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Recommendations for Curricular Proposals - Policies & Procedures

Report from the

Task Force of the Education Board

to consider the Recognition Status of Curricular Recommendations

and Other Related Matters

Approved February 2000; Revised April 11, 2009


At its meeting of 1999 October, the ACM Education Board (Board) established a task force to investigate the Board's relationship with curricular materials, specifically those that the Board did not generate directly. The task force consists of Lillian (Boots) Cassel as chair, John Gorgone, and John Impagliazzo. The charge of the task force is to make recommendations on the Board’s (ACM’s) relationship with all curricular proposals and to develop a means to evaluate such relationships.

Stimulation for the creation of the task force came about by a request for the Board to bestow ACM recognition on a curriculum proposal entitled “Educating the Next Generation of Information Specialists in Collaboration with Industry” (ISCC’99). The principal authors of this NSF supported curricular report are Doris Lidtke and the late Michael Mulder. Since neither the Board nor ACM was involved in the monitoring or the development of this report, the question arose as to what such recognition would mean and under what circumstances should recognition be given.

The task force believes that this report is just one of many such reports to be generated globally for which the Board would be asked to consider a level of recognition. Such requests would reflect the maturing of the computing discipline. Also, there is a likelihood that a number of different but valid curricular models would develop to demonstrate alternate approaches to education in the computing disciplines. Because of these circumstances, the task force believes that it must develop policies and procedures for responding to these requests.

The task force has adopted the premise that for computing curriculum development, the “one size fits all” philosophy is not an acceptable option. It expects that there will be a number of good curricular reports and recommendations to consider from within ACM and external to ACM. Some will derive from official Board activities such as Curriculum 2001, IS’97, and other similar reports. Others will emerge from other national and international sources through other computing organizations or governments.

Reports sanctioned and generated by the ACM and its Education Board do have all the checks and balances to ensure that a recommendation stands on firm footing. One would expect that such recommendations would warrant serious consideration by the educational community for guidance or adoption. However, there may be valid alternatives in curricular projects that ACM did not generate or was not a party to its development. In such cases, the ACM, through its Education Board, requires a mechanism to validate in some way the efforts of others since the public looks toward ACM for guidance in these matters. Reports generated without ACM Education Board involvement may also have checks and balances in place and may be very useful documents. However, before they can carry ACM recognition, it must make independent and reliable verification of these checks and balances.

ACM already has models for related kinds of recognition. In the area of conferences, it has various levels of approval and association. The ACM name on the conference as “sponsor” indicates that ACM has approved the planning and the financial viability of the conference. It says the conference organization is in the hands of people that are considered qualified and that the plans are consistent with the mission of ACM. The “in-cooperation” status of a conference implies no financial liability, but does say that ACM is willing to have its name associated with this event.

In the area of publications, there is a much more formal and rigorous set of criteria for ACM acceptance of materials. There is a “refereed” status, which says that ACM has overseen a rigorous review process by qualified individuals who have attested that this material is seminal to the literature (original), novel, important, correct, and has clarity of exposition. There are less rigorous levels of publication such as “formally reviewed” and “reviewed” status. While ACM sometimes publishes outstanding work in non-refereed publications, people who base their research on work reported in a refereed journal can have some confidence that they are building on a reasonably solid foundation.

In response to the aforementioned considerations, the task force proposes the following categories for the level of recognition for curricular reports or recommendations.

  • Sponsor

ACM agrees to undertake the project on its own or with other interested organizations and it is the principal author or co-author of the work. ACM finances the project in proportion to its involvement with it. [Action: The publication designates that ACM is the author or co-author and it displays ACM’s logo on it.]

  • Endorse

ACM did not initiate the project, but it has significant ongoing involvement with the project to monitor its development. ACM is not the principal author, although some of its members may be part of the project. ACM’s financial commitment to the project is minimal or nil. [Action: The publication indicates prominently that ACM endorses the project and it carries the ACM logo.]

  • Acknowledge

ACM did not initiate the project and does not have an ongoing involvement to monitor its development. ACM does not author the project and has no financial commitment in it. ACM feels that the project is a worthy effort and it is not in conflict with ACM’s mission, objectives, or other publications. [Action: The project mentions ACM’s recognition of the effort in the body, preface, or summary of the work, but it does not carry ACM’s logo.]

  • Neutral

ACM did not initiate the project, is not involved with the project, and has no financial commitment in it. While the project is not in conflict with ACM’s mission and objections, there is no advantage for ACM to associate itself with it. [Action: The project does not mention ACM’s recognition of it and it does not carry ACM’s logo.]

  • Disapprove

ACM does not sanction the project, is not involved with the project, and has no financial commitment in it. The project is in conflict with ACM’s mission, objectives, or other publications. [Action: ACM deplores the project and publishes its objection through one or more of its publications.]

To evaluate a given project that was not sponsored by the ACM, the Board will establish a special task force to consider it. The task force shall have three individuals who are associated directly or indirectly with the Board. The task force will conduct an investigation of the merits of a project. After a fair and thorough evaluation, the task force will recommend a category for it. A category recommendation from the task force requires the approval of the Board.

Based on the information at hand, this task force has considered the following projects and has made the following assignments to them.

  • Curricula’91 Sponsor
  • Associate-Degree Curricula Sponsor
  • IS’97 Sponsor
  • MSIS 2000 Endorse
  • ISCC’99 Acknowledge
  • Curriculum 2001 Sponsor


The task force thanks the Board for its consideration in this important effort and hopes that a system such as this one may be applicable in other areas of its work.

ACM/Curricula Proposals. Last Update: April 11, 2009 by the ACM Education Board