EPC Policies

Policy of the EPC on the First Class Meeting
Guidelines on Proposing a New Major
Policy of the EPC on Changes in the Major
Guidelines on Changing the Name of a Major
Guidelines on the Discontinuation of a Major
Guidelines on Minors and Certificates
Process for Reviewing New College Proposals


 Policy of the EPC on the First Class Meeting

The Educational Policy Committee of the Faculty (EPC) has determined that unless registered students attend the first class meeting or communicate directly with the instructor prior to the first class (in writing, by email or in person), the instructor can drop a student from his/her class list.



Guidelines on Proposing a New Major

Adopted by the EPC in March 2014

Proposals for new majors must be reviewed and voted upon by the Educational Policy Committee (EPC). Proposing faculty should consult with the relevant Academic Dean(s) while developing a proposal, and should not submit a proposal to the EPC without the Provost and Deans’ prior consultation. If the EPC votes in favor of the proposal, then the EPC chair will submit the proposal to the full faculty for vote. The following are guidelines regarding new majors that have been developed jointly by the EPC and Academic Affairs.

Administrative host
Majors must be housed within a department, a program, or a college. New majors may be housed within existing departments, programs, or colleges. Alternatively, new majors may be proposed that require new programs or colleges, so long as they require no new resources. The proposal should identify the proposed model of faculty governance and the ongoing plan for chairing the program. For proposalsof new departments (the definition of which includes faculty lines), colleges,or programs that require new resources, a resource plan should be submitted for review to the Academic Dean and Provost.

For proposalsinvolving new expenses, operating budget, administrative assistant support, course relief, faculty lines, equipment, ornew office or other space, a formal memorandum from the Provost, addressingAcademic Affairs’ stance on those resources, is required.

Core faculty
The proposal must identify one tenured/tenure-track faculty member who serves as the lead proposer and would serve as chair/director if the proposal is approved. The proposal must identify at least five additional core faculty members, of whom four must be tenured/tenure-track, who:

  • will offer courses on regular rotation that count toward the major
  • will advise students enrolled in the major
  • will advise tutorials and theses
  • are able and willing to direct or chair the major

Curricular support
Enough courses should be offered in support of this major even when the faculty teaching its core coursesare on sabbatical or have course relief. A proposal should address this issue and preferably includea three-year curricular plan.

Information to include in a new major proposal
The following information is useful for helping the EPC and Academic Affairsunderstand the proposal, and also for the Registrar in implementing the new major if it is approved. Thus a thorough proposal should address most of the following points:

1. Conceptual information about the major

A. Academic justification for the major
What are the academic and disciplinary bases for establishing this new major? Please express how this major constitutes a coherent, recognized field of academic study. Please articulate why and how it is appropriate for this major to be part of the Wesleyan liberal arts curriculum. Explain why this should be a major rather than a minor.

B. Student demand for the major
What is the evidence of student demand for this area of study as a major? How many students do you expect to graduate with this majoreach year, once the major has been in place for three to five years?

C. Cohort building in the major
How will the faculty support student co-curricular experiences? What will you do to build a cohort experience among students pursuing the major?

2. Technical information about the major

A. Name of the major
What will appear on the student’s transcript? (E.g., “Major: English”)

B. Course subject(s)
What course subject(s) will be hosted by the major (e.g., “English”)? What are the course catalog abbreviations for the subject(s) (e.g., “ENGL”)?

C. Major requirements
Majors require a minimum of eight coursecreditsnumbered 201 or higher. No more than four courses in a departmental major may be elected from other than the major department, and students must not be forced to oversubscribe in a department (i.e., take more than 16 creditsin a department).What courses will be required for the major? What courses will be offered to support the major as electives? If this is an interdepartmental major, which departments’ and/or programs’ courses will be part of this major (either requirements or electives)?

D. Stand-alone versus linked major
Do you propose this as a stand-alone major (for which no additional or double major is required)? Or do you propose this as a linked major that requires the student to complete a primary major in another discipline? If so, are there restrictions on which fields may serve as the primary major? If so, list those.

E. Grade mode
What are the grade-mode expectations for courses that count towards the major? Provide justification for the requirements for the grade mode expectations.

3. Course Catalog Information about the Major

A. Core faculty
Provide a list of the core faculty in the major

B. Major advising
Provide a list of the advising experts in the major

C. Description of the major
Please provide one to two paragraphs describing the academic discipline, methods of study, topics of study, and other significant features of the major

D. Learning outcomes
List the goals for what students should learn upon completing the major. (Listings of “student learning outcomes” are required for reaccreditation.)

E. Admission to the major
Identify the process for applying for admission to the major and the requirements for being admitted, including courses that must be taken in order to be eligible to apply, minimum grades (if any) required of those prerequisite courses. Please identify the process of transfer student admission to the major, if different.

F. Requirements for completing the major
Identify the number of courses required for the major, list the required and elective courses, and explain any options for tracks or concentrations.

G. Opportunities to conduct research with a faculty member
If the faculty in the major offerregular opportunities for students to participate in faculty research, describe the nature of the opportunities and the process for being admitted into a research project or group.

