The CEA evaluates and implements changes in the curriculum, both graduate and undergraduate. Here is more information about the duties and membership of the CEA.
The curricular review process begins in mid-December.
Chairs and Administrative Assistants will receive an email at that time with procedure information as well as links to collaborative Google documents and spreadsheets.
Due February 1
2019-20 Catalog Status
Indicate status of each course on the Unit Curriculum spreadsheet:
- Offered 2019-20
- Not Offered
- Deactivate (coded as "Inactive" in PeopleSoft—course will not be listed in catalog nor on unit site)
We will request scheduling information (fall, spring, fall/spring) in February.
New Courses and Course Revisions/Reactivations
Current faculty, submit new, revised, and reactivated courses by February 1. For pending hires, new courses should be submitted as soon as possible so they can be included in the catalog for April preregistration.
Courses that need to be submitted via the online Course form:
- Revised (major and minor revisions of courses currently in the catalog)
- Reactivated (previously removed from the catalog and now should be included)
All course revisions should be submitted via the online form—major revisions will be forwarded to the CEA where appropriate—the catalog will be updated with minor revisions.
Before submitting the form:
- Faculty should review the Course Submission Checklist to ensure courses adhere to established guidelines.
- Course descriptions should be finalized, copy-edited, and ready for both CEA review and publication in the catalog.
There will be one final opportunity for edits in April, prior to preregistration.
Curricular Revisions Report
The Curricular Revisions Report should include all significant changes to a unit's curriculum (the CEA should have been alerted to any changes prior to receiving them).
Examples (including, but not limited to) of changes in major, concentration, or honors program:
- Number of courses required for major or concentration.
- Changes in specific courses required.
- Changes and/or additions to prerequisites for core courses.
- Additions or changes in non-course requirements (e.g. colloquium).
Email [email protected] by February 1 when the Unit Curriculum spreadsheet and Curricular Revisions Report are complete—be sure to save copies of both the spreadsheet and document for your records. The Registrar's Office and the CEA have access to the collaborative spreadsheet and document, there is no need to email attachments.
Due March 1
Chairs and Administrative Assistants will be able to edit program ("masthead") information directly in WordPress.
For information about class hours:
- Refer to the email with the subject line “Class Hour Requests 2019-20"
- Class Hour instructions can help guide you through the process.
Due April 1
Email [email protected] by April 1 when edits are complete—be sure to save a copy for your records. The Registrar's Office has access to the collaborative document, so there is no need to email an attachment.
Course Submission Guide
Information about requirements and policies as they pertain to course descriptions.
All Williams College students take TWO WI courses as part of their distribution requirement.
WI courses require a minimum of 20 pages of writing and have a maximum enrollment of 19 to allow the instructor to devote appropriate attention to writing over the course of the semester.
A WI course might require four or five five-page papers, spaced so that the comments on each essay would be available to the student to improve the next. A course could require a one-page paper, then a three-page paper, then a five-page paper, then a 10-15 page paper. A course might also require one or two relatively short papers or exercises leading to a more lengthy (15-20 page) paper as long as issues of writing and argumentation are addressed through drafts, conferences, class discussions, or other means throughout the semester.
Unit-Level Discussions and WI Designation
WI designation is determined by unit chairs in consultation with faculty seeking this designation. Syllabi and course descriptions for WI courses must include an explanation of how the course fulfills the purpose of the WI requirement.
All Williams College students take ONE DPE course as part of their distribution requirement.
Further Explanation for Faculty
There are three main axes upon which the DPE requirement hinges: the centrality of DPE themes and ideas throughout a course; a balance of DPE-related content and DPE-related skills; and consideration and agreement of a DPE designation at the unit level.
The Centrality of DPE-Related Themes
Students should know why a course in which they are enrolled is a DPE course. In the catalog, in the course description, on the syllabus, and in class throughout the semester, instructors of DPE courses should be specific about how the course addresses the issues of difference, power, and equity amongst groups and the nature of the theoretical tools or perspectives used to understand these issues.
A Critical Balance Between DPE Content and Skill
It is imperative that DPE courses strike an important and necessary balance between engaging course content and materials that explore various forms of difference, power, and equity, and facilitating the development of skills that will help students address the implications of said forms. Courses may consider current examples, historical examples, or some combination thereof. The focus may be on examples within the US or may be international, but should go beyond exposure to the variety of human experiences and instead foster critical engagement with the practice and experience of difference.
DPE courses should foster difficult, but carefully framed conversations about how difference works and has worked, how identities and power relationships have been grounded in lived experience, and how one might both critically and productively approach questions of difference, power, and equity. While different DPE courses employ a variety of pedagogical approaches, methodologies, and theoretical perspectives, these courses are uniform in actively promoting a self-conscious and critical engagement with the practice and experience of difference, especially as it relates to the dynamics of power in structuring that experience. The list of themes that could be a possible focus of a DPE course should be taken as a starting point; other areas of difference (ability/disability, body size, national origin, political affiliation, for example) may well suit a DPE course. DPE courses may focus on multiple themes or intersections between them, or may examine only one theme. Faculty proposing DPE courses are encouraged to choose topics and materials they are passionate about.
DPE courses, like courses that receive the Quantitative/Formal Reasoning (QFR) and Writing-Intensive (WI) designation, are skill-building courses, and as such, should lead to the development of critical faculties that will prepare students to serve society at large. The pedagogical approaches employed vary significantly by discipline and content, but share the key aims of enabling students to 1) understand how power comes to be distributed unequally across difference, and 2) draw informed, responsible judgments about when and how to intervene to change such inequalities.
Unit-Level Discussions and DPE Designation
DPE designation is determined by unit chairs in consultation with faculty seeking this designation. Syllabi and course descriptions for DPE courses must include an explanation of how the course fulfills the purpose of the DPE requirement.
All Williams College students take ONE QFR course as part of their distribution requirement.
QFR courses must have regular and substantial problem sets in which quantitative/formal reasoning skills are practiced and evaluated. Courses which require only a few illustrative problems to be solved, that involve merely plugging numbers into formulae, or that spend only a small portion of the semester on formal skills would not qualify for this designation.
While qualitative descriptions of scientific and mathematical topics can be worthwhile approaches to a discipline, these are not the main thrust of a QFR course. This is not to say that prose answers can play no role. In order to meet the QFR requirement, a course must clearly emphasize the skills of quantitative and formal reasoning. Translating real world phenomena into a mathematical description, computing quantitative results, and relating those results in words are the sorts of skills we would like to develop in a QFR course.
Unit-Level Discussions and QFR Designation
QFR designation is determined by unit chairs in consultation with faculty seeking this designation. Syllabi and course descriptions for QFR courses must include an explanation of how the course fulfills the purpose of the QFR requirement.
Enrollment caps, expected enrollments, and enrollment preferences are used by students in selecting courses during preregistration.
Enrollment caps may not be added or lowered after preregistration for the semester.
If you have an enrollment cap, you should also include enrollment preference information—who has priority for spaces if the course over-enrolls.
By default, any course is available for students to enroll on a graded or pass/fail basis.
When determining whether or not to offer a course pass/fail, it may be helpful to consult with unit chairs or colleagues.
By default, any course (except a tutorial) is available for students to enroll as a fifth course.
Consultation with unit chairs or colleagues may be helpful when determining if a course is not available for the fifth course option.
Curriculum reports, by division, for faculty review.
- Division I 2018-19
- Division II 2018-19
- Division III and No Division 2018-19
- Difference, Power, and Equity (DPE) 2018-19