EPC Policies

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.

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.

EPC Guidelines on Minors and Certificates

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.

 

DETAILED GUIDELINES ON CERTIFICATES AND MINORS

Interdisciplinarity

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.

Capstone/Practicum

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.  

[October 2012; amended October 2017, amended May 2018]