How to Start a DeCal

Here are the 5 main steps to get started:
  1. Develop a Syllabus
  2. Find a Faculty Sponsor
  3. Complete the Course Proposal Form (CPF)
  4. Attend a Workshop Offered Through the Student Learning Center (SLC)
  5. Turn in CPF to your Department and Academic Senate
Develop a Syllabus (To Top)

The course syllabus is your primary tool for making sure that your class has a “map” to follow. A well-written syllabus demonstrates the facilitator’s commitment to the course, its students, and the faculty sponsor. As the semester progresses, it is acceptable to deviate from the map, but it is good to have a plan! Your students also need to know what is going on and what will be expected of them. It is very important to have a clear understanding with your students.

In the syllabus, you must list: all assignments and respective due dates, grading policy, attendance, description of your course, and your contact information. You must make it very clear what your students need to do in order to get a “P” in your course.

It is also possible to create a syllabus and a class that are both structured and flexible. For example, you can indicate that you and your students will decide ground rules for the class. Similarly, you may wish to leave time in your class schedule for student presentations, or for students to lead the class for a week.

Here is a syllabus checklist that you can refer to; if you have any questions, please contact UCFTR.

Find a Faculty Sponsor (To Top)

You must find a UC Berkeley faculty member within your DeCal's prospective department who is willing to sponsor your course. Your sponsor is in charge of submitting your course’s final grades and creating a bCourses site, as well as being a reference point throughout the semester. Once you find a professor you are comfortable working with and who agreed to be a sponsor, they must look over your syllabus, sign your Course Proposal Form (CPF) and write a Letter of Support.

Complete CPF (To Top)

The CPF can be confusing if you're seeing it for the first time. Here are some quick descriptions to each item on the form:

  • Date Submitted: The date you completed and turned in your form
  • Term to be Offered: The semester which your course will be offered
  • Campus Department: The department which your course belongs to
  • Course Title: Name of your course
  • Course Number: Whether you are offering your course as an upper or lower division course (a 98 or a 198 course, or both)
  • Number of Units: Units for the course, usually 1-2 units for each DeCal Course (can offer both 1 and 2 units and let students decide the number of units they want)
  • Student Facilitator Name(s): Your (and your co-facilitator’s) name
  • Student Facilitator Email Address(es): You (and your co-facilitator’s) email address
  • Instructor of Record Name: Your faculty sponsor’s name. A faculty sponsor has to be a lecturer or a faculty member who is authorized to create and manage a class within the university (GSIs don’t count, sorry) and is responsible for all the requirements on the faculty checklist. Your faculty sponsor can be a valuable source to you- they have already created and taught courses!
  • Check-Box Questions: Instruction is given. “Appropriate Department Staff Person or Website” refers to your course advisor. You can find them here. Sometimes the department contact is your course advisor. Your course advisor deals with the logistical details for your class. When you talk to the advisor, be flexible with your room request and have a number of room preferences in mind and also know what kind of classroom you’ll need – e.g. how big? do you need a projector? bCourse access? Individual desks, or a conference room layout?
  • Signatures: This is the most crucial part of your CPF. Make sure you have it signed by appropriate personnel!
  • Student Course Facilitators: Your Signature
  • Department Chair: The department chair is responsible for making the final decision of whether or not your course is appropriate. Contact the staff in your department to understand the department procedures. Drop by the department office or contact the department staff. Don’t forget to include a copy of your course syllabus! The person in position may differ from year to year. Obtain the information from your department website or department contacts.
Attend a Workshop (To Top)

All new facilitators must attend a workshop offered through the Student Learning Center. The list of workshop dates can be found here. For more information about these workshops, please contact UCFTR at slc-ucftr@berkeley.edu.

Turn in Your CPF (To Top)

You must turn in your CPF (with your sponsor’s signature), syllabus, and faculty sponsor’s letter of support to your department. If the department approves your course, either they or you (please double check with your department) will send it to the Academic Senate for final approval.

To get your course listed on our website, you must create an account and “submit a course for approval”; you will upload your course description, syllabus, and fully signed CPF and then the DeCal Board will approve your course shortly after.