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Curriculum Committe

The Mechanical Engineering Department Curriculum Committee is a standing committee responsible for providing direct faculty oversight of, and input regarding, issues related to individual course topics, curriculum content and structure for existing programs, new curriculum development, course scheduling, and new program development.


  1. Serve as an advisory group to the department chair and individual course coordinators on curricular matters. Accordingly, the membership should monitor emerging developments in mechanical engineering education at the national and international level, assess the curricular needs of M.E. Department constituents, and remain current with accreditation requirements. Recommendations from the committee may be formal or informal; solicited or unsolicited. In any case, they should be transmitted to the recipient in writing, with copies provided to the department chair. The scope of the advice can be broad: scheduling sequence, topic inclusion, order, or emphasis in individual courses, catalog content, etc. It does not include teaching performance issues or instructor assignments. If the committee makes formal recommendations, the department chair or other recipient is required to respond in writing on the actions taken as a result of the on the recommendations.

  2. Review new course applications (generally consisting of a draft course information form and course syllabus). If a course is not acceptable as originally submitted, return the application to the course coordinator with recommended changes. If the application is approved, the Curriculum Committee Chair should initial the departmental approval line on the form and forward the application to the department chair. In the unlikely event that a proposed course is unacceptable under any circumstances (outside the scope of the mechanical engineering profession, inadequate facilities, etc.), the committee should draft a memorandum, addressed to the course coordinator and copied to the department chair summarizing and justifying the decision.

  3. Review and approve program catalog descriptions and marketing materials.

  4. Evaluate course and curriculum-related outcome assessment data. Prepare a written section for the department’s annual assessment report (due June 30) that describes course and curriculum changes undertaken as a result of the assessment process.

  5. Undertake special curriculum-related projects at the request of the department chair or mechanical engineering faculty. Such projects may involve feasibility studies related to individual courses or course sequences, development of draft new program proposals, or surveys of benchmark institutions.

Scope of Authority

The scope of the Curriculum Committee’s authority includes all certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs administered by the Mechanical Engineering Department. It also includes service courses taught for other departments, and similar courses taught by other Departments for the Mechanical Engineering Department. As noted in the committee charge, the scope of authority does not include personnel matters related to courses.

The Mechanical Engineering faculty is responsible for all program curricula, and accordingly, recommendations from the curriculum committee involving significant changes to the structure, organization, or general requirements of the curriculum must be approved by a majority of voting faculty members. Here significant changes are defined to include modifications to required program courses, course order, elective requirements, and credit hour requirements. Approval is not required for changes to the schedule within a given semester, the timing of trailer sections of required courses, advising or record keeping forms, or elective offerings.

As chief academic officer of the department the department chair may formulate broad curriculum initiatives. Whenever practical, such initiatives should be reviewed by the curriculum committee for input before being brought to the full faculty.

For individual required courses, the course information form (CIF) and ABET course description are the official template under which the courses are to be structured and delivered. Full faculty approval is required for changes in catalog description, course number involving a level change (e.g., changing ME 421 to ME 521), credit hours, design content, required topics, and outcomes. Full faculty approval is not required for addition or deletion of non-required topics, changes in topic order, course number changes not involving a change in level, or textbook changes . The curriculum committee may make recommendations involving any of these issues.

For elective courses, full faculty approval is required for changes in outcomes, credit hours, design content, or level. Together, the course coordinator, curriculum committee, and department chair may authorize other changes. If there is a disagreement about a proposed change, either party may ask to bring the matter before the full faculty, where it will be decided by a binding vote.

Course or curriculum changes approved by the full faculty are considered binding, and the department chair is required to forward the changes to the Speed Scientific School Curriculum Committee. Individual faculty or faculty groups are not permitted to attach dissenting opinions to majority recommendations forwarded to the Speed Scientific School Curriculum Committee.


The membership of the Curriculum Committee shall consist of three (3) voting members of the Mechanical Engineering faculty, nominated and selected in accordance with standard election procedures. No more than two members will come from a single faculty rank or curriculum stem (thermal fluids/solid mechanics/biomechanics). No more than one member may be untenured. Members will serve three (3) year staggered terms, with one term expiring each year in August. Appointments may be renewed indefinitely. The Curriculum Committee Chair must be tenured, will be appointed by the Department Chair from among the committee membership, and will serve in the position at the Department Chair’s discretion.


The Curriculum Committee shall meet on an as-needed basis, with the committee chair making arrangements and establishing an agenda for the meeting. If accreditation issues are involved, meeting minutes should be taken, approved, and copied to the department chair and Assessment Committee. In addition to ad hoc meetings, the committee will hold one required meeting (or series of meetings, if necessary) will be held in April/May to:

  • Prepare a curriculum summary for the current cycle’s annual assessment report.
  • Review current-cycle outcome assessment data from the Program Assessment Committee.
  • Formulate curriculum recommendations (if any) for implementation in the following cycle.


  1. Approved by the Mechanical Engineering Faculty, 7/31/03.
  2. The department’s Administrative Assistant maintains the official departmental curriculum file. All significant committee actions should be documented in this file.
  3. A report to the entire faculty and associated meeting minutes satisfies the requirement for a written response report.
  4. The course coordinator should approve all textbook changes and the curriculum committee chair should be informed of such changes. If a course is taught by multiple instructors, textbook selection may be undertaken through collegial consultation, and the course coordinator is encouraged to consider the group feelings when endorsing a final selection.
  5. The matter may be revisited at a later time, under the following circumstances: (i) The course coordinator, curriculum committee, and department chair all agree to bring the matter back before the faculty. (ii) One year has passed, in which case the originator of the change must explain what to the faculty what new circumstances warrant reconsideration of the proposed change.
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