REPORT OF THE SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE COMMITTEE
- New Site(s) or Electronic Expansion -
For use with the following types of changes:
Initiating off-campus sites where a student can obtain 50 percent or more credits toward a
Initiating a branch campus
Initiating distance learning programs offered electronically (where a student can obtain 50
percent or more credits toward a degree program)
Statement Regarding the Report
The Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on
Colleges (SACSCOC) is responsible for making the final determination on reaffirmation of
accreditation based on the findings contained in this committee report, the institution’s response
to issues contained in the report, other assessments relevant to the review, and application of
the Commission’s policies and procedures. Final interpretation of the Principles of Accreditation
and final action on the accreditation status of the institution rest with SACSCOC Board of
Name of the Institution:
Date of the Review:
SACSCOC Staff Member:
Chair of the Committee (name, title, institution, city and state):
Form Updated: MAR 2012
Part I. Overview
Directions to Committee Chair for Part I: Typically the overview can be copied and pasted from the
institution’s Documentation for the Substantive Change Committee form and then edited as appropriate.
This section is intended to capture an overview of and rationale for the change, as well as the institution’s
capacity for implementing the change. Delete these directions prior to printing the final report.
A. Describe the proposed change. Include the location, initial date of implementation,
projected number of students, primary target audience, and instructional delivery
methods. For new off-campus sites or branch campuses, list the educational programs
to be offered and the degrees/certificates/diplomas to be granted. For initiation of
distance learning, list all programs for which 50 percent or more of the program’s credits
will be available via electronic delivery.
B. Discuss the rationale for the change. List the institutional strengths that facilitate
implementing the proposed change.
Part II. Impact of the proposed change on selected requirements of the
Principles of Accreditation
Directions for Part II: If the Committee determines that an institution is out of compliance with a
standard or requirement, write a recommendation. Because a recommendation requires an
institution to take corrective action, specific evidence of non-compliance must be included in the
narrative. See Appendix I of the Handbook for Review Committees for guidelines for writing a
recommendation. Number recommendations consecutively throughout the report and provide a
summary list in Appendix B.
If the Committee determines that an institution is in compliance with a standard or requirement,
and a recommendation is not necessary, develop a comment in accordance with “Guidelines for
Writing Comments for Committee Reports,” available at www.sacscoc.org. Delete these
directions prior to printing the final report.
Directions to the Institution for Part II: For each of the standards or requirements listed below,
make the case for compliance and describe the impact of the new site(s) or electronic expansion
on that aspect of the institution. See the Commission policy “Distance and Correspondence
Education,” if appropriate.
PR 1.1 The institution operates with integrity in all matters. (Integrity)
[No response necessary. This statement will be addressed by the visiting
committee, not by the institution.]
CR 2.7.1 The institution offers one or more degree programs based on at least 60
semester credit hours or the equivalent at the associate level; at least 120 semester
credit hours or the equivalent at the baccalaureate level; or at least 30 semester
credit hours or the equivalent at the post-baccalaureate, graduate, or professional
level. If an institution uses a unit other than semester credit hours, it provides an
explanation for the equivalency. The institution also provides a justification for all
degrees that include fewer than the required number of semester credit hours or its
equivalent unit. (Program Length)
CR 2.7.2 The institution offers degree programs that embody a coherent course of
study that is compatible with its stated mission and is based upon fields of study
appropriate to higher education. (Program Content)
CS 3.4.3 The institution publishes admissions policies that are consistent with its
mission. (Admissions Policies)
CS 3.4.11 For each major in a degree program, the institution assigns responsibility
for program coordination, as well as for curriculum development and review, to
persons academically qualified in the field. In those degree programs for which the
institution does not identify a major, this requirement applies to a curricular area or
concentration. (Academic Program Coordination)
CS 3.4.12 The institution’s use of technology enhances student learning and is
appropriate for meeting the objectives of its programs. Students have
access to and training in the use of technology. (Technology use)
CS 3.5.2 At least 25 percent of the credit hours required for the degree are earned
through instruction offered by the institution awarding the degree. (See Commission
policy “Collaborative Academic Arrangements.”) (Institutional credits for a degree)
CS 3.5.3 The institution publishes requirements for its undergraduate programs,
including its general education components. These requirements conform to
commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs. (See Commission
policy “The Quality and Integrity of Undergraduate Degrees.”) (Undergraduate
CS 3.6.1 The institution’s post-baccalaureate professional degree programs,
master’s and doctoral degree programs, are progressively more advanced in
academic content than its undergraduate programs. (Post-baccalaureate program
CS 3.6.2 The institution structures its graduate curricula (1) to include knowledge of
the literature of the discipline and (2) to ensure ongoing student engagement in
research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences.
CS 3.6.3 At least one-third of credits toward a graduate or a post-baccalaureate
professional degree are earned through instruction offered by the institution awarding
the degree. (See Commission policy “Collaborative Academic
Arrangements.”) (Institutional credits for a graduate degree)
CS 3.6.4 The institution defines and publishes requirements for its graduate and
post-baccalaureate professional programs. These requirements conform to
commonly accepted standards and practices for degree programs. (Post-
baccalaureate program requirements)
FR 4.4 Program length is appropriate for each of the institution’s educational
programs. (Program length)
FR 4.8 An institution that offers distance or correspondence education documents
each of the following: (Distance and correspondence education)
4.8.1 demonstrates that the student who registers in a distance or
correspondence education course or program is the same student who
participates in and completes the course or program and receives the credit by
verifying the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by
using, at the option of the institution, in class or coursework by using, at the
option of the institution, methods such as (a) a secure login and pass code, (b)
proctored examinations, or (c) new or other technologies and practices that are
effective in verifying student identification.
