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Policy for Reporting Substantive Changes

 
SUBJECTAPPLICABILITYAPPROVED BYEFFECTIVE DATE
SUBSTANTIVE CHANGES Accreditation T. Dwayne McCay, Ph.D., President   Sept. 1, 2019

Substantive Change

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 articulates an “Institutional Responsibility for Reporting Substantive Change”:

“…A member institution is responsible for following the Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions policy and procedures by notifying or securing approval from SACSCOC, as required, prior to implementation.  If an institution is noncompliant with the policy, its accreditation may be in jeopardy…”

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

  • Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution
  • Any change in legal status, the 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 different from 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.
  • Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution
  • Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution
  • Acquiring another institution or a program or location of another institution
  • Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out program for a closed institution
  • Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25% or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs” (taken from SACSCOC substantive change policy)

B. Resources

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

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, Section 14.2; http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/2018PrinciplesOfAcreditation.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 found at the end of this policy document.

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’s Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness 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 and 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 Senior Vice President for Academic Administration (SVPAA) of the intent to enter into a substantive change.  After consulting with the Accreditation Liaison, the SVPAA will provide conditional approval.
    a. Academic Programs. The New Program Plan, with the completed budget, is conditionally approved by the SVPAA. 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 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 back to the SVPAA for final approval.
    b. Academic Agreement or New Site. International academic agreements must be processed through the Office of the SVPAA. Authorization of all academic or new off-site agreements comes from the SVPAA.
  3. Concurrently, the responsible faculty will provide substantive change information to the Accreditation Liaison who will coordinate the submission of notifications and other required materials to the SACSCOC.
  4. The Accreditation Liaison will notify the President and the SVPAA of the submission of the substantive change notifications, prospectuses and other documentation to SACSCOC.
  5. The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE) disseminate the SACSCOC substantive change approvals and facilitate the submission of subsequent documentation requested by SACSCOC.  The Accreditation Liaison will also keep all substantive change submissions on file.

E. Procedure for Approval and Notification of Administrative Substantive Changes

Administrators who serve on Executive Panel must report substantive changes as defined in Table 2 below within the appropriate timeline to the SVPAA and Accreditation Liaison. Requirements for Florida Tech and timelines for SACSCOC reporting and actions are defined in Table 2.

  1. Responsible academic or administrative offer must notify the Executive Panel of the intent to enter into a substantive change.
  2. The Office of the SVPAA will provide substantive change information to the Accreditation Liaison who will coordinate the submission of notifications and other required material to SACSCOC.
  3. The Accreditation Liaison will notify the President and the SVPAA of the submission of the substantive change notifications, prospectuses and other documentations to SACSCOC.
  4. The OIRE will be responsible for disseminating SACSCOC substantive change approvals and facilitate the submission of subsequent documentation requested by SACSCOC. The Accreditation Liaison 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 Jessica L. Ickes, Associate Vice President for Institutional Research and Effectiveness, Phone 321-674-7569, email  jickes@fit.edu.

Table 1: Procedures for Academic Substantive Changes

Types of ChangesSACSCOCFlorida 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

March 15 (June Review)

Sept. 1 (Dec. Review)

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 program)

Approval

Cover Sheet
Prospectus

Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation

July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation

Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, approval by the SVPAA, and by the appropriate curriculum committee.

***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

Approval

Cover Sheet
Prospectus

Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation

July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation

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

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

Approval

Cover Sheet
Modified Prospectus

Contact Commission Staff

Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee.

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

Approval

Cover Sheet
Modified Prospectus

Contact Commission Staff

Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee.

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

Notification

Acceptance of notification, copy of signed agreement and contact information

At least 6 months prior to implementation

1. Requires agreement signed by SVPAA

2. Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee.

