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RSCC Policy GA-37-01; Substantive Change

RSCC Policy GA-37-01; Substantive Change

Roane State Community College
Policy Number: GA-37-01
Subject: Substantive Change

Roane State Community College is a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which is its regional accrediting body, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an agency whose accreditation entitles its member institutions to seek eligibility to participate in Title IV programs. The purpose of this policy is to establish institutional procedures for recognizing and approving substantive change and ensuring timely, accurate and complete notification to the SACSCOC.

Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. The reporting and review of substantive change is required by the SACSCOC to ensure that the scope of programs offered by the institution have undergone appropriate review by the Commission.

  1. This policy is applicable to all units, divisions, centers and campuses.
  2. The college’s Accreditation Liaison, the Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Research, is the individual with overall responsibility for ensuring that this policy is implemented; however, all individuals responsible for initiating activities that may be considered within the scope of substantive change are required to be familiar and comply with this policy and Principle 14.2 of the Principles of Accreditation.
  3. Substantive change includes:
    1. Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution
    2. Any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the institution
    3. The addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when the institution was last evaluated
    4. The addition of courses or programs of study at a degree or credential level different from that which is included in the institution’s current accreditation or reaffirmation
    5. A change from clock hours to credit hours
    6. A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program
    7. The establishment or expansion of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50 percent of an educational program
    8. The establishment of a branch campus
    9. Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution
    10. Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual academic program or joint degree program with another institution
    11. Acquiring another institution or a program or location of another institution
    12. Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out program for a closed institution
    13. Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25% or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs

      The SACSCOC Board of Trustees has approved additional substantive changes that require notification and, in some cases, approval prior to implementation. Certain substantive changes require prior notification to the SACSCOC. Other substantive changes require submission of a substantive change prospectus for approval prior to the implementation of the change. Other substantive changes may require on-site committee review by the Commission. The college’s Accreditation Liaison, in consultation with SACSCOC policies and staff, determines the applicability of these means of notification, approval, and review to the proposed institutional change activity. Policies, procedures, and information regarding substantive change can be found on the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Research webpage at
  4. The following policies and procedures are established to ensure timely reporting of substantive changes to the Commission.
    1. The responsibilities for reporting substantive change are regularly communicated to all college faculty and staff by means of the President’s Annual Policy Memo.
    2. The Bylaws of the College’s Academic and Curriculum Council make the Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Research/SACSCOC Liaison a permanent member of the council. This council is the body with primary responsibility for decisions regarding the college curriculum.
    3. The form for submission of Academic and Curriculum Council agenda items contains a line item for mandatory review of SACSCOC requirements that may be associated with the submitted action item.
    4. All proposals for new and/or revised academic programs submitted to the Tennessee Board of Regents for approval include a line item or mandatory review of SACSCOC requirements that may be associated with the submitted proposal.
    5. The agenda format for weekly President’s Cabinet meetings presided over by the college president includes a standing discussion item related to SACSCOC issues and to serve as a monitoring device to evaluate all other discussion items for possible applications to SACSCOC requirements.
    6. The President’s Cabinet will conduct a quarterly audit of planned institutional actions in the areas of academic programming and delivery, off-site expansion, and all other areas falling within the governance of Principle 14.2. All Vice Presidents are responsible for working with their respective divisions and departments to provide information for these audits. The Substantive Change Audit Checklist form, accessible on the Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Research website, is provided to assist faculty and staff with these audits and any other inquiries regarding substantive change.
    7. To ensure that SACSCOC substantive change policy updates are regularly reviewed by multiple college stakeholders for applicability to college operations, the Director of Curriculum, Program Planning, and Advising will conduct a quarterly audit of changes uploaded to the SACSCOC webpage. Any newly published policy updates will be comprehensively reviewed for changes and reported to the Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Research who will evaluate the changes for potential impact on college operations and activities and report to SACSCOC as needed.
  5. Failure to comply with the SACSCOC substantive change policy and procedures subjects the College to serious consequences, including the possible loss of Title IV funding or the necessity to reimburse the U.S. Department of Education for money received for programs related to unreported substantive change. Additionally, the College may be referred to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees for the imposition of a sanction or, in the most serious case, removal from membership.
Revision History: 06/27/2016
Revision Date Effective: 05/25/2018
Revision Approval By: Christopher L. Whaley, President
Original Date Effective: 01/28/2013
Original Approval By: Christopher L. Whaley, President
Office Responsible: Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Research
Reviewed: 05/15/2018

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