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: Institutional Research and Assessment
: President
: 05/07/2021
: 05/07/2021
: 05/07/2022

Substantive Change Policy

Comment on Policy


All University employees


This policy is designed to ensure the University's compliance with the following:


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:

  1. award level (graduate or undergraduate)
  2. credential type (master, bachelor, associate, minor, certificate)
  3. credential (MA, BA, BS, minor, postsecondary certificate, etc.)
  4. 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.  

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).

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: 


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: 

Any other substantive changes must be approved by the President and submitted to the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison for review prior to implementation.


Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Policies:

United States Department of Education

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.


Not applicable



Supersedes Policy

Summarize Change

April 2021

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


New policy


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