Special Topics Operational Guidance

Special topic formats offer students course options on current developments in subject matter. They serve as opportunities for departments to test content ideas before committing the topic to the permanent course inventory.

At the end of the fall 2017 semester, the Administration and the UCE signed a shared Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on developing types of new course formats to be offered by FIT: special topics and modular/ short term options. Special topic selections from each department or degree program will be organized under a generic 'umbrella' course category identifying the defined field or subject area. Under the category, courses which focus on different topics within a particular field or subject area will be offered as “special topics.” These follow certain guidelines as outlined below and as indicated in the MOU.

A Special Topic:

  1. As special topics (SP) course is organized under a generic 'umbrella' course category,
    identifying the defined field or subject area;
  2. Is an elective;
  3. Carries the subject area prefix (e.g., PH, FD, etc.);
  4. Can be offered a maximum of three iterations. The Registrar’s Office will track the topic’s offering timeline. Following the third iteration of the topic, if the department chooses to do so, the department submits, through the regular college course approval process, a new course proposal to transition the special topics into a new, permanent course; 
  5. Must be approved by the department and respective School but reviewed by the Deans Council and the College-wide Curriculum Committee as an information item only; 
  6. Is entered into the digital curriculum system
  7. Requires the department to complete a “Course Creation/Reinstatement” form after the School’s approval is noted in the CIM workflow. The course description of the special topic is attached to this new section and submitted to the Registrar’s Office; 
  8. Follows the same process for student and peer evaluations as permanent courses;
  9. Follows the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Section 39.0, with regard to enrollment, 21.5.7 with regard to course development, and 21.1.4 with regard to  right of first selection;
  10. Can apply to day or evening schedules of regular semesters or abbreviated sessions (i.e., summer and winter); and
  11. Follows the Registrar’s Office for deadlines for course scheduling. Additionally:
    • The Registrar’s Office tracks the topic’s offering timeline;
    • Following the third iteration of the SP, if the department chooses to do so, the department submits, through the regular college course approval process, a new course proposal to transition the special topics into a new, permanent course; and
    • If the department does not choose to make the course permanent, the course will be removed after the third iteration.