Faculty Senate

Definitions of Academic Terms

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Academic Terms (also available in chart form)

Academic Program

 An academic program is defined as that specific combination of courses and requirements, with a required number of credit hours, leading to a major, a minor, or a certificate of undergraduate studies.

 

Certificate of Undergraduate Study (30-60 s.h.; transcripted)

An approved specific set of upper-division undergraduate courses focused around an interdisciplinary- or single discipline-specific theme.

Does not replicate an existing major or minor.

Must have completed at least 60 s.h. to enroll in a certificate.

Must have successfully completed a bachelor's degree for certificate to be transcripted.

  • Approvals: Feasibility Study (Provost), CCPI, Faculty Senate, Academic Vice President

 

Concentration (32-47 s.h.; transcripted)

 Approved set of courses limited to the Interdisciplinary Studies Major.

Integrates two or more academic disciplines to develop an area of study.

Does not replicate an existing major.

  • Approvals: Feasibility Study (Provost), CCPI, Faculty Senate, Academic Vice President

 

Comprehensive Major (48-66 s.h.; transcripted)

Consists of at least 48 semester hours and includes at least 15 s.h. outside the major discipline within the degree.

Completion of a Minor is not required.

  •  Approvals: Feasibility Study (Provost), CCPI, Faculty Senate, Academic Vice President, WIU Board of Trustees, IBHE

 

Core

 A core is a set of required courses. In a major, the core shall be common to all versions of a major, regardless of option, emphasis, or track.

 

Discipline

 Academic disciplines often represent a fluid and changing body of knowledge: some ways in which a discipline might identify itself include:

1) a consistent set of faculty qualifications and background;

2) cohesive scholarly or creative output;

3) an established course of study; 

4) recognition by an accrediting or professional body;

5) a Classification of Instruction Programs code (CIP).

 

Degree (120 s.h.; transcripted)

 A title conferred on graduates as the result of having completed University requirements for that degree.

  • Approvals: Feasibility Study (Provost), CCPI, Faculty Senate, Academic Vice President, WIU Board of Trustees, IBHE

 

Minor (16-24 s.h.; transcripted)

Includes specific course requirements unique to a minor field of study and may include elective courses.

May be limited to a specific academic unit or may include specified courses from more than one academic unit.

  •  Approvals: CCPI, Faculty Senate, Academic Vice President

 

Emphasis (Number of hours determined by Department; not transcripted)

 Approved subset of courses within a Major.

  •  Approvals: CCPI, Faculty Senate, Academic Vice President

 

Non-comprehensive Major (32 s.h. to 47 s.h.; transcripted)

Includes specific course requirements unique to a broad field of academic specialization and may include elective courses.

May be limited to a specific academic unit or may include specified courses from more than one academic unit.

Requires completion of a Minor as part of the degree.

  •  Approvals: Feasibility Study (Provost), CCPI, Faculty Senate, Academic Vice President, WIU Board of Trustees, IBHE

 

Option (1/3 – 3/4 of the total hours for the major; transcripted)

Subdivision which provides greater specificity within a major.

Includes a set of required courses in addition to those specific courses required for the major.

For majors that have options, the core requirement shall be met as follows: a) non-comprehensive majors will have at least 9 s.h. of required courses; and b) comprehensive majors will have at least 12 s.h. of required courses.

 All options within a single major will have the same core.

 May include elective courses.

  •  Approvals: Feasibility Study (Provost), CCPI, Faculty Senate, Academic Vice President

 

Track (Number of hours determined by Department; not transcripted)

 Informal subset of courses handled through advising.

  •  Approvals: None

 

Unit of Credit

A credit hour (elsewhere referred to in this document as s.h. or semester hour) shall be the unit of University academic credit representing an average of three hours of work per week by a student throughout a fifteen-week (fall, spring) semester (exclusive of final examination period) or its equivalent in total work for summer session or irregularly scheduled courses. Specifically, and consistent with U.S. Department of Education Program Integrity Rules published October 29, 2010, Western Illinois University defines a credit hour as:

"an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than

1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours."

For traditional lecture, seminar, special topics, and experimental courses, a one credit hour class meets a minimum of 50 minutes per week over the course of the semester. Laboratory courses, including music ensembles and applied study, typically meet a minimum of 100 minutes per week for one credit hour. Internships and student teaching generally require at least one full-time five-day week of the experience for one credit hour. Credit for clinical or practicum experience is determined in accordance with recommendations of the program's specific accrediting body or applicable state regulation. NOTE: The definition of faculty workload is outlined in the bargaining agreement.

This credit hour policy applies to all courses that award academic credit, regardless of the location of the course or the mode of delivery, including, but not limited to, individual study, independent study, online, hybrid, and distance education courses.

Approval authorities at Western Illinois University, to include administration and curriculum committees, are charged with following the policy on credit hours in their review and approval of all courses and certifying that the expected student learning for the course meets the credit hour standard. The determination of credit hours is made when a new course or a revision to an existing course is proposed. The submitted syllabus is examined for contact time as well as for assignments and evaluation mechanisms. WIU collects and manages data on all courses to ensure, through periodic checks, that there is compliance and consistency with the credit hour policy.