Offering of Experimental Courses

Background

The Graduate and Undergraduate Program Councils occasionally receive a departmentally-initiated proposal for a new course for which adequate specification of
course objectives, content, or methodology prior to the actual offering of the course is difficult. Historically, this situation has resulted in Council and faculty approval of some courses subject to a review of the course within a year or two. If the Council, based upon the review, believed that such a course should not be offered again, a faculty motion to delete the course from the catalogs would need to be passed. Because of this rather cumbersome and imprecise procedure, Councils have concluded that an explicit statement of policy with procedures is necessary to allow preliminary offerings of such courses on an experimental basis. Thus, the purpose of this Experimental Course Policy is to permit the development and offering of an innovative course without risking
permanent approval of a potentially undesirable course, or rejection of a potentially desirable course whose content or methodology cannot be properly specified without testing it in a classroom setting.

Policy

An academic unit may submit to the appropriate Program Council a proposal for an experimental course under the same procedures employed for regular course
proposals. The Program Council may approve or reject the experimental course proposal. In addition, the Program Council may choose to approve as an experimental course a regular course proposal submitted by an academic unit. Any courses approved by the Program Council as experimental courses will not require approval by the College faculty. However, the Program Councils will notify the College faculty of experimental course approvals at College faculty meetings.

A course approved by a Program Council as an experimental course can only be offered twice as an experimental course. The first offering must occur within two
semesters (excluding Summer) of Program Council approval and a second offering must occur within three semesters (excluding Summer) of the first offering. The
Program Council may specify conditions that must be met before a second offering is permitted. After a maximum of two offerings, the academic unit may submit the course through the regular course proposal process for consideration by the appropriate Program Council and the faculty of the College as a permanent offering in the College curriculum. A course may not be submitted and approved as an experimental course a second time.

Procedures

Course proposal materials to be submitted.
Proposals for experimental courses are to be submitted to the appropriate Program Council by the same dates as all other course proposals. The course proposal forms and supporting documents submitted to a Program Council for a proposed experimental course are to be the same as for a regular course. Accordingly, course number, title and catalog description as well as all other information requested as part of the regular course proposal process should be completed.
Course number.
Any course proposal which is approved by a Program Council as an experimental course will have the suffix “E” after the course number.
Inclusion of experimental courses in semester schedule of classes and catalogs.
After Program Council approval of an experimental course, the course may be offered in the first semester for which publication in the semester schedule of classes can be accomplished. An academic unit offering an experimental course is responsible for promulgating information concerning the course and should coordinate these efforts with the College’s Office of Academic Assistance. Experimental course descriptions will not be included in the College’s undergraduate or graduate catalogs.

(Recommended by Executive Committee 4/13/15 & Faculty Affairs Committee 4/14/15)
(Approved by the Faculty of the Robinson College of Business 4/22/15)