Hillsborough Community College does place primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of its curriculum with its faculty, as is evidenced below.
Process for Development, Approval, Evaluation, and Improvement of Curriculum Content
The process for the development, approval, evaluation, and improvement of the curriculum is outlined below:
- Faculty members develop and modify curriculum content through the academic affairs process. The initiator submits a recommendation to one of the fourteen curriculum clusters (AAC Handbook, p. 8-9).
- The cluster reviews the proposal and votes for or against it. If the cluster votes against the proposal, the initiator may still submit it to the AAC.
- Prior to being reviewed by the AAC, the Technical Review Committee (TRC) reviews the proposal for accuracy. The TRC votes for or against moving the proposal forward.
- The AAC makes recommendations on the proposal to the Vice President of Education and Student Development, who makes recommendations in concert with Cabinet Leadership to the President (Sample Cabinet Agenda). If approved, the President makes the final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. If disapproved, the recommendations are returned to Academic Affairs.
Policies and Procedures for Expanding or Limiting the Curriculum
HCC’s Administrative Rule 6HX-10-4.06 Curriculum Development, Administrative Procedure 4.09 Structure of Academic Affairs, and the Academic Affairs Handbook (p.2.) function as the policies and procedures for expanding or limiting the curriculum. Faculty work through their clusters and advisory committees to ensure that the curriculum remains current and is sufficiently comprehensive to meet the needs of the HCC constituency.
The academic affairs process is a dynamic one, and the Academic Affairs Committee meets monthly to ensure that curricular changes are implemented in a timely fashion. During the 2003-2004 academic year, the Academic Affairs Committee recommended 132 modifications to the curriculum, which were subsequently approved by the Board of Trustees. These included one new program, eleven program modifications, one program deletion, one new certificate, two certificate deletions, 69 new courses, 41 course modifications, and six course deletions. During the 2004-2005 academic year, 207 modifications were recommended, including three new programs, thirteen program modifications, eleven program deletions, four new certificates, 82 new courses, 69 course modifications, and 25 course deletions.
Quality of the Curriculum
Through their participation in the academic affairs process, faculty members maintain responsibility for the quality of the curriculum at the cluster level, the technical review level, and the Academic Affairs Committee level. For example, in its March 11, 2005, meeting, the Academic Affairs Committee recommended course modifications to the Hospitality Management Program to require college-level skills as pre-requisites in order to ensure that students are appropriately prepared upon entry into the program (ACC minutes March 2005 ). As another example, the Nursing Curriculum Cluster worked to improve the quality of their curriculum by making significant changes to the program to increase student success. The program modification entailed the combination of courses and course content to extend over 15 weeks in order to allow students a longer period in which to master content. This change was approved at the September 21, 2001, meeting of the Academic Affairs Committee, pending approval by the Florida Board of Nursing and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. At its August 2004 meeting, the nursing catalog approved the implementation date of the new curriculum, and the change came into effect in the 2004-2005 academic year (AAC Minutes September 2001 ; Nursing Cluster Minutes August 2004 ).
Faculty committee participation is critical to maintaining the quality of the curriculum. For example, faculty participation on program advisory committees guarantees an annual review of the curriculum to ensure that the program is meeting the needs of business and industry. Other faculty committees also deal with curriculum-related matters. For example, the General Education Committee periodically reviews the general education curriculum to determine if it is appropriate in scope, cohesiveness, and relevance (2002 report).
Program reviews also help ensure the quality of the curriculum and supply standards for the review of curriculum quality. HCC conducts program reviews on a five-year, staggered basis using an internally-developed model. The Associate in Arts Program Review recommendations included one with regard to developing quantitative assessments of the general education. In response, the College has utilized a national vendor test of general education and will receive results in March 2006.
In addition to the local program review, the state mandates that HCC conduct Level I, II and III program reviews. The level I program review produces annual data displays for each certificate and degree program. The data display for the associate in arts degree program shows the performance of students in State University System upper division programs, and compares SUS native students with transfer students from Florida community colleges and with other transfer students. The performance measures are grade point averages, suspensions, graduations, average course loads, and credits earned for a degree. Performance parameters are established for the measures, and performance outside the parameters is flagged.
Level I data displays will be shared with faculty as part of an ongoing curricular review process. For example, the performance of HCC graduates in upper division programs will help guide faculty in assessing the seamlessness of the curricular experience.
The Level II program review consists of the review of certificate and degree programs by the individual community colleges either independently or in cooperation with independent and outside groups. These reviews make use of the internally-developed program review reports.
For the associate in arts degree program, the community colleges review the discipline groupings within the degree program. A major element of that review is meetings between the discipline faculties at the community college and at the universities to which most of the community college’s students transfer. At HCC, the articulation meetings take place with USF as the primary transfer senior institution. The discussions from the fall 2004 meetings (Fall 2004 Articulation Meeting Agenda) were positive. Recommendations (AA Level II Report) included the following:
- Social Sciences (Anthropology) recommended that efforts continue to align course objectives.
- Communication recommended that a more standardized approach be explored to assess students in speech courses.
- Music recommended greater efforts to improve student understanding of music requirements and pre-requisites.
- Although Art, Foreign Languages, Humanities, Philosophy, Religion, Theatre, and Dance did not have discipline-specific recommendations, all recommended finding more effective and convenient means for faculty to collaborate.
The Vocational Level II Report includes program-specific recommendations organized into state-set categories such as curriculum revision, facility additions or renovations, increased advisory committee activity, faculty development, and equipment replacement. For example, Architectural Design and Construction Technology identified needs in the areas of facilities, advisory committee activity, follow-up information, equipment replacement, faculty development, and additional faculty.
Recommendations from both the AA and AS Level II reports will be assessed for inclusion in the future strategic plans for these units.
The Level III program review is the system wide review of selected programs by the Division of Community Colleges to address issues of concern regarding those programs. The programs and issues for such reviews are determined from Level I and Level II information, Florida Board of Education priorities, legislative interests, and other stimuli. The review report includes recommendations for action. The purpose is to identify, study, and respond to issues or problems of system wide or statewide policy, funding, or articulation. Division staff design and conduct the reviews.
Effectiveness of the Curriculum
Closely related to quality, the effectiveness and relevance of the curriculum is also assessed by faculty through their participation in the program review process and through their participation on curriculum-related committees. For example, as part of the assessment of the effectiveness of the general education curriculum, faculty conducted research on principles and practices in general education assessment and the application of these to the HCC general education curriculum. During the summer, a faculty taskforce worked in concert with the Director of Associate in Arts Programs to refine assessment tools and to develop additional assessment measures. Workshop products included the General Education Curriculum Map, which aligns the general education outcome statements with the general education curriculum and demonstrates where outcomes are introduced, emphasized, and/or reviewed.
The committee also reviewed the outcome statements and recommended strategies for increased awareness of these outcome statements among the faculty in general. As a result, at the Fall 2005 in-service (agenda), a major program agenda was the review of the outcome statements and recommendations for additional assessment strategies. Faculty also discussed methods by which general education could be made more relevant for their students.
Another workshop product was the general education rubric, which is being used in the 2005-2006 academic year as an assessment tool with the IDS Connections course.
In the occupational/technical curriculum, advisory committees provide recommendations to help keep the coursework aligned with business and industry needs. As evidence of the dynamic nature of this curriculum, new programs, new courses, and program and course modifications on the academic affairs agendas primarily relate to occupational/technical programs (Academic Affairs agendas from March through October).
HCC’s faculty do take primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of its curriculum as evidenced above by the descriptions of faculty participation in and commitment to the academic affairs process, the program review process, and participation on academic advisory committees.