1.16.1 Substantive Change for Accreditation

Policy TrackingDate
ApprovedFebruary 5, 2014
RevisedMay 5, 2021

Pursuant toPolicy 1.16 – Substantive Change for Accreditation, the following procedures shall apply:

  1. The President shall appoint as the institution’s Accreditation Liaison a senior faculty member or administrator who reports directly to the President and has a suitable degree of visibility on campus. The Accreditation Liaison should become familiar with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accrediting policies and procedures.
  2. The Accreditation Liaison is responsible for providing information about the SACSCOC substantive change policy to the college President, Division Heads, Deans, and Directors at the beginning of the academic year or more frequently if updates are required by SACSCOC action.
  3. The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison is a standing member, by virtue of position, of the college’s Program Review Committee. This allows for first-hand knowledge of proposed new programs and discontinuation of programs for the college.
  4. All substantive changes must receive prior approval from the VP for Instruction at least six months in advance of the intended implementation. Once approval has been given, the VP for Instruction will notify the President and the SACS Liaison, who will determine the appropriate course of action based on the guidelines set forth by the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy. Such changes include but are not limited to offering courses at a new off-site location, offering 50% or more of a program completely online, discontinuing a program, and starting a new program. If you are unsure if your change is a substantive change, please contact the SACS liaison for guidance.
  5. The Vice President of Instruction is responsible for providing the Accreditation Liaison with the following details of proposed new programs or discontinued programs:
    1. A description of the educational program(s) involved;
    2. The nature of the change;
    3. The academic and professional qualifications of faculty members assigned to coordinate and teach in the program(s);
    4. The manner in which the college will provide educational and academic support for students enrolled in the program(s) involved; and
    5. The plans for ensuring students enrolled in programs being discontinued will be able to complete the program in good order (“Teach-Out Plans”).
  6. When the College is undergoing substantive change requiring prior approval must provide written notification of the change to the President of SACSCOC in accord with the designated times outlined in the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy Statement. In some cases, prior notification is not required, but for some types of changes, notification is required a minimum of 6 months prior to implementation.
  7. The different types of substantive change, the specific procedures to be used for each type of substantive change, the respective approval/notification requirements, and reporting timelines are listed in the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy
  8. All substantive changes that would require prior approval from SACS must receive approval from the President and the Board of Trustees at least six months in advance of intended implementation. The VP for Instruction will be responsible for requesting the item be added to the Board agenda and presenting the Substantive Change to the Board. Once Board approval is obtained, the SACS liaison will complete the prospectus and ensure its timely delivery to SACS based on the deadlines provided by the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy.
  9. The Accreditation Liaison is responsible for coordinating any required follow-up action requested by SACSCOC in response to substantive change notification, including any on-site visits to the campus, as applicable.
  10. The SACS Liaison will maintain a record of all official communications to and from SACSCOC including submission of an application or a prospectus, notification prior to implementation, and teach-out plans and teach-out agreements.
  11. The SACS Liaison will review these procedures on an annual basis to ensure continued compliance with SACSCOC regulations.