College of Arts & Sciences Academic Affairs Committee

The committee is charged with issues of curriculum (mostly) and academic standards (occasionally) arising in the College of Arts & Sciences. It generally meets on alternate Wednesdays (whichever Wednesday the Chairs of Arts & Sciences are not meeting) from 1:00-2:15 PM. The current Committee Chair is Brian Rose, a professor in the Department of Performing Arts. (This Web page is maintained by the previous Chair, Stephen Bloch.)

Meetings for Fall, 2006 will be 9/6, 9/20, 10/4, 10/18, 11/1, 11/15, 11/29, and 12/13 at 9:00 AM in Post Hall, room 100.


Minor Course Changes.pdf
The form to request streamline processing of "minor" course changes: This form has been provided as a PDF, which you can fill in and print using Adobe Reader. Unfortunately, in the current version you can't save or e-mail it with your answers filled in; you have to kill trees. We're working on this....
the checklist and form to fill out when proposing a new course (other than Special Topics courses; see below) or changing an existing course. Note that one of the requirements on the checklist is a CIF; see below.
the "Course Inventory Form" used to create a new course or change an existing course. If you're creating a new course, fill in all the relevant fields. If you're changing an existing course, fill in the course number, the code "C" for "change", and only the fields that you're changing. A CIF is not required if you're changing an existing course in ways that don't affect the CIF, e.g. only the course description. See these incomplete instructions for filling out the form.
the checklist and form to fill out when proposing a curriculum change: a new program or a change to the requirements of an existing program. Note that any new courses involved in the curriculum change must have their own copies of Newcourse.doc and their own CIF forms. For that matter, any courses whose course number, name, number of credits, or even enrollment cap is changing must have their own CIF forms. And now that the CIF form includes a field for whether the course is required, variable-required, or elective, any course which is moving from one of these categories to another must have its own CIF form.
NYSED program registration.doc
the forms required by the State of New York in order to register a new or significantly modified degree program.

Policies and Procedures

Note: The following is my understanding of the bureaucratic steps and rules. At the higher levels, farther removed from ASAAC, I may well be utterly wrong.

The normal procedure for any course or curriculum proposal is

  1. A proposal is developed, generally by one or more faculty within an academic department, discussed within that department (each department has different procedures), and approved by the department chair. Special Topics courses (see below) go directly from here to the Registrar's Office.
  2. A proposing faculty member gives the proposal to the Chair of the Committee, with all the required paperwork.
  3. If the Chair considers it "trivial", such as changes in course caps and corrections of typographical errors in titles or free-form notes, the Chair will sign it and send it to the Dean's Office.
  4. Otherwise, the Chair will schedule it to be discussed at a regular meeting of the Committee or its Curriculum Subcommittee. Typically, the proposer or someone from his/her department is invited to that meeting to answer questions and clarify the proposal. If the proposer informs the Chair that (s)he cannot attend the meeting, the proposal can still be discussed and voted upon, but things tend to go more slowly.
  5. The Committee takes a vote. Technically, a simple majority is required, but we usually try for unanimity; if anybody has serious objections to a proposal, we try to address those objections before bringing it to a vote.
  6. The Chair forwards the Committee's recommendation and paperwork to the Dean of Arts and Sciences.
  7. The Dean's office, if satisfied, signs off and sends the thing either to the appropriate office (e.g. the Registrar) for implementation or to the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee.
  8. The Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee, if satisfied, signs off and sends the thing either to the appropriate office for implementation or to the full Faculty Senate.
  9. The Faculty Senate debates and votes on big changes. For especially sweeping changes, it may refer the proposal to the full faculty.
  10. The full faculty debates and votes on really big changes, such as revising the General Education curriculum or creating a new College.
  11. New major programs and the like need to be approved by the Provost, the President, the Board of Trustees, and the State Department of Education.


Special Topics courses

Special Topics courses do not need to go through Committee approval, but they do need a CIF form with a catalog-type course description. More precisely, whenever you create a Special Topics course with a new title, not previously used for Special Topics in your department, it must have a CIF form and a course description. However, this CIF form can go directly from your department to the Registrar's office, without going through the Committee, the Dean's Office, the Provost's Office, etc. Don't worry about the spaces for signatures from the Committee Chair and the Dean.

Do I need a CIF?

There's a lot of information on the current CIF form, and the rule of thumb is that if you're changing any of the information that appears on that form, you need to fill out a new CIF form. This includes

Note that it does not include the course description, so if the only thing you're changing is the course description, you don't need a CIF form.

The CIF form is officially a multi-colored, multi-part document, but a photocopy of the front page will do for most purposes.

Last modified:
Stephen Bloch /
A PGP key is available by finger.