Legislative Ruling 10.98 - Titles of Academic Majors

October 1998

Ruling

Standing Order of the Regents 105.2 (a, b) provides to the Academic Senate sole authority to establish the conditions for degrees, courses, and curricula.  As the content of academic majors is established by appropriate Senate agencies, the establishing agency also has the authority to supply the name of the major.  The titles and changes of titles of academic departments and programs, on the other hand, fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President, not the Academic Senate (Standing Order of the Regents 110.1).  [Issued October 1998; published in the Call for the November 9, 1998 meeting of the Representative Assembly.]

Background

July 29, 1998, Professor Quirino Paris asked for a Legislative Ruling concerning the authority for naming majors.

Rationale

Regents' Standing Order 105.2 (a,b) does not specifically give responsibility for naming majors to the Senate. However, that statute clearly and unambiguously assigns to the faculty sole responsibility for courses and degree programs; thus, in order to avoid confusion it hardly can be imagined that responsibility does not also confer responsibility for naming majors. For example, it would be false advertising to attribute to a major a name that implied coursework that the program did not include. We distinguish, therefore, between the names of majors, as being substantively related to academic content, and the names of administrative units--as the latter are more remote from content and fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President and its delegates (SO 110.1). Thus, although the Administration may wish to request cooperation from a department/program regarding changes in the titles of its majors, and a cooperative department might wish to comply, the contents and titles of academic majors ultimately are faculty matters. The appropriate Senate bodies have approved the name change that is at issue in this instance, and the new title should be put into effect.