Reinhardt University SACSCOC Compliance Certification

3.4.1 Academic Program Approval

The institution demonstrates that each educational program for which academic credit is awarded is approved by the faculty and the administration. (Academic program approval)

Judgment check box Compliance

Narrative

The Office of the University Provost oversees the academic program approval process. All academic programs at Reinhardt, regardless of delivery modality, are initiated and approved through a process that involves the faculty, the administration, and the Reinhardt University Board of Trustees.

Each degree program is initiated by a program coordinator.  In the development of a new program, faculty design the curriculum and determine required course credits and program length as part of the degree proposal process. Each program proposal includes consideration of the courses constituting the program as well as a plan to assess the learning outcomes of the program. Integral to the design process is consultation with the Director of the HillFreeman Library to ensure the educational support needed for the proposed program is in place.

New course proposals and new program proposals are typically generated by faculty within academic programs or schools. Then the proposals must gain several levels of approval:  the program coordinator/director, the school dean, faculty Academic Programs and Curriculum Committee (APCC), the faculty senate, the provost, the university president, and for new programs or substantive changes, the Board of Trustees as well as SACSCOC.

The Curriculum Cover Sheet and Guidelines for Curriculum Change [1] describes the process by which educational programs and academic credit courses are developed and approved by the faculty and administration of Reinhardt University. A proposal must include a rationale and sample syllabi.  The program proposal form includes comparative data about other institutions of higher education to ensure appropriateness for higher education.  For example, in November 2015, the McCamish School of Business proposed converting its Bachelor of Arts in General Business Studies (B.A.-GBS) for adult learners to an online program, a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.).  The proposal noted that the B.A.-GBS was undersubscribed and that a number of comparable institutions offered fully online programs, the comparative data using two data bases, http:\\www.thebestschools.org and http:\\www.affordablecollegesonline.org  [2] The supporting documentation includes two examples documenting program approval by the faculty and administration: the undergraduate degree B.S. in Nursing [3] and the Graduate degree M.F.A in Creative Writing. [4]

In Spring 2017, “Curriculum Change Cover Sheet” and “Guidelines” were revised to better align with the newly revised SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy that now has only two submission deadlines for a prospectus that requires approval: January 1 and July 1. The revised form and guidelines go into effect in August 2017. [5] The SACSCOC Prospectus template was adopted as the new template for submitting a proposal for a new academic program.  See Appendix A in the revised “Guidelines.” [5]

Curricular Review and Approval Committees

The initiator of any proposed curricular changes will discuss the proposal with the Program Coordinator and the School Dean well in advance of submission. The Dean will inform the Provost and follow the appropriate channels for securing course approval. Full-time faculty members in each school review the proposals originating from the initiator. The review at this level is focused on academic quality and rigor and centrality to the mission of the school as well as assuring non-duplication with existing programs and other related issues. Once approved by the Dean, the proposal is sent to the Academic Programs and Curriculum Committee for review.

The Reinhardt University Faculty Standing Committee for Academic Programs and Curriculum (APCC) is charged with the review of proposals for new education programs and curriculum changes. The charge to the APCC is clearly described in the Faculty Handbook. [6] This Committee studies proposals that show the need for curricular changes and program additions that have been approved by the schools. The Committee then makes recommendations for adoption to the Faculty Senate. Areas under the purview of the Committee are the establishment or termination of academic programs, including degrees, majors, minors, concentrations, certificates; addition or deletion of courses; changes in the level of courses; and proposed changes to general education and the core curriculum. Minutes of the APCC are maintained by the Chair of the Committee in EagleWeb. [7] The supporting documentation includes minutes from a recent APCC meeting documenting the committee’s approval of proposed curriculum changes. [8]

After approval by the APCC, the new program proposal moves to the Faculty Senate for review and approval. In accordance with the Faculty Handbook, the Senate is responsible for approving all curriculum innovations and changes, including course descriptions for the academic catalog; the addition of courses to, or the deletion of courses from, the curriculum; new major programs; and the reconfiguration or termination of major programs. Actions passed as formal recommendations by the Faculty Senate are submitted in writing by the Chair of the Faculty Senate for approval by the President, with copies provided to the Provost.  Upon receipt of a formal recommendation from the Faculty Senate, the President responds by either approving or disapproving the recommendation within thirty (30) days. The President responds to each recommendation approved by the Faculty Senate in a written memorandum to the Chair of the Faculty Senate, with a copy provided to the Provost. [9] Minutes of the Faculty Senate are maintained by the Chair of the Faculty Senate on EagleWeb, the University’s campus management system. [10]  The supporting documentation includes minutes from a recent meeting documenting the Senate’s approval of proposed curriculum changes. [11]

Continuous Program Review

All undergraduate and graduate degree programs, once approved, begin a cycle of systematic, periodic review to ensure that the degree curriculum, course credits, and length is consistent with best practices in the discipline and continues to meet SACSCOC standards.

Starting with 2016-17, the Provost requires that each degree program undergo periodic external review. Those programs with discipline-specific accreditations are reviewed in accordance with their accreditation cycles.  Those programs that do not have discipline-specific accreditations undergo required program reviews in accordance with the Reinhardt University Program Review Guidelines [12] and Program Review Schedule. [13] Examples of accreditation and program review reports are in included in the supporting documentation. [1415]

 

Supporting Documents

[1] Curriculum Cover Sheet and Guidelines, 2016-17

[2] BBA Program Proposal  

[3] BSN Program Proposal

[4] MFA in Creative Writing Program Proposal

[5] Revised Curriculum Cover Sheet and Guidelines, August 2017

[6] 2016-2017 Faculty Handbook, Program Change Procedures

[7] Screenshot of APCC Website in EagleWeb

[8] APCC Minutes 2.2.2017

[9] 2016-2017 Faculty Handbook, Faculty Senate

[10] Screenshot of Faculty Senate Website in EagleWeb

[11] Faculty Senate Minutes 2.14.2017

[12] RU Program Review Guidelines

[13] RU Program Review Schedule

[14] CMS External Program Review Report

[15] PSOE Institutional Report