Procedure 207: Undergraduate & Graduate Program Approval

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University Procedure # 207

Section 1.  Procedure

The university's program approval procedure is intended to ensure all new programs and existing programs that are redesigned are reviewed in a consistent manner to support quality and coherence of the curriculum within Metropolitan State University. The scope of this procedure includes all programs as defined in Appendix A.

Section 2. Authority

This procedure is issued pursuant to the Rules and Regulations of the Minnesota State College and University System.

Section 3.  Effective Date

This university procedure shall become effective upon signature by the president, and shall remain in effect until modified or expressly revoked.

Section 4.  Responsibility

Responsibility for the implementation of this procedure is assigned to the respective dean, faculty, and staff.

Section 5. Definitions

Metropolitan State University uses the following definitions adopted from MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1:  Academic Programs:

Academic Award means a certificate, diploma or degree.

Academic Program means a cohesive arrangement of college level credit courses and experiences designed to accomplish predetermined objectives leading to the awarding of a certificate, diploma, or degree. Undergraduate degree programs shall include a general education component. The purpose of an academic program is to:

  • Increase students’ knowledge and understanding in a field of study or discipline,
  • Qualify students for employment in an occupation or range of occupations, and/or
  • Prepare students for advanced study

Academic Program Characteristics are attributes that operationally describe an approved academic program and include:

  • Name
  • Academic award
  • Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code – a federal classification
  • Credit length
  • Location(s)
  • Emphases, if any
  • Articulation or collaborative agreements, if any, among colleges, universities, or other parties
  • Status (active, suspended, closed)

Academic Program Closure means a change in status which permanently closes the academic program to new enrollment.

Academic Program Curriculum Component is a program element with set requirements as follows:

  • Emphasis means a focused component of an academic program
  • Major means a curriculum component of an academic program intended to provide in-depth study in a discipline, a professional field of study or an occupation. A major may include an academic program emphasis.  A major is comprised of between 24 and 64 semester credits that provides depth of learning in a field and leads to a degree.
  • Minor means a curriculum component of a limited depth and/or breadth within a baccalaureate academic program and is comprised of between 16 and 24 semester credits.
  • Other Components of an academic program may include electives, required courses, and general education.

Academic Award Attributes are as follows:

  • Undergraduate certificate is awarded upon completion of a 9 to 30 credit academic program. An undergraduate certificate may have an occupational outcome or address a focused area of study. See MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, for additional parameters.
  • Baccalaureate degree is awarded upon completion of a 120 credit academic program incorporating general education, major requirements, and, as appropriate, a minor. At least 40 of the required credits for the baccalaureate degree shall be at the upper-division level. A baccalaureate degree requires at least a 40 credit general education curriculum that fulfills all of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. A baccalaureate degree may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits each when there are at least 18 credits in the major that are common to the emphases. A baccalaureate degree program may be individualized according to the standards outlined in MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, Part 5, Subpart C. See MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, for additional parameters.
  • Graduate certificate is awarded upon completion of a 9 to 30 credit academic program in a focused area of study at the graduate level. A graduate certificate shall not have emphases. See MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, for additional parameters.
  • Master’s Degree is awarded upon completion of a 30 to 54 credit academic program at the graduate level in a discipline or professional field. At least one-half of the required credits in a master’s degree, exclusive of a thesis, capstone or similar culminating project, shall be credits restricted exclusively to graduate student enrollment. A master’s degree may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits when there are at least 18 credits in the major that are common to the emphases. See MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, for additional parameters.
  • Doctorate is awarded upon completion of a graduate level academic program of at least 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree in an applied professional field. No more than 16 credits of the doctorate may be master’s dual enrollment courses. A doctorate may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits when there are at least 18 credits in the post-master’s portion of the academic program. See MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, for additional parameters.

Program is a program leading to a graduate certificate, master’s degree or doctoral degree

Individualized program is a program of study designed by a student to meet individualized objectives.  Individualized programs must be approved by college/school faculty and must follow guidelines set by the college/school.

Program redesign, as set forth in MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1includes a change in approved name or CIP code, addition of emphases, change in award or change in credit length when the change exceeds the maximum credit length or fails to meet the minimum credit length as defined by Procedure 3.36.1.  Such redesign will be treated as a new program for approval at Metropolitan State University.

