Course Review Policy

The AEC course review process was revised in November and now incorporates three levels of review. Please see the revised Course Review Process Policy for further information, attached and listed below.

Title: Course Review Process Policy (Revised)

Date: November 2019

The Academic Excellence Committee (AEC) is charged with maintaining academic rigor and curricular quality for programs at the School of Professional Studies. In the current AEC course review process, new courses undergo a two-step review process. The course is first reviewed by a subcommittee of the AEC for provisional approval. Upon approval, the course is allowed to run one time, after which the instructor revises the syllabus to incorporate changes that would strengthen the course. In the second step, the revised syllabus is reviewed by the full AEC for suggestions and approval as the syllabus of record.

The current course review process was implemented to provide multiple levels of review and to allow
instructors to modify syllabi based on class feedback and experience, prior to the full committee’s review.

However, due to the largely adjunct composition of instructors at SPS, there is a lack of instructor
continuity between semesters. This has resulted in new instructors being tasked with revising unfamiliar provisional syllabi for full AEC review. The revised course review process policy below mitigates this confusion, while continuing to provide multiple levels of review. The revised policy also expands the review process to existing courses with changes requiring AEC review (see the Course and Program Change Revisions Policy for review requirements), to ensure that syllabi are of Columbia University quality.

This policy applies to both new courses and existing courses with changes requiring AEC review.
Courses will only be reviewed if submitted by established deadlines. Please see the Course and Program Change Revisions Policy effective September 15, 2018 for the list of syllabus changes that require AEC review.

Courses will undergo a three-step review process. First, at least two program faculty members will review the syllabus to ensure that subject matter content has appropriate depth, breadth, and relevance for the discipline at hand. The faculty members’ comments will be shared with the program’s Academic Director (AD).

Second, using a list of syllabus review criteria, the program AD will determine whether the syllabus has met or not met required criteria in the following areas: Course Overview, Learning Goals and Objectives; Readings and Resources; Assignments and Assessment Activities; Community (Policies and Learning Environment); and General Feedback. If any criterion is not met, the AD will provide comments and contact the instructor to revise the syllabus. The syllabus review criteria will be digitized as a survey in Qualtrics so that the AD’s comments can be aggregated and distributed to AEC members.

Third, the Academic Director is responsible for submitting the proposed syllabus to the AEC. Using the AD’s review and comments, the full Academic Excellence Committee will review the syllabus to ensure that the course is of Columbia University quality and rigor.

There are no exceptions to this policy