Policies

Substantive Change Policy

Approved By and Date:Board of Trustees06-14-2012
 Executive Leadership Team05-07-2012
 ICORE05-02-2012

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)   defines a substantive change as a “significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution”, to include but not limited to:

  1. The addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when the institution was last evaluated,
  2. The addition of courses or programs at a degree or credential level above that which is included in the institution’s current accreditation or reaffirmation, or
  3. A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program.

Substantive Change Procedures

Approved By and Date:Executive Leadership Team05-03-2021
 ICORE03-17-2021

Changes which could trigger a need to notify SACSCOC of substantive changes anticipated at the institution must be identified routinely and early enough to allow for time to make the required notifications.

  1. All curricular changes are brought before the College’s Faculty Senate and ICore for approval. Prior to advancing the request through the Faculty Senate and ICore, the SACSCOC liaison is notified of the change and must give an approval signature on the Curriculum Change Form. If the curriculum change warrants, the approved change is then advanced to the Executive Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees.
  2. The SACSCOC liaison will also request information on a semi-annual basis by sending out a check sheet to the ICore membership. The members will be asked to provide information on any institutional changes (listed above) that are planned for their areas six months in the future.
  3. The SACSCOC liaison monitors all curricular changes or anticipated changes and will instigate a notification to SACSCOC if the change fits the published criteria for substantive change.  In the case of questions regarding the applicability of the change, the SACSCOC liaison will communicate with the institution’s assigned SACSCOC representative.
  4. For changes identified as substantive, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will assign appropriate divisional personnel to work with the SACSCOC liaison to complete the required materials for submission (e.g., prospectus and letters).

The following procedures address the different types of institutional changes, program changes, and off-campus instructional site changes that require the involvement of SACSCOC:

  1. Notification ONLY prior to implementation
  2. Approval of the Executive Council of the Board of Trustees of SACSCOC
  3. Approval of the full Board of Trustees of SACSCOC (and may require committee visit)
  4. Notification and Approval of the full Board of Trustees of SACSCOC (committee visit required)

 

Dates listed below are guidelines to enable SCC to meet SACSCOC submission deadlines. Exceptions may be made to SCC internal process dates to permit flexibility for planning purposes.

Type of procedure

Submission deadlines

Implementation allowed

Notification only

Before implementation

When notification letter submitted to SACSCOC

 

Approval by Executive Council of SACSCOC Board

To ICore: by 1 week prior to October meeting (the year before implementation)

 

To ELT: by third week of October

 

To SCC Board, Programs Committee: before fourth week of October (November meeting)

To SACSCOC: January 1

(submission to SACSCOC by January 1) After approval granted by SACSCOC and between July 1 to December 31 of the same calendar year

 

 

 

 

To ICore: by 1 week prior to April meeting (the year before implementation)

 

To ELT: by third week of April

To SCC Board, Programs Committee: by fourth week of April (May meeting)

To SACSCOC: July 1

(submission to SACSCOC by July 1) After approval granted by SACSCOC and between January 1 to June 30 of the next calendar year

Approval by full Board of SACSCOC

To ICore: by 1 week prior to November meeting (the year before implementation)

 

To ELT: by Thanksgiving

 

To SCC Board, Programs Committee: before Winter break (January meeting)

To SACSCOC: March 15

(submission to SACSCOC by March 15) After approval granted by SACSCOC in June of the same calendar year

 

To ICore: by 1 week prior to July meeting (the year before implementation)

 

To ELT: by third week of July

 

To SCC Board: by fourth week of July (August meeting)

To SACSCOC: September 1

(submission to SACSCOC by September 1) After approval granted by SACSCOC in December of the same calendar year

Additional information on substantive changes can be located on the SACSCOC website (sacscoc.org). In addition, answers to frequently asked questions can be access at https://sacscoc.org/accrediting-standards/substantive-changes/substantive-change-faqs/

References:

SACSCOC Standard 10.1, Academic policies

SACSCOC policy, Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions

 

 

Sample Substantive Change Check Sheet

Directions:  Please check the list below of institutional changes that could result in a SACSCOC substantive change for the college.  If your area has such a change, complete the form below and return to the institutional liaison Carmen Nunalee by date                                                                                                                                             .

