Collecting program educational goals for the Academic Catalog

Beginning in the fall of 2021, the University of Delaware began collecting program education goals from each degree program in preparation for publishing them in the academic catalog. Although CTAL is supporting this process, it is being run by the Faculty Senate who controls the contents of the catalog with additional support from colleagues in the Registrar’s office who manage the catalog and its underlying data.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get help or more information?

CTAL is providing much of the support for this process. This is especially true for programs that would like to take this opportunity to revise or update program educational goals. An overview of the support that is available, including resources such as examples of program educational goals and methods for creating or revising them, is available on the CTAL website. Faculty and staff are also welcome to request individualized support from CTAL to work with you as your program develops or revises its program educational goals. These consultations may include briefings at faculty meetings, guided workshops, review of drafts, assistance in identifying examples and disciplinary resources, or other interactions and support services.

For help with Curriclog, our colleagues in the Registrar’s Office provide extensive documentation and resources. They can also be contacted at curriculog@udel.edu with any questions or requests for assistance.

How are program educational goals being collected?

Goals are being collected through a purpose-built Curriculog form (“2022-2024 Program Educational Goals Collection”). Curriculog is used by UD to collect and manage content for the academic catalog. Leveraging Curriculog ensures that all appropriate faculty senate committees review and approve submitted material before publication. At the request of the Faculty Senate, CTAL has been enlisted by the Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Committees to provide our expert recommendations and advice about each program’s educational goals as they are submitted.

Once submitted, program educational goals are reviewed by: (listed in order of review)

  1. The Registrar’s Office: Colleagues in the Registrar’s Office ensure the form has been filled out appropriately, corrects obvious errors (e.g., typos), and ensures that the submitted program name matches the official title currently listed within the academic catalog.
  2. Chair or director: Program educational goals must be approved by the appropriate chair or director prior to publication in the academic catalog.
  3. CTAL: Colleagues in CTAL will review each program’s educational goals against a review rubric. If the submitted goals meet the standards set, then the form is approved and sent to Deans for review. However, if CTAL anticipates that the Faculty Senate will have concerns, we will contact the form originator at this step in the process. In such an instance, CTAL will pass along our interpretation and offer the department an opportunity to address concerns before the form is passed along for further review. Please note that CTAL’s role in this process is advisory and CTAL is not empowered to deny any submission. Therefore all submissions will be approved by CTAL for further review with any concerns noted in Curriculog.
  4. Dean: Program educational goals must be approved by the appropriate dean or designee prior to review by the Faculty Senate.
  5. Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate or Graduate Studies: Program educational goals must be approved by appropriate faculty senate committees prior to publication in the academic catalog.
  6. Faculty Senate Coordinating Committee on Education: Program educational goals must be approved by appropriate faculty senate committees prior to publication in the academic catalog.
  7. Faculty Senate Executive Committee on Education: Program educational goals must be approved by appropriate faculty senate committees prior to publication in the academic catalog.
  8. Faculty Senate: Program educational goals must be approved by the faculty senate prior to publication in the academic catalog.
  9. The Registrar’s Office: Colleagues in the Registrar’s Office perform a final check all fields within the form. Once approved by the Faculty Senate, the Registrar’s office adds all educational goals to each program’s page within the academic catalog.

 

Why are goals being collected?

Program educational goals are being collected, reviewed, and published in the academic catalog to ensure that they are consistently and transparently available to all UD constituents: students, faculty (in the program and in other units), families, legislators, accreditors, and the public.

This process began during the University’s preparations for our 2021 reaffirmation of accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and was further informed by UD’s 2019 Task Force on Learning Goals and Assessment.  In their final report, committee members of this task force wrote:

The Task Force’s research on both our current practices and national trends suggest that we currently lack a clear, shared practice of ongoing and authentic program educational goal assessment. Further, the availability of stated program educational goals is highly variable across the University, making it difficult to communicate the intended goals for each program to students, accreditors, and community.

The task force specifically recommended that the university collect, review, and publish program educational goals in the academic catalog. The following spring (2020), the Faculty Senate voted to adopt this recommendation.

When are goals being collected? When are they due?

Program educational goals are being collected in the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years. We ask programs that are ready to submit goals (e.g., accredited programs, programs that have recently revised goals) do so as soon as possible; there are several hundred degree programs so it would help everyone involved if all goals were submitted toward the beginning rather than near the end of the collection window.

(The original collection period was 2020-2022; however, the COVID-19 pandemic changed these plans and pushed them back one year.)

What programs are included?

With some exceptions all undergraduate and graduate degree programs published in the current UD academic catalog are included. Concentrations that are listed separately in the catalog, are also included. Minors and certificates are, for the time being, not included in this process although we do anticipate the need to collect such educational goals at a later time.

This is a large process with hundreds of programs and we are working to make the process as manageable as possible. For example, we are not requesting separate submissions for 4+1 or dual degree programs when the goals for both of the degrees in the program are already being collected separately. Similarly, we are working with the Honors College to determine if it is feasible to establish common goals for honors degree designations so that separate submissions will not be required for every honors degree program.

What programs are not included?

For this collection of goals in 2021-2023, we are not requesting program educational goals for:

  • Honors degree programs. We are working with the Honors College separately to address program educational goals unique to honors degrees.
  • 4+1 programs and dual-degree programs. However, we are collecting goals for one or both components of a multidegree program if the two different components of those multidegree programs are not being independently collected. For example, we do not require any submissions related to the Statistics 4+1 (BS/MS) program because we are already expecting separate submissions for the goals of the Statistics BS and MS programs. However, we will ask for a separate submission of the goals for the Finance Mathematics BM program; it does not exist as a standalone program but it is part of the Finance/Financial Mathematics (BS/BM) dual degree program.
  • Certificates. Goals for certificate programs are being collected but through a separate process.
  • Minors. Like all UD credentials, minors must have unique educational goals but we are not collecting them to review and publish in the catalog at this time. This will be addressed in the future.
Why are goals being requested for some concentrations, but not all?

Program educational goals are being collected for all degree-granted programs published in the academic catalog. Therefore, if a program has several unique concentrations currently listed within the catalog, each concentration will be required to submit educational goals for review.

Philosophically, a degree with a concentrations is a different credential and should therefore have unique educational goals that guide the development and delivery of a unique set of learning experiences. Practically, revising or making explicit educational goals for a degree program with multiple concentrations should not take much additional work as nearly all of  goals should be similar or identical across any given program’s concentrations and, if applicable, the “base” program that doesn’t include a concentration.

Why aren't goals being collected for 4+1 and dual degree programs?

The Faculty Senate is collecting program educational goals for “multidegree programs” (i.e., 3+2, 4+1, and dual degree programs) but this process is collecting them separately for each of the two degree programs that make up the larger program. At the end of this collection process, both sets of goals will be published within the academic catalog appropriately.

Philosophically, the educational goals for a multidegree program should be identical to the combined goals of the constitutent programs. These programs do not alter what students learn in any way even though the specific sequence of experiences may be different to allow students to earn two degrees at the same time or in rapid succession. Practically, collecting the goals of the two constituent programs separately reduces the number of times that goals need to be submitted for the same program in many cases because several individual degree programs (e.g., MBA) are part of multiple multidegree programs.