Chapter 1: Introduction



1.1 Charter

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The Curriculum Committee is a quadripartite shared governance committee of faculty, administrators, students, and classified members of the City College community.

The Committee is the reviewing and approving body for curricula for the College as a whole. The Committee is responsible for studying curricular proposals (courses and programs) and recommending action on them to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees.  


The Committee is charged with recommending action on the following:

  • New Courses
  • Course Revisions
  • Course Deletions
  • Discipline placement of courses
  • New Course Outline Addenda (Distance Education and Honors)
  • Course Outline Addenda Revisions
  • Course Outline Addenda Deletions
  • Prerequisites, corequisites, and advisories for courses and programs
  • New Certificate and Degree Programs
  • Revisions to Certificate and Degree Programs
  • Deletion of Certificate and Degree Programs
  • Revision of Department Name
  • Creation of new course prefixes


The mission of the Committee is to promote academic excellence and rigor by means of careful study and discussion and by the application of state regulations (Title 5) and the policies of the District.


The Committee is not responsible for the generating or implementing the curriculum proposals that it approves; such responsibility rests with the faculty, departments, and the administration. For this reason the Committee is also not responsible for the budgetary consequences (e.g. faculty load) of curricular proposals and does not use such considerations as the basis of its recommendations. Rather, the proper focus of the Committee is the academic merit of each proposal and its contributions to the overall educational goals of City College.


1.2 Authority

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In the mid-1990’s the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges and the California Community College Chancellors Office issued revised guidelines for the implementation and approval of curricula at the California Community Colleges. Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and the following publications are the basis for City College’s implementation of curriculum.

Program and Course Approval Handbook
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Sixth Edition, June 2017

The Course Outline of Record: A Curriculum Reference Guide Revisited
Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Adopted Spring 2017

Stylistic Considerations in Writing Course Outlines of Record
Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Spring 1998

Good Practices For Course Approval Processes
Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Spring 1998

Curriculum Committee Review of Distance Learning Courses And Sections
Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Fall 1995

These and other relevant publications are available at:

This curriculum handbook serves as City College of San Francisco’s implementation of the above guidelines.

Where there appears to be conflict between the above standards and the guidelines in this document, the Curriculum Committee shall determine the appropriate application of standards and guidelines for the purpose of course or curriculum approval.


1.3 Handbook Organization

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This handbook is organized to serve as a reference for course developers, department heads, area deans, Curriculum Committee members, and administrators. The current handbook is available on the Curriculum Committee web site.

Chapter 1. Introduction provides the basis for City College’s implementation of the curriculum approval process. Includes Department Name change procedure.

Chapter 2. Course Outlines of Record is a reference for developers of course outlines. Included are subsections on each of the components of a course outline and the approved format of an outline.

Chapter 3. Course Outline Addenda provides guidance and requirements on the preparation of the two types of course outline addenda: distance education and honors.

Chapter 4. Majors presents guidelines for the development of an major and describes the proper catalog format.

Chapter 5. Certificates presents guidelines for the development of credit and noncredit certificate programs, and describes the proper catalog format.

Chapter 6. Establishment of Prerequisites, Corequisites, and Advisories provides an introduction to, and explanation of the process of approval of course and program prerequisites

Chapter 7. Course Articulation, Graduation Requirements, and Transferability provides information about course articulation, transferability, and graduation requirements.

Chapter 8. Standing Rules of the Curriculum Committee states the rules, procedures, and protocols by which the Curriculum Committee operates.

Chapter 9. Curriculum Committee Guidelines for Proposals and Meetings provides Committee members with orientation and guidelines to the review of proposals and the conduct of Committee meetings.

Chapter 10. CurricuNET provides tips, tutorials, and support for using our curriculum development software: CurricuNET META.

Appendix A. Change log provides a review of changes made to the curriculum handbook each year.

Since different sections of this handbook can be intended as references to distinctly different audiences, parts of sections will be repeated in other sections.


1.4 Course Outlines as Documentation

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Course outlines, like the College Catalog, are documents that have a life cycle. They are developed, approved, revised, and can, sometimes, go away. They can also become old. They can have lives beyond City College. There are many persons, each with different goals, agendas, and expectations, who have an interest in the course outlines that form the curriculum of City College of San Francisco. The course outlines are public documents that represent a definition of our product. Course outlines are the copyrighted property of the College.

