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Core Requirements

Compliance Certification Report
Core Requirement 2.7

Last Updated August 17, 2004
(static edition)

Core Requirement 2.7:

The institution

2.7.1 offers one or more degree programs based on at least 60 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the associate level; at least 120 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the baccalaureate level; or at least 30 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the post-baccalaureate, graduate, or professional level. The institution provides a written justification and rationale for program equivalency;

2.7.2 offers degree programs that embody a coherent course of study that is compatible with its stated purpose and are based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education;

2.7.3 offers a general education program at the collegiate level that is (1) a substantial component of each undergraduate degree, (2) ensures breadth of knowledge, and (3) is based on a coherent rationale. For degree completion in associate programs, the component constitutes a minimum of 15 semester hours or the equivalent; for baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours or the equivalent. These credit hours are to be drawn from and include at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts; social/behavioral sciences; and natural sciences/mathematics. The courses do not narrowly focus on those skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession. The institution provides a written justification and rationale for course equivalency;

2.7.4 provides instruction for all course work required for at least one degree program at each level at which it awards degrees.  If the institution makes arrangements for some instruction to be provided by other accredited institutions or entities through contacts or consortia, or uses some other alternative approach to meeting this requirement, the alternative approach must be approved by the Commission on Colleges. In all cases, the institution demonstrates that it controls all aspects of its educational program.

The Institution Certifies Compliance: Yes

Compliance report completed by: Audit Team 4

Statement of Rationale for Judgment of Compliance:

2.7.1. Degree Programs

The University of Memphis offers 58 undergraduate programs (majors), 48 programs at the Master’s level, and 21 at the doctoral level; the Juris Doctor (J.D.); an Education Specialist (Ed.S.); and four graduate certificates. [1] The Tennessee Board of Regents policy on undergraduate degree requirements [2] states “all baccalaureate degrees offered by institutions in the State University and Community College System of Tennessee shall require a minimum of 120 semester credit hours.” Degree requirements for each undergraduate program, none less than 120 hours, are presented in the undergraduate bulletin along with a typical four-year sequence of study. Graduation analysts in each college certify that degree requirements are met at the time of a student’s graduation. [3]

At the graduate level, the UofM requires a minimum of 30 hours for each master’s degree, although some programs require more. [4, 5] Minimum degree requirements for each program are presented in the graduate bulletin. [6] Prior to graduation, each student must submit a Master’s Degree Candidacy Form, signed by the major advisor, graduate coordinator, department chair, and the college director of graduate studies, to certify that all degree requirements have been met. [7]

For the doctoral degree, the UofM requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, although some programs require more. Minimum degree requirements for each program are presented in the graduate bulletin. [8] Doctoral students must submit an approved Doctoral Degree Candidacy Form before enrolling in dissertation hours. To be certified for graduation, each student’s entire program, including the dissertation, must be approved by the dissertation committee, unit head and/or director of graduate studies in the student’s college, and the assistant vice provost for graduate studies. [9]

Graduate and undergraduate bulletins are available on-line and are updated once each year.

2.7.2. Coherent Course of Study

Requirements for undergraduate and graduate programs at the UofM, including composition and sequence of courses, conform to commonly accepted standards and practices of higher education institutions.  Programs are first developed by faculty at the department or unit level in response to a stated need. [10] Prior to approval, they are evaluated by college committees, a university committee, [11] the governing board (TBR), [12] and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) [13] according to “the role and scope as set forth in the approved mission of the institution (THEC, A1.1, 1.1.20A, [14] and UofM Curriculum policy [15]). For program approval, THEC policy requires that “the curriculum…be adequately structured to meet the stated objectives of the program, and reflect breadth, depth, theory, and practice appropriate to the discipline and the level of the degree.” Evaluations by outside consultants are often required by the governing board (TBR) and the higher education commission (THEC) prior to the approval of any new program at the UofM. [16]

Once implemented, all university degree programs are periodically evaluated either by peer review or by an accreditation process. [17, 18]  Peer reviews are completed in accordance with procedures that meet the standards of the THEC assessment program entitled THEC Performance Funding. [19]

Responsibility for maintaining program currency rests with the department or unit offering the program and any changes to existing programs, such as graduation requirements or new courses, must be approved through the university’s curriculum approval process. [20] Substantive changes involving 18 hours or more must be approved by the governing board in addition to the university’s curriculum approval. Only approved changes are included in the university bulletins and website, academic inventory, academic records, diplomas, and other means of communications and documentation.

Coherence with customary elements of baccalaureate and graduate degrees is shown in each program description contained in the university bulletins. At the undergraduate level, each program of study is defined for the following areas: University General Education Requirements, College and Degree Requirements, Major and Concentration Requirements, and Electives and Other Requirements. [21] Additionally, a suggested typical sequence of courses is offered to guide students semester by semester through a four-year program of studies.  At the graduate level, bulletin information for each program describes complete degree requirements (major core, concentrations, and electives), research requirements, extra-disciplinary experiences, culminating experiences, examinations, thesis and non-thesis options, and residency requirements. [22]

2.7.3. General Education

The General Education Program promotes a shared core learning experience for all undergraduate students at the University of Memphis and provides a framework upon which the college major can be built. The major purpose of the program is to provide students the opportunity to acquire tools, develop skills and awareness necessary for completing a college career and assuming the roles of a lifelong learner and an active, informed participant in contemporary society.

