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Louisiana Tech University


Policies & Procedures

Policy 1307 - Policy and Procedure for Substantive Change

Effective Date: 8/30/2016

Responsible Office: Office of the President, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Reference: Council for Academic Deans


Institutional Obligations:

  1. Member institutions are required to notify the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes.
  2. Member institutions are required to have a policy and procedure to ensure that all substantive changes are reported to the Commission in a timely fashion.

Definition: Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Under federal regulations, substantive change includes

(From SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE FOR SACSCOC ACCREDITED INSTITUTIONS)

University Responsibilities:

It is the responsibility of the President of Louisiana Tech University to notify Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of substantive changes described above.  It is the obligation of the University faculty and staff to assist the President in recognizing and reporting substantive changes.  Failure to report these changes and any planned substantive changes can result in loss of the University’s accreditation for certificate and degree programs.  Henceforth, the following policies and procedures have been established for recognizing and reporting substantive changes.

Administrative Heads of Academic and Non-Academic Units:

These individuals are responsible for understanding the nature of what SACSCOC considers significant modifications, expansion of programs, and scope/nature of an accredited institution. Administrative Heads should become familiar with the SACSCOC website (www.sacscoc.org) and Substantive Change documentation (http://www.sacscoc.org/SubstantiveChange.asp).

President, Vice-Presidents, Deans, Chairs, Directors, and Administrators:

It is the duties of these individuals to ensure the University SACSCOC Liaison is notified of any planning for a modification that may require a submission for a substantive change to SACSCOC for approval as some changes cannot be implemented until approval has been received. 

University Approval Process

Standard University Policies and Procedures are to be followed during the process of implementation of new programs, curriculum, etc. and are to be done so PRIOR to submission of documentation to the SACSCOC main office.  That is, all programmatic changes initiated at the Departmental or University level must continue to follow University Policies and Procedures for approvals at the College, University (Instructional Policy Committee, Graduate Council, Administrative and Planning Council) and Presidential levels (e.g., see Policy2301: Policies and Procedures of the Instructional Policies Committee and Policy 2311 Policies and Procedures of the Graduate Council). 

Approval from the University of Louisiana System and/or Board of Regents, as in each case is appropriate, will be sought at the earliest scheduled meeting of the Board(s) after University approvals are obtained. 

NOTE: PROGRAMS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ADVERTISE, ADMIT, OR INITIATE A NEW PROGRAM UNTIL THIS FINAL STEP HAS BEEN COMPLETED: SUBMISSION TO AND APPROVED BY SACSCOC OFFICE FOR A SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE.

Substantive Change Policy

The table below describes the procedure for submission for documentation to SACSCOC main office.  All submissions to the University SACSCOC Liaison will be reviewed for completeness.  All documents prepared by University SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison will be reviewed by Vice President for Academic Affairs. Upon approval by the President, documentation will be submitted to the President of SACSCOC.

University personnel are to be reminded that all correspondences are to made with the University SACSCOC Liaison and NOT with the SACSCOC main office.

Procedures for Reporting: An Overview

There are three procedures for addressing the different types of substantive changes included in this document:

Procedures for the following types of changes are included in a separate document, “Mergers, Consolidations, Change of Ownership, Acquisitions, and Change of Governance, Control, Form, or Legal Status.”

Procedures for approval of direct assessment competency-based education programs are in a separate document, “Direct Assessment Competency-Based Educational Programs.”

Additional information regarding the development of the Prospectus can be found in the SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE FOR SACSCOC ACCREDITED INSTITUTIONS.

 
Types of Change
Procedure or Policy Prior Notification Required Prior Approval Required Documentation and Time Frame for Contacting SACSCOC

Initiating coursework or programs at a different level than currently approved

Procedure 1

No

Yes

Application for Level Change

Due dates: 

March 15 (for June review) September 1 (for December review)

Initiating off-campus sites where student can obtain 50% or more credits toward a program (including but not limited to Early College High School, dual enrollment programs offered at a high school, and certificate programs that are not at an employer’s request and not on short notice).

Procedure 1

No

Yes

Cover Sheet

See Appendix B

SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE FOR SACSCOC ACCREDITED INSTITUTIONS

Due dates:

January 1 for 7/1-12/31 implementation July 1 for 1/1-6/30 implementation

Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs)

Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites by adding programs that ARE significantly different from current programs at the site AND at the institution

Initiating degree completion programs

Initiating a branch campus (See definition of “branch campus” on p. 3 of this document.)

