Regulations for Academic Program Planning and Evaluation
*Replaces 400.1.1[R] orginally adopted 05/06/09
The UNC Policy Manual
Regulations for Academic Program Planning and Evaluation
UNC utilizes the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), 2010 Edition for the classification of all degree programs. Campuses will propose an appropriate classification for each degree program proposed.
New Baccalaureate, Masters, and Doctoral Degree Program Proposals
Each Chancellor will inform General Administration of that institution’s top three priorities (in priority order) for new degree programs including baccalaureate, Masters, and doctoral degree programs. A campus may submit planning documents for a new degree program only if the proposed program has been designated by the Chancellor as one of that campus’ top three priorities. When a new degree program has been approved by the Board of Governors, it is removed from the list. At any time, a Chancellor may submit a revised top three priority list to General Administration. However, a campus may have a maximum of three proposed programs under active review at any one time.
Following the procedures below, General Administration will be responsible for managing the review process for new degree proposals and for making a recommendation to the BOG. Campuses must submit requests for all new degree programs on the two planning documents Appendix A – Request for Authorization to Plan a New Degree Program and Appendix C – Request for Authorization to Establish a New Degree Program. The complete review, evaluation, and approval procedures to be followed (from the initial submission of the Appendix A document to the final BOG approval to establish upon the recommendation of the Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs) are summarized in the attached three flowcharts: Process for Planning and Establishment of New Baccalaureate Degree Program, Process for Planning and Establishment of New Masters Degree Program, and Process for Planning and Establishment of New Doctoral Degree Program.
As seen in the Appendix A and Appendix C documents, major considerations in the planning and evaluation of new degree program proposals are student demand for the program, societal demand (availability of employment for graduates of the program), budget and source of funding for the proposed program (especially if enrollment growth funding should not become available), collaboration possibilities with other degree programs within UNC, and relationship of the new degree program with institutional mission.
As indicated in the flowcharts, UNC General Administration may approve authorization to plan proposed programs (Appendix A) that clearly meet the above major considerations. Also as seen in the flowchart, external reviews will be required for all doctoral-level program proposals.
First Professional Degree Programs
First Professional program proposals (as in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, law, and others) normally involve outside reviewers in the early stages of development and in many cases an on-site review team. Other high-cost programs may also be addressed in the same manner. Campuses should consult with General Administration before beginning to prepare a First Professional program proposal.
Joint Degree Programs
Joint Degree programs resulting in the awarding of a single joint degree by two or more UNC constituent institutions or by a UNC constituent institution and non-UNC educational institution must be approved through the regular institutional processes and have the approval of the chancellor of each participating UNC institution before submission to General Administration for review and presentation to the BOG for approval.
Proposals for Joint Degree programs must include the following:
Indication of appropriate approvals by all participating UNC institutions including approval by their chancellors.
Certification that the following institutional processes have been agreed to:
• Admission process
• Registration and enrollment process for students
• Committee process for graduate students
• Plan for charging and distributing tuition and fees
• Management of transcripts and permanent records
• Participation in graduation
• Design of diploma
Each student who will receive a Joint Degree must be approved by each UNC institution whose name will appear on the diploma using the institutional process for certifying a student to receive a degree.
Dual Degree Programs
A Dual Degree program involves two academic units, either on the same campus or on different campuses, including non-UNC campuses, in a formal agreement to offer two degrees as part of a program of study that will result in a student being awarded both degrees (two diplomas). While such programs offer the advantage that some course work may count for each degree, the requirements for each of the two degrees in a Dual Degree program must be substantially equivalent to the requirements for a student taking only one of the degrees. For example, a Juris Doctorate and an MBA could be linked in a Dual Degree program. If more than one campus is involved this would be a Coordinated Dual Degree program. Another option is to offer part of each program in a single interdisciplinary degree program that would be substantially different from each of the original programs. Such a single degree program would be a new degree program requiring Board approval. Constituent institutions considering such arrangements are to consult with General Administration regarding which option best fits their proposal.
Interdisciplinary Degree Program
An Interdisciplinary Degree program involves two or more academic units, either on the same or different campuses, including non-UNC campuses, in a formal agreement to offer a program of study drawing on two or more disciplines that will result in a student being awarded an interdisciplinary degree. If more than one campus is involved in offering the program it would also be a joint degree.
