Beginning next fall, courses at The University of New Mexico will begin showing new Common Course Numbering (CCN) in compliance with the State of New Mexico’s Higher Education Department (HED) to standardize common courses among the state’s higher education institutions.
The project evolved from New Mexico House Bill 282 that requires 100- and 200-level courses offered in the state to share Common Course Numbers (CCNs). The goal of this statute, like similar statutes in other states, is to ease student transfers between institutions and thus help expedite completion of degrees.
The new standardized CCN applies to all lower division (100, 200 level) undergraduate courses and some upper-level courses and is designed to make it easier to transfer between higher education institutions within the state. The new CCN will begin for the 2019-20 curricular and catalog year. The catalog will reflect the new courses, with the old course numbers in brackets, at the end of May 2019 for the 2019-2020 catalog.
“UNM cares about the ease of transfer for students,” said Associate Provost for Curriculum and Assessment Pamela Cheek. “However, because UNM has a really vast and well-developed lower division curriculum and offers a wealth of choices to students, the adaptation is a little bit more challenging than it would be at a smaller institution.”
In 2017-18, the statewide project aligned courses across all institutions of higher learning by subject matter on the basis of shared student learning outcomes (SLOs) identified by educators. All 100- and 200-level courses that were evaluated received four-digit common course numbers (CCNs) and subject codes. Currently, these courses are all listed in a New Mexico Higher Education Department Crosswalk by CCN, title and by original course number at each institution.
UNM has been assisting the State’s HED and other institutions in part to help with the goal of standardizing common courses.
“The state of New Mexico is trying to retrofit our different higher education institutions into a system similar to those that exist in Florida and California where there is a lot of compatibility built-in because you have a centralized organization with an array of branch campuses or state colleges around a central unit,” said Michael Raine, associate registrar for Catalog, Curriculum & Residency.
Beginning next spring when students start to register for the Fall 2019 semester, UNM will begin listing its original three-digit course numbers alongside the state’s new four-digit CCNs to ease adjustment to the new system.
For example, PSYC 1110, "INTRO to Psychology" corresponds to the matrix to UNM's original course PSY 105. Lists of common course numbers (CCNs) and related student learning outcomes (SLOs), organized by subject, are also maintained by the HED.
However, some courses offered at UNM do not have equivalents at other institutions and did not receive CCNs in the 2017-18 renumbering project. These courses are called "unique" courses. In compliance with state statute, unique courses must also have four-digit common course number. Departments are required to register information about "unique" courses, including SLOs, with the Higher Education Department. Once a "unique" course is on record with HED, other institutions may offer the course as long as in doing so they rely on at least 80 percent of the SLOs listed for that course.
Despite the course numbering changes, UNM will still maintain the integrity of its own curriculum oversight process. This means that for lower-division (CCN) courses, both changes to existing courses (UNM Form A) and creation of new courses (UNM Form B) need to go through a UNM curriculum process and a Higher Education Department process simultaneously.
“UNM's Academic Affairs values the academic judgment of the faculty, which is protected by the UNM Faculty Handbook and the Regents' Policy Manual,” said Cheek. “As with all courses at UNM, faculty will determine course materials, teaching methods and approaches, assignments and specific content for Common Course Numbered courses offered at UNM.”
The UNM Registrar’s office will conduct its first Common Course Numbering training session on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 2 to 3:30 in Mitchell Hall, Room 101. As part of the training session, officials will cover the impact of the Common Course Numbering Project on curriculum flow, review Higher Education Department requirements, forms and resources. The training will be an opportunity to ask questions and allay fears.
For more information on the upcoming changes, visit UNM’s Common Course Numbering project.