Guidelines for the Development of Interdisciplinary Courses

Section III. Item 18.

These are guidelines for the development, approval, and review of courses which transcend the interests and responsibilities of single departments. Such courses fall within three classifications:

  1. Those courses that involve more than one faculty unit, such as existing IDSP courses (e.g., IDSP 290: Drama into Film which involves COMS, ENGL, and THEA), but which have contents particularly relevant to the participating faculties;
  2. Those courses that transcend the existing conceptual framework of departments, such as UNIV designated courses, which have contents of general rather than discipline-specific interest (and at the college level, examples could include IVPA 100H: Aesthetic Resources of Northern Illinois);
  3. Those courses that might be developed as a consequence of the emergence of areas of interest to the institution, such as Ecological Studies or Women's Studies, and which reflect a special interest in that area (e.g., ILAS 432: Feminist Theory) and could develop into discipline-based courses.

For those courses in categories 1 and 2 above, the following conceptual framework and guidelines apply:

  1. Courses which carry an initial designator of U:
    COLLEGES UNIVERSITY
    (courses of general interest to the entire college) UBUS, UEDU, UEET, ULAS, UHHS, and UVPA (courses of general interest to the entire university) UNIV
  2. Courses which carry an initial designator of I:
    COLLEGES UNIVERSITY
    (courses of specific interest to two or more departments within a single college) IBUS, IEDU, IEET, ILAS, IHHS, and IVPA (courses of general interest to two or more departments across two or more colleges) IDSP
    All such courses are to be developed according to the following general guidelines:
    1. Any of the above types of courses may be proposed by any faculty member, group of faculty members within a department, or group of faculty members representing a special interest.
    2. Proposals for such courses must originate from the faculty and include (1) a course rationale, (2) a description of resources required, (3) a course syllabus and outline, and (4) methods of course evaluation.
    3. Courses shall be approved using the following channels:
      For University-level (UNIV and IDSP) Courses:
      1. UNIV and IDSP course proposals for courses to carry undergraduate credit are to be forwarded to the Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum (CUC), or its delegated subcommittee, and those for courses to carry only graduate credit are to be forwarded to the  Graduate Council Curriculum Committee (GCCC); and the applicable committee will send them to all appropriate college  curriculum committees for review.
      2. The Undergraduate Coordinating Council (UCC) is responsible for final approval of both UNIV and IDSP courses that are to carry undergraduate credit, and the Graduate Council (GC) is responsible for final approval of those that are to carry graduate credit; those that are to be available for both undergraduate and graduate credit will typically be considered first by the UCC and then by the GC. The applicable council will consult with the Office of the Provost regarding the allocation of any necessary resources beyond those committed by sponsoring departments/colleges. The UCC, or its delegated subcommittee, should serve as sponsoring agency for any UNIV and IDSP courses submitted for consideration as a part of the general-education program.
      3. Administration of UNIV courses carrying undergraduate credit shall be assigned to the Vice Provost; administration of UNIV courses carrying only graduate credit shall be assigned to the Dean of the Graduate School. Resources beyond those provided by the participating departments and colleges are to come from the Office of the Provost, and any credit hours generated shall accrue to the Office of the Provost.
      4. Administration of IDSP courses may be assigned either to an inter-departmental committee or to any one of the departments involved.  Credit hours generated shall accrue to the unit assigned  administrative responsibility by the Office of the Provost.
      5. The administrative body charged with the responsibility for supervising each course shall conduct course evaluations. A brief  narrative describing the results of the evaluations shall be forwarded  to the CUC (or its delegated subcommittee), and/or to the Graduate  Council Curriculum Committee, as relevant.
      6. In courses for which multiple sections are offered, it is suggested that
        1. a coordinator be assigned to assure commonality of content among sections and syllabus integrity. (Academic freedom is to be preserved within the parameters of the course description.) The coordinator for any UNIV course is to be assigned to the Office of the Provost. The coordinator for any IDSP course should be selected from among the faculty teaching the course and should report to the unit administering the course;
        2. each instructor provide a section calendar and assignments for students. Individual syllabi are to be available for student examination prior to registration.
      7. Grade appeals should be directed to the applicable administrative  unit or committee. A grade review board for a UNIV course may be drawn at random from among the faculty and students on currently  available departmental grade appeals panels in the university, or from departmental faculty and students in departments without  panels. Grade review boards for IDSP courses may be drawn at  random from among the grade appeals panels, or from the students  and faculty of departments without panels, of the participating departmental faculties and students.
      For College-level U and I Courses:
      1. Proposals for college-level U and I courses are to be forwarded to the appropriate college curriculum committee, which will send them to  all appropriate department curriculum committees for review.
      2. Each college curriculum committee is responsible for approving proposals for both U and I courses within its college, and for forwarding to the CUC such courses it approves for undergraduate credit and to the GCCC those it approves for graduate credit. The committee should consult with the dean of the college regarding the allocation of any resources necessary beyond those committed by the participating department(s).
      3. Administration of U courses should be assigned to the college office.
      4. Administration of I courses may be assigned either to the departments, to an inter-departmental committee, or to any one of the departments involved.
      5. Each college should adopt guidelines for student evaluation of instruction as well as procedures for the allocation of credit hours produced and procedures to be followed for multiple section offerings.
      6. Grade appeals should be directed to the applicable administrative unit or committee. Grade review boards for U courses may be drawn at random from among the appropriate grade appeals panels or other faculty and students of the college. Grade review boards for I courses may be drawn at random from among the grade appeals panels or other students and faculty of the participating departmental faculties and students.
      For those courses which might be developed as a consequence of the emergence of areas of interest to the institution (i.e., those in category 3):
        Any and all areas of interest which involve existing or new courses of instruction must be affiliated with an academic administrative unit subject to the existing curricular approval and review process (academic department or college). If any courses are developed by the faculty affiliated with the area of interest, such courses should go through the appropriate curricular approval and review process and must be taught by faculty with appropriate credentials.
      Each appropriate curricular body is to begin the process of changing course designators as necessary to conform to the above guidelines, and any interdisciplinary courses not yet affiliated with an academic administrative unit are to be reviewed to determine appropriate affiliation.

Approved by the Undergraduate Coordinating Council, December 1, 1994
Approved by the Graduate Council, December 5, 1994
Editorial Modification, February 6, 2004

Last Updated: 2/6/04