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Institutional Change Policy

TitleInstitutional Change Policy
Effective Date: August 30, 2015
Revised:  December 20, 2017
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 twofold: to ensure that institutional changes (1) are communicated to university units that may be involved in or impacted by implementation or continuation of a change, and (2) comply with all relevant internal and external approval or notification requirements. The procedures described in this policy enable designated university personnel to coordinate with the originating unit(s) and to identify applicable requirements and provide guidance and support for complying with those requirements.

Further, the procedures allow university units to comment on the degree to which implementing and sustaining a proposed change may measurably impact the resources, policies, or processes of that unit.

III. Policy

A. Responsible University Personnel

The Office of Institutional Accreditation & Effectiveness (IAE) is responsible for coordinating external compliance requirements among applicable academic and administrative units, and will work with other university offices as appropriate for each particular requirement. IAE also is responsible for managing the procedures described below. This policy does not change otherwise applicable responsibilities for compliance with external requirements. 

B. Changes Subject to this Policy

Changes subject to this Policy are described on the Institutional Change (IC) website. In general, this policy applies to institutional changes in academic areas that may reasonably be expected to require involvement or contribution of other units, that may impact the resources or procedures of other units, and/or for which there exist requirements for internal and/or external approval or notification.

IV. Procedures

A. Pre-Proposal:  Envisioning a Change

At the time a unit begins to plan or otherwise consider the feasibility of a change that would be subject to this policy, the head of that unit (or his/her designee) should refer to the IC Process outlined on university’s Institutional Change (IC) website.  If uncertain about whether a contemplated change would be subject to this policy, the unit should consult with the Office of Institutional Accreditation & Effectiveness to determine if further action is required.

If the contemplated change is substantial and subject to this policy, the originating unit should consult with the Vice Provost for Academic & Faculty Affairs prior to completing the IC Form.  For all changes, the originating unit should initiate discussions with offices listed on the IC website as likely to be involved in the change.

B. Internal Review: Submitting an Institutional Change Form

Submission of the IC Form is used to initiate the review process.

A unit may initiate review of an institutional change at any time by submitting an IC Form as described on the university’s IC website. Proposals will undergo a standard iterative review process to describe internal coordination that is necessary and to identify what internal and external requirements are applicable to the change. During the review process, university units indicate what is needed to implement and sustain the change. Working with university units, the originating unit documents how issues are being addressed.

University units may also comment on any impact of the change to the unit.

When the proposed change is sufficiently developed, the Vice Provost for Academic & Faculty Affairs or the Associate Provost for Institutional Accreditation & Effectiveness (IAE) notifies the Provost that a proposal is ready for the Provost’s review and response.

Throughout the process, IAE and the Office of the Provost collaborate with the originating unit to assure that the proposal complies with all internal and external requirements. 

All proposed institutional changes covered in this policy are required to complete the IC review before implementation. In addition, any particular change may require internal and/or external approvals. For example, internal requirements may include approval by specific faculty committees, university officers, and/or the Board of Visitors.  External requirements may include those imposed by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the United States Department of Education (USDOE), 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).

C. External Action: Submitting Proposal/Notification to External Agencies.

Proposals and notice to SCHEV and SACSCOC.   The Office of the Provost, working with IAE, is responsible for institutional change submissions to and communications with SCHEV and SACSCOC.  The Office of the Provost shares SCHEV and SACSCOC responses with the originating school and affected university units. Appropriate offices ensure that changes are communicated and approved by the USDOE and other federal and state agencies.

Proposals and notice to the VDOE and discipline-specific accrediting agencies.  For proposals originating with a school, the originating school is responsible for submissions and other communications about institutional change with the VDOE and discipline-specific accrediting agencies.  The originating school provides copies of such submissions and related communications to IAE and the Office of the Provost. 

IAE works with the originating unit and other relevant units to ensure that approved changes are reflected accurately in catalogs, websites and other communications.

D. Record Keeping.

IAE 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 and revised effective December 20, 2017. Revisions specify more clearly the purpose of the Policy and responsible university personnel and clarify procedures for proposing an institutional change and securing appropriate internal and external approvals.

VII. Related Policies and Other Documents  

Institutional Change website

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:

Commission on Colleges Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Substantive Change Policy, available at 

Commission on Colleges Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Distance Education Policy, available at

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia - State-Level Requirements for Approval of Various Academic Program Actions at Public Institutions, available at:

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia - Institutional Organization Change & Policies Relating to Off-Campus Sites & New Campuses, available at:

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