Academic Policy 1622.20
Guidelines for Proposing Program Changes and Approval Process
All new MicroCertificates, Concentrations, Minors or Degree Programs must receive prior approval from the Provost (Graduate Dean and Vice Provost of Distance Education, if applicable) to initiate the review process.
Academic deans or their designees 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 their 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 their 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 them 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 of Distance Education, if applicable) approves the proposal, the program change form will be routed, along with the associated documents, if required, for approval within their academic college. Cross-college interdisciplinary program changes will also be routed to the appropriate colleges or schools for review and approval.
Once approved by the academic college, these documents will be forwarded to the appropriate council (Undergraduate Council or Graduate Council), followed by the Faculty Senate, the Provost, the Board of Trustees, and the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Instructions for Proposing to Change or Delete a Program or Unit, or to Add, Change, or Delete a Policy
The Program Management template 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 Program Management template 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 Director of Curriculum Review and Program Assessment.
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.
Following initial approval, the Program Management template 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.
For actions to be reviewed by the Undergraduate or Graduate Council in a given month, the proposal must be received by the announced deadline for each council. Review the meeting schedule for each council's webpage for specific agenda deadlines.
Actions involving curricula of undergraduate programs must be reviewed by the Undergraduate Council and, for core courses, by the General Education and Core Curriculum Committee prior to action by the Faculty Senate. Actions involving changes to graduate or Law programs must be reviewed by the Graduate Council prior to action by the 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 and college approval to the provost for approval review and approval on behalf of the chancellor. Once reviewed, the information is forwarded (no vote) to the Undergraduate or Graduate Council (if appropriate) and the Faculty Senate, before being reviewed by the provost and approved on behalf of the chancellor and being sent to the Board of Trustees and Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board for approval. 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 (see Board Policy 620.1 ), the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (see AHECB Policy 5.11) 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. Academic 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 60 days prior to the target Board of Trustees meeting, Faculty Senate approval must be received at least two 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 department head/chair, 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 two months prior to the date of the target Board of Trustees meeting. In general, undergraduate program proposals will require approval by the departmental/program faculty, the college faculty or curriculum/program committee (as determined by the college), the Undergraduate Council, the Faculty Senate, and the provost. Graduate program proposals will require approval by the department/program faculty, the college faculty or curriculum/program committee (as determined by the college), 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 Division 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 April meeting is the last AHECB meeting at which programs for the fall could be approved for the Catalog of Studies. Programs may be approved at the July AHECB meeting, 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 undergraduate program changes of a relatively minor nature (fifteen
credit hours or less) and course changes must be reviewed and approved by Faculty
Senate at or before the March meeting. Proposals for graduate program changes of a
relatively minor nature (fifteen credit hours or less) and course changes must be
reviewed and approved by Faculty Senate at or before the April meeting. No off-campus
approvals are required.