Academic Policy  1622.20

Guidelines for Proposing Program Changes and Approval Process

All new Certificates, Concentrations, Minors or Degree Programs must receive prior approval from the Provost (Graduate Dean and Vice Provost Distance Education, if applicable) to initiate the review process. 

Academic deans intending to propose new degree programs or certificates must complete the online program change form through Program Management. Instructions for completing the form and associated documents, if required, can be found at the registrar’s office website. For any program change request that requires new courses, a new course proposal must also be submitted online through Course Inventory Management. Instruction for this process can be found at the registrar’s office website

Completion of the program change form will require the dean to identify anticipated costs of the program and his/her commitment to sources of funding for those costs. The source of funding must be specifically indicated. 

Identification of needed library resources is required. The academic dean or his/her designee shall contact the University libraries for an estimate of their costs associated with the new program. The proposing unit dean will be required to commit resources to cover these library costs with continuing dollars. 

The academic dean must also present evidence that the increased workload will be factored into the faculty’s work assignment for merit evaluations and promotion/tenure. 

In the case of interdisciplinary programs, each dean must sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing him/her to the resources needed to effectively operate the program. As part of the MOU, each dean and department head/chair will indicate how participation in the interdisciplinary program will be factored into faculty workloads, yearly merit evaluations, and tenure/promotion. 

If the Provost (Graduate Dean and Vice Provost Distance Education, if applicable) approves the proposal, the program change form will be routed, along with the associated documents, if required, for approval within his/her academic college. 

Once approved by the academic college, these documents will be forwarded to the University Course and Programs Committee, followed by the Graduate Council (if at the graduate level), the Faculty Senate, the Provost, the Board of Trustees, and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. 

Instructions for Proposing to Change or Delete a Program or Unit, or to Add, Change, or Delete a Policy 

The online program change form and appropriate associated documents is required to initiate the process to change or delete a program, policy, or unit. The form, once approved, is used as the basis for implementing the change. Instructions for completing the form and associated documents, if required, can be found at the registrar’s office website

The online program change form and new program/unit proposal must contain all the required information to evaluate and implement the change. The proposal must be explicit regarding changes and must include the entire set of requirements for the program being proposed or changed with changes clearly identified. When in doubt regarding how to use the form, consult with the vice provost for academic affairs. Academic Policies 1100.40 and 1621.10 and the current catalog text for the program or unit may also be useful references.

When a proposed program or change will necessitate additions or changes in course offerings, forms for the course changes must be submitted when the program change goes forward. Use the online course approval process, consistent with Academic Policy 1622.10

Changes effective for the following academic year are normally initiated in academic departments in the fall term to complete the approval process and meet catalog deadlines. Earlier implementation must be specifically requested. A statement on timing and deadlines is included at the end of the description of the approval process. 

Approval Process 

Following initial approval, the online form and associated documents will be submitted to the next approval level and proceed through the college approval process until the proposal reaches the office of the dean for college or school approval, or all participating deans, if more than one school or college is involved. 

Proposals for all program changes proceed from college or school to the Graduate School, which will forward the proposals to the University Course and Programs Committee for review. For actions to be reviewed by the University Course and Programs Committee in a given month, the proposal must be at the University Course and Programs Committee level by the first Friday of that month. 

Actions involving curricula of undergraduate or professional programs (including law) must be reviewed by the University Course and Programs Committee and, for core courses, by the Core Curriculum Committee (CCC) prior to action by the Faculty Senate. Actions involving changes to graduate programs must be reviewed by the University Course and Programs Committee prior to action by the Graduate Council and Faculty Senate. 

Actions involving only administrative or organizational changes that have no impact on degree requirements, such as changing a name or code, eliminating or creating departments, moving degree programs from one unit to another, or changing a center or non-academic unit are forwarded following unit review, for information only (no vote) to the initiating college faculty program approval process, the University Course and Programs Committee, the Graduate Council (if appropriate) and the Faculty Senate, before being sent to the provost for review and approval by the chancellor and other entities as required and for implementation. A separate form, the Miscellaneous Request Form, is used for these requests. 

Certain program changes must be approved by or reported to the Board of Trustees and the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (see Board Policy 620.1 and the ADHE Criteria document identified on page one for further details). Among them are the initiation of new programs and substantive program changes including offering a program at an additional (off-campus) site. Many other changes must be reported (such as name changes and changes in organizational structure) and may be reviewed for action. All program change proposals are reviewed following campus approval to determine which are to be sent forward. All campus actions requiring action by either board or notification to either board will be handled by the provost, on behalf of the chancellor. Such actions will be reported by letter to the president for inclusion as agenda items for one or both boards. All materials for either board must be submitted to the office of the provost in electronic format. Items will not be submitted to ADHE for review until they have been approved by the Faculty Senate. Given that agenda items must be submitted no later than 120 days prior to the target AHECB meeting, Faculty Senate approval must be received at least four months in advance of that date.

Following any required approvals and notifications off campus, notification of approval is made by the provost to the originating dean (including graduate dean as appropriate), the registrar’s office, the Office of Institutional Research, and the catalog editor for the action to be implemented and recorded and entered in the program inventory file, catalog copy, and other official records. For programs requiring no off-campus approval, Faculty Senate approval will be considered notification to the campus that the program change will be implemented effective with the academic year in which the change is included in the catalog or the proposed effective date, if different, unless other notification is provided by the provost. 

Target Dates for Program Change 

Major changes to the curriculum typically take effect with a new catalog and the beginning of the fall semester. Copy for the Catalog of Studies is completed in March each year with copy for the Graduate School Catalog completed in May. For new programs and major program changes, Faculty Senate approval must be received at least four months prior to the date of the target AHECB meeting. In general, undergraduate program proposals will require approval by the departmental/program faculty, the college curriculum/program committee, the University Course and Programs Committee, the Faculty Senate, and the provost. Graduate program proposals will require approval by the department/program faculty, the academic college’s curriculum/program committee, the University Course and Programs Committee, the Graduate Council, the Faculty Senate, and the provost. Of course, any of these units could table the proposal for further discussion at the next meeting, further slowing the progress through the approval process. This lengthy approval process should be taken into consideration by those wishing to make changes. 

The meeting dates of the AHECB may be found on the website of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education at http://www.adhe.edu. The meeting dates for the Board of Trustees may be found on the web site of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.

Changes proposed to be implemented before they appear in the catalog must have a statement of justification regarding early implementation as part of the proposal. Those proposed to be implemented sooner than 75 days after AHECB approval also need a justification and, according to ADHE guidelines, should be “rare.” The July meeting is the last AHECB meeting at which programs for the fall could be approved, but only with early implementation approval and without being in the catalog. 

Proposals to eliminate courses and programs can be implemented with any term, although it is best if programs are deleted from the catalog effective with the Fall term of the year in which students are no longer admitted to the program. Proposals for program and course changes of a relatively minor nature can be implemented routinely without being in the catalog and may be processed at any time. No off-campus approvals are required. 

Reformatted for Web October 1, 2014
8/22/14