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Comprehensive Standards 3.4.12

The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of its curriculum with its faculty. (Educational Programs Standards for All Educational Programs) (Includes all on-campus, off-campus, and distance learning programs)



Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) demonstrates compliance with this comprehensive standard by placing primary responsibility for curriculum content, quality and effectiveness with its faculty members, as spelled out in various faculty job descriptions. As part of the North Carolina Community College System, CFCC’s basic curriculum content is provided in the course descriptions of the Common Course Library (CCL). Faculty members add to the basic descriptions through the development of detailed course outlines. Course content is also considered by technical advisory committees comprised of area occupational experts, who are invited to make recommendations for updates to courses/curricula as necessary. Recommendations for course/curriculum changes are brought to the College’s Curriculum Committee for consideration and forwarded to the North Carolina Community College System’s Curriculum Review Committee. Course content, quality and effectiveness are also considered by lead instructors as they participate in CFCC’s institutional effectiveness process as is documented in the Strategic Planning Online system. Also, faculty members are evaluated annually on instructional quality and effectiveness.


Cape Fear Community College faculty are primarily responsible for the content, quality and effectiveness of the college’s curriculum. All Vocational Technical programs have a lead instructor whose job is not simply to instruct, but also to oversee the preparation and delivery of instruction in his or her respective programs. These responsibilities are spelled out in the lead instructor’s position description (Lead Instructor). The lead instructor is assisted in these endeavors by his or her department chair who is also a faculty member and who provides overall supervision of the instructional process for all programs in the department. Within the college transfer program, these responsibilities are vested in the department chair since the college transfer program does not have lead instructors. These responsibilities are spelled out in each department chair’s position description, samples of Vocational technical position descriptions are attached (Engineering Department Chair), (Allied Health Department Chair), (Marine Technology Department Chair). College transfer department chairs use a single, generic position description, also attached (College Transfer Department Chair).

Course content is standardized in North Carolina by the North Carolina Community College System Common Course Library (CCL). A sample of the business courses in the CCL is attached. (Common Course Library). Each course in the CCL has a three-sentence description, and colleges have the option of adding a fourth sentence. With the CCL course description as a basis, lead instructors and department chairs select texts and other instructional materials and develop outlines for each course as specified in the CFCC Faculty and Staff Handbook (Course Outlines). Also as specified in the CFCC Faculty and Staff Handbook, each instructor is then required to provide students with a handout the first day a course section meets. The handout includes (a) a brief course description, (b) the major objectives of the course (written in terms of what the student will do rather than what the instructor will do), (c) required textbooks and materials, (d) the course requirements (what will be expected or required of the student), (e) the college’s grading scale, and (f) the course prerequisites and corequisites (Handouts). Sample handouts are attached (CIS 110 Handout), (MSC 174 Handout) and (ENG 114 Handout).

All instructors are evaluated annually on the quality of their instruction (Faculty Performance Appraisal). In addition, every student in every course at CFCC is given the opportunity to rate the content, quality and effectiveness of the course and the quality and effectiveness of the instructor (Vocational Technical Course Evaluation), (College Transfer Course Evaluation). To preserve anonymity and preclude possible recriminations, a third party collects and tabulates the surveys. For vocational and technical programs, the office of the Dean of Vocational and Technical Programs completes this task, and for college transfer programs, individual department chairs’ offices are responsible for the collection and tabulation of these surveys.

Curriculum content is evaluated by faculty in other ways as well. First, for each Vocational Technical program, a Technical Advisory Committee is established (Advisory Committee). These committees, comprised of area occupational experts, employers, and CFCC instructors and administrators, meet at least annually and review each program for relevance in the technical specialty. Committee responsibilities are specifically delineated in a brochure distributed to all members (Advisory Committee Information). Instructors use inputs from the Technical Advisory Committees as a means to verify relevancy of curriculum content. Further each Vocational Technical program and the College Transfer program are subject to an in-depth Program Review conducted by a program review team. The lead instructor of the program that is under review serves as an ad hoc member of his/her program review team. The reviewing team will have seven members from the Institutional Effectiveness (IE) Committee including the dean of arts and sciences, the dean of vocational technical education, the director of career and testing services, two instructional department chairs, and two members at large. The institutional researcher will serve as an ex officio member. Cross-institutional membership of the review team ensures that the program review process is thorough and objective. The program review team examines strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for each program by looking at issues such as purpose, enrollment, graduation rates, student outcomes and assessments, staffing, curriculum relevancy, facility and equipment requirements and student survey results (Program Review Process for Vocational and Technical Programs) and (Program Review Process for College Transfer Programs). Each program is reviewed at a minimum of once every five years (Program Review Schedule). Programs with low enrollment or other significant issues or problems are reviewed more frequently.

