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Interim Term Committee (ITC)

Guidelines for Interim Term Courses:

The Interim Term Committee wants to find ways to preserve the excitement and freshness of the Interim Term without exceeding the legitimate demands on the instructors and without destroying the academic expectations of the students. Therefore, these guidelines should be used when developing a course and will be used as the Committee reviews courses.

1. Team Teaching
Team-taught courses are encouraged. Normally, team members should bring differing though complementary expertise. A justification will be required when team members are from the same department. Team-taught courses need to be planned to attract at least 30 students to justify the number of instructors.

2. Core Credit
Courses proposed with core credit must be conceived as carefully as any other course to (a) introduce the student to the concepts and methodologies unique to the discipline, (b) demonstrate the relationship of the discipline to other disciplines, and (c) demonstrate how a Christian will engage that discipline. Such courses must meet the requirements of all Interim courses and may not be traditional surveys of the discipline. One such core course may be proposed by any department, the enrollment must be limited to one section of 24 students, and the course will be graded with letter grades (in contrast to the H/S/U grading for standard interim courses). The course proposal form provides space for justifying such a course. If an instructor proposes core credit in a department other than his or her own, a copy of the minutes from the other division/department indicating approval must be attached.
One more issue: Often during registration or even during January, individual students will ask if they can take a course without core designation for core credit. Many faculty members wish to honor such request, but such changes on behalf of individual students should not be made. Rather, if it is possible for a course to carry core credit, then it should carry such credit for all students in the class, not just for the ones on bended knee. So, the issue of core credit must be considered only when making the course proposal and must follow the process listed in the preceding paragraph

3. Course Cancellation
When it appears, either during or after registration, that a course may not be attracting sufficient students to justify offering it, the dean will consult with the department chairperson and the instructor to determine what should be done. Classes with small enrollments will be offered only with the dean’s approval, and if it appears appropriate to cancel such a course, his/her options include—assisting in another course, teaching during the summer, or an Interim leave without pay. Cancelled courses may be proposed for subsequent Interims.

4. Semester Hour Credit

Normally, interim courses will be given 3 semester hours of credit; the interim will include 15 teaching days. In extraordinary cases, a proposal may include a request for 4 semester hours credit; rationale must include identification of a substantial increased student work load and how an increased work load is possible in 15 teaching days.

5. Courses may be repeated
An instructor who is developing a new area of interest and is investing time and money in a course should consider repeating a successful course. A rationale for repeating a course is required when an instructor proposes to teach a course beyond a second year.

6. Departmental Considerations
Each department should offer a balanced set of courses. More specifically,

a) courses to be taught by part time or adjunct instructors must be preapproved by the department chair(s) and divisional dean(s) before proposal may be submitted to the Interim Term Committee,
b) approximately one quarter of a department’s interims should be DCM sections,
c) at least half of a department’s offerings will have no prerequisites,
d) approximately half of a department’s offerings will be offered in the morning and half in the afternoons,
e) the average proposed class size for a department should be 20 (the average will include off-campus courses),
f) if the department offers more than one off-campus course, the department may be asked to rate them in terms of their importance to the departmental program, and
g) CCE course offerings, particularly on-campus offerings, are especially needed.

7. Costs
All ordinary instructional costs (including honoraria for guest lecturers) must be covered by the departmental budget and approved by the chairperson. Because of limited resources, a specific rationale may be needed before a course proposed by a part time or adjunct instructor may be offered (see guideline 6). Since ITC approves courses but is not authorized to make decisions about staffing, final decisions on whether to offer courses taught by part time or adjunct instructors will be made by the relevant division dean in consultation with the department chairperson.

A student fee may be attached to an on-campus course to cover certain types of consumables for which fees are normally charged during the regular semester (art materials fees, kinesiology course fees, etc.). A fee may also be charged to cover the cost of group travel outside of the Grand Rapids metropolitan area if such travel is specified as a required component of the course (such as a trip to a Detroit or Chicago art gallery or museum). Normally, ITC will not approve a course fee of more than $100 without a specific rationale from the instructor and/or the department chairperson.

Questions should be directed to the appropriate Interim Term Committee Department Liaison.

 

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