H. Study abroad
Describethe major’s expectations of students in terms of studying abroad, if any, and offer guidelines on how to complete the major and pursue study abroad for a semester or year.

I. Capstone experience
Identify options for students to pursue capstone experiences, including essays, theses,and other possible culminating experiences offered by the major.

J. Honors
Identify options for pursuing honors, the requirements for eligibility, and the process for applying for admission to candidacy.

K. Prizes
Will the major award any academic prizes, awards, or fellowships? Identify these or provide a website link that gives additional information.

L. Transfer credit
Explain the major’s policy on and process for considering credit for transfer.

M. Assessment of student learning outcomes
Provide a short synopsis of how the faculty will assess whether students are succeeding in fulfilling the faculty’s goals for student learning in the major, as Wesleyan must answer these questions as part of accreditation:

  1. Other than GPA, what data/evidence is used to determine that graduates have achieved the stated outcomes for the degree? (e.g., capstone course, portfolio review, licensure examination)
  2. Who interprets the evidence? What is the process? (e.g. annually by the curriculum committee



Policy of the EPC on Changes in the Major

The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) has both the responsibility and the right to review proposed changes in the curriculum. 

Although there are no specific criteria specifying which proposals concerning major programs must be approved by the EPC, precedent and common sense suggest that proposals with the following impact be presented to the EPC for its approval.

1.  Changes that would create a new major program.

2.  Changes that would alter an existing major in ways that:

     a.  Change the number of credits for graduation

     b.  Change the name of the major program or certificate that will appear in university records

     c.  Substantially alter the intellectual parameters of the major

     d.  Require a program of foreign study and/or a substantial number of non-Wesleyan courses and/or
          non-departmental, program, or college courses for the completion of the major program

3.  Changes that would create a new curricular program, whether it be a formal major, a concentration within a major, a certificate, or a cluster, that would infringe upon the intellectual integrity of or replicate an existing major.

Any time that a proposed change to the curriculum will affect more than one department, program, or college, the proposers should consult with all potentially affected units and report the consultation results to the EPC as part of the proposal.



Guidelines on Changing the Name of a Major

Adopted by the EPC in Spring 2014

To change the name of a major, the department, college, or program should:

  • Conduct a vote of the faculty in the department, college, or program (henceforth, “academic host”)
    • The chair should consult with all faculty (appointed and core) in the academic host, and should report on the tally of votes from tenured and tenure-track faculty (excluding tenure-track faculty in the final year of an appointment)
  • The chair or delegate should consult with the Academic Dean about the plan to change the name, and submit a draft of a written proposal to the Dean
  • The chair should submit to the EPC a written proposal, as vetted with the Dean, which includes:
    • The proposed new name of the major
    • Whether there will be any new course subjects; if so, the name(s) and catalog abbreviations (e.g., course subject: English, catalog code: ENGL)
    • The rationale for the change
    • A report on the faculty vote regarding the change
    • A discussion of what academic and disciplinary considerations warrant this change
    • A discussion of what pedagogical considerations informed this change
    • A discussion of how this change might affect students
    • The proposed date when the change will take effect(normally changes take effect the following July 1; strong justification is needed for a different date)
    • The provisions for when and how current students, including those already in the existing major, can choose to adopt the new name or retain the existing name



 Guidelines on the Discontinuation of a Major

Adopted by the EPC in Spring 2014

These guidelines apply to majors established after January 1, 2014.

A. Discontinuing a major that is independent of faculty appointments
For those majors offered by programs or colleges inwhich the faculty members’ appointments are not the sole appointments; and/or for departments offering multiple majors, a major shallbe discontinued if:

  • A simple majority of core faculty in the major vote to dissolve it and Academic Affairs and the EPC agree that the major should be dissolved; or
  • The number of core faculty drops below four for two consecutive academic years with no certainty that the number will rise back to six or higher in the third year and ongoing; or;
  • For "interdepartmental" majors (i.e., one that is a joint effort between two departments, such as the late "Mathematics-Economics" major), one of the two departments votes to withdraw from it.

B. Discontinuing a major on which faculty appointments are dependent
For those departments, colleges, or programs (henceforth “academic hosts”) that house faculty appointments, and where only one major is offered, discontinuing the major constitutes discontinuing the academic host. These provisions apply:

  • If the number of facultyappointed and coredrops below four for two consecutive academic years with no certainty that the number will rise back to six or higher in the third year and ongoing:
    • The affected faculty may propose to move the majorand the faculty appointments to another academic host, in order to reach the minimum number of six faculty needed to host a major, in which case the existing major can be retained but the original department, college, or program would be dissolved; or
    • The affected faculty may propose to Academic Affairs a strategic plan for phasing outthe major and the department, college, or program within a limited time frame; or
    • An arrangement may be negotiated between the affected faculty and Academic Affairs

C. Provisions for students
All students currently matriculated at Wesleyan, whether or not they have already declared the major at the time of its discontinuation, must be given the option to complete the major. When the major is discontinued, it will be listed as "discontinued for the class of 201x and after."



