Frequently Asked Questions

New Course Proposals

What are the deadlines for submitting new course forms to EPC?

Please submit New Course Proposals to EPC by week three Friday of the term preceding the one in which they are intended to run (e.g. week three spring for a fall course).

How many times can a limited-time course be taught?

Limited-time courses can be taught up to 3 times. After that, it needs to be reviewed as a permanent offering, and will require a resubmission to EPC and, eventually, full faculty approval. To do so, please fill out a New Course Form.  You will likely not need to change much, but the Registrar Office will need documentation of the permanent status of the course. 

When proposing a new course, who should I talk with outside my department?

Are there other departments, programs, or concentrations that would want to cross-list the course? Does your course have a pre-requisite or co-requisite that would impact other departments? Upon review of your proposal, EPC may also suggest other departments for you to talk to regarding possible impact, cross-listing, etc. 

I’m a new chair; what questions should I expect to have to answer for a New Course Proposal that is routed to me?

Please visit the new course proposal form to see the questions you will be asked. 

How do I change an existing course into, or propose a new Shared Passages Seminar? 

Shared Passage Seminars should follow the guidelines for the respective seminar (First Year, Sophomore, Senior) as described on the Shared Passages websites for each. Proposals should be brought to the Associate Provost and the Shared Passages Program Committee (SPP) for initial review and comment. Once approved by SPP, the proposal should be submitted to EPC as a new course proposal. If it is a First Year Seminar, only the SPP needs to approve the request. For Sophomore and Senior Shared Passage courses, both SPP and EPC must approve. 

Can my department propose a “special topics” course in which the content potentially changes whenever it is offered?

Though EPC encourages submitting new course proposals one by one, we recognize that there is precedent for such “special topics” courses.  If your department has compelling reasons for needing one (please explain why in the new course proposal chair questions), we would still ask that you submit your syllabus for the first iteration of that course, and ensure that the syllabus has a particularly robust and thoughtful articulation of that course’s learning outcomes and assessment strategies.  Much like in the First Year Seminars, these learning outcomes and assessments should be transferred to any future iteration of the course.

Syllabi Expectations

What does EPC look for when reviewing a syllabus?

Broadly, EPC seeks the following:

  • a detailed course description;
  • an accommodations statement, an academic integrity statement, and a grading scale;
  • a statement of student learning outcomes and goals;
  • a draft time-line for the quarter;
  • planned pedagogical techniques and use of class time;
  • a schedule of proposed readings (please see question below);
  • planned types and number of assignments, exams, and other tasks on which the students will be evaluated.
Should I check with the Library about my required texts?

If your class resources rely on the library (e.g. electronic resources like specialized datasets, videos, and journal articles, etc.), you should check with the Collection Services Librarian (Leslie.Burke@kzoo.edu) before submitting your syllabus to EPC, to ensure that these resources are available or acquirable.  To learn more, please visit the Library Faculty Support page.

In addition, if you need help making sure that links to electronic resources are stable and usable for your students, please contact the Digital Services Librarian (Ethan.Cutler@kzoo.edu).

Are there any standard recommendations for syllabi of which I should be aware?

The weight of attendance/participation generally should not exceed 20% of the overall grade, unless there is a compelling pedagogical reason to make an exception.  In all cases, but most especially those where the weight is at or near this maximum level, we feel it advisable to be as specific as possible in setting the parameters for assessing attendance/participation (e.g. what does active participation look like?  How many points are lost for being absent?).  When crafting these specifics, please bear in mind the following College policies:

  • Faculty may not request doctors’ notes from students who report missing class for illness;
  • Student athletes should not be penalized for missing class when they have scheduled games, but can be assigned alternative work; and
  • Faculty may not require activities scheduled outside of regular class times without offering an alternative to students who have a conflict.
Do you have recommended language for the accommodations statement?

Here is one example, taken from the First-Year Seminar syllabus guidelines:  “If you are a student with a disability who seeks accommodation or other assistance in this course, please let me know as soon as possible. Kalamazoo College is committed to making every effort to providing reasonable accommodations. If you want to discuss your overall needs for accommodation at the College, please direct questions to the Associate Dean of Students Office, (269) 337-7209. For more information, please see https://www.kzoo.edu/student-life/students-with-disabilities/.”

Do you have recommended language for the academic honesty statement?

Here is one example, also taken from the First-Year Seminar syllabus guidelines, developed in collaboration with the Provost and Dean of Students: “This course operates under the College Honor System.  That means:  we treat each other with respect, we nurture independent thought, we take responsibility for personal behavior, and we accept environmental responsibility. Academic honesty is a critical part of our value system at K.  When you borrow an idea, express the idea in your own words, thus thinking it through and making it your own, and acknowledge the source of the idea in a note, or, in certain situations, use the exact words of the source in quotation marks and acknowledge with a note.  Ideas raised in class are part of the public domain and, therefore, sources of the ideas need not be acknowledged.  If you are ever in doubt about this, you must ask. For the full policy, see https://studev.kzoo.edu/policies/academic-dishonesty/.”

Course Changes

Do changes to existing courses need EPC review? 

Only changes that include significant course title or content changes, numbering or sequencing changes, cross-listing changes, and whether or not it counts towards a major, minor, or concentration should be submitted to EPC using the Course Change Proposal form.