SFA Initiative Overview
Texas Common Course Numbering System - Legislative rule is expected to require all Texas schools to adopt course numbering according to TCCNS Standards. In anticipation of this ruling and the desire to control rollout timing to a manageable schedule, SFA plans to move forward with this change. Adjustments will begin in the fall term 2018 with an expected completion for the fall term 2020. Moving to the TCCNS numbering structure will allow for clearer transfer processing and planning for our transfer students. Course changes will be managed in the new Digarc curriculum and catalog software providing a significantly smoother process for course and program management.
CIP Code Updates - The Classification of Instructional Programs provides a taxonomic scheme that supports the accurate tracking and reporting of fields of study and program completions activity. This process will begin within each department and once a list of proposed changes are internally identified each respective Dean must give approval before going to the Associate Provost for approval and final review. Once approval is finalized CIP updates will be sent to the Registrar and Office of Institutional Research for action.
Single Summer Parts of Term - Summer terms will be transitioning into a single summer term with multiple parts. This single summer term will be built incorporating TCCNS and a new summer structure with updated scheduling and billing, for summer 2021. Refresher training for building summer schedules will be made available from the Registrar's office.
The deadline to complete all approval processes in time to meet Board of Regents and THECB approvals is MAY 24, 2019. This means that all departmental level approvals must be completed before this date. Approvals at the appropriate university-level committee (either the UG Curriculum Committee or the Graduate Council), Deans Council, provost, and president levels will occur in June 2019.
Planning for course mappings is encouraged to begin as soon as possible. Please see the SFA Initiative Timeline for the Texas Common Course Numbering System (PDF).
The Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS) is a voluntary, cooperative effort among Texas community colleges and universities to facilitate transfer of freshman and sophomore level general academic course work. Stephen F. Austin State University is a participant in this effort. The TCCNS provides a shared, uniform set of course designations for students and their academic advisors to use in determining both course equivalency and degree applicability of transfer credit on a statewide basis. When students transfer between two participating TCCNS institutions, a course taken at the sending institution transfers as the course carrying, or cross-referenced with, the same TCCNS designation at the receiving institution. For more information, including comparison tables from other TCCNS institutions, see http://www.tccns.org.
All TCCNS courses are identified by a four character course prefix representing the course type or academic discipline, followed by a four digit course number.
The first digit of the course number denotes the academic level of the course. The second digit represents the credit value of the course in semester hours. The third and fourth digits establish course sequencing and/or distinguish the course from others of the same level, credit value, and prefix.
TCCNS Numbering Process:
All course number changes need to occur in the same bulletin to avoid any confusion. By providing a consistent numbering structure and converting the entire catalog/bulletin to the TCCNS numbering structure, courses will be easily navigable and transferrable. To facilitate a smooth transition, courses changing only the prefix, number and/or title will be on a fast-tracked approval process.
The new software Digarc will assist the TCCNS implementation process. Digarc training will be available beginning October 2018. Planning for course mappings is encouraged to begin as soon as possible. Trainings will include software use and course proposal processes, as well as information relating to TCCNS, CIP and Single Summer Parts of Term.
Once Digarc is available, changes are welcome at any time prior to the set deadlines. More details on that entry process and screenshots of the process are included in the Digarc section of this website.
Changes are made by editing current proposals within the system. Core courses that have already been matched with the TCCNS standards are being added and edited by the Registrar's Office. Only those who need course title changes or have issues with the four digit course number will need academic unit input.
**TCCNS Fast Track Spreadsheet
Changes in Prefix Number, and Title are accomplished through an automated insertion into the system in place of requiring a course modification form for each course through Excel spreadsheets. Due to the new requirements for course fee justification, we also included a field to provide that information in the spreadsheet. Please return your completed spreadsheets (sent by email) to PMO@sfasu.edu by the May 24, 2019 deadline. **Please note, any changes to existing courses outside prefix, number, title or course fee justification will need to go through the Digarc Curriculog Course Modification form."
In regards to Variable Credit, SFA will move forward with the same structures as other Texas Universities by using the lowest hour at the first level. Full variable credit information will be listed for the coordinating board and the catalog will still display the entire range. Transcripts will display the correct hours.
All department level data was emailed to the Chairs and Deans from ITS. The files include all courses and all courses with a TCCNS mapping already in place separated. CIP code information is also provided in the data.
Selecting a course in Digarc will also provide any available TCCNS mapping from Banner.
Course changes and new course submissions will occur in the Digarc Curriculog product.
Digarc - Curriculum and Catalog Software
The Digarc product implementation completes in October 2018. Training and access become available the second week in October. The curriculum piece of the product (Curriculog) will be the tool utilized to manage curriculum changes including all TCCNS related change requests for the 2020 Bulletin.
