Reporting of Substantive Change (Procedure 1.7000)

Based on Board Policy number and Florida Statute: F.S. 1001.64; Board Policy 1.270
Effective Date: 07/2010; 03/2013
Date of Review: 08/2011; 08/2012; 02/2013

Purpose

The purpose of the procedure is to ensure that the College proactively identifies, manages and reports to its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACS–COC), all substantive changes to the institution, in the timeframe and manner as outlined in the Commission’s substantive change policy statement.

Definition

A substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution as defined by SACS-COC. Current information about SACS-COC substantive change definitions and reporting or approval requirements can be found in Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions of the Commission on Colleges, available on the SACS-COC website at www.sacscoc.org, or by contacting the College’s SACS Accreditation Liaison. There are three procedures for addressing the different types of substantive changes:

  • Procedure One (1) for the Review of Substantive Changes Requiring Notification and Approval Prior to Implementation – in some cases, as much as 12 months prior approval is needed before implementation.
  • Procedure Two (2) for the Review of Substantive Changes Requiring Only Notification Prior to Implementation – usually in the form of a letter signed by the President.
  • Procedure Three (3) for Closing a Program, Site, Branch Campus, or Institution.

Procedure

Compliance with the Commission’s substantive change policy and procedures will require collaboration and cooperation throughout the College. In general, responsibilities fall into these categories:

  1. The College President will sign and send to the President of the SACS-COC, as appropriate for the particular type of substantive change,
    1. timely notifications summarizing proposed changes, or
    2. a timely substantive change prospectus or application.
  2. The College’s SACS Accreditation Liaison, as appointed by the President as required by SACS-COC, will be responsible for the following:
    1. Ensuring that compliance with substantive change requirements is incorporated into the planning and evaluation process of the institution.
    2. Preparing substantive change notification letters for the signature of the college President in accord with the substantive change policies of the SACS-COC.
    3. Preparing or ensuring preparation of any required substantive change prospectus or application for the signature of the President in accord with the substantive change policies of the SACS-COC.
    4. Educating faculty, staff and cross-functional committees regarding SACS-COC Substantive Change policies and procedures, particularly when such policies or procedures are revised by the Commission.
    5. Maintaining a database of substantive change initiatives, action plans and status.
    6. Presenting reports to the Executive Team – at a minimum quarterly -- on active substantive change issues.
    7. For any initiative that requires substantive change notification or approval, collaborating with the appropriate responsible administrator(s) in initiative planning and implementation so that all SACS requirements are satisfied in a timeline manner.
    8. Serving as a contact person and communication liaison between SACS-COC staff and the College regarding substantive change.
  3. College administrators will be responsible for the following:
    1. Learning about and maintaining awareness of current Commission on Colleges Substantive Change policies.
    2. Identifying and ensuring appropriate training for employees and committees in their area who by the nature of their positions and responsibilities should also learn about and maintain awareness of Commission on Colleges Substantive change issues and ensuring that appropriate staff development takes place.
    3. Initiating communication with the College’s SACS-COC Accreditation Liaison whenever any initiative is being considered that might meet the current SACS-COC definition of “substantive change.” The purpose of the communication will be to accomplish the following:
      1. Log the potential substantive change issue into a database.
      2. Determine through dialogue about the proposed initiative whether and what type of substantive change might be entailed.
      3. If it is determined that the initiative meets the criteria for substantive change, develop a collaborative initiative action plan that will ensure compliance with SACS substantive change requirements. d. Managing any approved initiative that requires SACS substantive change notification or approval, keeping the SACS Accreditation Liaison informed of status.
  4. Standing Committees as defined in College Procedure 1.0900 and cross-functional teams will be responsible for maintaining awareness of current SACS-COC Substantive Change policies during their deliberations and notifying the College’s SACS-COC Liaison of any initiatives that may have substantive change implications.
  5. Because such a broad spectrum of employees are necessarily involved in the substantive change process, the SACS-COC substantive change compliance matrix has been adapted, below, to clarify the types of substantive changes which of which the College must be aware and to delineate responsibilities in identifying, reporting and documenting each type of change. It will be the responsibility of the SACS Accreditation Liaison to maintain this table and to coordinate its implementation throughout the College.

