Authority to create new majors

[Advice to Peter Rodman, Chair of the Faculty of the College of Letters and Science 3/17/2004]

Professor Rodman's inquiry particularly concerned a proposed major in Techno-Cultural Studies

As CERJ understands it, the proposal for a major in Techno-Cultural Studies is put forward under the aegis of a Program in Techno-Cultural Studies that already exists and, indeed, already offers classes.  It does not, therefore, fall under procedures in the Policies and Procedures Manual with respect to the establishment of new programs.  We have no view as to whether the program was established appropriately.  We consider only the issue of the process for the creation of a major to be offered by the program.

Standing Order of the Regents 105.2 (a) states that:

The Academic Senate, subject to the approval of the Board [of Regents], shall determine the conditions for admission, for certificates, and for degrees other than honorary degrees.

SOR 105.2 (b) states that:

The Academic Senate shall authorize and supervise all courses and curricula offered under the sole or joint jurisdiction of the departments, colleges, schools, graduate divisions, or other University academic agencies approved by the Board, . . . No change in the curriculum of a college or professional school shall be made by the Academic Senate until such change shall have been submitted to the formal consideration of the faculty concerned.

In our view, a major is a course of study or curriculum within the meaning of the Standing Orders.  The Senate, therefore, is clearly and unambiguously assigned exclusive authority over the creation of majors.  As such, any consultation with the Administration is formally a courtesy.  Of course, offering a major, as a practical matter, requires resources that are controlled by deans and other administrators.  Consultation may, therefore, be desirable.  It is not required.

Recently, CERJ has addressed the procedures of the Senate with respect to curricular design.  Consistent with that advice, we believe that the proposed major would have to have the support of the Faculty of Letters and Science expressed in accordance with its own procedures.  It would also require the support of the Undergraduate Council.  Furthermore, courses within the major would require the support of the Committee on Courses of Instruction.