It is very important that the processes that create course outlines and the outlines themselves conform not only to the requirements of the regulatory and standardizing agencies but – more importantly – to our own professional goals and ideals.


1.5 Handbook Conventions

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The following is a list of terms that appear in the handbook and their usage:

  • Department: Any department identified in Appendix A of the District/Department Chairperson Council Collective Bargaining Agreement
  • College: City College of San Francisco
  • Catalog or catalog: College Catalog
  • Class or course: Course
  • Committee or committee: Curriculum Committee
  • Office of Instruction: Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor, Enrollment Management & Instructional Support Services
  • Title 5 or §55###: State of California Code of Regulations, Title 5 Education, Division 6 California Community Colleges

In the chapters that follow, not all of the examples provided are from City College of San Francisco and many examples have been edited.


1.6 Handbook Updates

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The expectations of the Curriculum Committee have evolved in the past and will continue to evolve. Some evolution is brought on by external forces, such as changes in Title 5 Regulations. Other times, the evolution of expectations is the product of the dialogue that happens during Committee meetings and other College discussions on curriculum.

The Curriculum Handbook establishes the requirements for submissions to the Curriculum Committee. It is to be used by faculty when preparing items for submission, and by Committee members as the basis for review.

Since it is important to faculty preparers and Committee members to have stability of expectations, changes to the Curriculum Handbook will normally be made on an annual basis, with a new Handbook published at the beginning of the academic year. Appendix A: Change Log will be updated to include a summary of significant changes.

As ideas are developed during Curriculum Committee meetings or other College venues for changes to Curriculum Committee standards, those ideas will be noted by the Curriculum Committee chair and developed for inclusion in the following year’s handbook.

On rare occasions, external forces may require more sudden changes to the Committee’s expectations. In those rare occasions, the chair will endeavor to bring the Committee to consensus quickly on the updated expectations, and will provide faculty originators, department chairs, and applicable administrators with those updated expectations as soon as they are developed.

1.7 Department Name and Prefix Changes

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The Procedure for Curriculum Committee approval of department name change and prefix changes is as follows (adopted Sept. 13, 2017).

Requests to change a department name must be approved by the Curriculum Committee (AP 6.03 A.1.f).  Changing a department name has consequences for students, the District, and for communication with other institutions, so should not be undertaken without careful consideration and consultation.

  1. Department name change requests originate within the affected department, and must be discussed and approved by a majority of the faculty within the department. This approval should be documented in faculty meeting minutes or other appropriate record. Deans should be consulted as well.
  2. A justification with evidence for the need or desirability of a name change should be part of internal department discussions and made available for Curriculum Committee review.  Examples of such evidence may include documents showing the use of the proposed name on departments at other community colleges or universities, time-tested discipline/industry name usage, and/or appropriateness to the discipline and curriculum within the local context.
  3. Departments should consult with Chairs from departments with related disciplines for their input on the name change and prepare to bring that to the Curriculum Committee.
  4. The Chair of the department requesting the name change should communicate in writing to the Chair of the Curriculum Committee to request that the name change be on the Committee’s agenda. The Curriculum Committee Chair may request that all of the documentation and support listed above be compiled before placing the request on a Committee agenda.
  5. Department name change requests must be discussed by the Curriculum Committee at a meeting.  The Committee may ask for additional information/justification from the department before making a decision.
  6. The Curriculum Committee will not approve a name change request for the same department more than once every 6 years, because of the impact of the change.
  7. The effective date for a department name change must coincide with publication of the College Catalog.

Changes for prefixes on courses have more consequences than a department name change for departments, programs, student records, departments, schedules, and articulation. These will be considered as a separate item from a department name change request, even if requested simultaneously. Approval of one does not imply approval of the other.

  1. Requests to create a new prefix for new courses, or to change an existing prefix, should be based on discipline faculty discussion and agreement, and justifications similar to the department name change, such as updated discipline designations, and improved communication for students and across institutions.  Alignment with a new department name is not necessarily sufficient justification for a prefix change, although it may be considered as one factor.
  2. In the case of requesting a change to an existing prefix, impacts on existing courses, programs, articulation, and workflows must be considered as part of the approval process.
  3. The requested prefix must not have been used at CCSF previously for a different department or discipline.
  4. Prefix changes, if approved, may only take effect at the beginning of a new academic year (i.e., approved by the deadlines for Catalog publication and Fall semester schedule).