The guidelines and procedures have been developed by the Common Course Numbering Committee in response to the Board of Regents resolution directing the development of common course numbering. The guidelines will be used to initiate the common course numbering database; they will also be used to monitor and update the system. Each institution has a representative on the Common Course Numbering Committee, and questions about the guidelines and procedures can be directed to this person. All stakeholders are part of the process. Comments and suggestions are welcomed.
The committee has developed the following five guidelines:
The discipline committee members are to decide which courses are common among NSHE campuses. Common courses are defined as those courses that, regardless of current title, number or status of the course as upper or lower division, have comparable content with essentially common expectations regarding student performance upon completion of the course.
Each discipline committee must create a “generic” course description that will set the parameters for each course judged to be “common.” An institution may develop a course description that varies from the generic description, but the description must fall within the boundaries of the generic course description. Each institution and the Chancellor’s Office will ensure that the transfer status of common courses will be published for students in appropriate documents.
Courses not deemed “common” are defined as unique courses. If a course is unique, each institution assigns the prefix, number, and title. The assigned number and title for unique courses must differ significantly from those used for common courses.
All discipline committees are expected to develop common course numbering for courses deemed to be “common courses.” As of April 24, 2001, common courses must have the same prefix, number, and title.
There is to be agreement among the institutions on the prefix for each discipline. All prefixes should be between two to four letters. The department name and prefix need not be the same. For example a department at CCSN is called Philosophical and Regional Studies (PRS). This department does not offer courses with the prefix PRS. The department offers courses such as HIST 101, ECON 101, and PHIL 102.
While it is impossible to specify all criteria that each discipline can use to determine whether a course is defined as a lower division or an upper division course, the following points are to serve as the framework within which discipline committees will conduct discussions about upper and lower division placement of courses.
1. The universities of the state of Nevada have the primary responsibility for their curriculum.
2. The community colleges of the state of Nevada likewise have primary responsibility for their curriculum.
3. To achieve common course numbering within the framework established by the first two points, if there are cases where courses of comparable content are taught at the upper and lower division levels across the institutions and if there is evidence from other colleges and universities that the course is generally accepted as a lower division course, the discipline committee shall do one of three things:
- Develop a lower division/upper division articulation agreement, as covered in Guideline 3, number 4.
- Have the university or universities make changes to the upper division course, including developing a new title and course description, that demonstrate that the course is unique and substantially different from the course taught at the community colleges.
- Refer the determination of whether the course is unique to the next level in the procedures to allow the issue to be resolved.
4. A lower division course may be accepted as equivalent to an upper division course under special conditions such as, but not limited to:
- The course is introductory or generally accepted by baccalaureate institutions as appropriate for lower division, even though the course is listed as a 300-level or 400-level course in Nevada .
- Conditions for accreditation or the offering of majors and minors in a particular field require an upper division designation for some introductory courses.
5. The transferring student will not be required to retake a successfully completed course that has been accepted as equivalent to a course listed as upper division. The department at the receiving institution may, however, require that all students transferring into its program complete a subsequent course with a passing grade before awarding credit for the lower division course.
6. Accepting a lower division course as an upper division course does not necessarily mean the course counts toward the minimum number of required upper division credits.
7. The intent of the guidelines is to have institutions work together on behalf of students. Nothing in the guidelines is meant to abrogate transfer agreements already achieved between community colleges and the universities.
Courses accepted as “common” by discipline committees must have a common prefix, number, and title. The discipline committee is to recommend the appropriate prefix, number and title that will be used by all institutions within the system. This is summarized in the following table.
Is the course comparable to an existing course?
Can assign the same or different prefix. Courses must have the same prefix.
Assign different numbers to courses. Courses must have the same number.
Assign different titles to courses. Courses must have the same title.
Assign different descriptions to courses. Courses should have the same description.
If a course is new to an institution and not unique to the common course numbering system, the prefix, number and title shall conform to the common course agreement. New, unique courses shall not use common numbers and titles. If two different disciplines wish to teach the same course (e.g., the departments of history and music want to teach a course on the history of rock and roll), the issue of creating appropriate titles will be determined by the institution’s internal policies.
If a course is accepted as common across two or more institutions and the course is cross-listed with courses from other disciplines at either institution, the courses in the other disciplines do not have to have the same title. However, if a “common” course is not cross-listed, courses from other departments cannot have the same title. For example, if Introduction to Statistics from the psychology department is deemed to be a common course, then other departments may not use the title Introduction to Statistics for their courses. One way to eliminate this difficulty might be to include the discipline’s name in the title, as in Introduction to Psychology Statistics, Introduction to Sociology Statistics, or Introductory Statistics in Economics. These courses can be equivalent for transfer purposes, even if they are not deemed to be common courses. The general rule is that different courses may not have the same title, even if the prefix and number differ.
Courses developed after the implementation of the common course numbering system are expected to follow the same guidelines to ensure that new courses fall within the purview of these guidelines. Each institution shall include steps in the review of new courses to determine if the course is “unique” or “common” in consultation with the appropriate discipline committee.
Academic faculty within each discipline have the primary responsibility in the decision-making process. The following steps should guide the decision-making process.
Academic discipline representatives from each institution will determine common courses, and agree upon common numbers and titles for those courses. The guidelines for common course numbering provide information on the specific requirements for completing this task.
A reasonable, but short period of time, will be allowed for discipline committee representatives to discuss the recommendations of the discipline committee with their departments.
In instances where discipline committees cannot agree on course numbers, another meeting will be held with academic discipline representatives and a member of the common course numbering committee in order to facilitate a consensus.
If the issues still are not resolved, the Common Course Numbering Committee or the designated body will set a meeting of department chairs for the specific discipline in question. The department chairs will be asked to resolve all outstanding course number issues. If the discipline committee is comprised of department chairs, this step may be omitted.
If department chairs are not able to resolve issues, the courses in question will be referred to the Academic Affairs Council for assistance in finding a resolution of disputed courses. This group is the final appeal for issues in dispute.
The list of courses and numbers determined to be common will be brought back to the institutions for fast track approval through each curriculum committee. The fast track approach will involve support from the Chancellor’s Office, but each discipline committee representative has the primary responsibility for ensuring the courses are placed before the curriculum committee.