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AP 9-30 Curriculum Development

Arapahoe Community College
Series 9 – Educational Programs
AP 9-30 Curriculum Development

Originated: January 1993

Revised: December 2003; March 2006; May 2016; July 2016; May 2019; August 2021

Effective: January 1993; December 2003; March 2006; May 2016; July 2016; May 2019; August 2021

References: BP 9-30; SP 9-30; SP 9-71


Stephanie J. Fujii, Ph.D.
President, Arapahoe Community College


The primary instructional mission of Arapahoe Community College is to provide courses and programs that meet the vocational, college transfer, and general education needs of the community.  Fundamental to this mission is the responsibility of the College to meet the needs of its students by maintaining the integrity of its educational programs.  Because professionals directly involved in the teaching and learning process should play a primary role in the attainment of this mission, a curriculum development process, including a Curriculum Committee responsible to the Vice President for Instruction, is established.

This Procedure contains pertinent information affecting employees, current through the date of its issuance. To the extent that any provision of this Procedure is inconsistent with State or Federal law, State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education Policies (BPs) or Colorado Community College System President’s Procedures (SPs), the law, BPs and SPs shall supersede and control. BPs and SPs are subject to change throughout the year and are effective immediately upon adoption by the Board or System President, respectively. Employees are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the BPs, SPs as well as College directives, including but not limited to this Procedure.

Nothing in this Procedure is intended to create (nor shall be construed as creating) an express or implied contract or to guarantee employment for any term. The College reserves the right to modify, change, delete or add to this Procedure as it deems appropriate.


This procedure applies to faculty and Instructional staff and employees involved in curriculum development, approval, review, and/or revisions.


  1. Course Offering
    1. Regular Course Offerings

      Regular course offerings of the College are developed by individual faculty members or departments. The philosophy of course additions/adoptions is to support the academic integrity of programs and/or initiatives at the college that promote student success. In accordance with this philosophy, course adoptions will be tied to either specific program offerings or other specified college initiatives.
    2. Experimental Course Offerings

      Upon the approval of the Vice President for Instruction, a school may offer courses on an experimental basis for any two terms. After such courses have been offered for two terms within three years, they must be submitted to the College Curriculum Committee for consideration as regular course offerings. Special contract courses/programs can remain experimental for the duration of the contract for which the program was developed.
    3. Special Topic Course Offerings

      Upon the approval of the Vice President for Instruction, a department may offer special topic courses for up to one year. These courses will be submitted to the College Curriculum Committee for consideration prior to being listed in the course catalog.
    4. Annual Review of Courses

      Department Chairs, Directors, and/or Program Chairs will conduct an annual review of their program offerings, including courses in any prefix they oversee. For any courses that has not been offered at either ACC or via CCCS Online in the previous three (3) or more years and that is not planned as a course offering in the future, an appropriate form will be submitted by the Chair/Director to archive the course from the ACC Catalog. Refer to AP 9-47 for Annual Review Procedure.
    5. The college’s Instructional Operations department will initiate the annual review by notifying the department chairs, directors, program chairs, and/or deans (as appropriate) to review regular courses that have not been offered for the past three (3) years.
  2. Course Curriculum Development
    1. Course Approval Process
      1. Faculty member develops a course guide, completes the appropriate new course approval form and obtains the appropriate Department Chair and Division Dean signature before submitting it to the Curriculum Committee. See Appendix A: Contact Hour Guidelines for credit hour, contact hour and delivery method information.
      2. The submitting faculty member or chair/director will review other courses currently in the Common Course Numbering System database, both within and without the discipline, to assure that no other like course exists. Upon approval, the Chair of the Curriculum Committee forwards the course guide to the Vice President for Instruction to approve.
      3. Once approved, the course guide template is forwarded to the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), Office of the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs where it is checked for number availability and appropriateness and entered into the Proposed Database. All course guide templates submitted for entry into the Proposed Database must be approved by the Vice President of Instruction.
      4. At the same time that the course is entered into the Proposed Database, the CCCS staff member will notify the current Discipline faculty of the addition.  The Discipline Chair then forwards the notification to the Discipline Committee for review of the proposed course.
      5. If there is no identified Chair for a Career and Technical Education Discipline, the proposed course information will be forwarded to the appropriate CCCS Program Director. He/she will distribute the information to the appropriate Content Team or Advisory Board for review.
      6. If there is no identified Chair for a General Education or Basic Skills Discipline, the course information will be forwarded to the Chief Academic Officer at each community college to have the information reviewed by the appropriate faculty.
      7. On the first of every month (September through April), a CCCS staff member posts a notice on the Colorado Common Course Numbering System (CCCNS) Bulletin Board indicating the addition of the course to the Proposed Database so that it can be reviewed by faculty for possible duplication or other objections. It will stay in the Proposed Database for 30 days.