Selecting the effective fall term in the course modification form will dictate which bulletin the changes take effect. Select the 2020 term, submit the changes to number, prefix, and/or title for the corresponding TCCNS course or continued TCCNS mapping structure for the courses without a direct TCCNS corresponding course.
A TCCNS field is available on the Digarc modification form displaying any mapping already available on the course for reference. If creating a new course for fall term 2019 and a TCCNS number is already designated, it can be entered in the provided TCCNS field to be updated manually by the Registrar's Office.
The software provides a secure online process that syncs with Banner, utilizes online forms, creates workflows, tracks status, tracks edits, includes course fees, reduces inefficiencies, accelerates the edit process, provides easier navigation, auditability, historical data access, and results in an electronic up to date catalog. Significant process improvements, added functionality, improved student access, elimination of costly printed materials, improved accuracy, and meeting compliance requirements are additionally expected from the software solution implementation.
The Classification of Instructional Programs code assigned to each course represents a federal discipline-based tracking and reporting structure for fields of study and program completions activity. CIP was originally developed by the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 1980, with revisions occurring in 1985, 1990, 2000, and 2010. The state of Texas also applies CIP as reporting identification for programs and courses. Texas additionally structures the public university Instruction and Operations Support formula funding process by discipline categories using inventoried course CIP values. Each Texas CIP-based discipline category generates different amounts of Texas formula funding.
The CIP code analysis process represents opportunity to leverage existing resources and strategically maximize state funding through accurate course CIP assignment. Coordinating the CIP code analysis process with the TCCNS implementation creates efficiency with a one-time course evaluation and minimizes the academic unit management and burden.
Submitting CIP codes changes will be addressed at the same time as the TCCNS numbering structure. The Digarc curriculum forms have a CIP code field for entry as part of course changes and additions.
Review the CIP Resources (PDF), including formula funding information, prior to determining CIP.
Single Summer Parts of Term
Single Summer Parts of Term is an alteration of the current multi-term summer structure (Maymester, Summer I, Summer II) to a single long summer term with multiple parts of term. SFA will be transitioning into a single summer term with multiple parts. This single summer term will be built incorporating TCCNS and a new summer structure with updated scheduling and billing, for summer 2021.
Course offerings typically designed for long semesters may be scheduled without alteration to course instructional format/length. (More diverse summer course offerings would be available because courses already prepared for long semester online delivery and/or not already condensed or appropriate for a six week schedule would be possible to schedule if desired by academic units.)
Students will be admitted to a single summer term in order to register for various parts of the term.
A single summer census day will exist for collectively reporting headcount, credit hours and faculty.
**Academic units need to rebuild the summer term schedule as no schedule roll is possible to manage this transition.
Communication to students and changes in the display of course schedules will be needed to reduce or eliminate the confusion regarding which part of term and date ranges are available for registration and class attendance.
Based on current administrative office workload, efforts required, necessary business process analyses and communications, the project success is expected to require intentional, dedicated and scheduled time and effort.
- Academic Course Guide Manual Summary of Changes 2018-2019 (PDF)
- Federal CIP Codes - more detailed descriptions
- Texas CIP Code Information
- THECB Course Inventory
- THECB Degree Program Inventory
More information will be added as soon as it becomes available.
To schedule information meetings with committee members, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Digarc?
It is a curriculum and catalog software which will create a smoother process for course and program management.
What courses need to change?
All courses will be require alterations to match TCCNS standards, the courses that are within the Core are those already relationally mapped to TCCNS standards.
Are these only number changes?
Courses may require more than simply a number change. The most important piece to match is the number and subject course prefix. Other schools moving to this model have not had directly matching titles and the THECB has not rejected any of the course titles.
Note: Some academic units have challenges with the current grouping of numbers and therefore may experience challenges determining the TCCNS mapped equivalent.
Do we only map core courses?
Every course offered by SFA will need to be mapped before any data entry or approval is completed. Each academic unit will be responsible for their unit's mapping and determinations levels.
Is it required to match the titles of existing courses with the titles of directly related courses in the ACGM, in addition to the prefix and number?
THECB Response: The prefix and number should match exactly. The title does not have to match exactly, but it should not differ so much from the ACGM title that it is unclear that it is the same course. The title should reflect the content of the course and effort made to ensure that it is clear to the students that the institutional course and the TCCNS/ACGM course are the same.
Is it required to move a course level if the content matches another level?
