Indiana University Bloomington

Academics » Prospective Instructors » Proposal Guidelines

Tips for writing your Collins course proposal


For the most part, we seek 3-credit hour course proposals, particularly but not exclusively at the 100 and 200 level.  Many of these courses are now eligible for Gen Ed credit. We also offer some 300-level courses. You may indicate the level of course you prefer to teach but the final decision rests with the Collins Faculty Curriculum Committee. With the exception of creative writing classes, all courses meet College distributional requirements. Taking an in-house course is required of freshman and sophomore Collins residents.

Class size is usually limited to 20 to allow students to participate in a small community of learners.

All classes meet in a Collins classroom, where media equipment is available.

Course Topics

Courses may address particular topics within a discipline or be interdisciplinary.  Courses will not be considered if they are already available or overlap considerably with existing courses. We look for courses that are innovative and not taught elsewhere.

Course content must be within your area of expertise.  For instance, films may be shown for their relevant subject matter, but not for technical and artistic purposes if you are not a film studies scholar.

Teaching Qualifications

Appointed faculty members, advanced graduate students, and lecturers at Indiana University-Bloomington are eligible to teach Collins 3-credit seminars. If you do not fit into one of these categories, contact the director about your elegibility.

Classwork and Assignments

Try alternative approaches.  We encourage creative assignments involving visual and auditory presentations that complement or supplement written responses, the use of media to extend learning opportunities, field trips, and a variety of “hands-on” experiences.

The objective: To make Collins courses among the most memorable and stimulating of a student’s academic life, inviting the best of effort and commitment while maintaining academic rigor and quality.


Evaluation techniques should improve students’ knowledge of the topic and their learning and presentation skills.  For instance, we recommend that you ask for preliminary plans and draft copies of major assignments, so you can give guidance throughout the process.

Avoid resting the evaluation of an entire course on one major assignment.  Multiple shorter assignments or papers are usually more appropriate than one large final paper, for instance.

Announce your grading criteria for assignments in the written syllabus.

Syllabus Design

Please lay out a detailed week-by-week schedule that includes readings, assignments, and in-class activities.  Include a general description of the course content, expectations for students, a complete list of readings and resources, and an explanation of how students will be evaluated and grading protocols.  Look at a sample syllabus.

Do not subdivide the schedule into MWF or TR format, since the specific schedule will be determined only after its approval.

Community Involvement

Identify occasions when a particular class period, event, or activity could be of interest to Collins residents at large, and to which you could invite a wider audience.

Attendance Policy

Student participation and attendance at all Collins classes is expected.  For this reason, we discourage giving grades for participation or attendance. 

You should, however, develop an attendance policy that penalizes for absences.  A common practice is to employ grade deductions after three unexcused absences (from B+ to B or from B to B-, for example), or to deduct a set number of points from the semester total for each unexcused absence.

Make sure your policy is clear to students at the beginning of the semester, and be aware that application of the policy is at your discretion, based on the student’s circumstances.

If you have any questions, consult with an LLC staff member.

Be Available

Develop helpful and congenial relationships with your class members. 

Office hours are expected. Instructors are invited to use the Edmondson Formal Lounge or the Coffeehouse to hold office hours.  Residential Programs and Services provides complimentary meal points to encourage instructors to share one meal per week with students.