Academic Program Approval Process

STEP 1 (optional):  Prepare a "New Program Prospectus" in collaboration with appropriate department chairs and deans, the VPAA, and appropriate enrollment management and marketing staff.   

The purpose of the optional prospectus is to secure support for the development of a proposal, particularly if the program is complex, potentially controversial, or will require a substantial investment of resources to implement.  If resources outside of the currently approved budget will be needed to develop the proposal, these should be requested in the prospectus.  The prospectus should be brief (typically 2-4 pages) and address four key areas:

  • Mission fit of the new program with the College
  • Market for the program (preliminary information)
  • Curriculum design and delivery (preliminary thoughts)
  • Resources needed to offer the program (gross estimate).  

STEP 2 (optional):  Review of the prospectus by the appropriate curriculum committee (undergraduate or graduate) and the president's staff.  Curriculum committee focus is program design; president's staff focus is mission, market, and resources.

The purpose of this review is to determine whether the curricular and administrative authorities support the concept of the program and recommend development of a full proposal.  A further purpose is to secure administrative approval of funding, if needed, for developing the proposal.  The prospectus review isn't binding, but if either or both bodies recommend against developing a proposal, the originator of the prospectus should carefully consider whether to invest further resources in doing so. 

STEP 3:  Prepare a proposal in collaboration with appropriate department chairs and deans, the VPAA, appropriate enrollment management and marketing staff, and other stakeholders (for example, librarians, information technology staff, chairs/deans of programs affected by the proposal).

The purpose of the proposal is to provide detailed information to allow curriculum and administrative authorities and the Board of Trustees to determine whether it makes sense for the College to begin the desired program.  The proposal should include: 

  • Concise statement of the request, including timing (for example, we request that the College begin an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts program in xyz beginning with Fall 2xxx)
  • Background information on the discipline or profession
  • Mission fit of the program with the College
  • Market for the program, including an analysis of major competitors
  • Curriculum design and delivery
  • Impact (positive or negative) on other College programs
  • Information on specialized accreditation, if appropriate
  • Resources needed, including human resources, library needs, equipment, and space
  • Projected revenue and expense budget for the first three years of the program
  • Analysis of strengths of the proposal program
  • Analysis of challenges that will be faced by the proposed program

STEP 4:  Submit the proposal to the following bodies for consideration:

President's staff and the undergraduate or graduate curriculum committee if necessary
IF BOTH are YES, then to

Faculty Assembly (undergraduate) or Graduate Council (graduate) if necessary
IF YES, then to

Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees and then Board of Trustees if necessary
IF YES, then to

External authorizing and accrediting bodies if necessary

The following table outlines which approvals are needed for different types of proposals 

Academic Program Approval Process-Necessary Steps for Various Program Types

Type of Program

Internal Faculty

Approvals

Internal Administrative and Board Approvals

External

Approvals

 

School,  Dean

UGCC or GCC

FA or GC

Pres

Staff

AA

BOT

BOT

HLC

State(s) or Feds

Spec

Accred

New UG major or GR program with new degree

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

No B,M

Yes D

Y

Varies

New UG major, UG minor, GR program using an existing degree

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Maybe (Feds)

Varies

New UG or GR certificate that is NOT a subset of an already approved program

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Maybe (Feds)

Varies

UG or GR certificate that IS a subset of an already approved program

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

N

Maybe (Feds)

Varies

UG or GR concentration that is NOT a packaging of previously approved courses

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Maybe (Feds)

Varies

UG or GR concentration that IS a packaging of previously approved courses

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

N

Maybe

(Feds)

Varies

Existing program being added at an existing or new location, requiring additional investment of resources

Y

Notify

Notify

Y

N

N

N

N

Varies

Existing program being added at an existing or new location, no additional resources necessary

Y

Notify

Notify

N

N

N

N

N

Varies

On-ground program offered on-line

Y

Notify

Notify

Y

N

N

Varies

N

Varies

Establishment of a new location (new city or new address in a city with an existing location)

N

Notify

Notify

Y

N

N

Y

Y

Varies

 

Key:

Y=Yes, approval needed at this level
N=No, approval not needed at this level
UGCC=Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
GCC=Graduate Curriculum Committee
FA=Faculty Assembly
GC=Graduate Council
AA BOT=Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees
BOT=Board of Trustees
HLC=Higher Learning Commission
B=Bachelor's Degree
M=Master's Degree
D=Doctoral Degree

Revised, Fall 2011

Approvals: 
President's Staff, 9/20/2011;
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, 10/18/2011; Faculty Assembly, 02/02/2012;
Graduate Curriculum Committee, 11/8/2011; Graduate Council, 11/15/2011
(note:  revisions to the external approvals section may be made to respond to external policy changes without the approval of the internal bodies; the revised version will be communicated to the internal bodies)