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Board of Regents Policy Manual

3.6 Creation and Elimination of Academic Programs

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3.6.1 Creation of Academic Programs

New degree programs or new major programs of academic work shall not be added to curricula of an institution unless recommended by the president of the institution concerned, the Chancellor, and the Committee on Academic Affairs, and approved by the Board.

Programs that provide academic credit but award certificates rather than degrees must be approved based on guidelines issued by the Chancellor. These guidelines will be provided to the presidents and chief academic officers by the Chancellor (BoR Minutes, May 2004). Ph.D. Programs

Ph.D. programs shall be limited to research universities (BoR Minutes, 1954-55, pp. 102-03; July, 1996, p. 17). Comprehensive universities do not normally offer Ph.D. degrees. In exceptional cases, however, they may offer the Ph.D. when:

  1. The program supports the central mission of that university;
  2. There is demonstrated demand for the program;
  3. There is demonstrated need for graduates of the program; and,
  4. There is assurance of high academic quality.

(BoR Minutes, April 2008)

All such program proposals will be subject to Board approval processes for graduate programs. The USG chief academic officer will seek counsel from appropriate USG leaders and other research universities, and then make recommendations to the Chancellor and the Board of Regents as to whether a comprehensive university has met these criteria (BR Minutes, April 2008).

In the case of applied doctorates, the Chancellor may recommend exceptions to the above policy under guidelines adopted by the USG chief academic officer.

3.6.2 Termination of Academic Programs

The termination of educational programs, degrees, or majors shall be submitted to the Chancellor for review and recommendation for action by the Board of Regents. Subsequent reinstatement of a program must be submitted as a proposal for a new program, as noted in Section 3.6.1 of this Policy Manual.

A temporary suspension of an educational program, degree, or major may be approved by a president for a period not to exceed two (2) academic years to allow for program review, to consider enrollment problems, to deal with faculty shortages, or for other similar reasons. The imposition and removal of a temporary suspension shall be reported to the Chancellor.

3.6.3 Comprehensive Academic Program Review

Each USG institution shall conduct academic program review on a periodic basis. Consistent with efforts in institutional effectiveness and strategic planning, each USG institution shall develop procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of its academic programs to address the quality, viability, and productivity of efforts in teaching and learning, scholarship, and service as appropriate to the institution’s mission. Institutional review of academic programs shall involve analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data, and institutions must demonstrate that they make judgments about the future of academic programs within a culture of evidence. Planning and conduct of academic program reviews shall be used for the progressive improvement and adjustment of programs in the context of the institution’s strategic plan and in response to findings and recommendations of the reviews. Adjustment may include program enhancement, maintenance at the current level, reduction in scope, or, if fully justified, consolidation or termination (BoR Minutes, April 2010).

Except for programs requiring a formal accreditation review, an institution’s cycle of review for all undergraduate academic programs shall be no longer than seven (7) years, and for all graduate programs no longer than ten (10) years. Newly approved programs should automatically be reviewed seven years after launch. If successfully reviewed, the new program will then become part of the regular institutional cycle. If unsuccessful, the institution will present a plan of action to the System Office. Programs accredited by external entities may not substitute an external review for institutional program review, but material submitted as part of an external accreditation process may be used in the institutional review. Institutions may align program review cycles with required external accreditation review, so long as no program review cycle at any level exceeds ten (10) years. Institutions must also review General Education every five (5) years; learning outcomes for each Area A-E of institutional core curricula must be approved by the Council on General Education. Institutions are also encouraged to review Learning Support programs (BoR Minutes, April 2010).

Each USG institution shall provide a web link outlining institutional comprehensive program review procedures and shall post program review results on a password protected institutional web site, which shall include the institutional review cycle and a summary of current institutional reviews (BoR Minutes, April 2010).

Academic Affairs staff will perform periodic analyses on the posted institutional comprehensive program reviews to ensure that reviews are being used to inform institutional decision-making on the issues of program quality, productivity and viability. The System Office staff will continue to provide data on programs with low enrollment for institutional information (BoR Minutes, April 2010).

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