Student Systems Help Center

UW Curricular Relationships

In this quick guide

Proposing Units
FAQ for Proposing Units
Proposing Unit Chairs/Directors
Proposing Unit College/School, Campus Level Reviewers
FAQ for Proposing Unit College/School, Campus Level Reviewers
Potentially Affected Unit Reviewers
FAQ for Potentially Affected Unit Reviewers
Commenting on a Proposal


FOR PROPOSING UNITS

What is an optimal workflow when a course has curricular relationships with courses in other units?
The optimal workflow for curricular relationships describes a successful approval process for proposals in UW CM. We recommend following the steps below to help ensure that your proposal progresses through the workflow (approval process) efficiently and successfully.
Note: If curricular relationship is not known prior to submission, allow more time for the review process.

Step 1.   Proposing department determines if the proposed course has any curricular relationships

Proposing department first needs to determine if the proposed course has any potential curricular relationships with courses offered by other units. There are four possible relationship types:

JOINT: Courses offered under the sponsorship of two or more University units. One of the units is considered to be the primary unit (responsible for the administration of the course) and all the other(s) are considered to be secondary unit(s). For more information on joint courses refer to the Curriculum Office website.
EQUIVALENT: Courses are similar enough in content to be considered equivalent. Equivalent means that one course can substitute for the other and that credit may only be given for one of the courses should a student complete both.
OVERLAPPING: Courses are not equivalent, but the content is similar enough so that students should receive credit for only one of the two courses.
POTENTIAL CURRICULAR RELATIONSHIP: When it is not known but it’s possible that a course is equivalent to or has significant overlap with a course from another unit, it is considered to have a potential relationship. Use the Course or Proposal search feature in UW CM to search for potential relationships.

Proceed to step 2 if there is a potential relationship.
Proceed to step 4 if the relationship is known to be joint, equivalent, or overlapping.
Proceed to step 6 if you did not identify a course or other unit with any curricular relationship.

Step 2.   Proposing department reaches out to the other unit(s) for overlap/equivalence check

It is the responsibility of the initiating unit to do a good-faith review of existing courses and to identify and circulate the course application and syllabus for review by any affected units, prior to submission to the University of Washington Curriculum Office (UW CO). We recommend that a submitting department do a keyword search in the UW CM system in order to identify any courses with potential overlap If the submitting department has identified a course or department with potential overlap or equivalency, an e-mail with the link to the UW CM proposal, including the course syllabus, should be sent to that department’s curriculum coordinator, requesting an overlap/equivalency check by the department chair/unit director.

Step 3.   Add a Proposal Tracking Comment

Proposal Tracking Comment Example

Proposal Tracking Comment Example

After you have sent the request for review, add a proposal tracking comment (see Proposal Information section) to the proposal to document the request for overlap/equivalency check and/or any offline conversations about the potential relationship (e.g. Overlap/equivalency check requested to xxx department on 2/2/17 via email).
Note: Adding this comment is an important way to document when the original e-mail request for an overlap/equivalency check was sent. After 4 weeks, if the potentially-affected department has not acknowledged the proposal, the UWCC may approve the course proposal without the acknowledgement.

Step 4.   Complete the appropriate curricular relationship section(s) in UW CM

For Joint courses, as well as confirmed Overlapping and Equivalent course relationships, fill out the course code(s) and the related department(s) or unit(s).

If the joint/overlapping/equivalent course code is BIOEN, PHARBE, MEDENG, G H, MARBIO, UCONJ or CONJ, see “Routing Proposals to Interdisciplinary Departments for Other Curricular Relationships

 

Example of a course with both a Joint and Equivalent relationship

Example of a course with both a Joint and Equivalent relationship

Fill out the Potentially Affected Colleges, Schools, or Departments field in two cases:

  • If you cannot wait for the potentially affected unit to respond to the overlap/equivalency check prior to submitting your course for approval, add an addenda (see step 5) to note that you are submitting the proposal without confirmation about potential overlap/equivalency (e.g. xxx Unit has not confirmed relationship at time of submission; Overlap/equivalency check sent on mm/dd/yyyy). Once you submit your proposal for approval, you will no longer have editing access to it. Therefore, be sure to send an e-mail to uwcr@uw.edu once you have received a response to your request for overlap/equivalency check so the UW CO can document the curricular relationship prior to UWCC approval.
  • If you heard back from the potentially affected unit and confirmed there is no significant relationship with any of their courses. Before submitting, add an addenda (see step 5)with this detail (e.g. xxx Unit confirmed there is no significant relationship with any of their courses).
Example of a course with a potential relationship with two departments.

