2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.4.6 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution employs sound and acceptable practices for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for courses, regardless of format or mode of delivery.
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) employs sound and acceptable practices for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for courses, regardless of format or mode of delivery. UT Dallas uses the semester system and awards student academic credit in units that meet the requirements of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) in Section 4.6 of Chapter 4, Subchapter A: “Traditionally-delivered three-semester-credit-hour courses should contain 15 weeks of instruction (45 contact hours) plus a week for final examinations so that such a course contains 45 to 48 contact hours depending on whether there is a final exam.” Furthermore, THECB requires that courses using a shortened calendar meet the same requirement for contact hours for each credit awarded. Distance learning courses may meet an alternate standard, but only if “the course has been reviewed and approved through a formal, institutional faculty review process that evaluates the course and its learning outcomes and determines that the course does, in fact, have equivalent learning outcomes to an equivalent, traditionally delivered course .”
All course syllabi include course content and student learning outcomes, assignments, and methods of instruction and evaluation  . Each syllabus is reviewed by the assessment team in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost to ensure that it follows the guidelines set by the Academic Senate . Once the syllabus is approved, it is then posted and made available via the online syllabus repository.
The curriculum approval and review process ensures that all courses, whether new or modified substantially, meet the standards of the UT Dallas for content, outcomes, methods, evaluation, and credit.
Faculty members within each discipline develop (and/or modify) courses, and the program faculty review such courses. All new course proposals must include a course description and other basic information. Undergraduate courses are then reviewed by the Council for Undergraduate Education ; graduate courses are similarly reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee . New courses that are developed to serve as a part of the undergraduate general education component are also reviewed by the Core Curriculum Committee  . The Committee on Educational Policy (CEP) has the formal charge of reviewing all proposals for the assignment of university credit to new courses .
The biennial catalog review process, along with the annual catalog supplement process, further ensures that appropriate courses with appropriate content are being offered. After the faculty in the programs have reviewed the courses in the catalogs, the Graduate Studies Committee and the Council for Undergraduate Education as well as the Committee on Educational Policy  closely oversee the catalog process and approve the catalog copy. The Academic Senate is also responsible for approving catalog copy  which contains all degree programs, course descriptions, and degree requirements. Additional information about the catalog review process is available in the responses to Principles 2.7.2 [U208] and 3.6.1 [U341].
Credit for online learning or distance education courses is awarded as if the courses were offered on site; UT Dallas requires that each online course be of the same rigor as the same course in face-to-face format, and this information is documented by the faculty member . Additionally to ensure that the online course meets UT Dallas’ curricular standards, each instructor provides the Assessment Team with comparable sample syllabi from a traditionally delivered course . The two syllabi are compared against each other to ensure that the course content is significantly similar and that the quality of the online course is assured. Credit awarded for international course work is based on a review of each course by the registrar or a member of the faculty familiar with the institution. International course credit for a student already enrolled at UT Dallas requires prior approval before the course is completed .
UT Dallas uses a grading scale that includes 13 markers for undergraduate courses (A+, A, A-, …D, D-, F) and has done so since fall 2000 ; the graduate courses have used the letter grades A, B, C, and F , although the grading scale has recently changed to include plus-minus grades beginning with the fall 2008 catalog cycle . Faculty award course credit to students who succeed within a course-specifically, undergraduates must receive at least a D- (or a P for Pass or CR for Credit); graduates must receive a C or higher (or a P or CR). Course credit for each course correlates to the second digit in the course number. The first digit represents the level of the course: 1-4 in the first digit represents an undergraduate class; 5-8 represents a graduate class. The second digit represents the number of course credits assigned to the course. In some courses, the second position contains a “V,” and students may take the course for “variable” credit in consultation with the instructor of record for the course. The last two digits represent a unique identifier for each course within that sequence of courses in the program of study  . Some undergraduate courses also correspond to the Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS), thus allowing a more seamless transfer of courses from other Texas universities and colleges . More information on transfer credit can be found in the response to Principle 3.4.4 [U328].
As a separate check on the course inventory, UT Dallas submits the CBM003 report to the THECB annually. This report lists every course available at the university within the academic year. The registrar provides the appropriate Texas CIP code  for each course, based upon local review and approval. UT Dallas removes courses from its inventory as required by THECB policy: “Any course untaught as an organized class or individual instruction course for four consecutive years will be automatically deleted from the course inventory. The Coordinating Board will furnish annual records of untaught courses deleted to help each institution keep its course inventory up-to-date .” Academic programs reinstating a course must seek approval prior to offering the course.
General education (i.e., core curriculum) courses are centrally assessed, using UT Dallas’ web-based assessment tool, AT6. Course outcomes are evaluated as a part of program assessment within AT6 as appropriate to program outcomes and objectives. Additional information about the program approval process is available in the responses to Principles 220.127.116.11 [U320] and 4.2 [U402].