Chapter 10: Chair Interaction with the Director of the Common Curriculum

The Common Curriculum insures that our graduates receive a balanced liberal arts education develop in ways that fulfill specific aspects of the institutional mission. Since the Common Curriculum includes stand-alone classes like First Year Seminar and Ethics Common Seminar, designated courses (gender, intercultural, and experiential), and a large number of courses sponsored by divisions and departments, it touches the academic lives of almost all faculty. Given this scope, it affects course scheduling, departmental offerings, and even hiring.

Courses offered to meet Common Curriculum requirements are recognized as an essential part of a faculty member's teaching assignments and considered equal to departmental courses for annual review, tenure, and promotion. Fortunately, since many Common Curriculum courses allow faculty to step outside narrow disciplinary concerns, teaching in these areas provide opportunities for intellectual challenge and growth. Chairs should encourage faculty to think about these opportunities as part of their professional development path, and to take advantage of the training offered for teaching FYS and/or ECS well before they are asked to teach in these areas. Early training creates optimal flexibility, but it also broadens faculty understanding of the nature and import of these courses in our liberal arts program.

The academic dean in consultation with the assistant dean of the Common Curriculum, the registrar, and the academic dean will communicate to chairs the number of sections of Common Curriculum courses recommended.

The chair should make every effort to provide the number of Common Curriculum sections requested from his/her department.
The chair should distribute Common Curriculum sections over time as widely as possible among the faculty members in the department.
Regardless of experience and qualifications, faculty members in their first year should not be assigned to teach FYS.
If departmental obligations (study abroad, reassigned time, sabbaticals, leaves, or other situations) pose a severe difficulty in meeting the Common Curriculum requests for staffing, academic dean will review the requests with the Registrar.
The chair, in consultation with the academic dean and registrar, has the responsibility to determine teaching assignments within the department. In the event of disagreement, the final decision rests with the provost.

Once the department chair has made the Common Curriculum course assignments in the department, the chair is obligated to inform faculty members teaching Common Curriculum courses of the following:

All faculty members assigned to a Common Curriculum course are required to attend the scheduled workshops for FYS and ECS training.
All faculty members who have not taken an FYS or ECS training workshop in the previous 5-6 years should be encouraged to attend a workshop in order to be fully aware of changes in the program.

Work in the Common Curriculum should be considered equally with departmental courses in annual review, tenure, and promotion. The chair should instruct probationary faculty members who are teaching FYS or ECS to invite the academic dean to observe their teaching and provide a written, formative evaluation. These evaluations should be included in the probationary faculty's file, and may be shared with his/her departmental chair if the faculty member so wishes.

Common Curriculum forms

Last updated: October 2013