CEPP-Curriculum Committee Statement on Maximum Caps

Draft of 3/27/00

Following discussion by members of Academic Staff, CEPP and Curriculum Committee met three times to discuss a series of issues surrounding the establishment of maximum caps for courses at all levels of the curriculum. The following questions were central to our discussions:

The following summarizes the joint committee’s major conclusions and recommendations on each of these issues. A more detailed presentation of these discussions can be found in the minutes of two of the three joint meetings, which are posted at http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/curric/.

Equity concerns dictate that there should be a college standard for maximum caps, but the standards need to accommodate differences in pedagogy and support facilities. Therefore, the ranges for caps recommended below may not apply to courses whose caps are currently constrained by such considerations (e.g., science labs, expository writing courses, LS1 sections, studio arts, etc.)

The responsibility for establishing and maintaining maximum caps rests jointly with the faculty and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. The establishment of caps combines issues of faculty workload (administered by the Dean of the faculty) with curricular policy (the purview of the faculty).

The three factors most central to decisions about enrollment caps for courses include the demands of various pedagogical strategies, efficient use of teaching resources to meet student demand and workload equity across departments and programs. In light of current practice across departments, and in an attempt to accommodate pedagogies most common to 100-, 200- and 300-level courses (see Curriculum Committee Class Level Definitions at same web address cited above), the following caps are recommended:

100 level: 32-38

200 level: 27-33

300 level: 18-23

Given the specialized curricular role of colloquia designed as capstone experiences in the majors, these courses may be offered at a lower cap of 15.

In the interests of efficient use of teaching resources, the joint committees recommend that departments designate specific caps within these ranges and are encouraged to err toward the upper end of the ranges where possible

The joint committee recommends that maximum caps on courses be reviewed by the Dean of the Faculty’s office as each semester’s course schedule is planned. Faculty will also propose a maximum cap for each new course reviewed by Curriculum Committee. Should a faculty member wish to propose a cap that deviates from college standards, the proposal will be jointly reviewed by the Dean of the Faculty and the Curriculum Committee.