The institution demonstrates that each educational program for which academic credit is awarded is approved by the faculty and the administration. (Academic program approval)
X In compliance Partially compliant Non-compliant
Faculty governance is highly valued at Francis Marion University. Both faculty and administration participate in a collaborative process for approving credit-bearing courses and academic programs.
Process for Approval by Faculty and Administration
Francis Marion University articulates this process through its constitution and bylaws, which are published annually in the Faculty Handbook.
According to the Constitution of the Faculty, found in the Faculty Handbook 2016, “The faculty shall be responsible for University policy related to admission standards; curriculum; degree and certificate requirements; class attendance; conduct of the classroom; academic freedom; faculty tenure, promotion, and grievance procedures; and all matters pertaining to the conduct of faculty affairs” .
Proposals for educational courses or programs for which undergraduate academic credit is awarded are submitted by schools or departments to the faculty Academic Affairs Committee.
The “Bylaws of the Faculty Senate” charge this committee to
“a. advise the Faculty Senate on all undergraduate curriculum matters, including proposed courses, course changes, or new academic programs, being responsible in particular for checking all such proposed courses, changes, or new programs for accuracy, numbering courses, prerequisites, issues of redundancy or overlap with existing courses, and related matters taking in account the impact of curricular proposals on other disciplines and the university as a whole;
b. review guidelines and make recommendations when appropriate for the general education program requirements for the various degree programs of the University.” .
Proposals for educational programs for which graduate academic credit is awarded are submitted by schools or departments to the Graduate Council Committee. The “Bylaws of the Faculty Senate” charge this committee to
- “receive a report each semester from the Director of Graduate Studies about applicants for admission to graduate programs, the number of students accepted into various programs, and the number of students enrolled in each graduate program.
- notify the faculty of all graduate curricular proposals prior to Council action;
- advise the Faculty Senate on all graduate curriculum matters, including proposed graduate courses, graduate course changes, or new graduate programs, being responsible in particular for checking all such proposed courses, changes, or new programs for accuracy, numbering courses, prerequisites, issues of redundancy or overlap with existing courses, and related matters taking in account the impact of curricular proposals on other disciplines and the university as a whole.” .
In accord with the Constitution of the Faculty, “With the President, Provost, other officers of the University, deans, and department chairs, the Faculty Senate shall be concerned with the planning and guidance of the educational programs of the University and policies concerning the well-being and security of the faculty”  to achieve its goals.
Programs passed by the Faculty Senate must then be approved by the general faculty, which “shall meet at least three times during each academic year to conduct the business of the faculty” .
Procedures for Faculty Program Approval
Francis Marion University has clearly defined procedures for submitting course and programs for approval. A calendar of three academic affairs cycles for the fall semester and four academic affairs cycles for spring semester are made available to the faculty on the Faculty Governance website and via email. These cycles outline the process and dates by which each stage of approval needs to be completed, as shown in the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Governance Calendars [6, 7].
Faculty can bring forward proposals through their schools or departments with the approval of their dean or department chair. Administrators can also bring proposals to the faculty for catalog or curricular changes. Faculty proposals contain a form for proposing new courses or modifying existing courses, which is located on the Faculty Governance webpage , along with other relevant supporting material. Undergraduate curriculum proposals are routed through the Provost’s administrative assistant to the Academic Affairs Committee. Graduate curriculum proposals are routed through the Provost’s administrative assistant to the Graduate Council. If proposals are approved by the Academic Affairs Committee or the Graduate Council, they move to the Faculty Senate, and, if approved, to the General Faculty. New programs or policies also move to an administrator or the Board of Trustees. New programs also require approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. See Figure 1 for a flowchart illustrating the process through which curricular changes are made at Francis Marion.