Seminole State College of Florida Substantive Change Matrix

Type of Change SACS-COC Proced. Prior Notice to SACS-COC Prior Approval Required Prior to Implementation Documentation & Advance Submission Timeline Responsible
Offices
Initiating coursework or programs at a different level than currently approved 1 NA Yes Application for Level Change; April 15 or September 15, as appropriate President, VP's, Deans/AVP’s, SACS Liaison
Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs)1 1 Yes Yes Prospectus 6 months in advance VP's, Deans/AVP’s, SACS Liaison
Initiating a branch campus 1 Yes Yes Prospectus 6 months in advance VP's, SACS Liaison
Initiating a certificate program at employer’s request and on short notice ......
...using existing approved courses NA NA NA None NA
...at a new off-campus site (previously approved program)  1 NA Yes Modified prospectus Deans/AVP’s, Academic Affairs, Dual Enrollment Coordinator, SACS Liaison
...that is a significant departure from previously approved programs 1 Yes Yes Modified prospectus; approval required prior to implementation Deans/AVP’s, Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison
Initiating other certificate programs......
...using existing approved courses NA NA NA NA NA
...at a new off-campus site (previously approved program) 1 NA Yes Modified prospectus Deans/AVP’s, Academic Affairs, Dual Enrollment Coordinator, SACS Liaison
...that is a significant departure from previously approved programs 1 Yes Yes Modified prospectus; approval required prior to implementation Deans/AVP’s, Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison
Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution 1 NA Yes Contact Commission Staff  VPs, Deans/AVPs, SACS Liaison
Initiating joint or dual degrees with another institution......
... Joint programs with another SACSCOC accredited institution 2 Yes NA Copy of signed agreement and contact information for each institution prior to implementation VPs, Deans/AVPs, SACS Liaison
... Joint programs with an institution not accredited by SACSCOC 1 Yes NA Prospectus 6 months in advance VPs, Deans/AVPs, SACS Liaison
... Dual programs 2 Yes NA Copy of signed agreement and contact information for each institution prior to implementation  VPs, Deans/AVPs, SACS Liaison
Initiating off-campus sites (including Early College High School and dual enrollment programs offered at the high school)......
...Student can obtain 50 percent or more credits toward program 1 NA Yes Prospectus Deans/AVPs, Dual Enrollment Coordinator, Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison
...Student can obtain 25-49 percent of credit 2 Yes NA Letter of notification prior to implementation Deans/AVPs, Dual Enrollment Coordinator, Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison
...Student can obtain 24 percent or less NA NA NA NA Deans/AVPs, Dual Enrollment Coordinator, Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison 
Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites......
...Adding programs that are significantly different from current programs at the site NA NA NA NA Deans/AVPs, Dual Enrollment Coordinator, SACS Liaison
...Adding programs that are NOT significantly different from current programs at the site NA NA NA NA NA
Initiating distance learning......
...Offering 50 percent or more of a program for the first time (Adding subsequent programs requires advance notification only for programs that are significant departures from the originally approved programs)1 1 NA Yes Prospectus Deans/AVPs, Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison
...Offering 25-49 percent 2 Yes No Letter of notification prior to implementation Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison
...Offering 24 percent or less NA NA NA None NA
Initiating programs or courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium 2 Yes NA Letter of notification and copy of signed agreement prior to implementation VPs, Deans/AVPs, SACS Liaison
Entering into a contract with an entity not certified to participate in USDOE Title IV programs
... If the entity provides 25% or more of an educational program offered by the COC accredited institution 1 NA Yes Prospectus President, VPs, Deans/AVPs, SACS Liaison
... if the entity provides less than 25% of an educational program offered by the accredited institution  2 Yes NA Copy of the signed agreement prior to implementation  
Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution *** Yes Yes Prospectus must be submitted 6 months in advance by April 15 or September 15, as appropriate President, VPs, SACS Liaison
Changing governance, ownership, control, or legal status of an institution *** Yes Yes Prospectus 6 months in advance by April 15 or September 15, as appropriate VPs, SACS liaison
Relocating a main or branch campus 1 Yes Yes Prospectus 6 months in advance VP, Deans/AVPs, SACS Liaison
Moving an off-campus instructional site (serving the same geographic area) 2 Yes NA Letter of notification prior to implementation VP, Deans/AVPs, SACS Liaison
Changing from clock hours to credit hours 1 NA Yes -Justify reasons for change, indicate calculation of equivalency, and other pertinent information VP, Deans/AVPs, Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison
Altering significantly the length of a program3 1 NA Yes Prospectus VP, Deans/AVPs, Academic Affairs, SACS Liaison
Initiating degree completion programs 1 NA Yes Prospectus Associate Deans and Deans/AVPs,
Closing a program, approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution......
... Institution to teach-out its own students 3 Yes Yes Description of teach-out plan included with letter of notification immediately following decision to close Associate Deans and Deans/AVPs,
... Institution contracts with another institution to teach-out students (Teach-out Agreement) 3 Yes Yes Description of teach-out plan, copy of signed teach-out agreement detailing terms included with notification immediately following decision to close Associate Deans and Deans/AVPs,
Acquiring any program or site from another institution *** Yes Yes Prospectus 6 months in advance President, VPs, SACS Liaison
Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out for students from another institution that is closing *** Yes Yes Prospectus 6 months in advance President, VPs, SACS Liaison

*** See SACS-COC policy, "Mergers, Consolidations and Change of Ownership: Review and Approval"

Notes:

  1. A significant departure in program is one in which the proposed new program has no closely related counterpart among the previously approved programs in the curriculum. To determine if a new program is a “significant departure”, it is helpful to ask if the new program requires:
    1. Numbers of new faculty?
    2. Many new courses?
    3. New library or other learning resources?
    4. New equipment or facilities?
    5. A new resource base?
  2. Significant changes in mission are those that lead to a fundamental shift in the nature of the institution, such as an institution that had offered only professional programs deciding to add general education offerings, or a technical college transforming itself into a comprehensive community college.
  3. Significant changes in program length are those with noticeable impact on the program’s completion time (e.g., increasing a baccalaureate degree from 124 hours to 150 hours).
Recommended by Executive Team Date 03/26/2013
Approved: President, E. Ann McGee Date 04/01/2013

Want more info? Contact us.

Seminole State College
100 Weldon Boulevard
Sanford, Florida 32773-6199
407.708.4722

Seminole State General Contact Information