A Degree Consortium is a formal agreement between two or more UNC or non-UNC institutions to share courses in the same discipline that will count as degree credit for a degree offered separately by one or more of the participating institutions. Constituent institutions considering such arrangements are to consult with General Administration before establishing them. Each separate degree would be reviewed through the normal process.
Alternative, Online, or Distance Education Delivery of Approved Degree Programs
If an institution plans to offer all or a portion of a degree program to students off-campus or online, the institution must complete Appendix G – Request for Authorization to Establish a New Distance Education Degree Program or Site. (If a degree program has not been approved by the Board of Governors, its approval for alternative, online, or distance delivery must wait until BOG program approval is received.)
Alternative, online, and distance delivery of BOG-approved degree programs require approval by General Administration and an assurance to General Administration that all reporting to and necessary approvals from regional or specialized accreditation agencies will have occurred prior to the program beginning. If a program will be delivered out of state, the institution must assure GA that all required licensing or other authorization is secured before the program is offered out of state. Approval by GA is required if fifty percent or more of the degree program will be offered in an alternative, online, or distance delivery mode, or a combinations of these modes.
Accreditation agencies require notice and approval in many cases of alternative, online, or distance delivery. Any program proposal should include information about accreditation requirements for alternative delivery. UNC institutions are individually accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and are responsible for ensuring that they follow COC criteria and procedures with respect to any alternative, online, or distance delivery that may constitute a substantive change as defined by the Commission on Colleges.
The constituent institutions and the academic units offering the instruction are responsible for the development, delivery, regular assessment, and accreditation of certificate and degree-related alternative, online, or distance education courses and programs.
Each institution must have a clearly defined process for the review and approval of proposals to plan or establish alternative, online, or distance delivery of degree programs. All campus processes must be followed and campus approval must be received before a proposal may be submitted to General Administration.
The academic standards and quality of certificate and degree-related alternative, online, or distance delivery of courses or programs must be consistent with and comparable to the academic standards and quality of regular on-campus instructional activity. The application and maintenance of academic standards are the responsibility of the academic unit and the campus offering the instruction.
Off-site Degree Programs
Degree programs offered at a site away from the institution’s campus may be entirely face-to-face or have a mix of face-to-face and alternative or online delivery. Proposals for off-site delivery of degree programs must document the comparable quality of the proposed programs to programs offered on the campus in terms of both academic standards and standards for student support. Proposals for off-site programs are to include a description of the space arrangements for offering the program. Priority should be given to partnering with constituent institutions of UNC, including the use of Graduate Centers, and with the North Carolina Community College System where appropriate.
Online Degree Programs
Proposals for online delivery of degree programs must document the comparable quality of the proposed programs to programs offered on the campus in terms of both academic standards and standards for student support.
Other Delivery Methods
Other methods, such as NCREN, one and two-way television, and CD-ROM-based work may still be used from time to time. Rapidly changing technology may lead to new modes of delivery of courses and degrees. Proposals for other methods for delivery of degree programs must document the comparable quality of the proposed programs to programs offered on the campus in terms of both academic standards and standards for student support.
Expedited Program Review
While the academic program planning and evaluation process is required by BOG Policy to “balance responsiveness with due diligence and a state-wide perspective,” it is also necessary to develop “expedited program review processes for rapid response where warranted.” A request for an expedited review will be warranted where there is an extraordinary need to have a program start up immediately to meet a clear state need, or to announce immediately that the program will be available at a certain future time. An example might be the need for a degree program as part of a state effort for recruiting or expanding business, industry, or a governmental function.
Discontinuation of Academic Degree Programs
The Board of Governors has the authority to establish and discontinue degree programs. The productivity study initiated biennially by General Administration generates a campus review that may result in recommendations for program discontinuation. A campus may recommend the discontinuation of a degree program at any time; an appropriate Teach-Out Plan for currently-enrolled students must accompany the request to discontinue. The proposal for discontinuation should provide a reasonable time for currently-enrolled students to complete their work in the program or provide an alternative way for these students to complete their program of study. Upon receiving approval from the Board of Governors to discontinue a degree program, the institution must immediately notify and request prior approval from SACS in accordance with Procedure Three of the Substantive Change Policy for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Commission on Colleges requires that an appropriate Teach-Out Plan be submitted to and approved by SACS prior to implementation.
Forms and Procedures for Conveying Proposals
Revised forms and guidelines are provided for use by the constituent institutions. When submitting proposals, institutions should submit one hard copy and an electronic copy to the Office of the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at UNC General Administration.