Program reviews are documented with copies maintained in the office of the appropriate dean and department chair.

Also, the faculty have responsibility for changes in curriculum. Based upon information collected from student survey results or from Technical Advisory Committees comments during the program review process, instructors, lead instructors and department chairs confer about necessary curriculum changes. Any proposed change is then brought to the CFCC Curriculum Committee. This committee is comprised of faculty representatives and all department chairs among others. This committee makes recommendations for administrative consideration of 1) changes in curriculum course titles and course descriptions, 2) addition or deletion of courses, and 3) addition or deletion of a curriculum (Curriculum Committee). Recommended changes may be enacted locally or forwarded through the college’s administrative process to the State Board of Community Colleges’ Curriculum Review Committee if approval at that level is necessary. At the state level, faculty participates in Curriculum Improvement Projects (Curriculum Improvement Projects). Curriculum Improvement Projects (CIP) were developed as a means of providing funding for system-wide projects in curriculum or instructional areas which are experiencing significant changes, such as job market developments, advances in technology, new teaching and delivery methods, and implementation of state or national educational initiatives. The projects are based on the belief that the classroom instructor is the critical factor in educational quality.

Professional development activities form the foundation for curriculum development and upgrading. Each project is required to provide professional development for instructors in content, methodology, and technology training. The two-year project should result in innovative instructional strategies that have a long-term, systemic impact in the targeted area.

Finally, faculty evaluate the content, quality and effectiveness of the curriculum through the Strategic Plan Online system (SPOL). Every academic program is considered a planning unit. Annually, every planning unit develops an outcomes assessment plan using the college’s online planning system. The program lead instructor, along with other faculty teaching in the program, select from three to five program outcomes to be assessed annually. Program outcomes are the skills, knowledge, behaviors and/or attitudes that graduates of the program are expected to have acquired. Assessment methods and criteria for measuring success are specified in each assessment plan and the assessment results and how these results are used for the improvement of the program are documented in the plan (Developing an Institutional Effectiveness (IE) Plan for an Academic Program) (Academic Program Assessment Plans in SPOL).


Source Location

Lead Instructor,
Position Description


Engineering Department Chair,
Position Description


Allied Health Department Chair,
Position Description


Marine Technology Department Chair,
Position Description


College Transfer Department Chair,
Position Description
Common Course Library businesscourses.pdf
Course Outlines,
CFCC Faculty and Staff Handbook,
Section 7.14: Course Outlines
CFCC Faculty and Staff Handbook,
Section 7.15: Handouts
CIS 110 Handout,
Introduction to Computers (Fall 2005)
MSC 174 Handout,
Invertebrate Zoology (Fall 2005)
ENG 114 Handout,
Professional Research
and Reporting (Fall 2005)
Faculty Performance Appraisal,
(Password Protected)
Vocational Technical Course Evaluation,
(Password Protected)
College Transfer Course Evaluation,
(Password Protected)
Advisory Committee advisorymembers.pdf
Advisory Committee Information advisorybrochure.pdf
Program Review Process for
Vocational and Technical Programs
Program Review Process for
College Transfer Programs
Program Review Schedule prog_rev_sched02-07.pdf
Curriculum Committee curriculumcommittee.pdf
Curriculum Improvement Projects,
NCCCS Website
Developing an Institutional Effectiveness
(IE) Plan for an Academic Program

Academic Program Assessment
Plans in SPOL

SPOL Access
(Internet access is necessary)

1. Login with Username: capefear and Password capefear.
2. From the Main Menu, select <Search Menu>,
3. Then select <Objective/Outcome Search by Planning Unit>.
This will take you to the Objective/Outcome Search Screen.
4. Using the drop down arrow, scroll the list and select the
academic program planning unit you wish to view.
You may select another Planning Year by using the arrow
in the drop down list in the left upper corner of the screen.
5. After selecting the planning unit and the Planning Year you
wish to view, click the <Search> button and the planning unit
name will appear. Click on the name of the planning Unit and
the unit objectives/outcomes for the chosen year will appear.
6. Click on the objective/outcome you wish to view and you will
be taken to the <Objective/Outcomes Data> screen. Scroll
down the page and click on each of the tabs to view the
associated information.
7. To get back to the search page, Scroll to the very bottom of
the page and select the <Back To Search> flashing arrow to
return to the objective/outcome search.
8. You may then select another objective/outcome for that
same planning unit or select another planning unit using the
drop down arrow.



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