Course Alignment

Senate Charge to the GEOC

On May 12, 2003, the University Senate charged the GEOC with, among other things:

“monitoring periodically courses that satisfy General Education Requirements to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria adopted by the Senate; and reviewing the University-wide General Education program to ensure that its goals are being met and recommending changes to the Senate Curricula and Course Committee when appropriate.”

[for the full charge, see the University Senate By-Laws and the General Education Guidelines]

Course Alignment Purpose and Goals

Many of the courses in the General Education Curriculum were reviewed by the GEOC and approved between Spring 2004 and Spring 2005, in advance of implementation of the revised General Education Requirements in Fall 2005. With the support of the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee, the GEOC reviews the status of those courses in the curriculum to ensure that they continue to meet the general education goals for which they were approved.

The goals of this process include:

  • To ensure that each student’s general education experience meets the goals set out by the University Senate;
  • To verify that courses continue to satisfy general education guidelines as originally intended;
  • To encourage departments to engage with their general education courses.

Administration of the Course Alignment process

The GEOC understands the staffing and resource pressures that academic departments face.  As such, the alignment process uses a sampling approach rather than a review of all courses in the curriculum.

In order to effectively manage the process:

  • The Course Alignment project will be evenly spread out over a 6-year cycle beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year (previously a 5-year cycle).
  • Courses in the General Education Curriculum will be grouped by academic department.
  • Academic departments with courses in the General Education Curriculum will be on the Course Alignment schedule once in the 6-year cycle.
  • Only those courses that have not been reviewed by the GEOC in the previous 5 academic years will be in each department’s pool of courses to be reviewed (e.g. in AY 18-19, only those courses last approved by GEOC prior to AY 13-14 will be in the academic department’s sampling pool).
  • For each academic unit, only one course per Content Area or Competency will be reviewed.
  • Where possible, GEOC will randomly pre-select two courses from each Content Area or Competency represented by an academic department and will allow that department to choose one from each group.
  • For each academic unit, the largest enrollment course in an academic year will automatically be reviewed.
  • Where possible, at least one course reviewed for each academic unit will be offered at a regional campus.

6-Year Course Alignment Schedule

A 6-year schedule that includes all departments with courses in the General Education Curriculum has been developed. This schedule attempts to strike a balance in the number of courses to be reviewed by each Content Area and Competency subcommittee each year as well as to spread large departments across the 6-year schedule. This schedule allows for each subcommittee to work with academic departments throughout the Course Alignment process.

As noted in the Administration section above, only those courses that have not been reviewed in the previous 5 academic years will be in the sampling pool for each department.

The 6-Year Course Alignment Schedule for 2018-19 can be viewed here. After the 2018-19 academic year, the schedule will be revised to reflect changes and additions to university departments. The new schedule beginning in academic year 2019-20 can be viewed here.

Other Alignment Guidelines and Protocols

1.  Each Department Head will be asked to identify a liaison who will communicate with the GEOC Program Assistant and make alignment-related decisions.  The Department Head may choose to select him or herself as liaison.  Department liaisons will be responsible for:

  • Selecting courses for alignment from those identified by the GEOC as eligible
  • Communicating with course instructors about deadlines and responsibilities and conveying any information sent by the GEOC
  • Ensuring that the instructors of the selected courses submit the alignment forms completely and on time
  • Following up with the GEOC Program Assistant regarding any questions or issues with the course alignment project

2.  Once selected for alignment, a course may only be removed from consideration for the following reasons:

  • The course was approved but never taught.  (Departments should consider deleting courses that have been dormant like this for more than three years unless it appears likely they may be taught in the near future)
  • The only instructor who teaches the course is on sabbatical or has recently left the university (Department representatives may be asked to select a replacement course if this is the case)
  • It is discovered that the course has undergone review by the GEOC within the last five academic years.

3.   In cases where a course may be taught by several instructors, department liaisons should select one instructor to complete the alignment form.  This instructor is responsible for collecting up to five syllabi from other instructors to submit with the form. (i.e. If there are three sections of a course normally offered, the selected instructor will submit all three syllabi.  If there are 12 sections of a course normally offered, the selected instructor will collect and submit five syllabi.  The selected instructor may also wish to solicit feedback from other instructors during completion of the form.)

Course Alignment Form

Applicable forms will be emailed in Word document format to instructors who are selected to participate. Any instructor who does not receive these forms should email

Alignment Results and Follow-up

The GEOC Chair will email the results of the alignment to each Department Head in late Spring before the results are reported to the University Senate. Any questions can be directed to the GEOC Chair.

If a course is found not to align, the department is responsible for bringing it into alignment within a calendar year of notification. Proof of alignment must be submitted to GEOC.

If a course cannot be brought into alignment or the department objects to making the changes requested, GEOC may choose to begin a “De-designation” process, whereby the content area, competency, or literacy designation can be removed from the course by GEOC. This process has several steps and includes extensive communication with the department. For a full breakdown of the procedure, please email