Example of a course with a potential relationship with two departments.

Note: A department should not be listed in Potentially Affected if they are already listed as a Joint, Overlapping, or Equivalent Department.

Step 5.   Add or request an addenda to document confirmed relationship

If curricular relationship types are confirmed offline, prior to submitting the proposal for approval, the proposer can add or request an Addenda to document that confirmation and provide additional information about the relationship to the proposal reviewers.
Note: Addenda can be added to a proposal by the submitting department only, prior to submit.

Step 6.   Submit the proposal for approval

It is highly recommended, so as not to delay the review process, that the proposing department wait for a response from the unit with potential overlap before submitting the proposal. If a significant relationship is determined after the proposal has entered workflow, the proposal will need to be withdrawn and resubmitted with the correct relationship defined. If you cannot wait for the response, add an addendum (see step 5) prior to submit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if someone sends back a proposal requesting we reach out to a department for overlap/equivalency check?

As the proposal moves through workflow, reviewers may send back a proposal requesting the proposing department reach out to a potentially affected unit for review. If this occurs, go back to Step 2 – Proposing department reaches out to the other unit/s for overlap/equivalency check and Step 3 – Add a Proposal Tracking Comment and proceed back through the steps. Again, it is highly recommended that you do not resubmit until you have received response confirming the relationship (or no relationship) from the potentially affected unit.

What if I receive new information about a curricular relationship (confirmation, new relationship, or a change to relationship) after the proposal has been reviewed?

  • If the proposal has not yet passed through the college review step, withdraw the proposal and go through the normal steps above to get the other curricular relationships properly documented. If you need to change the relationship type, be sure to delete both the course code and the department name from the wrong type before adding them under the correct type.
  • If the proposal has already passed through college review or has already been fully approved, then forward the details about the relationship (course code, department name and any offline acknowledgement about the relationship from the other unit) to uwcr@uw.edu. The UWCO will add the documentation and a proposal comment about the relationship to the proposal.

Why is my proposal not getting acknowledged?

If your proposal has been awaiting acknowledgement from a department longer than usual, it is important you reach out to the curriculum coordinator in order to make sure they are aware they need to acknowledge your proposal in order to avoid delay in processing. E-mail or call the curriculum contact in order to find out what is holding up the acknowledge request. The reasons could be:

1- The department responsible for acknowledging your proposal may still be processing the request (e.g. seeking faculty ok) or is not aware they need to acknowledge.
If Step 2- Contact fellow Curriculum Coordinators was successfully completed prior to submitting the course for approval, the hold up is likely due to an administrative oversight which can be resolved immediately (acknowledgement is a confirmation of something which has already been discussed and determined).

Note: Once you reach out to the department responsible for acknowledging, you might find that the delay is due to a system glitch. Let us know if this is the case by e-mailing help@uw.edu.

2- The acknowledge request has been halted due to an issue with the course, with content overlap, or other.
As mentioned above in Step 3. Acknowledge and Make a Comment, if there is an issue with a proposal being submitted, the acknowledging/affected department is responsible for notifying the proposing department as well as the UWCO of the issue via e-mail. If you have not received any notification of the issue, e-mail or call the curriculum contact in order to find out what is holding up the acknowledge request.
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FOR PROPOSING UNIT CHAIRS/DIRECTORS

Step 1.   Proposing department determines if the proposed course has any curricular relationships

The responsible Department Chair/Unit Director takes part in the process to determine if any curricular relationship exists (See Step 1 of Proposing Department Steps) prior to submit.

Step 2.   Responsible Unit Chair/Director receives request to Approve the proposal

Once a proposal has been submitted, the Department Chair/Unit Director of the responsible unit receives an “Action Item” email requesting an Approve action.

Note: Reviewers can access the proposal via the email or via their Action List.

Step 3.   Review the Addenda, Proposal Tracking Comments and the Curricular Relationship section

Check that there are addenda, proposal tracking comments and that the curricular relationship sections are properly filled out to convey the curricular relationships and the communications with the related units (see steps 2-5 for the Proposing Unit).

