Frequently asked questions for proposers of LE courses

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How long does it take for an LE proposal to be approved?

LE course proposals are typically approved within 1-3 months from the date of submission. This time frame includes review at 1-2 Council on Liberal Education (CLE) meetings. The CLE meets monthly throughout the academic year.

How are course proposals reviewed by the Council on Liberal Education?

Course proposals are evaluated by reviewers that include faculty and student members of the Council on Liberal Education. They look for explicit language as to how the course meets each of the general and specific core or theme requirements of the LE designation for which it is proposed. View the criteria against which the Council evaluates course proposals.

What is the most common reason that a course is returned for clarification?

The most common reason that a course is returned for clarification is that the proposal has not been sufficiently explicit as to how each of the criteria corresponding to the course’s intended LE designation have been met. Note that it is not enough to simply say that a particular criterion will be met or to assume that its fulfillment is implicit in the title of the course. The connection to the criteria must be overt and explicit. In addition to the inclusion of explanatory text, some good ways to accomplish this are the enunciation of specific course topics, reading assignments, and/or assignment prompts. Note, also, that both Core and Theme courses have their own set of general requirements and that each LE designation has its own additional specific requirements. Both the general and specific requirements must be addressed in full.

What does it mean if a course is “Provisionally Approved”?

A provisional approval means that the course will likely be approved pending one or more minor clarifications.

What does it mean if the Council denies certification?

If certification is denied by the Council, it means that the reviewers felt that the course could not be modified to fit the LE criteria without morphing it into something other than what is was intended to be. “Deny” does not mean you cannot resubmit, but it signifies that significant changes would be necessary for the proposal to be successful. The Council recognizes that not all excellent courses are natural fits for an LE designation. Proposers whose course is denied should carefully weigh the benefits of garnering LE certification against the disadvantages of sacrificing the attributes they want to preserve in their course.

If the Council returns or denies my proposal, does that mean that my course has been judged to be a poor course?

No. The Council does not rate the quality of a course. Rather, it assesses how well the course fulfills the Core or Theme designation for which it is proposed. The vast majority of courses reviewed by the Council are excellent courses.

If I have provided all information about my course in ECAS, what is the role of the syllabus in the review of my course?

The syllabus is a very important part of the course proposal. The Council places high value on insuring that students understand how the essential elements of the LE curriculum are infused in the course. One should not assume that those connections are obvious or implicit. Rather, they must be overt and explicit. A student-facing syllabus speaks volumes to reviewers as to how an instructor intends to teach the course.

My course had been previously certified and I am applying for recertification. Am I guaranteed a successful outcome?

No. Courses can “drift” over time and the recertification review is intended to ensure that LE courses stay true to the requirements of the LE curriculum. Think of it like writing a renewal for external funding: Current support does not guarantee continuation.

When should I submit my course proposal?

Proposals should be submitted at least two weeks before the meeting at which they are intended for review. A schedule of meeting dates may be found on the CLE home page.

When will I hear back from the Council?

You will generally hear back from the Council one week after the date on which the proposal is reviewed. A schedule of meeting dates may be found on the CLE homepage.