3.6.2 Reporting Substantive Changes

A. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish the UT Tyler responsibilities and required procedures for timely notification of substantive changes to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The SACSCOC Board of Trustees requires, as a condition of accreditation, member institutions to notify SACSCOC of substantive changes.

B. Persons Affected

This policy applies to any university employee who can initiate, review, or approve changes that are considered substantive according to the current version of the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy and Procedures

In academic affairs, this includes faculty, associate deans, deans, associate provosts, and the executive vice president of academic affairs/provost. Other university officials might be asked to review or approve a substantive change initiative. 

The SACSCOC Liaison is responsible for ensuring this policy is compliant with current SACSCOC requirements. The SACSCOC liaison is also responsible for communicating the policy to university stakeholders for implementation of procedures.

C. Definitions

A substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.

Substantive changes include: 

  1. Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution.
  2. Any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the institution.
  3. The addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when the institution was last evaluated.
  4. The addition of courses or programs of study at a degree or credential level different from that which is included in the institution’s current accreditation or reaffirmation.
  5. A change from clock hours to credit hours.
  6. A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program.
  7. The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50% of an educational program.
  8. The establishment of a branch campus.
  9. Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution.
  10. Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution.
  11. Acquiring another institution or a program or location of another institution.
  12. Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out program for a closed institution.
  13. Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25% or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs.
  14. Offering direct assessment or hybrid competency-based educational programs.

Some types of substantive change require notification to SACSCOC whereas others require SACSCOC approval prior to implementation. 

D. Policy 

The policy complies with the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation: Foundation for Quality Enhancement and the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy and Procedures in adherence with United States Department of Education Regulations 34 CFR 602.22 Substantive changes and other reporting requirements.

Prior to implementing any substantive change, the employee seeking the substantive change will follow the approval process set forth in the current SACSCOC Policy on Substantive Change. This includes timely notification of substantive changes to the UT Tyler SACSCOC Institutional Accreditation Liaison (IAL), who is responsible for notifying or seeking approval from SACSCOC.  If an employee is unclear as to whether a change is substantive, the employee should consult the SACSCOC IAL. 

Failure to receive approval prior to implementation of any substantive change may result in SACSCOC sanctioning UT Tyler. 

E. Responsibilities

The Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

The UT Tyler Institutional Accreditation Liaison (IAL) for SACSCOC

F. Procedures

At the earliest stage of consideration, any potential substantive change must be submitted in writing via the appropriate dean or vice president to the EVP Academic Affairs and Provost and to the IAL to initiate internal approval procedures.  The IAL will coordinate any additional paperwork, such as a prospectus, for external approvals in compliance with SACSCOC.

Upon completion of all appropriate documentation and internal approvals, the IAL will submit to the President's Office a cover letter addressed to SACSCOC. Upon the president's review, approval, and signature, the IAL will submit the request to SACSCOC. The IAL will update the appropriate dean(s), associate provosts, and provost about the status of the request.

G. Review

The Divisional Head for this policy is the EVP for Academic Affairs and Provost.  This policy shall be reviewed every five years or at any time when the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy is amended in consultation with the Faculty Senate. 

H .Reference Documents

Relevant SACSCOC Policies;  Federal and State Rules, Regulations, and Statutes; and UT System Board of Regents Rules 

AMENDED:  06/2021