Section 6.  New Program Proposal Process

  1. Locus of responsibility: The faculty is responsible for preparing new program proposals and revisions of current programs.
  1. Proposal Format: The program proposal must include all the information required by MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1 Part 5, Subpart A, (Approval of New Programs) and follow the format set by MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, as evidenced by the software used to manage the program application and approval process (currently Program Navigator), and adopted by the Inter-Faculty Association (IFO) Academic Affairs Committee or IFO Graduate Programs Committee and University administration.
  1. Program Proposal Documentation and Approvals
  1. Develop documentation that states the intent to create or revise a program that is consistent with MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, Part 5, Academic Program Approval. The documentation must address authorization (alignment with Metropolitan State University’s mission and award authority), resources, need, academic program attributes, curriculum, external academic program requirements, where applicable, approvals and agreements.
  1. The documentation must include the topics in each of the zones as set forth by MnSCU in Program Navigator, the online platform used to submit programs for MnSCU approval. 
  1. In addition to the Program Navigator documentation, Metropolitan State University requires documentation of institutional capacity for new undergraduate and graduate programs including a five year projected budget showing expected tuition revenue and expected direct and indirect expenditures.  A budget is not required for minors or certificates for which the curriculum is a combination of existing courses requiring no or few new resources.
  1. With the possible exception of documentation of student interest, which may require additional time if based on surveys, all documentation should be completed prior to obtaining approvals at the IFO and University level.
  1. Submit the proposal documentation for IFO approvals as follows:
  • Department/Curriculum Unit
  • IFO College/School [monthly meeting]

See Appendix A for authorization documentation.

  1. Submit the Notice of Intent (NOI) in Program Navigator for new undergraduate and graduate programs. A minor does not need to go through the NOI process.
  1. The Dean and Provost will be prompted by an email notification that the Notice of Intent is ready for approval.  Approval of the NOI by the Dean and Provost denotes that the proposed program or proposed changes to a program are consistent with the mission and goals of the college/school, but does not constitute final approval or a commitment of resources.
  1. The MnSCU Academic Program Director posts the Notice of Intent for system-wide review and comment for ten days.  If no objections or comments are received the System office will notify the Provost and Program Initiator that the New Program Approval process may be initiated in Program Navigator.
  1. If comments or objections to the NOI are received the MnSCU Program staff will advise the Provost and Program Initiator and may recommend follow up conversations with the institution filing the comment or objection before initiating the New Program Approval application.  The program initiator has 60 days to complete the application for the Program Navigator New Program Approval process.

The following list of specifications (zones and topics) will be updated at the beginning of each academic year to reflect the Chancellor’s guidelines as set forth in MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs and operationalized in Program Navigator.  The specifications were last updated in August 2015.

Program Navigator specifically requires the following for initiating a NOI for posting:

Note: This documentation overlaps the documentation required for the new program proposal and the information from a completed NOI may be transferred to the New Program Approval application in Program Navigator.

Zone 1: Mandatory

  1. College/University Name
  2. Start Term
  3. End Term
  4. Campus Code
  5. Notice of Intent (NOI) code
  6. Notice of Intent (Y/N)

Zone 2: General Information

  1. Program Type
  2. Collaborating Institutions
  3. Name/Title
  4. # of Credits
  5. Award Type
  6. Award
  7. Delivery Mode

Zone 3: Curriculum

  1. Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code
  2. Catalog Description
  3. Curriculum Design (# and type of credits:  MnTC; Technical/Professional; Electives)

Zone 4: Program Duplication

  1. Location
  2. Program service area (counties and/or regions)
  3. MnSCU institutions offering similar programs
  4. Regional discussion (Y/N)
  5. System capacity
    1. Indicate why existing MnSCU programs are not sufficient to address demand in the service area or state
    2. Explain explorations of partnerships or collaborations
    3. Completer data over last three (3) years for similar programs
  6. Closed enrollment (Y/N)

Zone 5: Labor Market Information

  1. Occupational Professional (yes/no)
  2. Occupational / professional program (Y/N)

(NOTE: Answer yes if program is a graduate or undergraduate award leading to a job)