Initiating distance learning by offering 50% or more of the first program for the first time

Relocating a main or branch campus

Entering into a contract with an entity not certified to participate in USDOE Title IV programs if the entity provides 25% or more of an educational program offered by the SACSCOC accredited institution

Initiating dual or joint degrees involving program expansion (significant departure) or initiating a new site where student can obtain 50% or more credits toward a program

See SACSCOC policy 

Agreements 

Involving Joint 

and Dual

Academic Awards

No

Yes

Cover Sheet

See Appendix B

SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE FOR SACSCOC ACCREDITED INSTITUTIONS

Due dates:

January 1 for 7/1-12/31 implementation July 1 for 1/1-6/30 implementation 

Copy of signed agreement, contact information for each institution, and additional details on non-SACSCOC institution(s) involved. See Policy.

Initiating dual or joint degree with at least one institution not accredited by SACSCOC

See SACSCOC Policy

Agreements Involving Joint

and Dual 

Academic Awards

At least 6 months prior to implementation

Yes

Acceptance of notification, copy of signed agreement, contact information for each institution, and additional details on non-SACSCOC institution(s). See Policy.

Initiating a direct assessment competency-based program

See SACSCOC Policy 

Direct Assessment 

Competency-Based 

Educational Programs

Yes - Screening Form

Yes

Submit “Screening Form” with letter of notification.  If Prospectus is required,

Due dates:

March 15 (for June review) September 1 (for December review)

Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution

 

See SACSCOC Policy: 

Mergers, Consolidations, 

Change of Ownership,

Acquisitions, and Change of 

Governance,

Control, Form,

or Legal Status

 

 

Yes: December 15 (for June review); June 1 (for December review)

Yes

Cover Sheet Institutional Summary Form

Prospectus

(See Appendix in SACSCOC Policy: “Mergers, Consolidations, Change of Ownership, Acquisitions, and Change of Governance, Control, Form, or Legal Status“)

Due dates:

March 15 (for June review); September 1 (for December review)

Changing governance, ownership, control, or legal status of an institution

Acquiring any program or site from another institution

Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out for students from another institution that is closing

Initiating a certificate program at a new off- campus site at employer’s request and on short notice (previously approved program)

 

Procedure 1

 
No
 
Yes
 
 

Cover Sheet Modified prospectus

Contact Commission Staff.

 

Initiating a certificate program that is a significant departure from previously approved programs at employer’s request and on short notice

Adding a site under a U.S. military contract for a previously approved program

Altering significantly the length of a program

Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution

Changing from clock hours to credit hours

Procedure 1

No

Yes

Justify reasons for change, indicate calculation of equivalency, and other pertinent information

Moving an off-campus instructional site (serving the same geographic area)

Procedure 2

Yes

No

Letter of notification with old address, new address, and implementation date

Initiating dual or joint degrees with other SACSCOC accredited institution(s)

See SACSCOC Policy

Agreements 

Involving Joint

and Dual Academic Awards

At least 6 months prior to implementation

No

Acceptance of notification, copy of signed agreement and contact information for each institution. See Policy

Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium

Procedure 2

 

Yes

 

 

No

 

Letter of notification and copy of signed agreement

Entering into a contract with an entity not certified to participate in USDOE Title IV programs if the entity provides less than 25% of an educational program offered by the SACSCOC accredited institution

Initiating off-campus sites where student can obtain 25- 49% of credits toward a program (including but not limited to Early College High School, dual enrollment programs offered at a high school, and certificate programs that are not at employer’s request and not on short notice)

Procedure 2

Yes

Yes

Letter of notification including street address and implementation date

Initiating distance learning by offering 25-49 of the first program for the first time

Closing a program, approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution where the institution plans to teach out its own students

Procedure 3

Yes

Yes

Description of teach-out plan included with letter of notification

Closing a program, approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution where the institution plans contracts with another institution(s) to teach-out students (Teach- out Agreement)

 Procedure 3  Yes  Yes Description of teach-out plan, copy of signed teach-out agreement(s) detailing terms included with notification

Initiating a certificate program at employer’s request and on short notice using existing approved courses and location

N/A

No

No

N/A

Initiating certificate program (not at employer’s request and not on short notice) using existing approved courses and location

Initiating off-campus sites (including Early College High School and dual enrollment programs offered at the high school) where student can obtain 24% or less of credits toward a program

Expanding program offerings at previously approved off- campus sites by adding approved programs that ARE NOT significantly different from current programs at the site

Expanding program offerings at previously approved off- campus sites by adding approved programs that  ARE significantly different from current programs at the site but NOT at the institution

Initiating distance learning by offering 24% or less of any program for the first time


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