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I-27: Substantive Change Policy

Policy Number: I-27
Last Reviewed: January 15, 2013
Responsible Dept.: Institutional Effectiveness

Policy Document (PDF)

Purpose

Compliance with SACS comprehensive standard 3,12.1.

Policy

All substantive changes at Virginia Western will be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Substantive changes include:

  1. Starting a new program
    1. Starting a certificate or career studies certificate program at an employer's request
    2. Starting other certificate programs
  2. Starting an off-campus site
  3. Expanding distance learning
  4. Starting programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium
  5. Significantly changing the length of a program
  6. Closing a program
  7. Closing an off-campus site
  8. Other types of substantive change

Reporting Responsibilities

Reporting responsibilities are listed in the following table. In general, the program head or dean is responsible for notifying and gaining the necessary approvals from the Curriculum Committee, VWCC administration, and program accreditors in a timely basis. The Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs is responsible for gaining the necessary approvals from the Local Advisory Board, and notifying the Accreditation Liaison and the Director of Financial Aid. The Accreditation Liaison and the Director of Financial Aid notify and gain the necessary approvals from listed state and federal organizations.

Program heads are responsible for determining whether program accreditors require notification, and making these notifications.

Responsibilities for Notifications and Approval Processes

  Reported by:
Reported to: Program Head or Dean VP of Academic & Student Affairs SACS Accreditation Liason Director of Financial Aid
VWCC Curriculum Committee X      
VWCC Administration X      
VWCC Local Advisory Board   X    
VWCC Accreditation Liason   X    
VWCC Director of Financial Aid   X    
SACSCOC     X  
U.S. Department of Education       X
VCCS     X  
SCHEV     X  
State Board     X  
Program accreditors X      

Reporting Procedures

1. Initiating programs that are a significant departure from previously approved programs; expanding at current degree level

  Prior Notification Prior Approval Time Frame Documentation Required
Curriculum Committee Yes Yes    
VWCC Administration Yes Yes    
Local Advisory Board Yes Yes    
SACSCOC Required Yes 6 months* Prospectus*

*SACSCOC does not require notification or approval if all courses used in the program are existing, approved courses AND are offered at a previously approved site. The following provisions also apply:

  • Certificate/CSC programs at an employer's request: SACSCOC requires only 60 days notification and a modified prospectus, even for new off-site locations. This applies only if all courses used in the program are existing, approved courses.
  • Off-site locations: For certificates at new off-campus sites when the program is previously approved and for certificates that are significant departures from previously approved programs, SACSCOC requires prior notification and approval prior to implementation.

2. Initiating off-campus sites (Including dual enrollment)

  Prior Notification Prior Approval Time Frame Documentation Required
Curriculum Committee        
VWCC Administration Yes Yes    
Local Advisory Board Yes Yes    
SACSCOC        
  • Prior to offering 25% of a program at the site
Required No prior Letter
  • Prior to offering 50% of a program at the site
Required Required 6 months Prospectus*

*The following SACSCOC provisions also apply:

Programs at multiple sites: if the program being offered at the new off-campus site is a replication of a program currently offered at three or more approved sites, a modified prospectus is required.

Special Procedures

Academic Deans will notify the Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs and the Accreditation Liaison before changing the location (site) of a class after the class schedule has been posted/published for the term, or adding off-campus classes to a previously posted/published class schedule. All such changes and additions must be approved by the Vice President before they are implemented.

The Accreditation Liaison is responsible for also making an annual inventory of courses offered at each location. The Liaison will notify SACSCOC and the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs as appropriate of program/site combinations approaching 25%, and will work with the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs to prepare and submit documentation to SACSCOC for program/site combinations approaching 50% on a timely basis.

3. Expanding Distance Learning

  Prior Notification Prior Approval Time Frame Documentation Required
VWCC Administration Yes Yes    
SACSCOC Required No prior Letter

Virginia Western has previously been approved by SACSCOC for the electronic delivery of 50% or more of a program's credits. Because of this, SACSCOC requires prior notification only for programs that are significant departures from the originally approved programs.

Special Procedures

Academic Deans will notify the Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs and the Accreditation Liaison of plans to provide additional courses through distance learning. All such changes and additions must be approved by the Vice President before they are implemented.

The Accreditation Liaison is responsible for also making an annual inventory of courses offered through distance learning, The Liaison will notify SACSCOC and the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs as appropriate of program in which distance learning course credits are approaching 50%.

4. Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium

  Prior Notification Prior Approval Time Frame Documentation Required
Curriculum Committee Yes Yes    
VWCC Administration Yes Yes    
SACSCOC Required No prior Copy of Agreement

Special Procedures

The Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs is responsible for providing the Accreditation Liaison with a copy of all academic contractual agreements, including addendums and renewals.

5. Altering significantly the length of a program

  Prior Notification Prior Approval Time Frame Documentation Required
Curriculum Committee Yes Yes    
VWCC Administration Yes Yes    
Local Advisory Board Yes Yes    
SACSCOC Required Yes 6 months* Prospectus*

VWCC defines a significant change in program length as a curricular change resulting in a 30% difference in the number of credits required to complete a program,

6. Closing a program - Institution to teach out its own students

  Prior Notification Prior Approval Time Frame Documentation Required
Curriculum Committee Yes Yes    
VWCC Administration Yes Yes    
Local Advisory Board Yes Yes    
SACSCOC Required Required prior Prospectus

Special Procedures

The Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs is responsible for providing the Accreditation Liaison with a teach-out plan including the following information:

  1. Date of closure
  2. An explanation of how affected parties (students, faculty, staff) will be informed of the impending closure
  3. An explanation of how students will be helped to complete their programs of study with minimal disruption or additional expense
  4. Signed copies of teach-out agreements with other institutions, if any
  5. How faculty and staff will be redeployed or helped to find new employment

7. Closing an approved off-campus site -- Institution to teach out its own students

  Prior Notification Prior Approval Time Frame Documentation Required
Curriculum Committee Yes Yes    
VWCC Administration Yes Yes    
Local Advisory Board Yes Yes    
SACSCOC Required No prior Prospectus

Special Procedures

The Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs is responsible for providing the Accreditation Liaison with a teach-out plan including the following information:

  1. Date of closure
  2. An explanation of how affected parties (students, faculty, staff) will be informed of the impending closure
  3. An explanation of how students will be helped to complete their programs of study with minimal disruption or additional expense
  4. Signed copies of teach-out agreements with other institutions, if any
  5. How faculty and staff will be redeployed or helped to find new employment

8. Other Substantive Changes

The President and Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs are responsible for monitoring Virginia Western's status in regard to all other substantive changes and coordinating the appropriate notification to the Commission, as specified by Commission policy, Other substantive changes specified by SACSCOC policy include:

  • initiating courses or programs at more advanced or lower levels than currently approved,
  • initiating a branch campus,
  • initiating a merger/consolidation,
  • significantly altering the educational mission of the institution,
  • relocating a campus,
  • initiating degree completion programs, and
  • changing governance, ownership, control, or legal status.
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