Proposing a Course
Brown University School of Professional Studies offers high-quality campus-based and online programs to diverse audiences regionally, nationally and internationally. The School offers academic programs for pre-college students, as well as Brown and visiting undergraduates. Faculty, adjunct instructors, and graduate students find that this teaching is an opportunity to develop innovative courses and acquire valuable experience with different audiences. Further information on our varied programs and opportunities to teach within them can be found below.
To propose a new course, complete the course proposal form. New course proposals are reviewed by our curriculum committee. We will contact you if your new course is approved. If you would like to discuss your course proposal, please contact us (401) 863-7901 to schedule an appointment with a program director.
Instructors are welcome to submit a course proposal throughout the year. Calls for new course proposals are published in Morning Mail.
Summer Session (credit bearing courses) and Pre-College Program (non-credit courses)
2016 Summer Term – new course proposals due November 1, 2015
Online Pre-College Courses (non-credit)
Course proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis.
Learn more about our academic programming
Summer Session for Undergraduate Students
Summer Session serves as the summer term for Brown University, and Brown undergraduates comprise the primary audience for courses, although some visiting undergraduates, advanced high school students, and Brown graduate students do also enroll. A substantial number of students seek to enroll in courses that are pre-requisites for further advanced study; in courses that are particularly challenging during the fall and spring, such that focusing on just this one course in the summer appeals to them; in courses that are frequently closed during the fall and spring; and to a lesser degree in courses that have broad appeal across disciplines. Visiting undergraduates typically seek courses that are foundational in a discipline and which typically share common curricula with other colleges and universities. Advanced high school students generally seek courses that are introductory to a discipline or which appeal to them as exemplars of first year college study. The term is 7 weeks long, which include 6 weeks of instruction (approximately 8 hours per week of class time) along with an additional week of combined reading period and final examinations. Our expectation is that all the goals accomplished in a course offered during a 15 week semester will be accomplished in the 7 week summer session. Students may take no more than two courses during the Summer Session. In order for a course to be offered in the Summer Session, both course and instructor must have the endorsement of CE and a Brown University academic department, and must also be approved by the University faculty committee responsible for the curriculum – The College Curriculum Committee.
Online Pre-College Courses
Brown University’s Pre-College Program is accepting proposals for online courses for high school students, which will run for four weeks during the summer term. Our courses are rigorous, active learning experiences designed and led by Brown instructors. Students work one-on-one with their instructors and with talented, motivated students from around the globe as they engage in academic inquiry at the level of first-year undergraduate study. All online pre-college courses are not for credit; Brown awards certificates of completion to those students who successfully meet all course requirements.
Courses are fully online, and delivered in Brown's Canvas learning management system. The courses are asynchronous, meaning that students are not required to log in at a set time to do their work. We follow a weekly schedule, so students will know what they need to do each week and the due dates for their assignments, but it is completely up to them when during the week they do their work. Courses should be designed for students to spend approximately 10 hours per week on coursework.
Our Approach to Online Learning
We believe effective learning depends on high-quality instructional design – no matter whether in a traditional face-to-face classroom or in an online environment. Brown’s online pre-college instructors are enthusiastic, imaginative educators working at the forefront of online teaching and learning. They work closely with the University’s instructional designers to develop and deliver course content that exemplifies best practices of student-centered design and inquiry-based learning. We maintain small class sizes that reflect Brown’s policy for teaching assistant support of undergraduate courses, and which fosters exciting, dynamic learning communities that encourage one-on-one interaction, team work, and networking.
Summer Pre-College Programs
Pre-College Courses High school students interested in the intellectual sophistication and varied methods of inquiry typical of a college curriculum can pursue opportunities through the Pre-College program. These non-credit courses are presented in an intensive workshop/seminar format that meets Monday through Friday, usually for 3 hours per day. Multiple sessions ranging in duration from one week to four weeks are offered, beginning at the end of June and ending the first week in August. The program curriculum reflects the diversity of a college curriculum in general, as well as the diversity of the particular academic fields represented at Brown University. Courses appropriate for this audience should be targeted towards a freshman-level student: in other words, for those beginning learners who are ready to be intellectually challenged, but might not have all of the building blocks of a more experienced student. For the most part, students are most interested in courses that introduce them to a discipline, a particular mode of inquiry, a particular methodology, or a particular issue or topic that provides a vehicle for such an introduction. Course content and delivery should be designed with the length of the term in mind, so that the goals of the course fit the timeframe. As classes meet for three hours daily, it is crucially important for instructors to consider a varied toolkit of teaching techniques, so that classes are engaging and—as much as possible—interactive. While students can be expected to spend up to 3 hours daily on preparation for each class, outside of class work must be similarly engaging, pointed, and directly connected to work done in class.
The Leadership Institute
High school students interested in developing knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with socially responsible leadership may choose the Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute helps students gain content knowledge in specific academic areas, develop the intellectual skills required to analyze complex social issues, and cultivate both the interpersonal skills and confidence to act on the knowledge they have gained. Faculty should be prepared to develop academic content that can be synthesized with the established leadership components of this Institute. The Leadership Institute is a highly rewarding and intensive experience for both students and faculty. Summer courses are two weeks in length and meet for three hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. Additionally, students and faculty are required to attend several evening workshops related to leadership development and spend one full day off-site at a low ropes course. Many of these courses are team taught and all are assigned an undergraduate teaching assistant. Courses with an interdisciplinary and contemporary focus are particularly popular and successful courses have addressed topics such as: global issues, civil rights, environmental concerns, women’s studies, and conflict studies.
Off-Campus and International Programs
Our International Programs are for pre-college (high school) students who are seeking to extend their experience with a language and/or a culture in a secure, faculty-facilitated academic environment typically between one to seven weeks in length. Pre-College travel programs are for exceptionally motivated students with interests in cultural diversity, cultural studies of the arts and sciences, and leadership. Faculty who have well established research interests and resources abroad are invited to develop programs with support from the staff of the School of Professional Studies.
The SPARK Program – Science for Middle School Students
The SPARK program is a Pre-College program for middle school students who have demonstrated an outstanding ability in science and are seeking to experience hands-on scientific experimentation. SPARK courses are one and two weeks in the summer and classes meet for three hours each morning and on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. They should be designed to introduce a complex scientific topic in a manner appropriate for advanced 7th/8th grade students and should include hands-on activities. Faculty should be prepared to develop courses that allow students to begin to think as scientists – asking sound scientific questions and understanding that through the process of answering questions, new questions arise. The courses should expose students to the scientific concepts behind familiar topics that are part of the students’ world and make them aware of where their scientific curiosity and strengths may lead them in the future.