EPCC sees many proposals in catalog year

by Emily SchettlerStaff Writer

The Educational Policy and Curriculum Committee has seen more than 100 proposals this year as it prepares a new course catalog for next semester.

The EPCC is charged with evaluating proposals and making recommendations to the faculty concerning the alteration of any academic programs at Simpson. All proposals for adding or deleting courses, majors or minors must first be presented to the EPCC and then voted on by the faculty.

“It is the faculty’s way of maintaining control over the curriculum,” said Steve McLean, professor of theater and chair of the EPCC.

This year, the committee has seen a larger number of proposals as departments try to make alterations to their curriculum before the new catalog is printed.

“We had a time schedule that we had to have all these changes through the EPCC and voted on by the faculty by March,” McLean said.

The committee is made up of 10 faculty members–two from each department–and three students appointed by the student-body president. The academic dean, the registrar and the director of the Department of Adult Learning oversee all committee meetings. Although they do not vote, McLean said the administrators play an integral part in the decision-making process.

“They are there to contribute ideas, information and perspectives.” McLean said.

The primary role of the EPCC is to consider changes and look at what they do to they academic integrity of the courses.

“We have to determine if they fit the shape of the curriculum and provide consistency within the curriculum,” said Steve Griffith, academic dean and vice-president.

The committee sees a variety of proposals from changing course prerequisites to adding and dropping courses to changing major requirements.

One proposal that received a lot of discussion this year was the addition of a Maste’r of Criminal Justice. Currently, the only masters program at Simpson is offered in education.

“We spent a lot of time looking at that last year,” McLean said. “We looked at it again this year and finally passed it on to the faculty, but the faculty decided they didn’t want it. They turned it down.”

McLean said that most of the other business conducted this year was very well accepted.

Other major changes included the restructuring of the Math Competency to include quantitative reasoning and the renaming of the Foreign Language Department. It is currently known as the Department of World Languages and Culture Studies. Many of the department’s courses were also renamed.

Recently, the EPCC made changes to criteria for the Minority Perspective and Global Awareness Cornerstones. Now, students can receive Cornerstone 6 credit for certain minority studies May Term courses.

Also, students will be able to receive global awareness, Cornerstone 7, credit for selected courses offered during the school year.

Previously, Cornerstone 7 credit could only be obtained from May Term courses. This year the EPCC changed the wording in the handbook to allow courses offered during the year to have Cornerstone 7 status. As a result, Department of Adult Learning students are now also required to take a global awareness course.

“Before they were prevented from taking the global awareness cornerstone because they did not take May Term,” McLean said. “This strengthened the program for DAL students by saying they were no longer excluded from taking a global awareness course.”

One of the largest curriculum changes that occurred was the splitting of the Religion and Philosophy Departments. While the actual decision to split the departments was made by Griffith and President John Byrd, all resulting curriculum changes were presented to the EPCC.

McLean noted the departments increasing size as one major reason for the split.

“It has to do with the growth of the college of the last several years,” McLean said. “Now that both departments have grown, it makes sense to have two different departments because they do have different agendas and different perspectives.”

Professor of Philosophy John Pauley cited changing curriculums and different goals as driving forces behind the divide. Pauley said that both majors shared the same department assessment and senior seminar, but that was all.

Both programs are making sweeping changes to their curriculums. The Philosophy Department is adding an ethics minor and an applied philosophy major. The Religion Department also altered its course offerings and changed its major and minor to reflect the changes.

Pauley noted that while the departments are smaller, they still teach a lot of students.

“Every class we teach is a Cornerstone class,” Pauley said. “Classes are generally always full.”

Some of the proposals passed by the EPCC and the faculty this year are already in place. The rest of the changes will take effect by next semester. Griffith noted that most proposals that appear before the committee are well thought out and do eventually pass. He also pointed out that the committee is integral to providing the best curriculum possible at Simpson.

“These changes have a campus-wide impact; everything is interlocked,” Griffith said. “The EPCC is the central place for changes to come together.”