If anything about the relationship is not fully documented, the Chair/Director Approver can either:
Edit the proposal directly, adding proposal tracking comments or edit the curricular relationship section, or
Send back the proposal to have the Proposer make the edits, or
Request the Proposer withdraw the proposal to make the edits and submit again

Note: While the proposal is in Review state, the Addenda feature is not available. Withdraw action puts the proposal back into Draft state allowing for Addenda feature.

Step 4.   Take an Action

“Approve” or “Send (the proposal) Back” and leave a decision comment. See UW CM for Approvers for information about each action option.

Note: Decision comments are another opportunity to provide information about the proposed relationship/s to reviewers in workflow.

Once the proposal is approved by the responsible Department Chair/Unit Director, the College Curriculum Committee level approvers will receive “Action Item” email requesting an Approve action. And the Chair/Director and the College Dean/VC of the related unit/s will receive “Action Item” emails, requesting an Acknowledge (a curricular relationship) action.

Note: Approve action items will hold up a proposal. Acknowledge actions do not hold up the proposal.
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FOR PROPOSING UNIT COLLEGE/SCHOOL/CAMPUS LEVEL REVIEWERS

Step 1.   Review the Addenda, Curricular Relationship section, Decisions and Decision Comments

Review the Proposal Information section of the proposal with Addenda from the proposing department, Decisions (Approvals/Acknowledgments) and Decision Comments from the responsible unit and any affected units. Click through the the boxes in the workflow visualization to review previous “acknowledge” and/or “approve” actions.

Step 2.   Make a decision on the proposal

“Approve” or “Send (the proposal) Back” and leave a decision comment. See UW CM for Approvers for information about each action option.
If previous approvals and acknowledgments are present, Approve the proposal and leave an (optional) comment.
If you want to put the proposal into a “pending” status, awaiting acknowledgement from another unit or awaiting clarification that doesn’t warrant “Send Back”, edit the proposal and add a Proposal Tracking Comment to document why you are holding onto the proposal and then Approve.
If you want the proposing department to edit the proposal and/or perform another overlap/equivalency check with another department, use Send Back. See FAQ below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I think the department should reach out to another unit for overlap/equivalency check?

Send the proposal back to the proposer, and advise them to reach out to said unit/s for overlap/equivalency check. have them make the edit and the proposal must go back through workflow (do not select “return to me”). In order for correct workflows to trigger, the department chair/director must approve again with the revised relationships. If they choose to change the relationship, you will be asked to re-approve the course with the new relationship type.

What if there are no acknowledgements from affected units?

There are a number of reasons why an affected unit may or may not have acknowledged a proposal yet. See Why is my proposal not getting acknowledged? Departments/Units are expected to follow up on acknowledge requests in order to ensure the efficient approval of their proposal. As part of this process, we recommend that a College/School/Campus level committee not approve a proposal until the acknowledgements are all gathered, however, the final decision is up to each committee. The proposal will still be halted at the UWCC level if acknowledgments are missing, however, the sooner follow-up is done and acknowledgements are completed, the faster a proposal can be approved.
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FOR POTENTIALLY AFFECTED UNIT REVIEWERS

Once a proposal has been submitted, after the chair/director of the proposing unit approves the proposal, the Chair/Director of the potentially affected department/unit will receive an “Action Item” email, inviting you to log into the UW CM system to acknowledge that the department has seen the request.. Note, you can access the proposal via the email or via your action list:

Action List

Action List

This request should come to you after e-mail/phone conversations have already taken place to determine the type of curricular relationship that exists. The acknowledge request through the UW CM system is the final step in confirming that a course is joint, equivalent, overlapping, or if there is no curricular relationship (if this is the case, you will see your department name under Potentially Affected Department in the Curricular Relationship section).

Step 1.   Review the Proposing Department’s Addendum

Check if the proposing department has added any addenda that may be pertinent to your review.

Addendum Example from Proposing Department

Addendum Example from Proposing Department

Step 2.   Review the Curricular Relationship Section

Scroll down to the curricular relationship section to review the type of relationship you are being asked to acknowledge. The information in this section should not be new to you, it should reflect any conclusions you previously reached with the proposing department via e-mail/phone regarding the course being proposed.