  1.  IF YES to Q 1 use LMIwise research (hotlink in Program Navigator) to gather evidence of:
      1. Labor market need and economic benefits for students, employers, community  and state
      2. SOC (Standard Occupational Code) for graduates
      3. Community collaboration

Zone 6: Grants

  1. Grant support (yes/no)
  2. Type of funding source (non-governmental, state government, federal government grants)
  3. Names of funding sources
  4. Grant purpose statement
  5. Grant amount
  6. Grant executive summary

Zone 7: Notes

Include attachments such as Academic Committee notes, approval signature pages, other supporting evidence.

7.  After receiving notice from the System that no comments or objections to an NOI have been received or after considering and resolving comments or objections, a New Program Approval application must be initiated.  Minors must also be submitted for approval as New Programs through the Program Navigator System.

Program Navigator specifically requires the following information which can be transferred from a related NOI application.  Zone 7 in the New Program Approval application includes additional information not required in the NOI application.

Zone 1: Mandatory

  1. College/University Name
  2. Start Term
  3. End Term
  4. Notice of Intent (NOI) code
  5. Program Code (nn-nnn-nnnn, with the first 2 digits denoting the college/university)
  6. Program Level
  7. Degree Acronym
  8. Assent that the program is within the college/university mission

Zone 2: General Information

  1. Name/Title
  2. # of Credits
  3. Program Type
  4. Collaborating institution(s)
  5. Award Type
  6. Award
  7. Delivery mode

Zone 3: Curriculum

  1. Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code
  2. Learning Outcomes
  3. Admission Requirements
  4. Catalog Description (includes Learning Outcomes)
  5. Credits by Type:
    1. MnTC
    2. Technical/Professional
    3. Unrestricted Electives
  6. Curriculum Design
  7. Industry/ Professional Certification
  8. Program Accreditation

Zone 4: Program Duplication

  1. Location
  2. Program service area (counties and/or regions)
  3. MnSCU institutions offering similar programs
  4. Regional discussion (yes/no)
  5. System (MnSCU) capacity for proposed program
    1. Indicate why existing MnSCU programs are not sufficient to address demand in the service area or state
    2. Explain explorations of partnerships or collaborations
    3. Completer data over last three (3) years for similar programs
  6. Projected FYE (at full operation)
  7. Projected Headcount
  8. Projected Annual Completers
  9. Student interest (summarize methods & findings used to determine student interest)

Zone 5:  Labor Market Information

  1.  Occupational / professional program (Y/N)

(NOTE: Answer yes if program is a graduate or undergraduate award leading to a job)

  1.  IF YES to Q 1 use LMIwise research (hotlink in Program Navigator) to gather evidence of:
    1. Labor market need and economic benefits for students, employers, community  and state
    2. SOC (Standard Occupational Code) for graduates
    3. Community collaboration

Zone 6: Grants

  1. Grant support (yes/no)
  2. Type of funding source (non-governmental, state government, federal government grants)
  3. Names of funding sources
  4. Grant purpose statement
  5. Grant amount
  6. Grant executive summary

Zone 7: Program Attributes

  1. Closed enrollment (Y/N)
  2. Green program
  3. Risk Management:  Risks that may not be covered under the college/university general liability insurance policy
  4. Capital Improvement (Y/N)
  5. Center of Excellence Affiliation
  6. New location
  7. Facility lease

Zone 8: Two Year Colleges Only [details omitted as not applicable to university]

Zone 9:  Notes

Include attachments such as Academic Committee notes, approval signature pages, and other supporting evidence.

Note: When submitting a proposal for a minor, the 60-day window is not relevant. A proposal for a minor is immediately ready for approvals to commence.

  1. At the commencement of the 60-day Program Navigator documentation period, submit the proposal documentation for IFO and University level approvals as follows:
  • IFO Academic Affairs Committee (undergraduate) or

IFO Graduate Programs Committee

  • IFO Council

See Appendix A for authorization documentation.

