Texas Tech University

VPA-CAP Policies & Procedures

VPA-CAP Policies & Procedures
College of Visual and Performing Arts
Committee for Academic Programs

Polices and Procedures for Submitting Course and Curriulum
Additions, Deletions, and Changes

Prior to preparing and submitting proposals, all parties should review all information here.

Committee Members and Contact Information

VPA-CAP Meeting Dates

(All meetings begin at 3:00 p.m in 103 Holden Hall Conference Room.)

  • Monday, September 11 (proposals must be submitted by September 5)
  • Monday, October 2 (proposals must be submitted by September 25). Last meeting for graduate course proposals for Spring 2018 offering
  • Monday, November 6 (proposals must be submitted by October 30). Last meeting for undergraduate course proposals for Spring 2018 offering
  • Monday, December 4 (proposals must be submitted by November 27)
  • Monday, January 29 (proposals must be submitted by January 22). Last meeting for graduate course proposals and undergraduate Core Curriculum course proposals for catalog copy
  • Monday, March 5 (proposals must be submitted by February 26). Last meeting for undergraduate course proposals for catalog copy
  • Monday, April 9 (proposals must be submitted by April 3)
  • Monday, May 7 (proposals must be submitted by April 30)

Meetings generally will be scheduled for 90 minutes, with the last 15-20 minutes reserved for the Committee's closed session. Every effort will be made to place proposals on the agenda for a specified meeting date according to the order of their arrival by the due date for that meeting. Proposals will be heard in the order that they appear on the agenda. Proposals in need of mechanical corrections and minor, non-substantive revisions will be returned to the sending unit prior to placement on an agenda, and will be scheduled according to the due date the corrected version(s) arrive. Thus, it is important that every unit follow closely the procedures outlined below in order to assure processing of proposals in as timely and efficient a fashion as possible.

General Procedures

(See below for detailed procedures.)

  • The JTMTCVPA follows the terms of TTU-OP36.01 in its curricular policies and procedures.
  • Each proposing unit should send completed and signed printed copies as well as electronic copies of the Texas Tech University Application for Course Approval to Associate Dean Keith, Dye, JTMTCVPA, MS 5060, inclusive of a course syllabus for new course proposals and proposals for substantive course changes.

It is not necessary to send copies of the forms and related documents to other departments and schools, but brief descriptions of your proposal(s) should be sent via email to each chairperson/director within the college.

The agenda for each meeting will be distributed via email no later than the week prior to the meeting date.  A faculty member or the chairperson or director of the proposing unit must represent each proposal at the meeting where the proposal is an agenda item.  The committee will table any proposal for which a faculty representative from the sending unit is not present. Minutes of each meeting will be distributed via email by the Wednesday following the meeting, at which time units will know the outcome of their proposals as determined by VPA-CAP.  The Committee Chairperson (Associate Dean Keith Dye) will process approved proposals for continuance through the system, and will discuss with department chairs or school directors the issues pertaining to proposals not approved by VPA-CAP.


The following links should be consulted when preparing the Application for Course Approval.

General Regulations

  • All course changes, additions, and deletions must be approved by the faculty of the originating department and endorsed by the chairperson or director before submitting to VPA-CAP.
  • Efforts shall be made at each level to ensure against a proliferation of courses beyond the ability of the department or area to offer such courses.
  • Courses must be reviewed periodically at the departmental level for currency and appropriateness of content. This includes courses taught via distance learning or as correspondence courses through Outreach and Distance Education.
  • New courses should not be submitted with numbers used in the previous ten years (unless the same course is reinstated) to ensure that no confusion results in students' degree audits, grade replacements, and transcripts.
  • The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board schedule for approving courses provides more flexibility than formerly. Nonetheless, VPA-CAP encourages early submission of proposals in that approval of courses is also dependent upon positive consideration by the Graduate Council (for graduate courses only), Academic Council, and the Office of the Provost. The Teacher Education Council must also review certain course proposals.

