The institution publishes requirements for its undergraduate programs, including its general education components. These requirements conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs.
(See Commission policy “The Quality and Integrity of Undergraduate Degrees.”)

Compliance Judgment: In compliance

Narrative

East Carolina University (hereafter, ECU or the institution) publishes (in print and online) requirements for its degree programs, including its general education components.  The general education requirements and the program requirements are consistent with commonly accepted standards.

General Education Requirements

The general education program at East Carolina University is known as the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum. The details of the history of and rationale for general education at East Carolina University are found in the report for SACS Core Requirement 2.7.3.  In the 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog, the institution publishes requirements and rationale for its Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum (general education) as being a set of 42 semester hours that provide students with the fundamental knowledge and abilities essential to their living worthwhile lives both private and public.


The
Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum reflect the University of North Carolina’s mandate to constituent institutions to “establish goals for their general education or core curricula and to review these curricula periodically to ensure their breadth, coherence, and importance to the overall undergraduate degree program.”   This document outlines the fundamental goals of general education at ECU, connects those goals to the mission statement and strategic directions, and further elaborates specific requirements for each area of the Foundations Curriculum:

ECU’s Foundations Curriculum and Instructional Effectiveness Committee evaluates courses to ensure that they are consistent with published goals for the foundations curriculum requirements as outlined in the Request for Foundations Credit document and then determines which courses meet the Liberal Arts Foundations requirements.  Those courses that meet the requirements are so designated in the undergraduate catalog listings.

Undergraduate Degree Program Requirements:  Commonly Accepted Practices

At East Carolina University, all educational programs and courses follow a rigorous process of professional scrutiny prior to being incorporated into the institution’s inventory of academic programs or catalog of courses.  All programs and courses followed a development, review, and approval process consistent with guidelines and sound educational practices described in the report for ComprehensiveStandard3.4.1.  As published in the undergraduate catalog, each undergraduate program has an identifiable set of requirements and courses that are widely published in print and online and that conform to commonly accepted standards.  Through both the new degree program approval process and the program review process, the University has a systematic process to verify that new degree programs and changes to existing degree programs have a clear rationale and design and conform to commonly accepted standards.

Design and Review of Degree Programs

Through both the new degree program approval process and the program review process described below, ECU has systematic processes in place to verify that the new degree programs and changes to existing degree programs have a clear rationale and design and that they conform to commonly accepted standards.

New Degree Program Approval Process

Requirements for new degree programs are established by the respective department faculty according to standards in the field. The approval process for new programs is described in the Faculty Manual, Part VI, VII which provides an overview of the rationale and steps involved in new program development and approval. The approval process to plan or establish new undergraduate or graduate degree programs involves three distinct steps:

Phase I:  Request for Authorization to Plan (RAP); Phase II: Request for Authorization to Establish (RAE); Phase III: Program Requirements/Course Approval; 

In Phase I, the appropriate planning document is submitted in the following order for campus approval:

In Phase II, a request for authorization to establish a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral program is submitted in the following order for seeking campus approval:

In Phase III, for undergraduate and graduate programs the approval of new degree requirements and courses is completed as specified in Curriculum Approval Process in the Faculty Manual.  “If BOG authorization to establish is received before the curriculum approval process has been completed, a moratorium will be placed on degree implementation until a quality curriculum has been finalized” (Faculty Senate, Part VI, VII).

Degree approval check sheets for Baccalaureate (Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III) degree programs are used to ensure each step in the process is completed correctly. Documents for the program approval process are published on the webpage for the Office of the Provost.

Program Review Process

Once every seven years and according to a predetermined review cycle, all academic departments participate in a unit academic program review.  The primary goal of the unit academic program review is to improve both undergraduate and graduate education at East Carolina University. Program review offers a way of achieving that goal by examining and assessing individual programs. The unit academic program review at ECU consists of two interrelated activities. The first is the on-site program review, which occurs approximately every seven years for each program. The second is outcomes assessment, which is conducted on an ongoing basis. Collection and analysis of data related to outcomes, as well as to resulting program changes, are reported by the program units. These two forms of program review are interrelated in two ways: (1) both a description of the outcomes assessment plan and a summary of findings from previous assessments are included in the self-study for the on-site review and (2) in each report, faculty in the program are asked to record progress in implementing the action plan from the most recent on-site review.

External Accreditation

Those programs that have disciplinary accrediting agencies may elect to seek and maintain accreditation. A list of accredited academic programs is published in the undergraduate catalog. The periodic self-study for accreditation requires that faculty members compare their existing programs with standards established for the discipline. The number of ECU programs with such accreditation or approval from their respective disciplinary accrediting agencies provides direct evidence that the requirements for these majors conform to commonly accepted standards.

Clearly Established and Published Program Requirements

East Carolina University posts PDF versions of its catalogs on the institution’s web site and an online interactive (html) catalog that is regularly updated (see the University Catalog Directory). The online catalogs include a systematic presentation of the program goals coupled with the requirements for the major. There is a common format for the presentation of degree information by department. Each department listing has an overview of the degrees offered by the department followed by any accreditation information. For each degree program offered by a department, the catalog includes a description of the degree, as well as statements of liberal arts foundations (general education) course requirements, course requirements for the major, and any other academic requirements.

Degree program information is also found in a variety of department and school-level recruitment materials, web sites, handbooks, and degree check sheets. The Office of Academic Program Planning and Development (OAPPD) edits and oversees the publications of the university’s undergraduate catalog and other curriculum-related materials. This office also reviews university academic publications and webpages to ensure that they are accurate and in compliance with policies of the institution.  Following are examples of the OAPPD review of a department’s webpage and advising materials, undergraduate program catalog review, and website reviews of curriculum content. The office also tracks curriculum changes during the year to cross-check new catalog entries.

East Carolina University publishes requirements for its undergraduate programs, including its general education components which conform to commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs.  In addition, the institution monitors publication of requirements to ensure ongoing accuracy.


Documentation

Reference title

Location

2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog: The Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum

3.5.3 ugcat1112

Baccalaureate New Check Sheets: Phase I

Bachelors_Degree_Approval_Process_Checklist_PhaseI

Baccalaureate New Check Sheets: Phase II

Bachelors_Degree_Approval_Process_Checklist_PhaseII

Baccalaureate New Check Sheets: Phase III

Bachelors_Degree_Approval_Process_Checklist_PhaseIII

Comprehensive Standard 3.4.1

ComprehensiveStandard3.4.1

Curriculum Approval Process (Faculty Manual)

Part V - Curriculum Development

Curriculum Change Cross-Check Worksheet

3.5.3 2010-2011 Curriculum Tracking Workbook (2)

Department Webpage and Advising Materials Review Psychology

3.5.3 PSYC Web site review SS 2010

Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum Document

3.5.3 Faculty Senate Resolution 05-04

List of Accredited Academic Programs

List of Accreditations

Faculty Manual, Part VI, VII

Part V - Curriculum Development

Office of Academic Program Planning and Development

3.5.3 Academic Programs - About Us

Office of the Provost webpage

Office of Academic Program Development

Procedures for Unit Academic Program Review

Academic Program Review Guidelines

Request for Foundations Credit Document

3.5.3 foundationform

Undergraduate Programs

List of Academic Programs

Undergraduate Program Catalog Review Psychology

3.5.3 Psychology Catalog Review

Unit Academic Program Review Schedule

UnitAcademicProgramReviewSch2012

University Catalog Directory

3.5.3 Academic Programs - Catalogs

Website Reviews

3.5.3 Deans' Website Reviews