Guidelines on Minors and Certificates

Adopted by the EPC in October 2012; amended October 2017, amended May 2018

Proposals for minors/certificates may come from existing departments or programs. Minors/certificates may be departmental (administered by a single department or program) or interdepartmental (proposed as a cooperative enterprise by two or more departments or programs).

Interdepartmental minors/certificates may also be proposed by groups of three or more faculty from two or more departments or programs, of which one person is designated as the administrator of record for the certificate/minor. That person will be the contact person regarding the minor/certificate for the administration, faculty, and students, and will certify completion of the minor/certificate for those students interested in earning it.

General guidelines to consider in formulating a minor or certificate:

  • Minors/certificates should consist of five to eight courses.
  • No more than two courses should be at the introductory level.
  • Minors/certificates can require capstones or practica outside of coursework.
  • Consideration should be given to the use of tutorials, education in the field, and student forums (e.g., how many and which ones will count).
  • No new courses or new faculty positions should be required to conduct the minor/certificate.
  • Minors/certificates must be voted on by the full faculty to be created. An exemption is made for minors that correspond to an existing major.




Both Minors and Certificates can be interdisciplinary or inter-departmental. Certificates are typically interdisciplinary or inter-departmental. Minors can either be housed within one department or program, or they can be interdisciplinary. If a program of study exists entirely within one program or department, it should be a Minor or a Major.


Both Minors and Certificates can offer or require Capstone or Practicum experiences. Practicum experiences may help incorporate a practice-based component to the academic discipline (e.g., Education Studies, IDEAS). Capstone experiences may be offered for a variety of purposes, such as a senior seminar to help students integrate core ideas (e.g., Certificate in Civic Engagement). Capstones and Practica can include experiences outside of coursework.

Number of courses required

Minors and certificates should require between 5 and 8 credits. If a capstone project or practicum equivalent to an academic credit is required, it should be counted toward this limit, even if academic credit is not awarded.

Supervising faculty and administration

Minors that correspond to a major are administered within the relevant department or program.

Minors that do not correspond to a major, as well as certificates, are administered by supervising faculty in a governance structure that is proposed to and approved by EPC. This structure should include, at minimum, 3 faculty in 2 departments, and should clearly designate a faculty Coordinator.

Approval procedure to create a new certificate or minor

Minors that have a corresponding major can be approved by EPC without going to the full faculty for a vote. The rationale is that the supervising faculty are already engaged in curriculum development with the major.

Proposals to create new certificates and minors that do not have a corresponding major need to be approved by EPC and the full faculty. The rationale is that these proposals represent the creation of new academic entities.

Deciding on a designation: Certificate vs Minor

Different disciplines have different conventions that may lead to a preference for Minors or Certificates. For example, in disciplines with professional certification (e.g., engineering, education), the designation of a “certificate” can lead to confusion. In other disciplines, “certificate” might positively indicate a cross-disciplinary practice-based or skill-based pursuit (e.g., writing, civic engagement). For the time being, we keep both options to allow faculty the flexibility to choose the most appropriate designation. Note that, outside of Wesleyan, the term ‘minor’ is better known than ‘certificate’; therefore, unless there is a compelling reason to choose the latter term, new proposals should probably be minors.

Overview and History of Minors and Certificates

Minors and Certificates both designate a program of study smaller than a major. Minors and Certificates were created at different times with subtle differences. In 2017-18, EPC decided that there was not a compelling reason to maintain two distinct academic tracks -- certificates and minors -- for programs of study smaller than a major. There were numerous exceptions to the existing policies, which exemplified the lack of a principled distinction between certificates and minors. Both terms connoted different things to different people. The above guidelines give minors and certificates equal status. The updated policies allow any existing minor or certificate to keep its designation if that is what the supervising faculty prefer. Over time, we anticipate that most programs of study will be designated as minors.  



Process for Reviewing New College Proposals

Adopted by the EPC in May 2013

Approval of a new college requires a faculty vote.The Educational Policy Committeewill initiallyreceive all proposals for new colleges and review them based on a two-step process. Following its review,the EPC will recommend approval, recommend disapproval,or make no recommendation prior to forwarding the proposal to faculty for a vote.

Step 1. The Committee will first decide whether the proposal falls within the purview of the EPC. That is, the Committee will determine whether the proposed college involves a substantial enough change to existing educational policy to merit further consideration by the EPC. Substantial changes to educational policy might entail any of the following: a new curriculum, major, or program of study; or a new arrangement of educational resources, including faculty or support staff appointments.If the EPC deems the proposal outside its purview, the Chair will forward the proposal to the Chair of the Faculty for discussionand voteby the faculty.

Step 2. If the EPC considers the proposal within its purview, the Committee will use these criteria to evaluate the proposed college:

  1. Is the proposed collegeinterdisciplinary in structure and content?
  2. Does the proposal include pedagogical or curricular innovation?
  3. Would the proposed college build a cohort of students?

EPC encourages anyone submitting a proposal to address this question: Would the proposed college help Wesleyan do educationally valuable things that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for it to do?