SACSCOC SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE RESOURCES

INTRODUCTION

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits the University of Miami. It is responsible for reviewing all major institutional changes that occur between scheduled evaluation periods, determining whether or not the substantive change has affected the quality of the total institution. Therefore, prior to the implementation of a substantive change, it is the responsibility of the institution to follow the Substantive Change Procedures of the Commission and inform the Commission of such changes in accord with those procedures. Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.

If an institution fails to follow this substantive change policy and its procedures, the accreditation of the institution may be placed in jeopardy, the institution’s case may be referred to the Commission for the imposition of a sanction, or the institution may lose its Title IV student aid funding or be required by the U.S. Department of Education to reimburse Title IV funds received by the institution for unreported substantive changes.

NOTIFICATION AND/OR APPROVAL PROCEDURES

**SACSCOC notification and/or approval cannot occur until all internal University of Miami approvals have been secured.**

The SACSCOC requires one of three different procedures for processing a substantive change. The procedures vary in depth and length of time required for processing based on the specific nature of the substantive change initiated by the University. The first step is to determine the precise nature of the substantive change.  Contact the Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment (PIRA) at (305) 284-9431 early in the process for a preliminary determination. Although only the SACSCOC can make an official determination of the category of a change, PIRA will facilitate the process by assessing the change internally and coordinating all communication with the SACSCOC.

Please refer to UM’s Substantive Change Policy and Procedure for reporting the change to the Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment (PIRA).

STEP 1: SUBMIT NOTIFICATION OF CHANGE TO SACSCOC – 6 MONTHS PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION

The unit initiating the change must draft a written proposal detailing the change. The “notification letter” will be drafted and signed by the Executive Director for Assessment and Accreditation in the Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment; PIRA will support this process.

Elements of the proposal for submission of a Notification Letter (approximately 2-3 pages depending on the nature of the change):

  • Abstract (one page or less): Describe the proposed change, including the following:

    • date of implementation
    • projected number of students
    • primary target audience
    • instructional delivery methods (e.g., classroom, practicum, online, hybrid)
    • on-campus or off-site (please include complete physical address, if any part of the program will be taught at an off-site location)

    • Background Information: Provide a clear statement of the nature and purpose of the change in the context of UM’s mission as well as the mission and objectives of the school, department, and program.
    • Assessment of Need and Program Planning/Approval: Briefly discuss the rationale for the change and provide documentation that faculty and other groups were involved in review and approval of new program or site.
    • Description of Change: List the specific Student Learning Outcomes and Measures, along with a schedule of proposed course offerings.  New courses should include a course description.  Also indicate whether additional resources or faculty will be required (if so, please refer to the Substantive Change Prospectus Template for information required).  Finally, if the change involves instructional modality or site, any differences in admission and/or graduation requirements between the new program and its campus-based counterpart should be explained.


STEP 2: SUBMIT SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE PROSPECTUS – 6 MONTHS PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION

If the proposed change includes offering 50% or more of students’ credits toward a degree, it is advisable to submit the prospectus with the notification letter.

SACSCOC requires use of their Substantive Change Prospectus Template (PIRA provides support and background information for this process).

STEP 3: SACSCOC RESPONSE – A NUMBER OF RESPONSES FROM THE SACSCOC ARE POSSIBLE

  • Accept notification letter and require no additional information
  • Accept notification letter and request additional information for notification item
  • Accept notification letter and require a Substantive Change Prospectus (template above)
  • Accept Substantive Change Prospectus and require no additional information
  • Accept Substantive Change Prospectus and require Substantive Change Visit


For additional information on types of substantive change, please review SACSCOC’s Policy Statement on Substantive Change or contact Gisela Dominguez at 305-284-9431.