Course Cap Procedure

Steward
Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs
Category
Educational
Effective date
March 1, 2008
Last content update
May 20, 2021

Purpose

To establish and manage all course caps to aid in meeting various student and stakeholder needs. Those needs include, but are not limited to: student learning needs, accreditation expectations, safety needs, clinical site needs and Minnesota State system guidelines and collective bargaining agreements.

Definitions

Collective Bargaining Agreement

The master agreement between the Minnesota State Board of Trustees and the Minnesota State College Faculty. This may be referred to as the MSCF Agreement. 

Shared Governance Council (SGC)

The faculty council that makes recommendations to the college on the following topic areas: personnel, student affairs, facilities, fiscal matters and general matters. See the MSCF Agreement. 

Academic Affairs and Standards Council (AASC)

The 2/3 faculty, 1/3 administrator or staff council that provides direction for the college president in all matters in academic affairs to include: course outlines, award requirements, academic standards, course and program components, and the inventory of course and program offerings. See the MSCF Agreement. 

Course Cap Master List

The official list of established course caps. 

Guiding Principles

A historical guide that may be useful when considering new or revised course caps.

Procedure

All courses must have a course cap established. 

For new courses and courses undergoing revisions:

  1. Faculty will consult with colleagues and their dean to propose a course cap and will enter that information into the Curriculum Design and Management (CDM) system.
  2. The dean will recommend a course cap decision to the faculty member and the vice president of academic and student affairs in the CDM system.
  3. A report will be generated from the CDM system and will be sent to the executive assistant to the president after each AASC meeting.
  4. The vice president of academic and student affairs will communicate the final course cap decision after SGC approval to the dean, faculty member, college registrar and curriculum technician.
  5. The curriculum technician will update the course cap master list and repost in the academic section/files and forms of the Employee Portal.

For existing courses not in a revision process through AASC:

  1. Faculty may propose changes to a course cap to their dean.
  2. The dean will recommend a course cap decision to the faculty member and the vice president of academic and student affairs within the CDM system.
  3. Prior to the end of the fall and spring term, the vice president of academic and student affairs will provide the course cap recommendations reports from the online form system to the SGC for mutual approval.
  4. The vice president of academic and student affairs will communicate the course cap decision to the dean, faculty member, college registrar and curriculum technician.
  5. The curriculum technician will update the course cap master list and repost in the academic resources section under miscellaneous resources of the Employee Portal.

Course caps will be reviewed regularly during comprehensive program review. 

Guiding Principles

This Guiding Principles document may offer useful suggestions and historical information when using the Course Cap Policy to propose or revise a course cap. These suggestions do not determine the course cap decision, as various factors are involved in establishing course caps. These factors include but are not limited to: student learning needs, accreditation expectations, safety needs, clinical site needs, Minnesota State system guidelines and collective bargaining agreements.

  • Courses that are primarily science lecture with two labs - cap of 40
  • Labs will typically be half the size of the science lecture; a science lecture of 40 would have two labs of 20
  • Courses that are primarily lecture with discussion - cap of 40
  • Courses that are lecture with a significant focus on demonstration - cap of 30
  • College-level math courses - cap of 35
  • Courses that are primarily skill-based with formal application - cap of 25
  • Developmental English courses - cap of 22
  • Developmental math courses - cap of 24
  • Internships - cap of 20
  • English Language Learner (ELL) courses - cap of 20
  • Specific safety and/or accreditation requirements may also be helpful when proposing or revising course caps

Responsibility

Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs 

Responsible to maintain a comprehensive course cap list and update the employee portal as needed.

Faculty

Responsible for initiate a revision and communicate with peers prior to recommending a course cap to AASC. 

Deans

Responsible to communicate with faculty, adhere to course cap guiding principles and to collaborate and consider college-wide implications for course caps.

Other Supporting References

Master Agreement between Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (Minn State) Board of Trustees and Minnesota State College Faculty (MSCF)
AASC Course Modification Form

Associated M State and Minnesota State System Policies and Procedures

Minnesota State Community and Technical College Course Cap Policy 

 

Policy author
Dr. Matthew J. Borcherding