Connected Campus

3.4.1 Academic Program Approval

 

The institution demonstrates that each educational program for which academic credit is awarded is approved by the faculty and the administration.

 

_X_  Compliance           ___  Partial Compliance          ___  Non-Compliance

 

Narrative

 

Educational programming for academic credit is awarded and approved by the faculty and the administration of the institution. This process begins with the academic council as they consider the mission of the school in relation to input from constituents through the strategic planning process. Programs are finalized as the faculty votes and trustees give final approval or rejection.

 

Administrative Approval

 

The approval process for educational programming can best be understood by comprehending the institution’s ongoing planning and evaluation processes through the Strategic Planning Process [1]. The executive administration of the institution receives level one feedback from all constituents of the school – faculty, staff, students – through annual forums and surveys [2]. This information is then compiled in annual reports (level 2) by committees and departments and filters up through vice presidential offices (level 3) to an annual planning meeting by the executive administration of the school. Issues of educational programming examined during level 3 planning become a matter of discussion for the academic council, who generate educational programming to be discussed and voted on by the faculty.

 

A recent example of this process is the formation and approval of the institution’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) topic. The constituents (faculty [3], students [4], administrative staff [5]) of the school were asked questions on a survey regarding their perceptions on what would enhance student learning at the institution in relation to critical thinking, writing, reading, lifelong learning, and active and collaborative learning. The faculty responses indicated that a majority of faculty favored the improvement of student writing as a topic for the QEP [6], the student responses were evenly distributed among the three areas of improving student writing, lifelong learning, and the improvement of critical thinking [7], and the administrative staff responses were distributed among the three areas of improving student writing, lifelong learning, and improving critical thinking with a slightly higher majority of responses toward the improvement of student writing [8]. This information was then presented to the academic council on April 10, 2015 where it was discussed [9] and voted upon the following week [10] before being submitted to the full faculty for a vote [11] on April 23, 2015.

 

Faculty and Trustee Approval

 

As demonstrated above, the faculty become directly involved in all decisions relating to academic affairs through academic and faculty committees. All curricular changes, including academic programming, are presented to the faculty for final approval. Another example of this process can be seen in the creation and approval of an online degree program by the faculty, the Board of Trustees, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

 

On February 7, 2014, the academic council met to discuss the expansion of online programming to further fulfill the purpose of the institution [12]. They proposed offering fully online degrees to the executive administration committee who presented the proposal to the board of trustees on March 28, 2014 to test feasibility before presenting it to the faculty [13]. The faculty, on June 3, 2014, voted to offer fully online degrees upon SACSCOC approval [14]. Upon notification of the affirmative vote by the board of trustees, the faculty, and the academic council, the Director of Institutional Assessment submitted the substantive change proposal to SACSCOC on June 6, 2014 and SACSCOC approved the new programming on February 9, 2015 [15].

 

The above examples clarify that the administration and faculty approve educational programming for which academic credit is awarded.

 

Documentation

 

1. MABTS Strategic Planning Process

2. 2013-14 Annual Forums and Surveys

3. QEP Survey – Faculty

4. QEP Survey – Students

5. QEP Survey – Administrative Staff

6. QEP Survey Results – Faculty

7. QEP Survey Results – Students

8. QEP Survey Results – Administrative Staff

9. Academic Council Meeting Minutes April 10, 2015

10. Academic Council Meeting Minutes April 17, 2015

11. Faculty Meeting Minutes April 23, 2015

12. Academic Council Meeting Minutes February 7, 2014

13. Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes March 28, 2014

14. Faculty Meeting Minutes June 3, 2014

15. SACSCOC Approval Letter of Substantive Change

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