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Graduate Course Approval

U N I V E R S I T Y   O F   C A L I F O R N I A
January 15, 2008
Formal Ruling
The Rules Committee has been asked by Professor Anne Myers Kelley, Faculty Chair of the Graduate and Research Council to rule on whether the Graduate and Research Council has the authority to implement the proposed procedures to establish graduate emphasis areas and graduate groups and the graduate course approval procedures.
As described by Professor Myers Kelley, the Graduate and Research Council (GRC) has developed procedures for Faculty to follow to establish graduate emphasis area and graduate groups. The Graduate and Research Committee has also developed guidelines for GRC approval of graduate courses.
 At UC Merced, the Faculty of each school has course proposal approval authority before course proposals are submitted to the Undergraduate Council. The Faculty of each school is a Bylaw 55 unit. Currently there are no Graduate Groups at UCM, although there are nine graduate emphasis areas, some of which have prepared Graduate Group proposals that have been submitted to the System-wide Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs.
Regents Standing Orders, Section 105.2(b) provides:
The Academic Senate shall authorize and supervise all courses and curricula offered under the sole or joint jurisdiction of the departments, colleges, schools, graduate divisions, or other University academic agencies approved by the Board, . . .
The Faculty of each School officially operates as a single Bylaw 55 voting unit, i.e., the Faculty is not divided into separate departments for purposes of conducting the business of the Faculty. Thus, in exercising the responsibilities of the Faculty as members of the Academic Senate, each Faculty operates both as a department, which is the first level of Faculty decision-making and voting rights within the meaning of Academic Senate bylaw 55, and as the intervening governing body of the School or College, which acts as an agency of the Divisional Academic Senate.
Academic Senate Bylaw 312A provides that,
Each Division shall approve and supervise all courses of instruction and curricula in the colleges and schools of the Division, except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws or the Standing Orders of The Regents [See Bylaw 51.] In the discharge of this duty the Division shall provide for appropriate consultation with the Chancellor or a designated representative. 
Academic Senate Bylaw 51 provides that,
[Protected -- see Bylaw 116.E] No change in the curriculum of any college or school shall be made by any legislative agency of the Academic Senate until the proposed change has been submitted to the formal consideration of the Faculty concerned.
UC Merced Bylaws Part II. Section D, sixth bullet provides that,
Graduate and Research Council corresponds to the Assembly committees on Graduate Affairs, Research Policy, Library, and University Extension (graduate programs).
UC Merced Divisional Bylaws Part II. Section 4.D first and sixth bullets1 provide that the Graduate and Research Council
Exercises administrative and coordinating functions in the Graduate Division at Merced in accordance with Senate Bylaw 330.
* * *
Acts on behalf of the Division in reviewing recommendations from the Graduate School concerning the award of graduate degrees, certificates, and honors (see Bylaw IV).
UC Merced Divisional Bylaws. Part III. Section 1.B first bullet2 provides that,
Graduate study and higher degrees are subject to the rules and coordinating powers of the Graduate Council
In the context of the UCM Divisional Bylaws, this delegation of authority over graduate study should be interpreted as a reference to the Graduate and Research Council. Academic Senate Bylaw 330, which is referred to in UCM Divisional Bylaw, Part II, Section 4.D, describes the responsibilities of divisional graduate councils. This reference makes it clear that the UCM Graduate and Research Council functions as the divisional graduate council. Thus, graduate studies and higher degrees are subject to the rules and coordinating powers of the Graduate and Research Council. Review of graduate curricula and courses is an inherent part of that delegated authority.
UC Merced Divisional Bylaws, Part II. Section 4.B. III, ninth bullet3 describes the Undergraduate Council authority over courses:
Reviews, coordinates, and takes final action on all matters relating to courses of instruction, including approval of new courses and modification, withdrawal, conduct, credit valuation, and classification of existing courses. Consults with and advises departments and individual members of the Division on courses of instruction.
We note that this language broadly encompasses all courses. The Divisional Bylaws do not contain a provision to separately address graduate courses.
The UC Merced Graduate and Research Council is delegated authority to establish rules for graduate education. Thus, the Research and Graduate Council has the authority to establish procedures for the review and approval of graduate emphasis areas and graduate groups. The Graduate and Research Council is also empowered to review proposals for graduate courses and to establish procedures for its internal review of graduate courses.
The UCM Divisional Bylaws expressly delegate all Divisional course approval authority to the Undergraduate Council. While the authority to approve courses rests with the Undergraduate Council, the exercise of that authority can be informed by course approval or rejection by the Graduate and Research Council.
UC Merced Committee on Rules and Elections:
Martha Conklin, Chair
Daniel Simmons, Vice Chair (UC Davis)
Teenie Matlock
Jean Olson (UC San Francisco)
1 Second through fifth and seventh bullets provide for other duties of the Graduate and Research Council.
2 Second and third bullets provide for other powers.
3 First through eighth, tenth and eleventh bullets provide for other duties of the Undergraduate Committee; sixth through eighth, tenth and eleventh bullets explicitly mention undergraduate duties.