UT Austin's Policy on Substantive Change

The purpose of this institutional policy statement is to describe UT Austin processes and procedures that ensure compliance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Substantive Change policy. Substantive change refers to any significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of the institution. The federal government requires SACSCOC to monitor member institution compliance with substantive change policy and to grant permission for significant changes.

The university’s accreditation liaison and Office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness are responsible for monitoring, coordinating, and documenting substantive changes and submitting notifications and prospectuses to SACSCOC. All university officers who can initiate, modify, or approve academic degree activities must abide by this university policy.

Institutional Processes

  1. The university uses three methods to monitor potential substantive changes.
    1. Each fall, the SACSCOC accreditation liaison administers a written survey to all deans to solicit information on any anticipated program closures or significant changes for that academic year.
    2. University officers who can initiate, modify, or approve academic degree activities submit proposed changes to the appropriate offices at least six months prior to the activity.
    3. University staff follow a flowchart that documents the proposal process for developing, approving, and implementing new degree programs and closing existing programs. The diagram provides information about whether the proposed action constitutes substantive change.  
  1. The SACSCOC accreditation liaison reviews proposed changes to determine whether they fall under the substantive change policy and completes a record of consideration to document the decision.
  1. The accreditation liaison and Office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness (IAE) record and track all proposed changes, including the following information:  date of notification to IAE; college/school/department; contact person; proposed change; proposed implementation date; decision/action; date submitted to SACSCOC; SACSCOC response.
  1.  The accreditation liaison and IAE work closely with programs considering a substantive change to write a notification or prospectus that meets SACSCOC requirements. The accreditation liaison submits documentation to SACSCOC.
  1. After receiving the SACSCOC decision or approval, the accreditation liaison communicates the information to the relevant dean or university officer.

 

Institutional Information Sources

The Office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness maintains a substantive change website that serves as a resource for the university.