Institutional Changes that require the involvement of SACSCOC (possible substantive changes)

Notification ONLY prior to implementation

  • Initiating joint degrees with another (SACSCOC-accredited) institution
  • Initiating dual academic awards with another (SACSCOC-accredited) institution (instruction at two or more institutions leading to each institution granting academic awards at the same credential level)
  • Initiating any new curriculum certificate, diploma or degree program (including programs moved from Continuing Education) – with 25-49% new content (not currently offered at the program’s instructional level)
  • Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs) – with 25-49% new content (not currently offered at the program’s instructional level)
  • Initiating off-campus sites (including Dual Credit programs offered at the high school) – at which 25-49% of a program’s instruction is delivered
  • Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites – at which 25-49% of a program’s instruction is delivered
  • Relocating an off-campus instructional site (non-branch campus)
  • Changing the name or address of an off-campus instructional site
  • Initiating program/courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium (Title IV entities; for non-Title IV entities, see SACSCOC Policy on Substantive Change)
  • Competency-based education by direct assessment – 25-49% of a program may be earned through the direct assessment approach to CBE
  • Adding a method of delivery (when 50% or more of the program is delivered by that method) to an existing program
  • Initiating a program designed for prior learning (as a condition of admission)
  • Reopening a closed program within five years of the closure date
  • Reopening an off-campus instructional site within five years of the closure date

 

Approval of the Executive Council of the Board of Trustees of SACSCOC

  • Change in measure of student’s progress to completion (e.g., changes from clock hour to credit hour)
  • Competency-based education by course/credit-based approach (institutional-level approval) – first program in which 50% or more may be earned through course/credit-based approach
  • Offering additional program by 50-100% distance education (institutional-level approval)
  • Initiating joint degrees with another (non-SACSCOC-accredited) institution
  • Initiating any new curriculum certificate, diploma or degree program (including programs moved from Continuing Education) – with 50-100% new content (not currently offered at the program’s instructional level)
  • Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs) – with 50-100% new content (not currently offered at the program’s instructional level)
  • Closing programs
  • Altering significantly the length of a program (either an increase or a decrease of program credit/clock hours by 25% or more AND students’ expected time to completion increases or decreases by more than one term)
  • Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution
  • Relocating a main or branch campus
  • Closing an off-campus instructional site
  • Closing an institution
  • Relocating a main or branch campus
  • Institution relocation
  • Institutional contingency teach-out plan (institution placed on probation by SACSCOC, certain actions taken by USDE; see SACSCOC Policy on Substantive Change for further details)

Approval of the full Board of Trustees of SACSCOC (and may require committee visit)

  • Initiating a branch campus (see SACSCOC Policy on Substantive Change for further details)
  • Initiating off-campus sites (including Dual Credit programs offered at the high school) – at which 50-100% of a program’s instruction is delivered (see SACSCOC Policy on Substantive Change for further details)
  • Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites – at which 50-100% of a program’s instruction is delivered (see SACSCOC Policy on Substantive Change for further details)

 

Notification and Approval of the full Board of Trustees of SACSCOC (committee visit required)

  • Initiating coursework or programs at a more advanced level than currently approved
  • Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution
  • Changing governance, ownership, control, or legal status of an institution
  • Acquisition of institution, program, or instructional location from another institution or entity
  • Competency-based education by direct assessment – 50-100% of a program may be earned through the direct assessment approach to CBE

 


Type of change (from list above):

Description of change in your area:

Name: ___________________________________ Date:_________________________________________­

 

Refer to the Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges Policy, available at www.sacscoc.org for more comprehensive information regarding substantive changes.