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University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Graduate Council Curriculum Committee Bylaws

Approved by Curriculum Committee: 2/21/02
Approved by Graduate Council, April 2009

Download a Copy of the Bylaws

Curriculum Committee Mission Statement

To ensure quality and consistency in the University’s graduate programs and accuracy in the Graduate Catalog, the role of the Curriculum Committee is to make recommendations to the Graduate Council for the approval or denial of all proposals for curricular changes submitted by the academic deans.

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 standards of the university and/or the individual program’s accrediting bodies?
    2. Do the proposals meet guidelines of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and of the Graduate Council?
    3. Are the changes appropriate for a graduate program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK)? (For example, are the proposed changes consistent with the requirements of the Graduate Council policies.)
    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?
    6. Is sufficient supporting rationale given for the curricular changes?
  2. To make sure that the courses in the curriculum reflect those to be offered (or, likely to be offered) at UTK as published and advertised in the Graduate Catalog. 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.

Organizational Structure

The committee is a standing committee of the Graduate Council.

Membership and Officers


Membership of the Curriculum Committee consists of a minimum of nine Graduate Council members (eight faculty members and one member from the Graduate Student Senate) appointed by the Graduate Council Chair. Committee membership is distributed fairly among the colleges. Members are appointed to terms of one year and are eligible for reappointment while members of the Graduate Council.


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.

Curriculum Committee Chair

The committee chair for each academic year is selected from among the faculty members by the Graduate Council Chair in consultation with the Dean of the Graduate School before the first committee meeting of that academic year. If the selection of a new chair is necessary before the end of the replacement period, the selection process followed will be the same as that outlined above.

Meetings, Decision-Making and Reporting


Meetings are held two weeks prior to each Graduate Council 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. A denied proposal may be brought back to the committee at a later meeting for consideration. As a standing committee of the Graduate Council, the committee’s meetings are conducted in a manner consistent with the rules adopted by the Council.

It is essential to the proper functioning of the committee that sufficient representation of the colleges be present at every meeting. If a quorum (a majority of the committee members or their duly selected proxies) cannot attend a scheduled meeting, the meeting will be adjourned by the chair without considering the curriculum proposals before the committee.


The agenda is composed of proposals for curricular change as submitted by the academic deans, upon recommendation of the faculty of the college. The staff liaison from the Graduate School to the committee circulates the meeting agenda to the committee members prior to the day of the committee meeting.


Minutes of the committee meeting and the recommended curricular changes 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 recommendations are presented to the Graduate Council for approval as seconded motions from the committee. After approval by the Council, the material becomes a permanent record of the Graduate Council Minutes and is forwarded to the Faculty Senate for approval. See Flow Chart of Curriculum Process in Guidelines for the submission of Curricular materials to the Graduate Council for complete routing and approval process.

Amendment of Bylaws

Committee bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of committee
members and subsequent approval by Council.