All University employees
This policy is designed to ensure the University's compliance with the following:
- Kentucky state licensure requirements (13 KAR 1:020);
- SACSCOC accreditation standards (SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy);
- US Department of Education Federal Student Aid regulations;
- US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Student and Exchange Visitor Program regulations;
- National Council for State Authority Reciprocity Agreements;
- Specialized accredition and licensure agencies, including:
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN)
- Kentucky State Board of Nursing (KBN)
- Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
- Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB)
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- and any other applicable regulations or standards
Academic Program: a coherent course of study leading to a for-credit credential including a degree, diploma, certificate or other generally recognized credential. General education, for substantive change purposes, is considered a program even if a credential is not awarded.
An academic program includes:
- award level (graduate or undergraduate)
- credential type (master, bachelor, associate, minor, certificate)
- credential (MA, BA, BS, minor, postsecondary certificate, etc.)
- instructional program (CIP code) for the attainment of broad educational objectives
CIP Code: Classification of Instructional Program – six-digit code in the form of xx.xxxx that identifies instructional program disciplines. The CIP code supports the accurate tracking and reporting of program offerings and completions as required for reporting. CIP codes are assigned to degrees and certificates.
Instructional location/teaching site: A location geographically apart (non-contiguous) from the main campus and where credit-bearing instruction is delivered. This includes high school locations offering dual credit. A clinical training site at which no didactic instruction is delivered is not an off-campus instructional site.
Instructional method - course: The principal method by which instruction is delivered.
- Face-to-face: instruction occurs when students and instructors are in the same place
- Hybrid: less than 50% of the instruction occurs via distance education/more than 50% of instruction occurs when students and instructors are in the same place
- Distance learning: instructional content is delivered exclusively via distance education, defined as education that uses one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between students and the instructor synchronously or asynchronously. Requirements for coming to campus for orientation, testing, or academic support services do not exclude a course from being classified as distance education.
Instructional method - program: The instructional method of a program is determined by the percentage of courses offered via face-to-face and distance learning. A specific method of delivery applies when 50% or more of the program's courses are delivered by that method. A program may be delivered 50% or more by more than one method (students may have the option to choose from different methods of delivery for the same program, e.g., predominately face-to-face versus predominately distance education).
- Face-to-face: A program in which 50% or more of the program's courses are delivered face-to-face. Hybrid courses are considered face-to-face courses when calculating the instructional method of a program.
- Distance learning: A program in which 50% or more of the program's courses are delivered via distance learning
Substantive Change: According to SACSCOC Policy, substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Substantive change, including those required by federal regulations, include:
- Substantially changing the established mission or objectives of an institution or its programs.
- Changing the legal status, form of control, or ownership of an institution.
- Changing the governance of an institution.
- Merging / consolidating two or more institutions or entities.
- Acquiring another institution or any program or location of another institution.
- Relocating an institution or an off-campus instructional site of an institution (including a branch campus).
- Offering courses or programs at a higher or lower degree level than currently authorized.
- Adding graduate programs at an institution previously offering only undergraduate programs (including degrees, diplomas, certificates, and other for-credit credential).
- Changing the way an institution measures student progress, whether in clock hours or credit-hours; semesters, trimesters, or quarters; or time-based or non–time-based methods or measures.
- Adding a program that is a significant departure from the existing programs, or method of delivery, from those offered when the institution was last evaluated.
- Initiating programs by distance education or correspondence courses.
- Adding an additional method of delivery to a currently offered program.
- Entering into a cooperative academic arrangement.
- Entering into a written arrangement under 34 C.F.R. § 668.5 under which an institution or organization not certified to participate in the title IV Higher Education Act (HEA) programs offers less than 25% (notification) or 25-50% (approval) of one or more of the accredited institution's educational programs. An agreement offering more than 50% of one or more of an institution’s programs is prohibited by federal regulation.
- Substantially increase or decreasing the number of clock hours or credit hours awarded or competencies demonstrated, or an increase in the level of credential awarded, for successful completion of one or more programs.
- Adding competency-based education programs.
- Adding each competency-based education program by direct assessment.
- Adding programs with completion pathways that recognize and accommodate a student’s prior or existing knowledge or competency.
- Awarding dual or joint academic awards.
- Re-opening a previously closed program or off-campus instructional site.
- Adding a new off-campus instructional site/additional location including a branch campus.
- Adding a permanent location at a site at which an institution is conducting a teach-out program for students of another institution that has ceased operating before all students have completed their program of study.
- Closing an institution, a program, a method of delivery, an off-campus instructional site, or a program at an off-campus instructional site.
Thomas More University is required to notify or secure SACSCOC approval prior to implementing a substantive change. Approval or notification may also be required for other government or accredition organizations. The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison and Institutional Liaison with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education are responsible for identifying changes at the University that require advanced approval or notification prior to implementation. In order to accomplish this, each Liaison is an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty.
All approved academic programs, instructional sites, and delivery methods are included in the University's program inventory, available on our website. The catalog, website, and all marketing materials must accurately represent all academic programs, instructional sites, and delivery methods in alignment with the program inventory.
All of the following must complete the appropriate process and approval procedure according to the Academic Program Definitions and Process Guide, linked in the Appendix:
- New academic arrangement with another institution
- Modification, addition, or removal of academic programs
- Addition or closing of an instructional location
- Addition of an instructional method of delivery to an existing program
Any other substantive changes must be approved by the President and submitted to the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison for review prior to implementation.
RELATED POLICIES AND APPLICABLE LEGAL OR ACCREDITATION STANDARDS
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Policies:
United States Department of Education
- 34 CFR 602.22 Substantive changes and other reporting requirements
- 34 CFR 668.5 Written arrangements to provide educational programs
- Federal Student Aid regulations
Kentucky regulations and policy
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Student and Exchange Visitor Program regulations
National Council for State Authority Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) Policy
Thomas More University Policy:
All prodecures are listed in the appropriate process according to the Academic Program Definitions and Process Guide.
REFERENCING THE POLICY
Substantive Change Policy
|Alignment with revised SACSCOC substantive change policy
September 9, 2019
Substantive Change Policy
|Added language regarding agreements with other institutions; updated process in appendix
June 19, 2019
Substantive Change Policy
Defined SACSCOC Substantive Change
October 22, 2018
Academic Definitions and Program Process Guide
Kelly French, Vice President for Strategy and Impact (serving as the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison and the Liaison with Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education)
Michelle Vezina, Registrar
Mark Messingschlager, Director of Financial Aid
Justin Vogel, Interim Dean of Admissions (serving as the Primary Designated School Official for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program)
Molly Smith, Provost
Joseph L. Chillo, President