Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

Sample Proposal – Correct Format

Sample Course Proposal 1

(New Course Proposal)

Department of English

Course Title: Introduction to Literature

Course Number: ENG 1XX

Course Credits: 3 semester hour credits


Currently the Department of English offers several introductory literature courses, i.e., Eng104 Introduction to Nonfiction, Eng105 Introduction to Poetry, Eng106 Introduction to Fiction, and Eng107 Introduction to Drama. These courses, each focusing on a major genre of literature, have been listed as having these “Attributes”: “CSUS Common Course, Hum Gen Ed – Literature, English Dept Lit Course.” Of these courses, Eng106 Introduction to Fiction (W) has typically been taught for the Megasection program when the Department of English runs it every spring.

While Eng106 Introduction to Fiction (W) has helped many students further develop their abilities to read, think, and write about fictional texts as well as meeting the general educational requirements, it is limiting due to its focus on one of the four major genres of literature. There is a real need to design a new course which gives students broader exposure to literature, i.e., all four major genres. This proposed new course will not only help satisfy the general education requirements for many students, but also give them a broad and rigorous exposure to literature and prepare them for more focused and in-depth study of literary genres, e.g., poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction.

This proposed new course is not to replace, but to add to the slate of introductory literature courses the Department of English offers so that students have more viable choices of courses that will better meet their educational needs and career goals.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to literature and its major genres: fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction. By examining the nature, structure, and key elements of literature and reading and analyzing a wide selection of literary texts from major literary genres, this course will enhance students’ abilities to appreciate, understand, and critique literature as embodied in its major modes of expression of the human condition. Not for major credit. Every semester. Prerequisite: None. General Education: Critical Thinking

Course Objectives

1. To introduce students to literature as a significant expression of the human condition;

2. To introduce students to the nature, structure, and key elements of the major literary genres such as fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction;

3. To introduce students to a wide range of works in all four major literary genres;

4. To help students develop abilities to read, think, research, and write critically about literary texts in their literary, cultural as well as historical contexts.

Learning Outcomes

At the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of literature as an artistic form;

2. Recognize the key elements of the major literary genres (fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction);

3. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of representative works in fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction;

4. Interpret works of fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction in their literary, cultural as well as historical contexts.


Faculty will employ frequent quizzes, written assignments, tests and other activities to assess the learning outcomes.

Critical Thinking Competency


Critical thinking is an intellectual and analytical activity through which students develop the ability to recognize, examine, critique and synthesize arguments. It consists of two key components: acquiring the skills to assess the clarity, accuracy, relevance, and strength of arguments, and developing habits of mind to utilize those skills. Courses in critical thinking move beyond the mere acquisition of information to the examination of the nature and effectiveness of argument within a specific discipline.


Upon completion of the Critical Thinking Competency, students will be able to:

  1.  Recognize arguments: Students will distinguish between arguments and unsupported claims or opinions, and identify the central claim of an argument;In English courses, students will develop critical thinking skills through close readings of texts (poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction) in their pertinent literary, cultural, and historical contexts. Through class discussions, they will learn to recognize their own and peers’ claims about the texts and analyze those claims for credibility (i.e., distinguish unsupported opinions from arguments). In writing assignments (including but not limited to journal entries, in-class writing, response papers, Blackboard posts), they will identify the central claim of an argument pertaining to a specific aspect (e.g., symbol, image, setting, character) of the literary text.
  2.  Analyze arguments: Students will determine the components of a given argument and their relation to the whole;Through class discussions and writing assignments (which may take the form of in-class writing, Blackboard posts, response papers, journal entries, or the essay portion of an exam), students will be asked to develop an overall interpretation of a text (for example, on the topic of race, ethnicity, and gender in Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior or Maya Angelou’s poems) that contains supporting arguments.
  3. Critique arguments: Students will evaluate assumptions and the quality and reliability of evidence. They will apply relevant criteria for evaluating different types of arguments, including potential counter-arguments;Students will critique arguments by evaluating how well these arguments are supported by textual and contextual evidence. They may do so in a journal entry, Blackboard post, response paper, or an essay portion of an exam.
  4. Synthesize arguments: Students will formulate good arguments, which justify positions by bringing together reasons and evidence in a coherent structure that provides persuasive support for a conclusion; andStudents will learn to synthesize their readings of the various aspects of a literary text (e.g., metaphor, character, theme) in order to formulate a convincing argument grounded clearly and specifically in the text as well as its pertinent literary, cultural, and historical context. Students will present this overall argument with appropriate support in a coherent structure that may take the form of an essay, response paper, etc.
  5.  Apply arguments: Students will apply critical thinking through a discipline-specific method.Students will apply critical thinking in an in-class presentation, response paper, Blackboard post, etc. by analyzing at least two critical perspectives on a literary text.

Topical Outline

I. Literature

A. Definitions and perspectives

B. Reading, thinking, and analyzing literature

C. Major genres

II. Fiction

A. Basic elements of fiction—form, language, history

B. Reading, thinking, and analyzing fiction

C. Selection of fiction writers/works

III. Poetry

A. Basic elements of poetry—form, language, history

B. Reading, thinking, and analyzing poetry

C. Selection of poets/poetry

IV. Drama

A. Basic elements of drama—form, language, history

B. Reading, thinking, and analyzing drama

C. Selection of playwrights/plays

V. Nonfiction (literary/creative)

A. Basic elements of nonfiction—form, language, history

B. Reading, thinking, and analyzing nonfiction

C. Selection of nonfiction writers/works

Time Provision for Incorporation into the Program

This course will be offered beginning Fall 2016.