Detailed Procedures

  • Application for Course Approval. Every proposal for a course change, course deletion, or new course must be prepared on the official Application for Course Approval form, which can be accessed, completed, and printed online.
    Course Application forms

    This form and accompanying paperwork (e.g., sample syllabus), should be treated as a professional document, as a copy of the form eventually reaches the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in Austin. Chairpersons/Directors should double-check each proposal for accuracy before signing and sending it to VPA-CAP. Whereas some elements of the form must be completed for every proposal, other features should be completed only for the particular proposal being submitted. Following are directions for completing each section of the form. Note: The following 10 items must be completed, as appropriate, for all proposals in the section of the Application for Course Approval labeled ALL.

    • Department. Enter the full, official name of the academic unit (e.g., School of Art, not simply Art).
    • Level. Enter 1, 2, 3, or 4 for courses numbered 1---, 2---, 3---, and 4---, respectively. Enter 5 for masters level courses, including the global thesis course number 6000. Enter 6 for doctoral level courses, including the global dissertation course number 8000, or for masters level courses that enroll doctoral students routinely. It is unlikely that there will be courses of level 7 in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (a level reserved for professional school courses, as in Law). The global research course number 7000 should be entered as 6 if it enrolls doctoral students routinely
    • Texas CIP Code. This code determines the level of formula generated funding based on the broad discipline area (e.g., fine arts, humanities, etc.). Select and enter the appropriate code in consultation with the Associate Dean for academic programs Keith Dye. The most recent inventory of CIP codes is available from Texas Higher Education Data.
    • Topics or Multiple Listing. [Note that "are" in "Check if topics are multiple course listing" should be "or," thus, "Check if topics or multiple course listing."] Check the box if course topics for the proposed course are variable with each offering of the course. Such courses are normally at the graduate level, although some are at the senior level (4---), and usually are repeatable for credit. Also, check the box if the proposed course is cross-listed with another course in another unit or college. Do not complete this item for any proposals other than ones involving variable topics or multiple listings.
    • Previous Course Number or Prefix. If the proposal is to change the course number and/or prefix of an existing course, or to reinstate a previously deleted course with a new number or prefix, indicate here the former number and/or prefix. Do not complete this item for any proposals other than changes to course numbers or prefixes, or for reinstatements.
    • Shortened Title for Class Schedules. Devise an abbreviated title that seems most suitable for publication in the "Schedule of Classes." Abbreviations should be intuitive, capturing as much of the essence of the full title as possible, excluding prepositions and conjunctions.
    • Proposed Course Prefix and Number. It is imperative to use the correct course prefix as cited in the Undergraduate Catalog or Graduate Catalog in the section, "Explanation of Course Offerings." New prefixes, where appropriate, can be obtained from Tess Barlow (2-2166 ext. 382). Course numbers should reflect the complexity (e.g., survey, introductory, general, advanced, etc.) of course content relative to other courses within the department or school. The second digit indicates the number of semester credit hours the course generates (e.g., TH A 2301 earns 3 credit hours; MUCP 4207 earns 2 credit hours.) The third and fourth digits are used for sequencing within the department's inventory as deemed appropriate by the faculty. A previous course number cannot be used for a period of 10 years except for reinstatement of the same course. [1] When in doubt about the prior use of a number, examine old catalogs or contact Tess Barlow. Repeat these entries in the Prefix and Number boxes, as appropriate for the particular proposal, in the ADD, CHANGE, or DELETION sections of the application form.
    • Proposed Hours. The three digits entered here (e.g., 3:3:0) will appear in the catalog listing of the proposed course within parentheses immediately following the course title. The first digit reflects the total number of semester credit hours produced by the course. The second digit indicates the number of lecture/seminar contact hours per week. The third digit indicates the number of laboratory contact hours per week, where applicable. Thus, ART 2364, Introduction to Theories and Practices in the Visual Arts(3:2:4) produces 3 semester credit hours and requires 2 hours of lecture contact and 4 hours of laboratory contact per week. As a general rule, there should be two or more hours of laboratory required for every semester hour credit represented by the lab. For example, MUAP 1123, Group Keyboard Instruction(1:0:2). Individual study and research courses should state hours as in this example: MUSI 4301 Individual Studies in Music (3). Finally, courses that provide variable credit per enrollment should list hours as in this example: TH A 4000, Projects in Theatre and Dance(V1-6). Repeat these entries in the Hours boxes, as appropriate for the particular proposal, in the ADD, CHANGE, or DELETION sections of the application form.
    • Effective Term. Indicate the first semester (e.g., Fall 2010, Spring 2011) when the proposed course or changes will go into effect.

