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Student Initiated Courses (SICs)

Student-initiated courses are undergraduate Activity (ACT) courses, initiated by undergraduates, sponsored by a faculty member or members. They are subject to this Faculty Senate document. These are the rules:

  1. Student-initiated courses should be reviewed and approved according to established procedures for authorizing new student-initiated courses within departments and IDPs.

  2. Student-initiated courses may not be offered under the rubric of Directed Reading. Students do not receive directed reading or independent study credit for teaching an SI course.

  3. All proposals for SICs must include a designated faculty sponsor who accepts overall responsibility for the academic quality of the course, including instruction and evaluation. Faculty should be advised that if they plan to use undergraduates in any way in presenting material or in evaluating other students that they (the faculty) are assuming a major supervisory responsibility. Proposals for SICs should include a statement by the faculty sponsor about how she or he plans to fulfill that responsibility.

  4. Students who have an instructional role in a SIC should receive training by the Office of the  Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL).

  5. SICs may be offered for a maximum of 2 units, enrollment must be limited to a maximum of 20 students, grading option must be S/NC, and SICs must only count as activity courses in calculating the units required for the bachelor’s degree. The component type is ACT.

  6. The format for numbering SIC courses is SUBJECT + (number from 1 to 99) + the suffix SI. Example: FRENCH 22SI. SIC courses may not have 3-digit catalog numbers.

Important Notes re SICs:

  • Undergraduates leading an SI course are NOT entitled to units in directed reading or independent study for teaching the course. Directed reading and independent study units are reserved for legitimate academic work sponsored by a faculty member. For example, an SI course leader might arrange with the sponsoring faculty member for directed reading of academic materials used in preparing the class but not for teaching the class; such directed reading is at the discretion of the faculty member.

  • In order to sponsor a course, an instructor must have a teaching appointment in the sponsoring department. The course must be approved by the chair or director, or through whatever process the department has established for this purpose.

  • The only instructor(s) that may be set up in PS Schedule of Classes is/are the sponsor(s). Undergraduates must NEVER be set up as instructors. If the instructor/sponsor wants to appoint a grade proxy, then the usual rules concerning grade proxies apply. Undergraduates cannot be a grade proxy.