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

Notification & Approval

Acceptance of notification 

Copy of signed agreement, contact information, and details on non-SACSCOC institution

At least 6 months prior to implementation

 

***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. Approval Cover Sheet
Prospectus
 
Copy of signed agreement, contact information, and details on non-SACSCOC institution
Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation
 
July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation
 

Initiating off-campus sites where students 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)

Notification

 

Letter of notification including street address and implementation date

 

Immediately following decision 

1. Requires agreement signed by SVPAA

2. If a new program is established, requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee.

Initiating off-campus sites where students 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 employer’s request and not on short notice) Approval Cover Sheet Prospectus Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation
 
July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation

 1. Requires agreement signed by SVPAA

2. If a new program is established, requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee.

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

Approval

Cover sheet
Modified Prospectus

Contact Commission Staff

 

 

Altering significantly the length of a program Approval Cover sheet
Modified Prospectus
Contact Commission Staff Requires changing graduation requirements in a major/minor signed by Dean and approval by appropriate curriculum committee.
Initiating distance learning by offering 50% or more of the first program for the first time  Approval Cover Sheet Prospectus Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation
 
July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation
Florida Tech is approved to offer complete undergraduate and graduate-level programs via distance learning.

Initiating distance learning by offering 25–29% of the first program for the first time

Notification

Letter of notification including street address and implementation date

Immediately following decision

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 & copy of signed agreement  Immediately following decision  Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee. 
***Initiating a program or courses delivered through cooperative academic arrangement  Notification 

Acceptance of notification

Copy of signed agreement, contact information  
At least 6 months prior to implementation 

 

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 education program offered by the SACSCOC accreditation institution  Approval  Cover Sheet
Prospectus 

Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation

July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation

1. Requires agreement signed by SVPAA

2. If a new program is established, requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee.

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  Notification  Letter of notification & copy of signed agreement  Immediately following decision 

1. Requires agreement signed by SVPAA

2. If a new program is established, requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee.

 

Moving to an off-campus instructional site (serving the same geographic area)  Notification  Letter with old address, new address, and implementation date  Immediately following decision 

None

Initiating degree completion programs  Approval  Cover Sheet
Prospectus 

Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation

July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation

Requires New Program Plan, with completed budget, and approval by the SVPAA and the appropriate curriculum committee.

***Initiating a direct assessment competency-based program 

Notification (Screening Form) & Approval 

Screening form and letter of notification. Prospectus may be required  Screening form if notification
If prospectus needed:
March 15 (June Review)
Sept. 1 (Dec. Review) 

 

Closing a program, approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution where the institution plans to each out its own students.  Notification & Approval  Description of teach-out plan included with letter of notification  Immediately following decision  None 
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)  Notification & Approval  Description of teach-out plan, copy of signed teach-out agreement detailing terms included with notification  Immediately following decision  Requires agreement signed by SVPAA 

Table 2: Procedures for Administrative Substantive Changes

Types of ChangesSACSCOCFlorida Tech

 

Prior Notification/
Approval

Documentation

Time Frame for contacting COC

Requirements/Notes

Initiating a branch campus

Approval

Cover Sheet
Prospectus 

Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation

July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution

Approval

Cover sheet
Modified Prospectus

Contact Commission Staff

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Initiating a merger/ consolidation with another institution

Notification & Approval

Cover sheet
Institutional Summary
Prospectus

Notification Dec. 15 for June Review or June 1 for Dec. Review

Documentation Due Dates
March 15 (June Review)

Sept. 1 (Dec. Review)

Requires Board of Trustees approval

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

Notification & Approval

Cover sheet
Institutional Summary
Prospectus

Notification Dec. 15 for June Review or June 1 for Dec. Review

Documentation Due Dates
March 15 (June Review)

Sept. 1 (Dec. Review)

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Relocating a main or branch campus

Approval

Cover Sheet;
Prospectus 

Jan. 1 for 7/1 to 12/31 implementation

July 1 for 1/1 to 6/30 implementation

Requires Board of Trustees approval

Changing from clock hours to credit hours

Approval

Justification Equivalency calculation

Immediately following decision

Requires Board of Trustees approval

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

 

 

Notification & Approval

Description of teach-out plan with letter of notification

Immediately following decision

 

None

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)

Notification & Approval

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

Immediately following decision 

Requires Agreement signed by SVPAA

Acquiring an institution or location (including programs) of another institution Notification & Approval Cover sheet
Institutional Summary
Prospectus 

Notification Dec. 15 for June Review or June 1 for Dec. Review

Documentation Due Dates
March 15 (June Review)

Sept. 1 (Dec. Review)

 
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 & Approval

Cover sheet
Institutional Summary
Prospectus

Notification Dec. 15 for June Review or June 1 for Dec. Review

Documentation Due Dates
March 15 (June Review)

Sept. 1 (Dec. Review)

Requires Board of Trustees approval