Figure 1: Academic Proposal Approval Process
Academic proposals can be submitted by administrators, departments, or schools. They each follow the approval process illustrated in Figure 1. To exemplify the academic approval process at the University, the following table contains documentation for four different proposals submitted during the 2016-2017 academic affairs cycles:
- Graduate Proposal from the School of Health Sciences to add a Doctorate of Nursing Practice
- Undergraduate Proposal from the Office of the Provost to modify University Life 100
- Undergraduate Proposal from the Biology Department to modify Biology 120
- Undergraduate Proposal from the School of Business to add Computer Science 190L
|Documentation for Selected Graduate and Undergraduate Proposals from the 2016-2017 Academic Year
|Graduate Proposal from the School of Health Sciences – Add Doctorate of Nursing Practice||Undergraduate Proposal from Office of the Provost– Modify University Life 100||Undergraduate Proposal from the Biology Department – Modify Biology 120||Undergraduate Proposal from the School of Business—Add Computer Science 190L|
|Proposal by Administrator or Department of School||Graduate Council Agenda and Proposals – September 7, 2016 [9, 10]||Academic Affairs Agenda and Proposals—February 23, 2017 
|Academic Affairs Minutes||Academic Affairs Minutes—February 23, 2017 |
|Graduate Council Minutes||Graduate Council Minutes – September 7, 2016 |
|Faculty Senate Minutes||Senate Minutes – September 22, 2016 ||Senate Minutes—March 7, 2017 
|General Faculty Minutes||General Faculty Minutes – October 13, 2016 ||General Faculty Minutes—April 4, 2017 
|Board of Trustees Minutes||Board of Trustees Minutes – November 17, 2016 |
|SC CHE Minutes||FMU Proposal to CHE Submitted |
● CHE Advisory Committee on Academic Programs meets September 14, 2017
● CHE Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing meets October 26, 2017
● CHE - Full Commission Meeting – November 2, 2017
Further evidence of the faculty’s and administration’s responsibility in approving educational programs is provided in the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees. One of the President’s duties authorized by the board is “to exercise leadership in working with the faculty and academic officers in developing plans and proposals for educational programs and policies; to review and evaluate faculty proposals for major revision of educational programs and policies and to present them to the Board with his recommendation concerning their action; to bear responsibility for the orderly implementation of educational programs and policies” .
Head of Francis Marion University since 1999, President Luther F. Carter has never rejected a proposal from the faculty. However, should the President not approve a curriculum proposal from the faculty, the Constitution of the Faculty specifies the appeal procedure to be used by the faculty if necessary. This passage makes clear that the Board of Trustees is the final arbiter in cases of faculty-administration disagreement.
If the President of the University or the Provost chooses not to implement an act approved by the faculty, his or her decision and reasons shall be communicated in writing to the entire faculty within fifteen days of receiving the minutes of the faculty meeting. By a two-thirds vote of the voting faculty present and voting, the faculty may ask the President to reconsider such a decision. The Chair of the Faculty will deliver the appeal to the President. If the President continues to oppose an act approved by the faculty, “the Chair of the Faculty has the right to petition the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for a hearing with the Board” . This is consistent with the “Bylaws of the Board of Trustees,” which give Board members the responsibility “to assure the effective operation of educational programs and services so as to effectively carry out the University’s mission” and “to review and approve proposals for major revision of degree programs and educational support services” .
- Faculty Handbook 2016, The Faculty, p. 88
- Faculty Handbook 2016, Standing Committees, p. 101
- Faculty Handbook 2016, Graduate Council, p. 107
- Faculty Handbook 2016, The Faculty Senate, p. 92
- Faculty Handbook 2016, Meetings of the Faculty, p. 90
- Governance Calendar Fall 2016
- Governance Calendar Spring 2017
- Academic Affairs Committee New Course Form
- Graduate Council Agenda September 7, 2016
- Proposal to Graduate Council from School of Health Sciences
- Graduate Council Minutes September 7, 2016
- Faculty Senate Minutes September 22, 2016
- General Faculty Minutes October 13, 2016
- Board of Trustees Minutes November 17, 2016
- FMU Proposal of D.N.P. Program to CHE
- Academic Affairs Committee Agenda February 23, 2017
- Academic Affairs Minutes February 23, 2017
- Senate Minutes March 7, 2017
- General Faculty Minutes April 4, 2017
- Faculty Handbook 2016, Administration of the University, p. 130-31
- Faculty Handbook 2016, Faculty Appeal, p. 91
- Faculty Handbook 2016, Powers and Duties of the Board, p. 125