Approval Process

Planning Processes for Academics

The centrality of the academic mission and the length of time needed to develop and implement new academic programs and initiatives require a more elaborate process for academic planning. There are two sources for the origin of new academic programs and initiatives: university-wide initiatives coming from the Office of the Provost, and academic program initiatives coming from the departments of the schools and colleges.

New programs require three stages of approval. New courses and changes to courses and programs require only one stage and begin at Stage 3.

Stage 1

In Stage 1, the program is proposed on the New Program Form in CourseLeaf (Program Admin). This form is completed by a faculty member, chair, or dean and is presented by the dean to the Academic Cabinet after it has been reviewed by the CFO, the VP for University Relations, the dean of University Libraries and, if it has an online or blended modality, the Office of Innovative Teaching and Technology (ITT). This review happens through the CourseLeaf system.

OCS will support the department in any way necessary as it shepherds the proposal through the Academic Cabinet process. The proposal will address the following:

  • A description of the degree, curriculum, and delivery mode, with time line for planning and implementation
  • Mission congruence—university, school, and department
  • Institutional capacity to deliver and support the program
  • Resources required to develop and support the program, along with a 3-year program budget
  • Craft any necessary documents for accreditation
  • Conduct a comparison of curricula, time to degree completion, and tuition to those of appropriate competitors
  • Conduct a market analysis or feasibility study to verify the demand for the program
  • Provide completed syllabi for at least three courses, one of which must be the capstone
  • Provide a curricular map, an assessment plan, and faculty needs and qualifications

The proposal is submitted to workflow and is placed on the agenda for the Academic Cabinet to review and approve.

Stage 2

Once the proposal is approved, Stage 2 can be initiated. This stage involves a high degree of faculty involvement to develop the curricula, student outcomes, and assessment plans. The Faculty Governance sections in the same CourseLeaf form will now open and are completed by the proposal initiator.

Once the department has completed these new sections, the proposal is forwarded in workflow and winds its way to the curriculum committee of the Undergraduate, Professional, Master’s, or Doctoral Studies Council for review and approval. Once approved by the curriculum committee, the proposal moves to the appropriate council for approval; this approval is noted in the council minutes. By consensus ballot, the Faculty Senate reviews all council minutes and approves or disapproves the action of the council concerning the curricular change.

OCS is responsible for tracking the proposal along this journey. Once the proposal is approved by the Faculty Senate, OCS is responsible for ensuring that information about the new program is disseminated to (a) the registrar’s office, (b) those responsible for catalog changes, (c) the Office of University Relations, and (d) other parties impacted by this change. OCS is responsible for tracking the new proposal until one month following implementation.

Initiatives for New Courses or Changes to Current Curricular Offerings

Development of new courses and minor changes to existing courses are initiated by faculty within their respective departments. Each department has its own governance structure and processes for reviewing and approving new courses or minor course changes. Once a proposal is submitted using the New Course Form in CourseLeaf (Course Admin), OCS reviews the changes and moves them on to the respective chair and dean for approval. The proposal is then submitted by OCS for review and tracking through the approval process. OCS is responsible for getting the proposal on the agenda of the Curriculum Committee of the Undergraduate, Professional, Masters or Doctoral Studies Council for review and approval. Once approved by the Curriculum Committee, the proposal moves to the Undergraduate, Professional, Masters, or Doctoral Studies Council for approval. This approval is noted in the council minutes. By consensus ballot, the Faculty Senate reviews all council minutes and approves or disapproves the action of the council concerning the curricular change.

OCS is responsible for tracking the proposed change along this journey. Once the proposal is approved by the Faculty Senate, OCS is responsible for ensuring that information about the new course or minor course change is disseminated to (a) the registrar’s office, (b) those responsible for catalog changes, (c) the Office of University Relations, and (d) other parties impacted by this change. OCS is responsible for tracking the new proposal until one month following implementation.

This same process is used for making changes to existing programs, but uses the CourseLeaf Program Admin instead of Course Admin.