Institutional Change Policy

Title: Institutional Change Policy
Effective Date: August 30, 2015
Responsible Office: Provost 

I. Scope

This policy applies to all departments, schools, programs, institutes, and other units of the College of William & Mary, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (the university).

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that institutional changes comply with all relevant internal and external notice and approval requirements.  The policy requires designated university personnel to assess whether a contemplated change would be significant enough to fall within the ambit of those requirements. It provides guidelines and procedures for that assessment.

Internal requirements include approval by specific university officers and/or the Board of Visitors.  External requirements include those imposed by the United States Department of Education (USDOE), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), and discipline-specific accrediting agencies, such as the American Bar Association (ABA), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

III. Policy

A. Responsible University Personnel

Responsibility for ensuring compliance with internal and external institutional change requirements resides with the Provost, the vice presidents, the deans, the vice provosts and the associate provosts.  Academic deans and vice presidents must monitor any proposed institutional change significant enough to trigger internal or external reporting or approval obligations. Academic deans and vice presidents are required to notify the Provost of proposed changes as defined below and are advised to notify the Provost of contemplated changes as early as possible. 

B. Assessment of Whether a Change is Significant 

This policy requires reporting of significant changes. Examples of significant changes include: 

Curricular changes:

  • establishment of a new degree
  • merger or elimination of existing academic programs
  • addition of a program, such as a new certificate  (excluding continuing education certificates)
  • agreement involving award of joint or dual academic degrees, diplomas or certificates

Changes in means or location of academic offerings:

  • initiation of an off-campus site or use of any off-campus site carrying a rental lease agreement or other financial or legal obligation
  • offering new or existing programs or courses through contractual agreement or consortium
  • initiation of a program through distance learning

Structural Changes:

  • organizational changes, including creation of a new academic department, interdisciplinary program, school, or college, or merger of same
  • initiation of a program or major that would require hiring new faculty or adding courses  exceeding 25 percent of the total coursework in the program or major
  • program title change
  • changes in Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code

Larger Alterations to the Scope of the University:

  • new construction or renovations
  • initiation of a center or institute
  • altering significantly the educational mission of the university, and/or changing  governance, ownership, control, or legal status of the university

IV. Procedures

A. Pre-Proposal:  Advance Assessment of a Contemplating Change.

The head of the unit (typically a vice president or dean) where a significant change is contemplated is advised to report the contemplated change to the Office of the Provost through the Institutional Change form on the Provost’s website.   Such reporting should occur as early as possible in the conceptualization process. The Provost’s Office will inform the unit head of internal and external requirements applicable to the change and about the likelihood that the contemplated change will be endorsed if submitted as a proposal.

B. Proposing Change. 

The head of the unit (typically a vice president or dean) where a proposal originates must report the proposed change to the Office of the Provost on the Institutional Change form on the Provost’s website.  Following Provost endorsement of the proposal, the Office of the Provost and the Office of Institutional Accreditation & Effectiveness (OIAE) collaborate with the originating unit to assure that the proposal complies with all internal and external change requirements.  This review process will engage other units of the university whose work would be required for implementation of the proposed change.

C. Submitting Proposals and Notice to External Agencies. 

Proposals and notice to SCHEV and SACSCOC.   The Office of the Provost, working with OIAE, is responsible for institutional change submissions and communications with SCHEV and SACSCOC.  The Office of the Provost provides copies of SCHEV and SACSCOC responses to the originating school and to affected College units.

Proposals and notice to the DOE and discipline-specific accrediting agencies.  For proposals (whether or not academic) originating with a school, the originating school is responsible for submissions and other communications about institutional change with the DOE and discipline-specific accrediting agencies.  The originating school provides copies of such submissions and related communications to OIAE and the Office of the Provost. 

D. Record Keeping.

The OIAE and the Office of the Provost, as well as the originating school or administrative unit, maintain records of all approvals and related correspondence regarding institutional change.

VI. Approval and Amendment

This Policy was approved by the Provost on August 30, 2015.

VII. Related Policies and Other Documents  

Institutional Change form

United States Department of Education Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, 34 C.F.R. § 602.22

Commission on Colleges Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, available at: http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/PrinciplesOfAccreditation.PDF  

Commission on Colleges Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Substantive Change Policy, available at http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/SubstantiveChange.pdf

Commission on Colleges Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Distance Education Policy, available at http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/DistanceCorrespondenceEducation.pdf

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia - State-Level Requirements for Approval of Various Academic Program Actions at Public Institutions, available at http://www.schev.edu/AdminFaculty/2013AcademicProgramPolicy.pdf

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia - Institutional Organization Change & Policies Relating to Off-Campus Sites & New Campuses, available at: http://www.schev.edu/AdminFaculty/PoliciesProceduresPublicInstitutionsInternalOff-CampusOrgChanges.pdf

Bylaws of the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary