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Directed Inquiries and Tutorials

Directed Inquiries. The term directed inquiry indicates a type of independent study designed to give more individuality than is provided by regular coursework. A directed inquiry is a project agreed upon by a student and professor; it may be a laboratory experiment, special readings on a given topic, some type of art work, a group of essays, etc. The details of the project are agreed upon by the student and the professor. Directed inquiries may not be used to satisfy general degree requirements.

Credits for a directed inquiry range from one to four. Forty-six hours of work, including outside reading, experiments and conferences, are required for one credit. No more than twelve credits may be earned in any one department. The maximum number of credits for all directed inquiries allowed is twenty-four. Normally a first-year student may not undertake a directed inquiry until after the completion of one semester of regular studies. Special students are generally not eligible for directed inquiries.

Proposals for directed inquiries must be submitted for approval to the chair of the department. Appropriate forms are available online. These forms call for details such as the beginning and ending dates of the project and set forth specific rules governing such things as extensions or other possible considerations. The student should become familiar with this form well in advance of the date intended to submit a proposal so that everything will be in order and approved by the department when submitted. Applications for directed inquiries are to be submitted in time for the department to act and submitted to the Registrar before the date set for the project to begin. Normally a student will not be permitted to take more than one directed inquiry at a time.

In the event that more than two students are interested in a directed inquiry on the same topic, a special topics course may be taught. Such courses must conform to the standard forty-six hours of study per credit.

The Tutorial Plan. The tutorial plan of instruction, like the Honors Program and the Directed Inquiry, has as its chief purposes the individualizing of instruction and the provision of a means whereby students may go beyond the scope of a class course, both in the amount of work done and the kinds of interests pursued. The method is often that of extensive reading under guidance, and conferences with the tutor on the material read, either individually or in a small group.

The content of a tutorial is usually that of a regular catalogue course that is not scheduled to be taught during a particular term. A student may request that the course be taught in the tutorial fashion if a member of the faculty is available and agrees to direct the course. Approval by the faculty member, the chairperson of the department involved, and the Registrar is necessary for the tutorial to be scheduled. At a minimum, forty-six hours of study are required for each credit or a total of 184 hours of study for a four credit course.