    Note: Items within the following three sections of the Application for Course Approval form should be completed only for the particular kind of proposals indicated. Thus, complete only the ADD section for new courses, complete only the CHANGE section for proposals to change portions of an existing course, and complete only the DELETE section when deleting an existing course.
    • Section to ADD a Course
      Note: Syllabi. All proposals for new courses and for major changes in content to existing courses must be accompanied by sample course syllabi, including a topical outline and course calendar. Syllabi should be developed in sufficient detail to allow VPA-CAP members to discern a full sense of course outcomes and assessments, content, requirements, and grade determination; that is, they should be prepared as though they are to be distributed in class tomorrow. The university and the college strongly recommend that each syllabus contain a statement that reasonable accommodations will be provided to students with disabilities. A syllabus guide can be viewed here. Variable Credit. State yes or no to indicate whether the course is one for which students can enroll for any number of credit hours within a specified range, usually 1-3 or 1-6. Variable credit is normally needed only for research, readings, and some special topics courses. Activity Type. Check the appropriate box. "Other" includes noncredit labs. (See the Quick Reference for Texas Tech Courses.) Prefix: Enter here the same prefix as entered in the "Proposed" box in the ALL section above.

      Number: Enter here the same number as entered in the "Proposed" box in the ALL section above.

      Hours: Enter here the same numbers as entered in the "Proposed" box in the ALL section above.

      "May repeat this course?" Check the appropriate box. If no, skip to Course Title. If yes, complete next item. "Maximum credit hours if repeated." Most courses are not repeatable for credit. Those that are usually are special topics, readings, or research courses. If the proposed course is to be repeatable and if you wish to cap the number of credit hours ultimately available to students (that is, you want to limit how many times it can be repeated), enter the number of attainable credit hours. For example, if you want to limit students to repeating a 3 credit hour course once, the maximum credit hours will be 6. Course Title. Be succinct. The title should be in English and intelligible to persons outside the field of study. Avoid titles with colons. Any subsequent change in the wording of a title – even the change of a single word – requires formal approval through VPA-CAP (see next section). Catalog Description. Be descriptive and informative, but try to limit this statement to 25 words, exclusive of prerequisites or co-requisites. Avoid merely rephrasing the course title. (Unlike title changes, subsequent minor changes to course descriptions can be made directly in catalog copy and need not be submitted for VPA-CAP approval. If in doubt about what constitutes a minor change, contact the Associate Dean Keith Dye).
    • Section to CHANGE a Course
      Check the respective box for each component that is proposed for change. Complete only the remaining components of this section that are directly relevant to the change(s) sought. For example, if the proposal is to change a course number, fill in only the boxes pertaining to the current and proposed numbers; do not complete the components pertaining to course prefix, hours, title, or description. When proposing changes to titles or descriptions, current title and current description should be stated precisely as they appear in the most recent catalog; do not abbreviate or truncate. Proposed titles and proposed descriptions follow the same conventions as proposed titles and descriptions for adding a course (see ADD section above).
    • Section for DELETION of a Course
      Enter the course prefix, number, hours, and title precisely as they appear in the most recent catalog. JustificationThis entry must be completed for every course proposal, whether to add, change, or delete a course. Explain, briefly and precisely, why the course proposal should be approved. Describe curricular needs, student demand, disciplinary developments, service to other programs, and the like. This should be a compelling statement. Simple expressions such as "needed for students" or "in interest of new faculty" are not convincing. The Graduate School suggests the following format for graduate proposals: "This ______ course will be part of the _____ program where students will be exposed to the principles of _____ by understanding the concepts of _____ (list key knowledge elements/outcomes). This course is important to the program because ______ (state that it is a missing component, advances the program with current knowledge, it is required for accreditation, etc.)." Distance Learning Courses and Programs Distance learning courses and programs must submit additional documentation for approval. Distance Learning Compliance Information and Application Form are found at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/distancelearning/faculty/.
  • Approvals and Distribution After securing faculty approval and double-checking the forms and other documents for accuracy, the chairperson or director will sign the Application for Course Approval form and send it, along with a syllabus when applicable, both in hard copy and electronic form, directly to Associate Dean Keith Dye (Office of the Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts, MS 5060) for inclusion on the agenda of the next available VPA-CAP meeting.

