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Educational Policy Committee

The CBS Educational Policy Committee (EPC) is a constitutionally authorized committee whose general charge is to oversee the educational endeavors of the College and acts advisory to the Dean. (See the Excerpt from the CBS Constitution at the end of this document.)

The Committee is a resource for steering the College in its curricular activities. With this in mind, the Committee’s time should be spent on forward-looking, proactive planning as well as providing course and program approvals from departments. It is expected that the EPC’s analyses, reviews, and discussions of educational issues will lead to proactive recommendations from EPC to bring about positive change both at the College and University level.

In the past number of years, the time of the Committee has been overwhelmed by the details of its responsibilities, so the following changes are recommended:

Priorities for the Education Policy Committee

With time the ultimate limitation in all this Committee can accomplish, the following priorities should guide the Committee’s work:

  1. Annually, the Committee should look at undergraduate education issues that have been raised by the faculty, students, or staff of the College or by groups in the larger University in the past year and decide which issues it will concentrate on in the current year.  As appropriate, the Committee should set up subcommittees to research issues and bring recommendations to the Committee.
  2. Annually, the Committee should look at undergraduate issues it believes to be important or on the horizon and decide which of these issues it will concentrate on in the current year. 
  3. On a monthly basis, the Committee should review courses and programs presented to it for approval, however, the more routine course approvals and minor program changes will be dealt with by either the Associate Dean or by a small subcommittee assigned to work on just these approvals. EPC should be sent reports by the Associate Dean or subcommittee about the approvals, but EPC should spend its time discussing larger issues such as how the course fits with programs and the College vision, not details like correct number of characters in the name, appropriateness of prerequisites, proper filling out of the form, etc.
  4. As required by events, the Committee must be ready to react to changes in University policies, programs, or procedures with the goal to maintain and promote educational excellence in the College and University.
  5. As needed, the Committee should appoint subcommittees to perform specific tasks or to gather the information and write recommendations for the Committee to consider.
  6. The work of the EPC will be chronicled in a Meeting Summary written by the secretary of the Committee and reviewed and approved by two of its members.  The summary will be forwarded to the Committee but not be an item of business.
Issues addressed by the CBS Educational Policy Committee

Academic Oversight of CBS courses and curriculum

  1. Analysis, review, and approval of new undergraduate courses and changes to existing courses.
  2. Analysis, review, and approval of CBS Major and Minor programs
  3. Review the process of analysis, review, and approval of courses and programs.
  4. Suggestions to departments/College of new courses/programs to consider for filling perceived holes in our  curriculum.
  5. Evaluation and promotion of directed research
  6. Analysis and action on logistical Issues relating to courses
    • Use of appropriate course designators
    • Information for class schedules
    • Course scheduling
    • Policies for low enrollment courses
    • Cross-listed courses  

Academic Oversight of CBS Undergraduate Student Life

  1. Admission
  2. Review of entrance/transfer requirements
    • Evaluation of dated credits & other problems for returning students
    • Evaluation of credit for similar courses
    • Appropriate allotment of Advanced Placement credit for introductory courses
    • Problems associated with increasing student number
  3. Roles of student services
  4. Faculty mentoring of students
  5. Review of student surveys
  6. Review of teaching evaluations (both general review of the process, “forms”, timing, and participation, and aggregate review of instructional success in the College.)

Promotion of Excellence in Undergraduate Education in CBS

  1. Discussions of College programs, policies, and events that affect CBS undergrads
    • Honors program
    • Research opportunities
    • Internship opportunities
    • Faculty workload
    • Student-body size
    • Faculty recruitment/searches, retirement 
  2. Discussions of university programs and policies that affect CBS undergrads
    • Effects of other units scheduling exams outside of class time
    • Discussion of changes in University policy:  minimum credit rule, CLE requirements, etc
    • Grade distribution
    • Residency requirements
    • Examination of the relationship of CBS courses to biology-oriented courses from other units (Women’s Studies, Anthropology, etc.)
  3. Communicating with other CBS committees and groups to promote excellence in undergraduate teaching
  4. Discussions of how instructional improvement of instructional faculty/staff can be promoted and achieved through program offerings, professional development activities, and teaching assignments.

Excerpt from the CBS Constitution concerning the role of the Educational Policy Committee:

The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) shall make recommendations to the Dean regarding:

  1. Immediate and long-range goals of the College related to undergraduate academic matters.
  2. Undergraduate curricular matters associated with the goals of the College and its responsibilities to other collegiate units. These include the approval of new courses, approval for discontinuing a course, changes in the College’s degree requirements and changes in major and minor requirements. Routine curricular matters may be delegated to appointed subcommittees. 

The voting members of EPC will comprise the Director of Undergraduate Studies from each department and Directors of Undergraduate Studies from departments outside the College for which the College administers the undergraduate major. If a teaching professor serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies from her/his department, s/he shall be a voting member as well. Two undergraduate students shall be voting members.  

The remainder of the Committee shall include the associate dean responsible for undergraduate education and the leaders of college functions that provide critical support to undergraduate education such as student services, international programs, and instructional labs. The chair of the committee shall be elected each year by the voting members.