University of North Georgia (UNG) is in compliance with this comprehensive standard.
Approval of Educational Programs During Consolidation Planning
As part of the consolidation planning process in 2012, academic curriculum work groups were formed and tasked with reviewing and revising all undergraduate curriculum (courses, majors, minors, certificates, etc.) within its academic discipline and submitting UNG curriculum recommendations to the academic approval process. A Core Curriculum work group was also formed to recommend the UNG core curriculum. Faculty from Gainesville State College (GSC) and North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU) were equally represented in each work group. In addition, work groups composed of faculty and staff were formed to propose academic policies for UNG. Each work group was co-chaired by a representative from GSC and a representative from NGCSU. The Academic Affairs Steering Committee, co-chaired by the Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs at GSC and NGCSU, provided oversight to the 34 academic work groups. All academic recommendations were reviewed by the Academic Affairs Steering Committee to determine if the academic proposals were ready for submission to the academic approval committees.
Because GSC did not have graduate programs, consolidation had no impact on the curriculum and requirements for existing graduate programs at NGCSU, which were continued as part of UNG.
All work group recommendations went through the established approval process at both institutions. At NGCSU, the recommendations were submitted to the Deans Council for approval and them forwarded to the Academic Activities Committee for their review and/or approval. On September 5, 2012, the NGCSU Academic Activities Committee approved all GSC academic programs. GSC followed their curriculum approval process, and the NGCSU degree programs, including graduate programs, were approved at GSC Faculty meetings on September 14 and October 19, 2012. UNG curriculum revisions continued to be reviewed and approved by academic committees at both NGCSU and GSC throughout the fall 2012 semester. (See minutes from NGCSU Deans Council, NGCSU Academic Activities Committee, and GSC Faculty meetings.)
During this process if either institution approved an amended academic program or policy recommendation, the amended recommendation was submitted to the other institution for review and approval. On two occasions consensus could not be achieved from both institutions' approval committees: 1) the UNG graduation requirement that eliminated the basic physical education hours (above the 120 hour requirement); and 2) the modern language requirement related to Area B of the core curriculum. In both cases, the Academic Affairs Steering Committee developed and approved a unified policy.
Approval of Educational Programs Post-Consolidation
At the first meeting of the University of North Georgia Academic Affairs Committee meeting on January 16, 2013, Dr. Richard Oates, Associate Provost for Academic Administration, presented a flowchart depicting the approval process for program and university policies, degree programs/majors, and courses. Review committees at the college level will submit proposals to the Provost’s Council. After review and approval by the Provost’s Council, proposals move to either the Academic Affairs Committee (undergraduate programs) or Graduate Council (graduate programs) for review and approval. Based on the flowchart presented at the January 16 Academic Affairs Committee meeting, the Approval Guide for New, Expanding, or Closing Program/Site/Course was developed.
Example of University of North Georgia Educational Program Approval Process
The Bachelor of Arts in Communication is a new program proposed for the Gainesville campus beginning in spring 2014. Prior to consolidation in January 2013, this program proposal had passed all levels of the Gainesville State College approval process. However, because of consolidation, it needed to go through the UNG approval process.
Following the procedures in the Approval Guide for New, Expanding, or Closing Program/Site/Course, notification of the proposed BA in Communications was submitted to the Office of the Provost and examined to determine the extent of notification and/or approval by SACSCOC and the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents. New program approval by the University System of Georgia (USG) is a 2-step process. The first step is a short prospectus that is primarily a needs assessment, and if approved by USG, then a formal proposal is submitted.
Evidence of the internal approval of the prospectus (needs assessment) for the BA in Communications prospectus includes the minutes of the March 4 and March 18 Provost’s Council meetings, demonstrating a first and second reading, and the minutes of the March 27 Academic Affairs Committee meeting. The University System of Georgia is currently reviewing the prospectus.
Step 3b of the Approval Guide for New, Expanding, or Closing Program/Site/Course details the internal review sequence for the formal proposal, beginning with the College’s Program/Curriculum Committee and continuing through the Provost’s Council and Academic Affairs Committee. After which, final approval is issued by the Provost and the proposal is submitted to USG for staff and/or Board approval.
The Program Approval Form tracks the progress of the formal proposal through the internal process. The formal proposal for the BA in Communications was approved by the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee on April 3. Subsequently, it will move to the Provost Council and Academic Affairs Committee for approval, then to the Provost. Upon approval by the Provost, who will brief the President, the formal proposal will be submitted to USG.
As the BA in Communications is moving through the internal review and approval process, the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness/SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison has determined that neither SACSCOC approval nor notification is required because the BA in Communications is not a significant departure from currently approved programs and it will be offered on an approved off-campus site. Rationale for this decision is documented on the Substantive Change Analysis for SACSCOC Reporting form for the BA in Communications.