SDC courses (e.g. SDC 100, 120, 140, 250, 350, 444, 473) generate excellent opportunities to advance the school’s integrated educational mission. To encourage communication between instructors teaching SDC courses, the following set of guidelines have been developed. There is need for flexibility to determine optimal synergies between disciplines; as such, these guidelines are not intended to be prescriptive. However, this document must be examined every semester to accommodate new opportunities, challenges, and (proposed or new) courses.
The presence of interior design, construction management, architecture, and landscape architecture in the same school offers unparalleled opportunities for Washington State University to provide a professional, interdisciplinary education that mirrors the contemporary world of integrated project delivery. The SDC courses are thus central to the school’s mission and should be treated as foundations to a world of collaborative practice. Without lessening disciplinary rigor, accreditation standards, or industry preparation, faculty, staff, and students who teach, advise, or take SDC courses must strive to develop a respect and understanding of disciplines beyond their own.
(Annual) SDC Curriculum Team (CT)
Prior to the beginning of the academic year, the director shall create a faculty and staff team to organize, assess, monitor, and steer the SDC courses for each year. To ensure that course material is representative of all disciplines involved in the course, not redundant, and that exercises are introduced in a manner that best prepares students for successive SDC and disciplinary-specific courses, this committee should include at least one instructor from each of the 100-level courses taught that year (including, in particular, one instructor from each of SDC 120 and SDC 140). If possible, the director should assign a graduate student teaching assistant to the CT as well. To maintain effectiveness, the committee should not exceed five (5) total faculty and staff members per year.
The detailed responsibilities for the CT may fluctuate from year to year, but always shall:
- Review SDC course syllabi to ensure cross-disciplinarity.
- Be responsible for distributing, collecting, and assessing evaluation material associated with SDC courses (beyond university-issued student course evaluations).
- Review and update the SDC Course Coordination Guidelines (this document).
- Remind all SDC individual course committees that they must communicate and meet per the suggested timeline in the SDC-Prefix Course Instructional Responsibilities document.
- Review and help adjudicate concerns about courses or course delivery brought by faculty or students—as well as bringing those concerns to the
Individual Course Committees (for team-taught SDC courses)
Every semester, all faculty and teaching assistants involved in team-taught SDC courses (SDC 100, 120, 140, and 444) shall form an individual course committee and assemble regularly to coordinate and align syllabi, exercises, deadlines, and grading (as necessary). The committee should make a point of reviewing individual course committee report(s) from previous semesters or years, and it is expected that the committee will work collaboratively to determine the best possible instruction and outcomes for the students. The first meeting of the semester shall be called by the chair of the SDC CT; however, it is highly encouraged that faculty assigned to an SDC course will arrange the first meeting, and all successive meetings, on their own.
While the committee shall determine the frequency of meetings held throughout the semester, it is advisable that meetings will occur twice prior to the beginning of the semester, twice during the semester, and once at the end. Depending upon the complexity of the SDC course(s), more frequent meetings may be necessary. Except for SDC 100 (where the “lead” instructor will “chair” the committee), all other individual course committees should have a volunteer who takes the lead in organizing meetings and/or taking notes (see SDC-Prefix Course Instructional Responsibilities). In the event of inaction, the director will prompt the CT chair to facilitate meetings involving faculty teaching SDC-prefix courses, and/or will appoint a “lead” of an individual course committee.
Assessment for team-taught SDC courses
At the end of every semester, all individual course committees involved in team-taught SDC courses (SDC 100, 120, 140, and 444) must meet and complete an assessment report. The committee report need not be lengthy or follow a prescribed format but should include positives (what worked?) as well as challenges (what didn’t?) and should make recommendations to the director and future instructor(s) assigned to the course—particularly, though not exclusively, focused upon integrated exercises. All reports should be distributed to the chair of the CT, to the director, and filed both in hard copy and in shared electronic folders to which all faculty have access. All reports should be made readily available to future instructors upon request.
Assessment for non-team-taught SDC courses 1
At the end of the semester or year, all faculty involved in non-team-taught SDC courses (SDC 250, 350) must complete an assessment report. The report need not be lengthy but should include positives (what worked?) as well as challenges (what didn’t?) and should make recommendations to the director and future instructor(s) assigned to the course(s). As these courses may be taught by the same single instructor during the span of an academic year, it is important that the director appoint at least one faculty member from each discipline represented in the course to assist the report—or evaluate it. It is recommended, as well, that faculty member(s) from disciplines different than that of the primary instructor be permitted to attend at least one (1) lecture or exercise during the semester. All reports should be distributed to the chair of the CT, to the director, and filed both in hard copy and in shared electronic folders to which all faculty have access. All reports should be made readily available to future instructors upon request.
1 The exception are those elective courses involving one instructor (e.g. SDC 495, 498) and/or those where an SDC prefix is used merely to draw in more students.
Teaching Assistant Coordination
It is vital that teaching assistants (TAs) are on the “same page” with their instructor(s) and fellow teaching assistant(s). Regardless of course format, delivery of material and grading practices must be aligned. Within reason, instructors must enforce consistency among teaching assistants. Those teaching assistants unable to work collaboratively and/or maintain consistent grading practices and standards may be removed from their positions or provided with alternate responsibilities.
Conflicts should conventionally be handled by the faculty member(s), but faculty member(s) have the option of bringing cases before the CT for recommendations.
SDC courses with more than one teaching assistant must meet regularly throughout the semester, depending upon needs and complexity (e.g., the delivery of multiple sections of SDC 100, particularly in the fall, may require weekly meetings with the lead instructor or lead teaching assistant; SDC 250, with coordination between TAs necessary only around exams and assignment due dates, may only require a few meetings).