1. Janelle, first of all, please tell our readers what you do for the University and how long you have been in that role?
My primary functions within the Office of the Provost deal with curriculum and policies. Since the University Catalog is primarily a collection of academic programs offered by LLU and academic policies, I am also responsible for managing the catalog and course updates. I have been in this role since January of 2011. Prior to this, I was the Director of University Records for 20 years. In that role, I became intimately familiar with all the programs and curriculums in the University which provided a good foundation for my current responsibilities.
2. The Catalog is probably one of the most sacred documents on university campuses across America. Why is that true at LLU?
I think the legal notice at the beginning of the catalog best answers this. The following is an excerpt from this notice. “This CATALOG is the definitive statement of Loma Linda University on the requirements for admission, enrollment, curriculum, and graduation. The University reserves the right to change the requirements and policies set forth in this CATALOG at any time upon reasonable notice.” To uphold our commitment to students, such changes need to be rare; but, there have been occasions when for licensure reasons a requirement is added to a program or a typo in the requirements is, which undermines the program integrity, must be corrected.
3. What types of guidelines do you have in publishing The Catalog?
WSCUC (regional accrediting agency) stipulates certain requirements that programs must meet. When a program is created, a WSCUC template addressing critical aspects of a program (e.g., program curriculum, faculty qualifications, library resources, financial resources) must be submitted for review/approval by the school and University-level approvers before being forwarded to WSCUC. Are there federal guidelines? Yes, programs must be in compliance with federal regulations (e.g., federal credit hour policy) in order for the program to be eligible for federal financial aid. Federal financial aid regulations also requires the catalog to declare the “normal length of program” for every program in the catalog and other “customer protection” regulations that must be adhered to. What types of things are we promising students when we publish a Catalog each year? We are committing to students a viable programs, via a written declaration of the expectations (curriculum and policies) they need to fulfill to successfully complete their chosen program and, for the majority of our programs, prepare them to sit for licensure exams. Also, that classes will be scheduled such that they can complete the program within the stated “normal length of program” as required by federal regulations.
4. What interesting things can we find in the Catalog if we are not course directors or have never perused it?
· General information about the University, such as its history, mission, values, etc.
· Academic programs, including, 1) the purpose of the program; what a graduate can expect to be able to do in terms of future employment, 2) expected learning outcomes
· Academic policies pertinent to both students and advisors.
· An alphabetical listing of faculty, identifying the school/department(s) in which they hold faculty appointments and the degrees they have earned, including the institution(s) from which each degree was obtained.
· Accrediting and approving agencies and the programs they accredit. Also contact information for each accrediting agency.
· LLU Board members and University administration
· School administration (deans and program directors) listing of school-level committees, and organizations providing clinical affiliations/practicums for students
· How to communicate with LLU – web pages and department phone/fax numbers for LLU in general and each school.
5. What are the deadlines for each Catalog?
Catalog updates must be submitted by the end of November. There is still work that both I and Academic Publications must do before publishing the catalog in early March preceding the new academic year. And please describe the process that an entry goes through to make it to the Catalog. After new programs and substantive program changes are processed by the department/school offering the program, the proposal is reviewed by the library and the Senior Vice President for Finance. Next, they are approved by University Academic Affairs Committee (UAAC), President’s Committee, and the LLU Board before being forwarded to WSCUC for review. Fully online or hybrid programs must also be reviewed/approved by the University-level Distance Education Committee and Learning & Technology Committee prior to approval by UAAC.
6. Surely, there are changes/edits even after the Catalog is “published”. How do you handle those?
Minor edits (e.g., typos or the name of a program director) can be changed after the HTML version of the catalog is published online until the PDF version is produced. The HTML version is published about two months prior to producing the PDF version. Programs are encouraged to work with the new catalog during this time. In doing so, typos tend to come to light. Once the PDF is produced, the catalog is “cut in stone” so to speak. University Records can then send the PDF version to the State of California to obtain approval to train veterans. The VA will only reimburse students for courses published in the catalog and they accept only one version per academic year. The Office of Financial aid can also build budgets for the new academic year and inform applicants of aid available to them should they choose to matriculate at LLU. Often student apply to more than one University and knowing what financial aid is available to them can play a significant role in the choice of the institution to attend. The Office of Financial aid must also submit required program information (such as length of program) to the federal government before they can release aid to students. Programs have been encouraged to create a topics course that can be used to teach an elective course on a topic that becomes relevant during the academic year or to meet a new licensure requirement.
7. How do you manage all the data that comes to your office? Do you use a software program, and if so, please tell us about it?
About three years ago, the University purchased a catalog software package called CourseLeaf. LLU purchased two modules of this software: 1) the content management system that contains most of the text in the catalog and 2) the Course Inventory Management system which provides a custom developed workflow for processing course proposals through the required approval steps. It also provides a custom workflow for processing program proposals which will be developed to meet LLU program approval process requirements once the course workflow is fully functional.
The catalog part of the software is also a workflow. Each page is assigned a school/department “page owner” who has the authority to edit pages. As each page is updated, the “page owner” submits it into workflow. This workflow is designed to accommodate each school’s approval process. The course workflow populates Banner (LLU’s student information system) with the updated information which is then automatically uploaded to the CourseLeaf catalog module. Programs can then revise their curriculums with the updated course information. Once the school academic dean signs off on each page, it flows to the Provost’s Office for review and then on to Academic Publications for final approval. Academic Publications is the official “catalog editor;” tasked with ensuring a consistent writing style is used throughout the entire catalog.