  • After the approval at IFO Council, discussion of the new program is introduced at Meet & Confer.
  •  When all IFO approvals have been obtained, upload the signature authorization document (see Appendix A) into Program Navigator.
  • The Dean, Provost and President then document final campus program approval in Program Navigator.
  • The MnSCU Academic Program Director will provide System approval and notify both the Provost and program initiator.
  1. External Consultation: At any level of review the faculty and/or dean may identify an external reviewer for consultation.

Section 7. New Program Approval Process

  1. Documentation of approvals is included in Section 6, New Program Proposal Process and is outlined here to summarize the required approvals.
  1. The workflow in Program Navigator reflects the order of required approvals per MnSCU Procedure 3.36.1, Academic Programs, and the approvals required at Metropolitan State University. As such all approvals are documented in Program Navigator, with approvals at the IFO and University level documented in the signature authorization document (see Appendix A).
  1. Metropolitan State University faculty and administration review and approve  a new or revised program in the following order:

Faculty and Administration Reviewers:

Approval Documented In:

Department/Curriculum Unit – Proposed Program

Appendix A

IFO College/School [monthly meeting] – Proposed Program

Appendix A

Dean – Notice of Intent (NOI)

Program Navigator

Provost – Notice of Intent (NOI)

Program Navigator

IFO Academic Affairs Committee – Proposed Program

Or

IFO Graduate Programs Committee – Proposed Program

 

Appendix A

IFO Council – Proposed Program

Appendix A

Dean – Proposed Program

Program Navigator

Provost – Proposed Program

Program Navigator

President – Proposed Program

Program Navigator

  1. MnSCU system review and approval: Subsequent to the President's approval, the proposal is forwarded to the MnSCU Director of Academic Programs.
  1. After final approval by the MnSCU Director of Academic Programs, the Provost initiates the administrative processes required to incorporate the approved program in the catalogue and website
  1. Requests for substantive changes prompts a reiteration of the process outlined above.

Section 8. Review

This procedure will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Deans and the Executive Vice President and Provost.

Section 9, Signatures

Issued on  October 16, 2015.

 

 

Virginia Arthur, Executive Vice President & Provost

 

 

Devinder Malhotra, Interim President

 

Appendix A: Inter Faculty Organization (IFO) and University Authorization Documentation

 

Program Name:

First semester & year offered: 

Proposer Name & Title: 

 

Department/Curriculum Unit Review:

____Forwarded or forwarded upon receipt of minor changes

____Returned to proposer with recommendations for revisions

____Rejected and returned to proposer

Comments:

 

Department Chair/Curriculum Unit Coordinator or designee:  (signed)

Date:

Print Name: 

 

IFO College/School Review (monthly meeting):

____Forwarded or forwarded upon receipt of minor changes

____Returned to proposer with recommendations for revisions

____Rejected and returned to proposer

Comments:

 

IFO College/School Convener:  (signed)

Date: 

 

Print Name: 

 

IFO Academic Affairs Committee Review OR IFO Graduate Programs Committee

____Forwarded or forwarded upon receipt of minor changes

____Returned to proposer with recommendations for revisions

____Rejected and returned to proposer

Comments:

 

¨ IFO Academic Affairs Committee Chair

or

¨ IFO Graduate Programs Committee Chair:

(signed)

Date:

Print Name: 

IFO Council:

____Forwarded or forwarded upon receipt of minor changes

____Returned to proposer with recommendations for revisions

____Rejected and returned to proposer

Comments:

IFO President (Metropolitan State University Faculty Association):

(signed)

Date: 

 

Print Name:

 

Provost:

____Forwarded or forwarded upon receipt of minor changes

____Returned to proposer with recommendations for revisions

____Rejected and returned to proposer

Comments:

 

(signed)

Date: 

 

Print Name: 

President:

____Forwarded or forwarded upon receipt of minor changes

____Returned to proposer with recommendations for revisions

____Rejected and returned to proposer

Comments:

 

(signed)

Date: 

 

Print Name: 

 

Authorizations provided in Program Navigator are as follows:

Notice of Intent (NOI):

  • Dean
  • Provost
  • President

Note: this is a provisional approval of the program, based on the limited documentation required at this initial stage of the program development and approval process.

Program:

  • Dean
  • Provost
  • President