The present UofM General Education Program is the product of an extensive process of study, discussion, and curricular development influenced to a great extent by national reports on the state of higher education.

At the foundation level, any UofM course for which all students receive degree credit presumes and does not replicate the Basic Academic Competencies defined by the Education Equality Project of the College Board (the Green Book) as what a student needs to know and be able to do upon college entry. [23, 24]

The official philosophy of the General Education Program was adopted by the Faculty Senate (then called Academic Senate) in 1986. [25] The program was founded on the conviction that all UofM undergraduates should receive a broad general education as well as a specialized education. This was best achieved not by long lists of courses (or a “smorgasbord” approach), but with a curriculum carefully selected to ensure that the Faculty Senate’s goals were achieved. For this reason, all courses in the curriculum had to be approved by a broadly representative general education committee consisting of faculty from each of the undergraduate colleges and schools. The committee believed that general education courses should be rigorous and well-taught. Thus, the program stipulated pedagogical criteria for general education courses that incorporate writing and computation, active learning, experiencing cultural and enriching campus activities, and building upon rather than repeating what was learned in high school.

The UofM General Education Program consists of 48-51 hours of coursework in the following categories.

  • English Composition (6 hours)
  • Oral Communication (3 hours)
  • Mathematics (3-6 hours)
  • Literary Heritage (3 hours)
  • Fine Art Heritage (3 hours)
  • Historical/Philosophical Heritage (6 hours)
  • American Heritage (6 hours)
  • Social Science (6 hours)
  • Natural Science (8 hours sequence courses)
  • Fitness and Wellness (4 hours)

The approved courses for each area are listed here [26] and the rationale behind each area is described in the General Education Manual. [27]

In 2002, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) formed an ad hoc committee to establish a common lower division (freshman and sophomore level) general education core to be fully transferable among institutions within the TBR system. [28] This program, which replaces the existing general education program at the UofM, will become effective for freshmen entering the university beginning fall 2004. The new TBR general education core consists of 41 hours, 7-10 hours less than the current program, but has essentially the same requirements except for the fitness and wellness component and one less humanities course. The new program is described in the Proposal for the Establishment of Lower Division General Education Core. [29] The courses comprising the new general education curriculum are contained within the following subject categories:

  • Communication (9 hours)
  • Humanities (9 hours) (At least one course must be in literature.)
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences (6 hours)
  • History (6 hours)
  • Natural Sciences (8 hours)
  • Mathematics (3 hours)

UofM courses fulfilling these areas are listed here. [30]

2.7.4 Instructional Arrangements

The University of Memphis provides students with additional learning opportunities through contractual studies and agreements, such as the joint graduate program in Biomedical Engineering offered by the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences, [31, 32] and the Regents Online Degree Program. However, students participating in these programs must meet all requirements of the University of Memphis.

The University of Memphis has an agreement with Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC), a sister institution within the Tennessee Board of Regents system, to teach all of the courses in remedial and developmental math and writing on the UofM campus to UofM students. However, these are not degree courses and no college-level credit is awarded for those courses. [33]

Relevant Organizational Unit(s):

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Supporting Documentation and Evidence:

[1] THEC Academic Inventory
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[2] TBR Policy 2:01:00:00 Undergraduate Degree Requirements
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[3] Listing of Graduation Analysts
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[4] UofM Graduate Bulletin, Degree Requirements
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[5] UofM Curricular Procedures Handbook, p. 13, Program Requirements
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[6] UofM Graduate Bulletin, Degree Programs
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[7] Example of Master’s Degree Candidacy Certification
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[8] UofM Graduate Bulletin, Degree ProgramsReturn to narrative

[9] Example of Doctoral Degree Candidacy Certification and Dissertation Approval
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[10] Example of Program Proposal: Nursing Major (M.S.N.)
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[11] Example of Internal Approvals for New Program
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[12] Example of TBR Approval for New Major
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[13] Example THEC Approval for New Major
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[14] Tennessee Higher Education Policy A1.0 and A1.1, Academic Proposals
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[15] UofM Policy UM1279 Curriculum Development and Revision
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[16] Cover Letter for New Proposal by Outside Consultant
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[17] Accreditation at the UofM
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[18] Program Reviews at the UofM
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[19] THEC Performance Funding Program: Program Accountability, Accreditation and Peer Review
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[20] Example of Approvals for Curriculum Changes
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[21] UofM Undergraduate Bulletin ( visit the live www site )
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[22] UofM Graduate Bulletin ( visit the live www site )
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[23] TBR Policy 2:01:00:00 Undergraduate Degree Requirements
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[24] Green Book Title page
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[25] Academic [Faculty] Senate Minutes, 1/14/86
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[26] UofM General Education Program Courses
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[27] General Education Manual: General Education Requirements, Rationales and Criteria
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[28] Memorandum to TBR Sub-Councils Regarding New General Education Core
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[29] TBR Proposal for Establishment of a Lower Division General Education Core
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[30] UofM Courses Fulfilling TBR General Education Core
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[31] Letter of Agreement for UofM & UT Biomedical Engineering Program and THEC Approval Letter for Joint Degree Program
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[32] Bulletin Description of Joint Biomedical Engineering Program
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Cooperative Agreement Between UofM and Southwest Tennessee Community College

Amendment 1 to Agreement

Amendment 2 to Agreement

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