        If no objections are heard from either the Discipline group or other faculty, within that period, the course is first reviewed by the Statewide Faculty Curriculum Committee, and then sent to the VP Council Curriculum Committee for review, for either final approval or disapproval. Courses submitted between April 1 and August 30 will be posted in September.

        Any faculty objections will be considered by the Statewide Faculty Curriculum Committee (SFCC), for resolution. If the SFCC is unable to resolve the issue, the VP Council Curriculum Committee will make a final recommendation to the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for approval or disapproval.
      8. ACC’s Learning Support Services Coordinator or designee will monitor the CCNS Bulletin Board for new courses. The Learning Support Services Coordinator will notify the appropriate Department Chair when new courses have been added.

        After each course has been approved by the VP Council the course is moved from the Proposed Database to the Official Database. If disapproved, it is returned to the individual college’s curriculum committee with a reason for disapproval and a suggested course of action for changes and resubmission.
      9. If approved, a staff member in the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs enters it into the Official Database and posts the approval to the CCCNS Bulletin Board.
  3. Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program Approval Process

    New CTE program proposals are initiated by faculty or administrators and reviewed by the appropriate school Dean. Proposals are then sent to the college Leadership Team for final approval. Once the proposal is approved it is sent to the college Curriculum Committee. The Committee will review and make recommendations for approval or denial to the Vice President for Instruction and Provost. A New Program Proposal Form will be completed for each proposed CTE program.

    Changes to existing CTE programs must also be submitted to the College Curriculum Committee.

  4. College Curriculum Committee Composition
    1. One (1) committee chair. This individual is voted on every Spring for a one-year term. The chair is selected from curriculum committee members with at least 1 year of experience on the committee. The chair will function as a tie-breaking vote as needed. When a member of the Committee is appointed to the chair, their seat opens on the Committee and will be filled by a new member.
    2. One (1) committee vice-chair. This individual is voted on every Spring for a one-year term. The vice-chair is selected from curriculum committee members with at least 1 year of experience on the committee.
    3. Two (2) faculty members from each instructional schools division, elected by the members of the school division and ratified by the Faculty Senate. Initially, one (1) faculty member will be elected from each division for a 2-year term, and one (1) for a 1-year term. Thereafter, each elected faculty member will serve a minimum of a 2-year term.
      1. Election or appointment of the committee members for the following term will be completed prior to the end of spring term classes.
    4. Two (2) State Faculty Curriculum Committee members representing ACC. These members are separate from the two faculty members from each school.
    5. One (1) academic advisor (responsible for liaison with four-year colleges and universities) appointed annually by the Dean of Students. This is a non-voting position.
    6. One (1) Registrar representative from Records and Enrollment Services. This representative shall serve as an ex-officio member. This is a non-voting position and functions in an advisory capacity.
    7. One (1) representative from the Graduation an Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator. This is a non-voting position.
    8. One (1) representative from the Library and Learning Commons appointed annually by the Vice President for Instruction and Provost. This representative shall serve as an ex-officio member. This is a non-voting position and functions in an advisory capacity.
    9. A minimum of one (1) representative form the Instructional Operations department appointed annually by the Vice President for Instruction and Provost. Instructional Operations representatives shall serve as ex-officio members. This is a non-voting position and functions in an advisory capacity.
  5. Duties and Responsibilities
    1. Review and make recommendation regarding new course proposals.
      1. Recommendations are limited to approval or denial of application and adjustments / corrections to missing and incomplete documents.
      2. Determine whether course duplicates existing courses
      3. Verify courses do not duplicate existing courses.

        1. Course duplication verification will be done by the requestor or Dean prior to submission to the Committee.


      4. Review the proposed catalog description for brevity, clarity and accuracy.
      5. Determine accuracy of credit to clock hour distribution
      6. Verify the need for the course. The submitter will include justification for the course so the committee members understand the context for the application.
    2. Review and make recommendations regarding new program content and/or existing program revisions.

      1. Determine whether or not the required forms are complete.
      2. Determine if the program content meets requirements as set by the State Community College System, and/or College.
      3. Ensure appropriate courses are adopted to meet program requirements.


    3. Publish and distribute agendas and minutes

      1. Committee members will meet during the summer semester to review proposed curriculum changes at least once. These meetings will be scheduled prior to the end of the Spring semester.


