Trinity University
Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook

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(2)    Faculty Governance Structure






(Approved by the University Curriculum Council May 2, 1996)
(Revised February 14, 2003)

For a summary of recent changes to this chapter, see Chapter 9A: Summary of Recent Revisions to this Handbook.

Contents of this page: 

  1. Procedures Affecting Submissions to the UCC

  2. Policies Affecting UCC Operations

  3. Statement Regarding Curricular Priorities

  4. Amendment Procedure


A.    Submissions to the UCC should include the Course Approval Form and, if applicable, the Common Curriculum Course Proposal Forms. Both are readily available from the Office of Academic Affairs and from the Trinity University Academic Affairs Web page. Please insure that they are completely filled out. Incomplete proposals may be returned. Chairs must contact appropriate departments for feedback and endorsement prior to submitting documents to the UCC for consideration.

B.    If a change in a program or in an individual course affects other programs, the proposing Department must consult the other programs, as explained in paragraph A above, before submitting the proposal to the Office of Academic Affairs for UCC consideration. 

C.    Proposers of all Discussion Agenda items must provide a brief rationale, suitable for circulation to the faculty, with the text of the proposal. The statement should concisely explain why Trinity University would benefit from the adoption of the proposal.

D.    Proposers to the UCC are urged to have a representative at the UCC meeting when the items are discussed. The Council defers items for which additional information is needed. The circulation of the meeting agenda to the faculty serves as notice of the date and time at which the representative must appear.

E.    Any proposed change in an interdisciplinary program must, before being submitted to the University Curriculum Council, be submitted to and endorsed by the Chair of the program and the Faculty Advisory Committee of that program. Note: This in no way negates the right of the University Curriculum Council to review proposals not endorsed by a Faculty Advisory when asked to do so by a member of the faculty as a matter of appeal (University Curriculum Council Bylaws [Chapter 2B]  Article III.C.1.b).


A.    The UCC normally meets on Fridays at 2:30 p.m. at two-or three-week intervals, as announced. Agenda items must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting.

B.    The Agenda-Setting Committee, which consists of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the UCC and an Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, may meet during the week following the submission deadline. It will review the submitted business and establish an agenda for the next meeting. This agenda is circulated to the faculty at least one week before the meeting.

C.    The Agenda-Setting Committee will provisionally indicate the status (Consent Agenda, Discussion Agenda, Non-Action Item) of each matter of business to come before the Council. Business will be reported to the faculty in the status designated by the Committee unless the Council, as part of its consideration of an item, votes to change the designation.

D.    Members of the UCC are expected to raise for discussion any questions they may have about the proposals for new courses and for course changes. Unless such questions are raised, the UCC will proceed to a vote on these proposals without discussion. 

E.    Although members of the UCC may recommend changes in the form and language of a course title or description, this should rarely be necessary. Prior to action by the UCC, the Office of Academic Affairs shall provide editorial review of copy for the Courses of Study Bulletin to assure that the copy is clear and consistent with current bulletin style. The Office of Academic Affairs will also review all other aspects of bulletin copy to maintain accuracy and consistency as it pertains to the description of the University curriculum.

F.    Discussion agenda items may be distributed to the faculty prior to the distribution and approval of UCC minutes covering the meeting when these items were discussed.

G.    If a proposal is rejected by the Council or returned to the proposers because the Council needs more information to arrive at a recommendation to the faculty, the Chair will communicate with the proposers regarding the UCC’s concerns.

H.    During the Spring semester, the UCC will request from all faculty the early submission of curriculum business. The intention of this notice is to encourage departments to begin work on curricular proposals prior to the start of the fall semester, thereby lessening the catalogue crunch in the fall.

(Approved by the University Curriculum Council February 21, 1997)
(Revised May 2, 2003)

Successful completion of the Common Curriculum is a graduation requirement for all undergraduate students at Trinity University. For this reason, the primary curricular responsibility of the University must be to provide, on a regular basis, certain course offerings in the Common Curriculum. The University also requires that all students complete a major in a particular department or program. This means that the University must also, on a regular basis, provide certain course offerings in the various major programs. In addition, students are offered the opportunity, but are not required, to complete a minor in a particular department or program. For the most part, however, courses that count toward a minor also count toward a major, and additional courses for the minor are thus not needed. Finally, students should have an opportunity to take courses that count toward neither the Common Curriculum, a major, nor a minor but are pure electives. It should be noted that courses that count toward the Common Curriculum, a major, or a minor for some students, however, generally serve as electives for others.

In light of the above, the curricular responsibilities of the University can be prioritized as follows:

A.   The Common Curriculum

1.    Specific Courses Required of All Students:

a.    First Year Seminar

b.    Writing Workshop

2.    Other Courses That Satisfy Common Curriculum Requirements:

a.    Skills Courses

  1. Foreign Languages

  2. Computer Skills

  3. Fitness Education

b.    Courses in the Five Fundamental Understandings

B.    The Majors (and Minors)

1.    Courses Required for the Major (and Minor)

2.    Other Courses That May Count Toward the Major (and Minor)

C.    Pure Electives

In its curricular planning and development, as well as in its scheduling of course offerings for any given semester, it is important that each department in the University adhere to the above priorities (recognizing, to be sure, that specific responsibility for various parts of the Common Curriculum will differ somewhat from department to department).

In addition, it is clear that the creation, deletion, or substantive revision of individual courses may significantly affect a department’s fulfillment of its curricular responsibilities to the University. For this reason, the University Curriculum Council will require that a curricular-impact statement accompany any proposal to create, delete, or substantially revise a course. This statement should indicate how the proposed curricular change will affect the department’s ability to fulfill its curricular responsibilities, with particular reference to the Common Curriculum. If the proposed change is expected to have an adverse effect in this regard, the department should explain why, in its judgment, the change should nevertheless be approved.


These Standard Operating Procedures may be amended by a majority vote of the University Curriculum Council.

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