THECB Response: SFA is not required to move junior level courses to sophomore level because institutional course numbers are converted to the TCCNS. The determination of course level depends on curricular factors best determined by faculty in the discipline. This is especially true if the content is not an exact match and the levels (instruction and student learning) of the courses differ.
However, with that said, if a sophomore course in the TCCNS/ACGM is considered a content and level match to a junior course, then it would clarify equivalency to students if the courses are at the same level.
Some questions to ask when making the determination of level:
- When do students take the course - sophomore or junior year?
- Can the students easily meet the prerequisites for the course while their status is sophomore?
- Where does the course fit in a 4 year-by-year degree guide? If it is the 2nd year, then the faculty should consider making it a sophomore course.
- What is the institution's practice for transfer of the specific TCCNS/ACGM sophomore course? Is the transfer TCCNS/ACGM course equated or substituted for the institution's junior level course routinely? If this is a routine practice, then consider changing the level of the institutional course.
Is the usage of 7 in the third digit of non-standard freshman and sophomore classes required?
THECB Response: Per the TCCNS Guidelines, "Each institution may have a number of courses for which the designation of a common course number does not seem appropriate. It is imperative that care be given in the assignment of course numbers for those courses. Simply because a number is not currently being used as a common course number does not make it 'fair game' for assignment. In order to maintain purity in the system, non-common courses should be designated with a "7" in the third position of the number. For example, Cost Accounting might be assigned ACCT XX7X. This allows for use of up to 20 numbers in any program area at any institution. If there is need for more than 20 such courses in a particular area, then it may be that a different rubric should be used."
Other universities which have converted to the numbering system do not always conform to the guidelines for non-common courses. It does make the tracking of transfer patterns for courses more difficult and will be a problem if a common course is developed for a number that the institution is using for another course.
Example: There is a course in the ENGL section of the ACGM which allows for different topics to be taught under the same number.
ENGL 2341 - Forms of Literature (single-semester course)
The study of one or more literary genres including, but not limited to poetry, fiction, drama and film. Prerequisite: ENGL 1301 - Composition ENGL 2341 could be offered with different topics and accommodated with different section numbers. The title could be changed to reflect the content of the course. If the course in question is a special topic outside of those designated (British, American, World, Mexican American) in the ACGM, infrequently offered, not specifically required in a degree program, then using ENGL 2341 may be appropriate.
Depending on the nature of the courses, this approach should be considered for the mythology, film, introduction to literature, children's lit and other similarly diverse courses.
The prereq to 1350 (our 127) is 1314 (our 138). Currently 127 does not have this prereq, a decision on our part. We feel that our 129 is a better fit for EE majors than 138. After we make the change to TCCNS, must we also require 1314 as a prereq?
THECB Response: When MATH 1350 and MATH 1351 were developed and added to the ACGM, the prerequisite was thoroughly discussed and deem necessary for student success and understanding,. Before MATH 1350 and MATH 1351 were added, there were two courses for teacher education without the prerequisite and those were deleted. This was done to avoid confusion of the courses. A faculty group made these recommendations.
Your faculty asked: After we make the changes to TCCNS, must we also require 1314 as a prerequisite?
Yes, the perquisite of MATH 1314 is required, if the institution establishes/claims an equivalency with the ACGM/TCCNS MATH 1350 and MATH 1351.
The courses should be equivalent in required preparation. The prerequisites in the ACGM are not optional or discretionary. Student should have taken College Algebra and have it on their record or have taken a placement test and scored beyond College Algebra in their mathematics competencies, or some other documentation that would demonstrate equivalent preparation. An institution may add topics and learning outcomes, but they should not require less than is included in the ACGM.
What if there is a course at the 200 level similar in nature to one we have at the 300 level?
Decisions regarding direct course level mapping need to occur at the academic unit level. Best practice is to map your 300 level course to the corresponding 200 level course if the course content matches.
How do we manage Field of Study?
Changes are coming to Field of Study. If a FOS exists for your discipline, they will be required to bring in similar to the Core. More information will be available on FOS in the future. Find information on the FOS website listed in the Additional Resources section of this website.
Note the recent FOS Memorandum (PDF).
Is the fall 2019/spring 2020 curriculum deadline the same as the TCCNS deadlines?
TCCNS has a final approval due date of May 24, 2019, the 2019-20 curriculum due dates are based on each academic units' own deadline for course curriculum submissions and or approvals.
What is the administrative process once submitted?
CAPP has to be manually updated to match these adjustments requiring a heavy workload on the Registrar's office. The Bulletin will be developed immediately after all approvals. See the timeline as a reference to the additional work occurring after approvals.
Why are we doing this?
In anticipation of legislative ruling to require all Texas schools to adopt course numbering according to TCCNS standards.