    4. Establish ad hoc committees as necessary
  6. Transfer Degrees Committee
    1. The transfer committee will be composed of 6 faculty with 2 faculty from instructional division elected by the members of the division and ratified by the faculty senate.  Initially, 1 faculty member will be elected from each division for a 2-year term, and one faculty member for a 1-year term. Thereafter, each elected faculty will serve a 2-year term.
    2. The Committee will include 1 representative from the Advising Office and 1 representative from the Admissions and Records Office appointed by the Dean of Student Services
    3. The Dean from Arts, Humanities and Social Science will serve as an ex officio member of the Committee.
    4. The Committee will include at least one member of the ACC Curriculum Committee.
    5. Election of appointment of Committee members will be completed by August 31.
    6. The Committee will select its own chairperson at the first meeting each year.
    7. The Committee will be responsible for overseeing all curriculum program changes and program assessments involving the AA, AS, and AGS degrees.  Any Form C involving these degrees must first be submitted to the committee.  The committee will then make a recommendation regarding the program change and submit that recommendation and the Form C to the College Curriculum Committee. The committee may also initiate changes to the AA, AS, and AGS degrees and submit those recommended changes to the College Curriculum Committee. The College Curriculum Committee will approve the recommendation unless they find clear and convincing reasons why the recommendation is unreasonable.
    8. Any course changes to courses that exist in the AA, AS and AGS degrees will also follow the same process as described in paragraph V (F).G?
    9. The committee will also perform other curriculum-related tasks involving the AA, AS, or AGS degrees as assigned by the Vice President for Instruction.
    10. The agenda and minutes will be posted on the ACC intranet website


Appendix A - Contact Hour Guidelines

Background and Definitions

This document provides definitions of contact hour requirements for course types and delivery methods used at Arapahoe Community College (ACC). ACC follows the federal and state minimum definitions and requirements for contact hours as described in this document. The ACC Curriculum Committee has responsibility of ensuring new and revised courses and programs meet the definitions and requirements. Instructional Deans, Department Chairs, and instructional support staff are responsible for ensuring scheduled courses meet the definitions and requirements.

The Federal Credit Hour Definition (34CFR 600.2 (March 17, 2016)) is required for any institution that seeks Title IV funding.

A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than—

(1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education has published recommendations concerning base contact hours. The outcome of the below statement is that one credit hour in a 1:1 course equates to 12.5 hours of instruction. For further detailed information see the CDHE FTE Reporting Guidelines Procedure.

The faculty Base Contact Hour represents a standard measurement of consumption of faculty resources by students. It consists of the number of scheduled minutes of instructional activity involving direct contact of faculty with students in a given term utilizing a particular method of instruction. The standard measurement for a faculty Base Contact Hour for semester system term:

One Base Contact Hour = a minimum of 750 minutes. This translates to a MINIMUM of fifteen 50-minute hours per semester.

The Higher Learning Commission has established policy number FDCR.A.10.020 to guide application of the Federal Credit Hour definition at member institutions.

Assignment of Credit Hours. The institution’s assignment and award of credit hours shall conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education. Those institutions seeking, or participating in, Title IV federal financial aid, shall demonstrate that they have policies determining the credit hours awarded to courses and programs in keeping with commonly-accepted practices and with the federal definition of the credit hour, as reproduced herein for reference only, and that institutions also have procedures that result in an appropriate awarding of institutional credit in conformity with the policies established by the institution.

Contact Hour Requirements with Course Type

The following table establishes the minimum contact hour requirements for instruction as designated by banner schedule code. Contact hour requirements are based on a minimum. Factors that may justify variance above that minimum may include accreditation, licensure, and/or certification standards.

It is assumed that each contact hour is the equivalent to 50 minutes of instruction. As an example, a three credit hour Lecture (LEC) course must have 45 contact hours. Since each contact hour is the equivalent of 50 minutes of instruction, the total minutes of instruction for the one credit hour class will be 2250 minutes. Applied to a course meeting twice a week for the 15 week part of term, the course would meet for 75 minutes each session. More examples on how to apply contact hours when scheduling courses are presented in the Contact Hours Resource and Tools guidebook.


