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Curriculum Committee of the Graduate Council Operating Guidelines

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The role of the Curriculum Committee is to make recommendations to the Graduate Council for the approval or denial of all curricular requests submitted to the Council and to ensure quality, consistency, and accuracy in the advertisement of the University’s graduate programs.

The duties of the committee are:

  1. To oversee any changes to graduate curriculum for submission to the next level of approval and for inclusion in the Graduate Catalog. Examples of criteria for evaluation are:
    1. Do the proposed changes meet the accrediting standards of the university?
    2. Do they meet guidelines of the Tennessee Higher Education Committee and of the Graduate Council and Faculty Senate at UT?
    3. Do the changes seem appropriate for a graduate program at the University of Tennessee? (For example, are the number of hours required consistent with the requirements of other departments? If not, is there a good reason for difference?)
    4. Do the changes overlap the curriculum of another department? (If the other department indicates it has approved the changes, then the committee will disregard this criterion.)
    5. Are there adequate university, college, and departmental resources to accommodate the proposed changes?
  2. To make sure that the courses in the curriculum, as published and advertised in the Graduate Catalog, reflect the courses actually offered at UT. To do this, the committee annually examines a list of graduate courses that have not been offered for four years or more. Departments are given the opportunity to justify continuing to list the courses even though they have not been offered recently. (Typical acceptable reasons are: the courses are generic with words like “readings” or “topics” in the title; the department is revising curriculum; a new faculty member has been hired who will teach the course; the course is scheduled for the next year.)
  3. To propose policy concerning curriculum.


Membership of the Curriculum Committee consists of nine graduate council members (eight faculty members and one member from the Graduate Student Association) appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Committee membership is distributed fairly among the colleges. Members are appointed to terms of 1 year and are eligible for reappointment while members of the Graduate Council. The chair is selected from among the faculty members of the committee at the first meeting during the fall semester of each year and serves for one year. If the resignation of the active chair requires the selection of a new chair before the end of the appointment period, the selection of a new chair will take place at the earliest meeting of the committee following the resignation of the current chair.


Meetings are held two weeks prior to each Graduate Council meeting, normally following the Graduate Deans meeting. Meetings are open to the university community. Graduate deans are informed in advance if a vote will be taken on a proposal made by one of their departments and are encouraged to attend. Any proposal that is not approved may be brought back to the committee at a later meeting. As a subcommittee of the Graduate Council, the Graduate Curriculum Committee’s meetings are conducted in a manner consistent with the rules adopted by the Council.

Meeting Attendance

It is essential to the proper functioning of the committee that sufficient representation of the colleges be present at every meeting. If a majority of the committee members or their duly selected proxies (see below) cannot attend a scheduled meeting, the meeting can be adjourned at the discretion of the chair without considering the curriculum proposals before the committee. The proposals would be forwarded to the Graduate
Council without a recommendation of the committee. Members who cannot regularly attend the committee meetings should ask to be removed from the committee.


Each committee member has a proxy chosen from the member’s college in a manner suitable to the dean of the college. If a committee member cannot attend, the proxy should take his/her place at the meeting and vote on all committee motions.


The agenda is composed of materials for curricular review as submitted by the academic deans, upon recommendation of the faculty of the college, and any other curricular matters that the committee needs to discuss. The graduate studies liaison to the committee circulates the meeting agenda to the committee members before the day of the committee meeting. Minutes of the committee meeting and an updated curriculum agenda are distributed with the agenda for the Graduate Council meeting. The committee members should review the minutes for corrections as soon as they are received. The committee’s recommendations are presented to the Council for approval. After approval by the Council, the material becomes a permanent record of the Graduate Council Minutes and is forwarded to the Educational Policy Committee of the Faculty Senate for approval. Refer to Flow Chart of Curriculum Process for complete routing and approval process.

Approved by Curriculum Committee: 2/21/02