaces; Focus on value; Combine familiarity and excitement; Create a rhythm for the community.

The Q2S Steering Committee designed a statement of shared values and guiding principles that will govern the campus-wide process.

In order for departments to create a collegial and inclusive atmosphere in their own context, we suggest that they begin by considering the campus values and guiding principles, Wenger et. al. (see below), specific faculty hopes and concerns, and together design a set of working agreements for a productive group dynamic.

For more information, see:

Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice  HBSWK Pub. Date: Mar 25, 2002 by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder.  (Download from TRC OrgSync portal, CSUSB login required).

Timelines, Requirements, and Support

In addition to establishing and maintaining an inclusive, collaborative process for transformation as described in the Transformation vs. Conversion Descriptions document, Transformation Leaders will participate in cross-college meetings and ensure timely progress and completion and submission of the appropriate documents and communicate with the Q2S College Coordinator throughout.

The conversion/transformation processes will proceed according to one of three “tracks”, each with its own deadline.

  • Track 1: Submission of all P and C forms by October 31, 2017
  • Track 2: Submission of all P and C forms by March 30, 2018
  • Track 3: Submission of all P and C forms by October 31, 2018

Additional details:

  • Graduate programs are on Track 1, unless granted an exception.
  • It is strongly recommended that programs that contribute heavily to Liberal Studies or other interdisciplinary programs should complete the related courses by the Track 1 or 2 deadlines (even if the full program has a later deadline), and consult on an ongoing basis with the Liberal Studies Coordinator or the Coordinators of the other interdisciplinary programs.
  • For programs that are transforming there will be a series of collaborative cross-college meetings of the transformation leaders, as follows:
    • Track 1, Submission by October 31, 2017:
      • Meeting 1: Jan 17, 2017 (9am to noon) or Jan 18, 2017 (noon to 3pm)
      • Meeting 2: Mar 6, 2017 (9am to noon) or Mar 7, 2017 (9am to noon)
      • Meeting 3: Jun 5, 2017 (9am to noon) or Jun 6, 2017 (9am to noon)
    • Track 2: Submission by March 30, 2018
      • Meeting 1: Jan 17, 2017 (9am to noon) or Jan 18, 2017 (noon to 3pm)
      • Meeting 2: May 8, 2017 (9am to noon) or May 9, 2017 (9am to noon)
      • Meeting 3: Oct 16, 2017 (9am to noon) or Oct 17, 2017 (9am to noon)
      • Meeting 4: Jan 22, 2018 (9am to noon) or Jan 23, 2018 (9am to noon)
    • Track 3: Submission by October 31, 2018
      • Meeting 1: Feb 6, 2017 (9am to noon) or Feb 7, 2017 (9am to noon)
      • Meeting 2: Jun 7, 2017 (noon-3pm) or Jun 8, 2017 (9am to noon)
      • Meeting 3: Nov 13, 2017 (9am to noon) or Nov 14, 2017 (9am to noon)
      • Meeting 4: Mar 5, 2018 (9am to noon) or Mar 6, 2018 (9am to noon)
      • Meeting 5: Jun 4, 2018 (9am to noon) or Jun 5, 2018 (9am to noon)
  • There is flexibility here; everyone is welcome to attend any of the meetings if a meeting in their timeline doesn’t work for the team. To facilitate flexibility in meeting attendance, content will be the same for all tracks.
  • Additional professional development will be provided in collaboration with TRC through institutes and learning communities. Please see TRC Calls for Proposals for information.

In addition, please feel free to contact Kim Costino, Davida Fischman, Janelle Gilbert, or any members of the Q2S committees with questions as they arise.  

While we recognize that every department has its own personality and style of working and that there is no one-size fits all process for either transformation or conversion, the unified timelines set for transformation/ conversion decision making, general education development, and program creation gives the entire university the opportunity to enter into a broad collaboration in which student needs are at the forefront of our thinking.

The curriculum approval process

As a general principle, the Q2S Steering Committee has determined that the curriculum approval process will stay as close as possible to that which we use today. The main changes are:

  • Proposed programs and courses will be submitted through an online system, CourseLeaf (CIM).  See below for more informaiton.
  • Courses that are required in programs that are not housed in the same home department will need to demonstrate significant collaboration among departments. In the past, the P and C forms had no space to include details of the collaboration/consultation; CIM will provide such a space.

You can see the stages of the Curriculum Approval process in this flow chart.

CourseLeaf Curriculum Management (CIM)

With the oversight of Faculty Senate and the Q2S Steering committee, submitting curricular proposals will remain the same as before conversion.  However, managing program and course updates can be a complicated process, involving lots of back and forth, paper, and potentially inconsistent information. The CourseLeaf Curriculum (CIM) module is meant to streamline curriculum management by taking the process online and supporting a collaborative process. (See the CourseLeaf corporate website.)

The CourseLeaf website states: “The software will import course information from your student information system, provide customized pre-populated forms for authors, automatically create workflow without human intervention, identify all courses impacted by a proposed change, track edits and comments, report on status, generate customized PDF files on demand for committee meetings, and will assist in automatically updating the student information system at the end of the process. The CourseLeaf Curriculum and CourseLeaf Catalog software work together to automatically update all catalogs with approved course, program, and student information system data.”  CSUSB Academic Scheduling is currently working to adapt the software to the processes and needs of CSUSB as determined by the Faculty Senate curriculum committees, the Q2S Steering Committee and Curriculum Subcommittee, and related offices. While in general the processes will remain as they are today, CourseLeaf will provide spaces for comments on collaboration and consultation among academic departments and will provide an easily navigable process of approvals.

Departmental and college curriculum committees will need to become conversant in this new software and faculty members proposing courses and programs will need to learn how to use the software. Instructions and training for use of the CourseLeaf system will be provided as soon as the system is finalized.