DefinitionContact Hour
Base Contact Hours:Credit HourNotes
ClinicalCLIParticipation in client and client-related services that are an integral part of an academic program. Clinical instruction occurs in an appropriate setting and involves work with clients who receive professional services from students serving under direct supervision of a faculty member and/or approved member of the agency staff.30 hours = 1 credit
45 hours = 1 credit

Co-op EducationCOPCombines classroom-based education with practical experience.15 hours = 1 credit(1:1) 
Directed Study/Independent Study/Study AbroadIND/SABFaculty and student negotiate an individualized plan of study.11.25 hours  = 1 credit(0.75:1)Mirror replacement course ratio if graduation requirement replacement.
Field InstructionFLDInstructional activities conducted by the faculty and designed to supplement and/or extend an individual course or classroom experience.37.5 hours = 1 credit(2.5:1) 
Internship/On the Job Training/Lecture & Internship ComboINT/OJT/LEIApplied and supervised field-based learning experience where students gain practical experience following a negotiated and/or directed plan of study.45 hours = 1 credit(3:1) 
LabLABInstructional activities conducted by the faculty that require student participation, experimentation, observation, or practice.30 hours = 1 credit
45 hours = 1 credit
This portion of course has no lecture component. Can be combined with LEC to become LEL.
Lab – Academic (Linked to Lecture)LELInstructional activities conducted by the faculty that require student participation, experimentation, observation, or practice. Lecture portion and lab portion are distinct and occur at separate meeting times.  Any single course built with a LAB and LEC component will have a LEL code assigned to it.
Lab -  CTELLBInstructional Activities involving training for employment with an active faculty teaching role. Lecture and lab activities occur during the same meeting times.22.5 hours = 1 credit(1.5:1) 
LectureLECFaculty member responsible for delivery and discussion of learning material and related instructional activities.15 hours = 1 credit(1:1) 
Physical EducationPEDParticipation in or the performance of some form of physical activity. Knowledge associated with the proper performance of the activity is presented.30 hours = 1 credit(2:1) 
PracticumPRAPractical student work under the supervision of a faculty member or under supervision of a professional in the student’s field and regular consultation with faculty member.30 hours = 1 credit(2:1) 
Private MusicPRIFormal presentation in a one-to-one relationship between student and instructor.3.75 hours = 1 credit
7.5 hours = 1 credit
30 hours = 1 credit
SeminarSEMA highly focused course that may include student presentations and discussions of reports based on literature, practice, problems, or research (e.g., a capstone course)15 hours = 1 credit(1:1) 
Studio ArtSTULab-type activities conducted by faculty (e.g., art studio, theatrical productions, etc.)30 hours = 1 credit(2:1) 
Studio MusicSMUBands, ensembles, music labs and the like conducted by faculty.37.5 hours = 1 credit(2.5:1) 


Class Format and Delivery Methods

CLASSROOM (CL) - Meet in the classroom at specified times. Contact hours and learning outcomes are met through face to face meeting times. There may be a Learning Management System (LMS) component, but that component is supplemental and not part of meeting the contact hour requirements.

Section Numbers begin with “1.” (i.e.: 101, 102…)

ONLINE (ON) - Delivered entirely online via Learning Management System (OLMS) with no face-to-face or real time expectations. Contact hours and learning outcomes are met through online activities.

Section number begin with “2”. (i.e.: 201, 202…)

HYBRID (HY) – Requires a blend of two delivery formats. Class will have some live in-person components and some online components. Percentage of online versus in-person can vary by class.

Section numbers begin with “3”.  (i.e.: 301, 302…)

REMOTE REAL-TIME (RM) - Taught in real time with 100% remote delivery at predetermined times. There is no scheduled in-person attendance. All meetings will be held live via remote technology.

Section numbers begin with “4”.  (i.e.: 401, 402…)

ARRANGEMENT (CB) - Requires students to complete projects or other required class activities with faculty direction and includes no face-to-face classroom time. One-on-one meetings between faculty and student may be required. Contact hours and learning outcomes are met through a variety of mechanisms that are not limited to one-on-one meetings or online interactions.

Section numbers begin with “5”.  (i.e.: 501, 502…)

HYFLEX (HF) / HYFLEX W/ LAB (HL) - Delivered either entirely remotely in real time, entirely in person in real time, or a combination of the two. Students can choose how to attend based on their needs.

Section numbers begin with “6”.  (i.e.: 601, 602…)

CO-OP/INTERNSHIP/CLINICALS (CB) - Provides off-campus, practical learning experiences for students including apprenticeships, clinicals, capstone experiences, etc. , Contact hours and learning outcomes are met through on workplace learning and meetings with instructor.

Section numbers begin with “7”. (i.e.: 701, 702…)

First Number = Mode of Delivery

100 = Classroom (CL)
200 = Online (ON)
300 = Hybrid (HY)
400 = Remote Real-Time (RM)
500 = Arrangement (CB)
600 = HyFlex (HF)/HyFlex lab (HL)
700 = Co-op/Intern/Clinical (CB)  

Second and Third Numbers

60-79 = Parker (additional sections of the same course at Parker would be 61, 62, etc.)
80-99 = Sturm Collaboration Campus at Castle Rock (additional sections of the same course at Sturm Collaboration Campus at Castle Rock would be 81, 82, etc.)