4.8.2 has a written procedure for protecting the privacy of students enrolled in
distance and correspondence education courses or programs.
4.8.3 has a written procedure distributed at the time of registration or enrollment
that notifies students of any projected additional student charges associated with
verification of student identity.
FR 4.9) The institution has policies and procedures for determining the credit hours
awarded for courses and programs that conform to commonly accepted practices in
higher education and to Commission policy. (See Commission policy “Credit
Hours.”). (Definition of credit hours)
C. Faculty and Administrative/Academic Officers:
CR 2.8 The number of full-time faculty members is adequate to support the mission
of the institution and to ensure the quality and integrity of each of its academic
CS 3.2.8 The institution has qualified administrative and academic officers
with the experience and competence to lead the institution.
(Qualified administrative/academic officers)
CS 3.7.1 The institution employs competent faculty members qualified to accomplish
the mission and goals of the institution. When determining acceptable qualifications
of its faculty, an institution gives primary consideration to the highest earned degree
in the discipline. The institution also considers competence, effectiveness, and
capacity, including, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, related
work experiences in the field, professional licensure and certifications, honors and
awards, continuous documented excellence in teaching, or other demonstrated
competencies and achievements that contribute to effective teaching and student
learning outcomes. For all cases, the institution is responsible for justifying and
documenting the qualifications of its faculty. (See Commission guidelines “Faculty
Credentials.”) (Faculty competence)
Identify new faculty hired to support this initiative. Display faculty qualifications on
the Commission’s “Faculty Roster Form.” Limit entries to those faculty members
assigned to the new sites or distance education program(s). For graduate programs,
include documentation of the scholarship and research capability of faculty. For
doctoral programs, include documentation of faculty experience in directing
D. Institutional Effectiveness:
CS 188.8.131.52 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to
which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on
analysis of the results in each of the following areas: (Institutional Effectiveness)
CS 184.108.40.206 educational programs, to include student learning outcomes.
E. Library/Learning Resources:
CR 2.9 The institution, through ownership or formal arrangements or agreements,
provides and supports student and faculty access and user privileges to adequate
library collections and services and to other learning/information resources
consistent with the degrees offered. Collections, resources, and services are
sufficient to support all its educational, research, and public service programs.
(Learning Resources and Services)
CS 3.8.1 The institution provides facilities and learning/information resources that
are appropriate to support its teaching, research, and service mission.
CS 3.8.2 The institution ensures that users have access to regular and timely
instruction in the use of the library and other learning/information resources.
(Instruction of library use)
CS 3.8.3 The institution provides a sufficient number of qualified staff—with
appropriate education or experiences in library and/or other learning/information
resources—to accomplish the mission of the institution. (Qualified staff)
F. Student Services:
CR 2.10 The institution provides student support programs, services, and activities
consistent with its mission that are intended to promote student learning and
enhance the development of its students. (Student Support Services)
CS 3.4.9 The institution provides appropriate academic support services.
(Academic Support Services)
FR 4.3 The institution makes available to students and the public current academic
calendars, grading policies, and refund policies. (Publication of policies)
FR 4.5 The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student
complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures
when resolving student complaints. (See Commission policy “Complaint Procedures
against the Commission or its Accredited Institutions.”) (Student complaints)
G. Financial and Physical Resources:
CR 2.11.2 The institution has adequate physical resources to support the mission of
the institution and the scope of its programs and services. (Physical Resources)
CS 3.10.1 The institution’s recent financial history demonstrates financial stability.
[As part of the response, include a business plan that includes the following:
a. a description of financial resources to support the change, including a budget for
the first year
b. projected revenues and expenditures and cash flow
c. the amount of resources going to institutions or organizations for contractual or
d. the operational, management, and physical resources available for the change.
Include contingency plans if required resources do not materialize.
Assess the impact that the program expansion is having on the funding available for
existing programs and services.
Institutions currently on sanction or being monitored by the Commission for
financial reasons must provide a copy of the most recent audit.]
Part III. Observations and Comments
Directions to Committee Chair: Although formal suggestions and commendations are
no longer included in committee reports, the Committee may make advisory and
laudatory comments regarding the institution and either include them here or embed
them in the comments for the respective Core Requirement, Comprehensive Standard,
or Federal Requirement. Delete these directions prior to printing the final report.
Roster of the Substantive Change Committee
Directions to Committee Chair: Include the name, title, institution, city and state of
each member. Delete these directions prior to printing the final report.
List of Recommendations Cited in the
Report of the Substantive Change Committee
List recommendations consecutively. Include the Core Requirement or Comprehensive
Standard number, the recommendation number, the recommendation.
FR 4.4, Recommendation 1:
The committee recommends that the institution review and justify the compressed program
length, which at 24 semester hours is considerably lower than comparable master’s degree
Delete this box prior to printing the final report.