Policies

Policies

Policy for Reporting Substantive Changes

Effective Date Mar 17, 2014
SUBJECT: APPLICABILITY: APPROVED BY: EFFECTIVE DATE:
REPORTING
SUBSTANTIVE CHANGES
Accreditation Dr. Anthony J. Catanese
President and CEO 
March 17, 2014

Reporting Substantive Changes

A. Policy

Florida Institute of Technology is responsible for complying with the substantive change policy set forth by its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Specifically, SACSCOC Comprehensive Standard 3.12.1 states:

“The institution notifies the Commission of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seeks approval prior to the initiation of changes.”

SACSCOC defines substantive change as “a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Under federal regulations, substantive changes includes

  • Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution
  • Any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the institution
  • 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
  • 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
  • A change from clock hours to credit hours
  • A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program
  • The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50 percent of an educational program
  • The establishment of a branch campus.” (taken from SACSCOC substantive change policy)

B. Resources

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges; http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/Substantive%20change%20policy.pdf

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, Section 3.12; http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/2012PrinciplesOfAcreditation.pdf

C. Responsibilities

Responsibilities of Vice Presidents (all levels), Deans (and Associates) and Directors

Vice Presidents (all levels), Deans (and Associates), and Directors are responsible for

  1. becoming familiar with policies and procedures in the SACSCOC substantive change document,
  2. notifying the university-appointed Accreditation Liaison as early as possible about proposals that may be considered substantive changes,
  3. providing the Accreditation Liaison with the supporting data and documentation necessary for reporting such changes to the SACSCOC,
  4. adhering to any timeline set forth by SACSCOC for purposes of review and prior approval of substantive changes.

Responsibilities of the university-appointed Accreditation Liaison

The university-appointed Accreditation Liaison is responsible for

  1. providing the substantive change policy to all Vice Presidents (all levels), Deans (and Associates) and Directors on an annual basis,
  2. maintaining a current copy of the SACSCOC policy on the university Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation website,
  3. working with the Vice Presidents (all levels), Deans (and Associates) and Directors to determine whether a proposal is a substantive change and to generate the necessary letters, prospectus, and other documents for reporting to SACSCOC,
  4. submitting the requested substantive change documents to SACSCOC, and
  5. coordinating any necessary follow-up action.

D. Procedure for Approval and Notification of Academic Changes

Responsible faculty members, chairs, and deans must report substantive changes as defined in Table 1. Failure to report according to the definitions will result in the delay of an offering. Requirements for Florida Tech and timelines for SACSCOC reporting and actions are defined in Table 1.

  1. Responsible faculty members and chairs must notify the dean of the college of the intent to enter into a substantive change.
  2. The Dean must then notify the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) of the intent to enter into a substantive change. After consulting with the Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness (VPIE), the VPAA will seek conditional approval from the EVP/COO. 
  3. a. Academic Programs. The New Program Plan, with completed budget, is conditionally approved by the EVP/COO. The responsible party will then present their intent and all required signed paperwork to the appropriate curriculum committee, that is, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UGCC) or the Graduate Council. Their purpose is to evaluate the proposed change against university standards and academic policies and to make revisions as appropriate. If approved, the curriculum committee will forward the required paperwork to the EVP/COO for final approval.
    b. Academic Agreement or New Site. International academic agreements must be processed through the International Academic Programs office. Authorization of all academic or new off-site agreements comes from the EVP/COO.
  4. Concurrently, the responsible faculty will provide substantive change information to the VPIE who will coordinate the submission of notifications and other required materials to the SACSCOC.
  5. The VPIE will notify the President and the EVP/COO of the submission of the substantive change notifications, prospectuses and other documentation to SACSCOC.
  6. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation (OIEA) will be responsible for disseminating SACSCOC substantive change approvals and facilitate the submission of subsequent documentation requested by SACSCOC. This office will also keep all substantive change submissions on file.

 E. Procedure for Approval and Notification of Administrative Substantive Changes

Administrators who serve on Executive Council, University Operating Council or Dean’s Council must report substantive changes as defined in Table 2 below within the appropriate timeline to the EVP/COO. Requirements for Florida Tech and timelines for SACSCOC reporting and actions are defined in Table 2.

  1. Responsible academic or administrative officer must notify the appropriate Council of the intent to enter into a substantive change.
  2. The Office of the EVP/COO will provide substantive change information to the VPIE who will coordinate the submission of notifications and other required materials to SACSCOC.
  3. The VPIE will notify the President and the EVP/COO of the submission of the substantive change notifications, prospectuses and other documentation to SACSCOC.
  4. The OIEA will be responsible for disseminating SACSCOC substantive change approvals and facilitate the submission of subsequent documentation requested by SACSCOC. This office will also keep all substantive change submissions on file. 

F. Late Notification

If an implemented but unreported change should occur that is determined to be substantive to the university, the appropriate Vice President (any level), Dean (or Associate) or Director must notify the university-appointed Accreditation Liaison immediately. The Accreditation Liaison must then notify SACSCOC according to the policy.

