Approval for Revised Special Major Program; Supersedes EM 01-009

Executive Memorandum 07-008

April 30 , 2007

From: Paul J. Zingg, President

Subject: Approval for Revised Special Major Program; Supersedes EM 01-009

SPECIAL MAJOR PROGRAM

Upon the recommendation of the Academic Senate and with the concurrence of the Provost, I approve changes to the Special Major Program, effective fall 2007.

POLICY

It is the policy of California State University, Chico to support the efforts of well-qualified students to design and pursue rigorous courses of study which cross disciplinary lines in such a way that no existing degree pattern is appropriate. There are two types of special majors: the General Special Major and the Discontinued Major -- for returning students wishing to complete a degree program that is no longer offered. The University treats all requests to graduate in a discontinued major as requests to graduate in a Special Major. The primary consideration in the approval of such courses of study is the quality of the program. In order to gain approval, the student must show that, as a graduate having completed a proposed course of study, she/he will reflect well upon the University. The Special Major Program has been established to evaluate proposals and administer courses of study which meet the intent of this policy.

ORGANIZATION

The Special Major Program is a component of undergraduate education administered by the School of Graduate, International, and Interdisciplinary Studies (GIIS). The organizational structure includes the Coordinator of the Special Major Program and the Special Major Committee.

The Special Major Committee is responsible for the evaluation and approval or rejection of individual General Special Major proposals and Discontinued Major Proposals. The Special Major Committee may also initiate proposals for changes to this document.

COORDINATOR

The Coordinator of the Special Major Program is appointed by the Provost in consultation with the Dean of GIIS.

The Coordinator administers the Special Major Program in consultation with the Special Major Committee and the Dean of GIIS. In addition, the Coordinator chairs the Special Major Committee and submits a report each April* to the Educational Policies and Programs Committee. At a minimum, this report must include the names of special programs under which students graduated the previous year and names of the special programs that were approved for students to pursue since the last report. A brief curricular summary should follow the title of each program approved.

*The Administrative Analyst/Specialist of the Academic Senate will send a reminder each March.

COMMITTEE

The Special Major Committee is structured as follows:

  • The Coordinator of the Special Major Program is a voting member and serves as Chair of the Committee.
  • After consultation with the Coordinator, the Dean of GIIS shall appoint one faculty member from each college. One of these faculty members should be a member of EPPC. All will serve staggered three-year terms. All are voting members.
  • One student is appointed by the Associated Students from a list of acceptable Special Major students provided by the Coordinator. The student is a voting member.
CRITERIA FOR THE APPROVAL OF A GENERAL SPECIAL MAJOR PROPOSAL

An acceptable student proposal must include

  • Evidence of a cumulative GPA of 2.5 with a minimum of 30 semester units completed prior to entry into the program;
  • Satisfactory evidence of unity, coherence, presence of intellectual principle and practicality;
  • Satisfactory evidence that the student's goals cannot be adequately met by an existing major;
  • A list of upper- and lower-division courses in the major, including an approved writing proficiency course and a minimum of 30 upper-division units;
  • An appropriate title for the proposed special major including approval by all department chairs/school directors and departmental curriculum committee chairs of units which offer courses that include important words from the proposed special major title in their course titles or course descriptions;
  • At least two signed faculty evaluations of the student proposal. By signing, the faculty indicate their willingness to serve as sponsors. Sponsors should be faculty with appointments in the two departments/schools from which the largest numbers of units have been selected for the proposed special major;
  • A recommendation and supporting statements, if necessary, from the Coordinator regarding the appropriateness of a BA versus a BS;
  • In addition to all general university graduation requirements, Special Major students will sign a statement agreeing that
    • Approval of a Special Major does not constitute waiver of any code requirements.
    • Courses used to meet General Education requirements may not also be used as a part of the special major.
    • Thirty units, not necessarily in the major, must be completed at California State University, Chico after the submission of the proposal.
    • Changes to an approved special major require the approval of all sponsors and the Coordinator.
    • Faculty advisors will be consulted each semester.
CRITERIA FOR THE APPROVAL OF A DISCONTINUED MAJOR PROPOSAL

Students seeking to graduate with a discontinued major will work closely with the Coordinator of the Special Major Program to devise an appropriate degree plan. Normally, petitions to graduate with a discontinued major will only be considered in cases where the student lacks 12 or fewer units in the discontinued major for degree completion.

An acceptable student proposal must include

  • Evidence of good standing with the University including at least a 2.0 GPA in major courses completed at the time of petitioning to complete the discontinued major;
  • Satisfactory evidence of unity, coherence, presence of intellectual principle and practicality;
  • A list of upper- and lower-division courses in the major, including an approved writing proficiency course and a minimum of 30 upper-division units;
  • An appropriate degree title, usually that of the discontinued major, indicating if the major is a BA or BS;
  • At least two signed faculty evaluations indicating approval of the proposed program of study. The relevant faculty should be 1) the faculty advisor with an appointment in the department from which the largest numbers of units have been selected for the proposed special major, and 2) the Chairperson of that department;
  • Approval by the Dean of GIIS or the Special Major plan;
  • In addition to all general university graduation requirements, Special Major students will sign a statement agreeing that
    • Approval of a Special Major does not constitute waiver of any code requirements;
    • Any changes in the approved special major require the approval of all sponsors and the Special Major Coordinator.
MODIFICATIONS TO THE SPECIAL MAJOR PROGRAM

Modifications to the Special Major Program are made in the same way as other programs, except that the Special Major Committee acts as the equivalent of a department curriculum committee.