Substantive Change

SACSCOC Definitions

Significant Departure: A program that is not closely related to previously approved programs at the institution or off-campus site in terms of content or mode of delivery proposed. This can often be hard to determine and often requires an inquiry by the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison to the SACSCOC Substantive Change Office.

SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison: The individual designated by the President of the University to serve as the University’s representative to SACSCOC and to communicate with SACSCOC concerning substantive change and other accreditation requirements.

Noncompliance: If an institution is non-compliant with Substantive Change Policy and Procedures or Standard 14.2 (Substantive change), its accreditation may be in jeopardy. An unreported substantive change may require a review of the institution’s substantive change policy and procedures document by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees. Non-compliance subjects the institution to monitoring, sanction, or removal from membership. Failure to secure approval, if required, of a substantive change involving programs or locations that qualify for title IV federal funding may place the institution in jeopardy with the U.S. Department of Education, including reimbursement of funds received related to an unreported substantive change. For additional information, refer to Appendix A, Standards and Policy Addressing Unreported Substantive Change, in Substantive Change Policy and Procedures.

Board Review Pathways: Approval, or denial of approval, of a proposed substantive change is granted: by the full Board of Trustees or by the Executive Council of the Board of Trustees on behalf of the full Board. The types of substantive changes reviewed by the full Board versus the Executive Council of the Board are defined in the section of the Substantive Change Policy and Procedures that addresses specific substantive changes.

Approval: An official action by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees enabling an institution to implement a proposed substantive change.

Branch Campus: An off-campus instruction site additional location geographically apart from the main campus, delivers instructions, independent of the main campus (independent meaning permanent, offers courses leading to degree), has its owns faculty and administrative or supervisor organization and own budgetary and hiring authority. UM currently has no branch campuses.

Closure: Ending of instruction in an educational program, at off-campus instructional site, in an educational program at an off-campus instructional site or main campus, method of delivery, an entire institution.

Competency-Based Education: Method of delivery in which competencies are learned through interaction with faculty and an academic credential is earned based on a student’s demonstrated competencies. Currently not utilized at UM.

Competency-Based Education by Course/Credit-Based Approach: Demonstrating competencies is embedded in a traditional curriculum with courses completed, credits earned, and a credential awarded. Currently not utilized at UM.

Competency-Based Education by Direct Assessment: Progression and completion of a master of prescribed competencies. Currently not utilized at UM.

Cooperative Academic Arrangement: Agreement between a SACSCOC accredited institution and another entity to deliver program content recorded on the SACSCOC institutions transcript as its own.

Correspondence Courses: Courses in which students and instructors are not in the same locations and in which instructional materials and learning assessments are delivered electronically or by mail.

Distance Education: Method of delivery in which the majority of instruction occurs when students and instructors are not in the same location.

Dual Academic Award: Student receives instruction at two (or more) institutions in prescribed curricula leading to each institution granting academic awards at the same credential level.

Extensive Review:  An extensive review has two components: an institutional-level review; and a site-specific review. The purpose of the institutional-level review is to ensure institutional capacity and planning to offer courses away from its main campus and to ensure quality across locations. Institutional capacity and planning considers: adequacy of faculty, facilities, resources, and academic and student support services at sites; sufficient fiscal and administrative capacity to add additional sites; clear academic control of sites; regular evaluation of all sites; financial stability of the institution; engagement in long-range planning for expansion; and other factors. The site-specific review considers: physical resources including specialized equipment or materials at a site; qualifications of faculty at the site; adequate financial resources and financial planning for the site; adequacy of library and learning/information resource available to students at the site; adequacy of student support services available to student at the site; and other factors.

Face-to-Face Instruction: Method of delivery in which the majority of instruction occurs when students and instructors are in the same location.

Federal Regulations: Rules and regulations of the U.S Department of Education as codified in the Code of Federal Regulation.

Geographically Apart: Non-contiguous location independent of distance (across the street may qualify as geographically apart).

Joint Academic Award: Student receives instruction at two (or more) institutions in prescribed curricula leading to the institutions granting a single academic award bearing the names, seals, and officials’ signatures of each participating institution.

Method of Delivery: Principle method by which instruction is delivered (e.g., distance-education, face-to-face instruction).

Notification: Official communication from an institution to SACSCOC as defined in Substantive Change Policy and Procedures.

Off-Campus Instructional Site: A location geographically apart from an institution’s sole main campus and where instruction is delivered.

Program: Coherent course of study leading to a for-credit credential (e.g., degree or diploma).

Substantive Change Restriction: An institutional status that requires additional or different requirements for institutions meeting defined substantive change criteria.

Teach-Out: Process and time period of teach-out plan.

Teach-Out Plan: Written plan developed by an institution for students to complete their programs of study because it decided to end a program, off-campus instructional site, method of delivery, or to close the institution.

Teach-Out Agreement: Optional written agreement with an institution or entity under which students covered by a teach-out plan may complete their programs of study.