The current university-appointed Accreditation Liaison is Dr. Monica H. Baloga, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and International Programs, Phone: (321) 674-7397, email: mbaloga@fit.edu.

Table 1: Procedures for Academic Substantive Changes

Desired Action SACSCOC Florida Tech

 

Prior Notification/
Approval

Documentation

Time Frame for contacting COC

Requirements/Notes

Initiating coursework or programs at a different level than currently approved

Approval

Application for Level Change

Due Dates: April 15 or September 15

Due Dates: April 15 or September 15

Florida Tech is approved at the highest level (Level VI) to offer associate, baccalaureate, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral degrees.

Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs) (includes developing a new general education program)

Notification and approval

Prospectus

6 months

Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee

Initiating a certificate program at employer’s request and on short notice at a new off-campus site or that is a significant departure from previously approved programs

Approval; Notification also required for new off-site campus

Modified prospectus

Approval required
prior to implementation

Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee

Initiating other certificate programs at a new off-campus site or that is a significant departure from previously approved programs

Approval; Notification also required for new off-site campus

Prospectus

6 months

Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee

Initiating joint degree with another institution

-Accredited by SACSCOC 

---------------------------------------

-Not accredited by SACSCOC

 

Notification

-----------------

Notification and approval

Copy of signed agreement and contact information

-------------------

Prospectus

 

Prior to implementation

-----------------

6 months

1) Requires Agreement signed by EVP/COO

2) Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee

Initiating dual degree programs

Notification

Copy of signed agreement and contact information

 

Prior to implementation

1) Requires Agreement signed by EVP/COO

2) Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee

Initiating off-campus site (including Early College High School and dual enrollment programs offered at the high school)

-Student obtains 50% or more credits

---------------------------------------

-Student obtains 25-49% of credit

Approval

-----------------

Notification

 

Prospectus

------------------

Letter of notification

N/A

-----------------

Prior to implementation

 

1) Requires Agreement signed by EVP/COO

2) If a new program is established, requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee 
Altering significantly the length of the program Approval Prospectus N/A Requires Changing Graduation Requirements in a Major/Minor signed by Dean and approval by appropriate curriculum committee

Initiating distance learning
-Offering 50% or more of a program for the first time

---------------------------------------

-Offering 25-49% of a program

Approval

-----------------

Notification

 

Prospectus

------------------

Letter of notification
 

N/A

-----------------

Prior to implementation

 
Florida Tech is approved to offer complete undergraduate and graduate level programs via distance learning 
Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium Notification Letter of notification and copy of signed agreement Prior to implementation Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee

Entering into a contract with an entity not certified to participate in USDOE Title IV programs

-If entity provides 25% or more of educational program

---------------------------------------

-If entity provides less than 25% of an educational program

Approval

-----------------

Notification

Prospectus

------------------

Copy of signed agreement

N/A

-----------------

Prior to implementation

 

1) Requires Agreement signed by EVP/COO

2) Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee 
Moving an off-campus instructional site (serving the same geographic area) Notification Letter of notification with new address and starting date Prior to implementation None
Initiating degree completion programs  Approval Prospectus N/A Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by EVP/COO and by the appropriate curriculum committee

Closing a program

-Institution to teach out its own students

---------------------------------------

-Institution contracts with another institution to teach out students

Notification and Approval 

Description of teach out plan with letter of notification

-------------------

Description of teach out plan, copy of signed agreement detailing terms included with notification
Immediately following decision to close

None

--------------------------------

Requires Agreement signed by EVP/COO

Table 2: Procedures for Administrative Substantive Changes

Desired Action SACSCOC Florida Tech

 

Prior Notification/
Approval

Documentation

Time Frame for contacting COC

Requirements/Notes

Initiating a branch campus

Notification and Approval

Prospectus

6 months

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution

Approval

Prospectus;
Contact Commission staff

6 months

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Initiating a merger/ consolidation with another institution

Notification and Approval

Prospectus

6 months;
Due dates:  April 15 or October 1

Requires Board of Trustees approval

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

Notification and Approval

Prospectus

6 months;
Due dates:  April 15 or October 1

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Relocating a main or branch campus

Notification and Approval

Prospectus

6 months

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Changing from clock to credit hours

Approval

Justify reason for change, include calculation of equivalency, and other information

N/A

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Closing an off-campus site, branch campus, or institution

-Institution to teach-out its own students

----------------------------------------

-Institution contracts with another institution to teach-out students

 

 

Notification and Approval

Description of teach-out plan with letter of notification

-------------------

Description of teach-out plan, copy of signed agreement with terms, included with notification

Immediately following decision to close

 

None

--------------------------------

Requires Agreement signed by EVP/COO

Acquiring any program or site from another institution

Notification and Approval

Prospectus

6 months

Requires Board of Trustees approval

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

Notification and Approval

Prospectus

6 months

Requires Board of Trustees approval