Frequently asked questions about 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.
How can I get help or more information?
CTAL supports faculty engaged in this work. 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. 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 Curriculog, our colleagues in the Registrar’s Office provide extensive documentation and resources. They can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or requests for assistance.
How are program educational goals being collected?
During the first years – 2021-2023 – goals were collected through a purpose-built Curriculog form (“2022-2024 Program Educational Goals Collection”). They are now being collected using other existing Curriculog forms e.g., program revision form, new program submission form. 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.
Why are goals collected by the university?
Program educational goals are 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 were initially collected in the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years. We asked programs that were 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 was helpful if all goals were submitted toward the beginning rather than near the end of the collection window. Faculty who have not yet submitted goals are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.
(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. Goals have not yet been collected for minors and certificates.
The initial collection was a large process with hundreds of programs and we are worked to make the process as manageable as possible. For example, we did not request separate submissions for 4+1 or dual degree programs when the goals for both of the degrees in the program were already being collected separately. Similarly, we worked with the Honors College to establish common goals for honors degree designations so that separate submissions were not required for every honors degree program.
What programs are not included?
For this collection of goals in 2021-2023, we did not request program educational goals for:
- Honors degree programs. We worked with the Honors College separately to address program educational goals unique to honors degrees.
- 4+1 programs and dual-degree programs. However, we did request goals for one or both components of a multidegree program if the two different components of those multidegree programs were not being independently collected. For example, we did not require any submissions related to the Statistics 4+1 (BS/MS) program because we were already expecting separate submissions for the goals of the Statistics BS and MS programs. However, we did 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 were collected but through a separate process.
- Minors. Like all UD credentials, minors must have unique educational goals but we did not collect them to review and publish in the catalog in this process. This will be addressed in the future.
Why are goals requested for some concentrations, but not all?
Program educational goals are 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 is 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 collects program educational goals for “multidegree programs” (i.e., 3+2, 4+1, and dual degree programs) but they were collected separately for each of the two degree programs that make up the larger program. At the end of the initial collection process, both sets of goals were 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.