Grading Option


Resources Needed

The current holdings in the WCSU Library are adequate for the readings assigned in this course.

No additional staff, computer hardware, or software is required for this course.




Sample Course Proposal 2

(Aligning an Existing Course with General Education Competencies)

Western Connecticut State University

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences


Proposal for a New Course

Course Title: Scientific Inquiry In The Field for Biology Majors

Course Level: Bio2XX

Course Credits: 4 semester hour credits (45 hours lecture and 45 hours lab).



This biology majors course meets the scientific inquiry competency general education requirements for the undergraduate degree. Scientific Inquiry In the Field for Biology Majors introduces students to field biology techniques, biodiversity literature and associated professional organizations, relevant internship opportunities, and introductory level biodiversity analysis. This course immerses students in an outdoor laboratory setting and focuses on natural history, discovery through observation, and the conservation and management of biodiversity. Students use the outdoors as a laboratory from which to observe, record, and test natural phenomenon.

Course Description:

Scientific Inquiry In The Field for Biology Majors will teach students to use appropriate field biology sampling techniques, to record observations, and build hypotheses through inductive and deductive processes. Students will be expected to use quantitative and qualitative reasoning that will be documented in their field journals. Through the activities of this course students will participate in established conservation or field management programs. Students will be required to keep an accurate and detailed field journal. This journal will also include records of lab activities, as well as descriptions and drawings of species and habitat accounts.


Bio104 with a minimum grade of C- or better, WRT 101 grade of C- or better, an additional travel fee may be required.

Student Learning Outcomes Aligned to SI Competency:

Science is a way of knowing based on empirical observation and verification. Scientific inquiry involves asking appropriate questions, designing and implementing strategies to answer those questions, and interpreting and explaining the results within a disciplinary/theoretical context.

Upon completion of the Scientific Inquiry Competency, students will be able to:

a. develop a research question or hypothesis using induction or deduction through field observation and historical literature (activity 4a-d).

b. design and implement an appropriate strategy to address their research question within the limits of the study location and with available field techniques (activity 4a-d).

c. to interpret the results using appropriate graphical and statistical analyses (activity 5a-e).

d. effectively communicate and defend out comes in a lab report that includes the citing of the contextual literature (activity 4c and 5d).

Student Learning Outcomes Aligned to Biology Department Learning Objectives:

2d. The student will convey their understanding of biology orally through small group presentations at the intermediate level (activity 4c and 5d).

b. The student will describe the interrelationships between science and society at the intermediate level by analyzing interrelationships between the science of biodiversity conservation and local society through a response paper (activities 6a -6e).

c. The student will use quantitative reasoning at the intermediate level by applying the appropriate statistical/model/ graphical approach correctly in their lab report of  biodiversity data (activity 5a-e).

Assessment plan:

Courses assessment tools may include exams, quizzes, field journals and written reports. A standard grading scheme (A – F) will be used.



In the short term, Theodora Pinou, a tenured member of the department, is available to teach this course. She currently teaches a similar non-majors course, and this class will expand the students she serves by including biology majors. Other faculty in the department also participate or lead field research programs and are qualified to teach this course at different locations.


All field equipment is available or will be provided by visiting field stations.


All activities will take place under the permission of associated field stations or appropriate custodians of hosting property.


The WCSU library holdings are adequate for this course. Appropriate Field Stations maintain libraries that will be available to WCSU students.

Impact on students.

This is an opportunity for Biology majors to be immersed in the field, engage in authentic field biology practices, and meet other professionals in the field that may lead to future internships. The course provides opportunity for scheduled instruction to occur outside of the traditional classroom at non-traditional times, such as weekends, and breaks. An extra travel fee to cover associated transportation, meals and lodging, may be collected from students participating in field experiences away from the WCSU campus.


Example of a possible course outline, based on the Costa Rica field experience. This outline can be modified to accommodate other field experiences:

  1. The Naturalist – some examples (These can vary)
    1.  Alexander von Humboldt (1769 – 1859)
    2.  Alfred Moquin-Tandon (1804 – 1863)
    3.  Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882)
    4.  David Carroll (1942 )
  2. Documenting Biodiversity
    1. Plants and drawings
    2. Vertebrates and photography
    3. Sound and Cornell’s Library of Ornithology
    4. Journaling
    5. Museums and collections
  3. Sampling Biodiversity
    1. Terrestrial habitats
    2. Aquatic habitats
    3. Marine habitats
    4. Biodiversity Indexes
  4. The Power Of Field Observation
    1. Examining and documenting phenomenon
    2. Stating a Hypothesis
    3. Making a Prediction
    4. The Alternative Hypothesis
  5. Analysis of data
    1. Tabulation of data
    2. Descriptive Statistics
    3. Graphical representations of information
    4. Conclusions
  6. Conservation Laws and Practices
    1. The importance of community engagement and education
    2. Case studies in conservation
    3. Government intervention
    4. Ecotourism and sustainable conservation
    5. Citizen Science


There is a target of offering the course every two years, in the even numbered spring semesters.

This course may be offered as early as Spring 2018.

Resources and Texts: To be determined by the instructor

Grading: Standard grading