    Additionally, a brief description of each proposal that the department or school is submitting should be sent to all the other VPA chairpersons and directors, preferably via email (contact the college office for a list of email addresses). The proposing department need not distribute any other information or material to the other units unless one of the units asks for it (see Challenges and Objections below). The description sent to other chairpersons and directors should present the following information for each proposal:
    • Department/School Name.
    • Type of Course Proposal: Change, Deletion, or Addition.
    • For new course additions, state proposed prefix, number, title, and description.
    • For course changes, describe what is to be changed.
    • For course deletions, simply so state.
    • Give justification as stated on approval form.
    Chairpersons and directors receiving proposal descriptions from other units are encouraged to share the descriptions with their faculty. Electronic and signed, hard-copy proposals must reach Keith Dye, and outline notification must reach other departments and schools, in proper form, at least one week prior to the VPA-CAP meeting at which the proposal hearing is anticipated. Also, refer to Graduate School procedures #8-10.
  • Resources Part of the committee's charge is to ensure against a proliferation of courses beyond the ability of the academic unit to offer them. For each proposal to add a new course to your curriculum, please be prepared to address how the particular course and the overall curriculum will be supported by existing faculty and resources, how it will fit into a rotation to assure students get what they need for timely graduation, and how the deletion of one or more other courses would help balance resources and curriculum.
  • Challenges and Objections If a department chairperson or school director wishes to review and subsequently question a proposal submitted by another department, he/she should contact the chairperson or director of the proposing unit. If the question cannot be resolved between them, the inquiring chair or director may present the question in person and/or in writing to VPA-CAP.
  • Cooperative proposals involving two or more academic units must include a memorandum of understanding to substantiate the cooperative aspects of the course. This memorandum must be co-signed by the appropriate department chairpersons or school directors and be made part of the original proposal copied to all members of VPA-CAP.
  • Attendance at Meetings. Department chairpersons, school directors, or their designated faculty representatives must be present at the VPA-CAP meeting where their proposals are on the agenda. Staff members of departments or schools usually have too little academic expertise in the discipline to adequately address VPA-CAP questions and concerns. VPA-CAP members do not serve as department representatives, nor do they vote on recommendations pertaining to courses from their home units.
  • Meeting times and dates are posted at the top of this document. All VPA-CAP meetings are held in Holden Hall 203, beginning promptly at 3:00 p.m. on the dates listed, unless otherwise announced.
  • Basic Degree Requirements.Any course changes or revisions to catalog statements that would affect basic degree requirements for the various degrees within the College of Visual and Performing Arts must be discussed with Keith Dye prior to being submitted for insertion in the catalog, in order to determine if VPA-CAP and Dean's approval are needed.
  • Core Curriculum Requirements. Courses that departments and schools wish to have included on the list of courses approved for meeting University Core Curriculum Requirements or for the Multicultural Requirement should be submitted initially to Keith Dye. Core Curriculum Course Review Procedures can be found here.
  • Graduate Certificate Programs. Guidelines for Graduate Certificate Programs may be found here.

[1] As approved by Academic Council on August 7, 2001.