If this information is new to you, we suggest you review the course syllabus (see Supporting Documents section) in order to determine which of the following categories applies:

JOINT: Courses offered under the sponsorship of two or more University units. One of the units is considered to be the primary unit (responsible for the administration of the course) and all the other(s) are considered to be secondary unit(s). If you are receiving this acknowledge request, you are one of the secondary units. For more information on joint courses refer to the Curriculum Office website.
EQUIVALENT: Courses are similar enough in content to be considered equivalent. Equivalent means that one course can substitute for the other and that credit may only be given for one of the courses should a student complete both.
OVERLAPPING: Courses are not equivalent, but the content is similar enough so that students should receive credit for only one of the two courses.
NO CURRICULAR RELATIONSHIP: Course content is not similar in any significant way and credit should be given for both courses independent of each other.

Step 3 – Acknowledge Proposal and Make a Comment

Acknowledge that you have reviewed the proposal and leave a comment that is as explicit as possible:

If you see your department name in the “Potentially Affected Unit” section, and you agree there is no overlap/equivalency relationship, acknowledge and make a comment that you agree there is no significant relationship.
If you agree with the relationship, acknowledge and make a comment that you agree with the joint/overlap/equivalency designation.

If you do not agree with the relationship or have significant concerns with the relationship and you want halt the proposal until these concerns are addressed, click “Acknowledge” and leave an explicit comment regarding your concerns and request that the proposal be held. UWCC will see this comment and act accordingly. (e.g. I have serious concerns with XXX aspect of the course and thus request this proposal be held by the UWCC until a conclusion is reached).

The UWCC will see this note and will put the course into pending status until one of the following takes place:

  1. The potentially affected department chair/unit director calls or e-mails the UWCO in order to release the hold on the course.
  2. The proposing department/unit calls or e-mails the UWCO in order to withdraw the proposal.
  3. Either department involved requests FCAS review of the issue, and a resolution is reached.

Note: There is no timer and no reminder emails are sent out. If the proposal reaches UWCC without any acknowledgement from the potentially affected department, the UWCC will process the course proposals as normal. Final approval will be held until at least four weeks after the initial request for overlap/equivalency check was sent. The date the initial overlap/equivalency check was sent should be indicated in the Proposal Tracking Comments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have concerns about the course I am being asked to acknowledge?

If you do not agree with the relationship orand have significant concerns with the relationship and you want halt the proposal until these concerns are addressed, click “Acknowledge” and leave an explicit comment regarding your concerns and request that the proposal be held. See above for details.

What if I want to change/edit my acknowledge comments?

Once you have acknowledged a proposal, there is no way to edit your comments unless the proposal is withdrawn by the proposer or sent back to the proposing department and re-submitted through workflow. If you believe the relationship is actually different to the one you originally acknowledged (e.g. you acknowledged an overlap relationship but want to change your acknowledgment to ‘no curricular relationship’), email the proposing department to explain the issue. They should withdraw and resubmit with your department in the correct relationship type. If the proposal has already progressed past the College/School level, you can email uwcr@uw.edu with the revisions. (See What if I receive new information about a curricular relationship (confirmation, new relationship or a change to relationship) after the proposal has been reviewed?)
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COMMENTING ON A PROPOSAL

There are three ways to comment on a proposal:

Decision Comments

Use Decision Comments to document details related to a specific decision being made during the approval process. Reviewers in workflow with ‘Approve’ or ‘Acknowledge’ action type will have the opportunity to add a comment to their decision. These show up in the Proposal Information section at the top of the proposal.

Addenda

Use Addenda to document information pertinent to the review process. These are formal comments that live at the top of a proposal, along with the workflow status image, that should be used to provide additional relevant information to proposal reviewers/approvers. Addenda can be added to a proposal by the submitting department (proposer and anyone the proposal is Shared with) only while the proposal is in a Draft state, prior to submitting the proposal for approval.

Proposal Tracking Comments

Use Proposal Tracking Comments to document administrivia related to the proposal. These live lower on the proposal, near the justification. Anyone with edit access to the proposal can add a proposal tracking comment, even in Review state.

Examples of Proposal Tracking Comments:

  • Proposing units can make note when they sent out the request for overlap/equivalency check.
  • Approvers can use this field to add comments about why their approval action is pending (e.g. waiting on xx department to acknowledge).
  • Approvers can use this field to add send back comments if they want them documented on the proposal (send back comments only go to the proposer).
  • Coordinators can note outstanding support details/materials needed.

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