Penn State University's baccalaureate, associate and IUG degree programs are offered by its colleges. Academic program authority may be lodged in a single college or shared among several. A single program may be offered jointly by several colleges. Program delivery may be accomplished through traditional single-college residence-based instruction, joint college and campus instruction, World Campus and Continuing Education. New technologies, learning assessment, the full involvement of university-wide disciplinary communities, and increasingly sophisticated approaches to learning itself encourage an openness to experiment with delivery protocols and recognition that program outcomes are the primary basis of formative and summative academic assessment. In all cases, the University's academic degree programs must receive administrative authorization granted by the Provost through the Office of Undergraduate Education and by the University Faculty Senate. The principles, guidelines and procedures that follow provide the authorization protocols to offer, deliver, and terminate academic programs.
Curricular programs should reflect disciplinary integrity across all campuses of the University.
Curricular integrity requires planning and implementation that reflects quality among units with common curricular interests, regardless of location or delivery mode.
Decisions regarding undergraduate programs, majors, options, IUGs and minors require both academic and administrative review and approval.
The Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education serves as the Provost's designee and may review curricular proposals on the Provost's behalf. In this capacity, the Office of Undergraduate Education is available for curricular consultation involving programs and may facilitate arbitration among colleges and other units.
Academic review and approval is conducted by the faculty through the University Faculty Senate. Academic review ensures adherence to the University's standards of academic quality and curricular integrity.
Administrative review and approval is conducted by the Office of the Provost. Administrative review ensures consideration and fulfillment of the broader University mission, enrollment management, local needs, and resource availability and use, as well as overall academic quality and curricular integrity.
New programs must be justified by considerations of quality, cost, enrollment, impact upon availability of senior faculty to engage in lower division instruction, implications for other programs and courses; program duplication: university, college, and campus mission; market need and demand; and resource feasibility.
Unique new majors, options, IUGs and minors should be proposed only when the variation from existing curricula is substantial, and when the program fulfills a demonstrable demand by students that is likely to continue.
Proposals for academic programs, program amendments, and program terminations are developed in consultation with disciplinary communities and administrative units and reflect strategic as well as academic deliberation.
The initial intention to develop a program proposal must be shared across the University utilizing an ACUE Prospectus, a process which must be completed prior to submission of a P-1, P-3, or P-6 proposal.
All proposals to add or drop a program must reference common criteria (see below, V: Common Program Justification Criteria).
The Provost informs the Board of Trustees when proposals to add or drop programs are authorized. Administratively authorized new programs, program drops, and changes in the names of programs are implemented only after the Board of Trustees has been informed of the curricular action.
The authorization to implement new and amended programs is issued by the Office of Undergraduate Education to the dean of the proposing college and disseminated to the university community, including Undergraduate Admissions, University Registrar, the Provost, University Faculty Senate, and others.
II. ACUE Curricular Program Prospectus for New Academic Programs, Delivery of Academic Programs at Additional Campuses, and Phase-Out of Academic Programs
The Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education facilitates ACUE's consideration of new academic majors, options, IUGs, minors, substantial program amendment likely to carry implications for other colleges or delivery units, program name changes, and the delivery of existing academic programs at additional campuses during the pre-proposal germination period. Accordingly, a curricular program prospectus must precede development and submission of formal P-1 (New Undergraduate Major, Option, IUG or Minor), P-3 (Moving/Discontinuing Degree Programs), and P-6 (Academic Program Phase-Out) proposals. The curricular program prospectus process is based upon the 2005 recommendations from the Joint Committee on Curricular Integrity appointed by the Provost and University Faculty Senate. The prospectus must identify strategic considerations and issues of academic quality associated with new program offerings. Prospectuses initiate effective preliminary consultation within disciplines and across the breadth of the University utilizing the ACUE membership.
World Campus and Continuing Education must be considered as additional campuses for purposes of P-1, P-3 and P-6 program proposals and the prospectuses that precede them. Accordingly, a college offering an existing program that wishes to move the program to World Campus or Continuing Education, or to deliver the program through World Campus or Continuing Education as well as through residence instruction, must treat World Campus and Continuing Education as additional locations. As World Campus and Continuing Education are delivery units, rather than independent academic units, all programs delivered through the World Campus or Continuing Education must be authorized for delivery through an academic college. P-1, P-3, and P-6 proposals and prospectuses for World Campus or Continuing Education program delivery must be submitted jointly by the authorized college and World Campus or Continuing Education.
The advent and adoption of technology such as Video Learning Network (VLN) enables campuses to deliver residential education courses and degree programs to locations well beyond the originating classroom location. VLN type courses are distinguished from other distance learning systems in that enrolled students meet in VLN equipped classrooms, often in the company of other students, rather than accessing a course individually and asynchronously on a personal computer or platform.When VLN or similar technology is utilized to deliver an individual residential education course, no prior prospectus or proposal is required. A prospectus and an approved P-3 proposal are mandatory prior to delivery of any degree program delivered through technology systems such as VLN, just as they are for delivery of World Campus and Continuing Education degree programs for which the program itself already has received a P-1 Senate and Administrative approval. In essence, VLN style delivery is treated as delivery through a new campus.
The curricular program prospectus requires three steps:
Step One: The college associate dean in which the proposed academic program will be housed must submit a brief curricular program prospectus utilizing the on-line submission form. The information collected should enable ACUE membership to engage in a collegial conversation centered on the need for the program, resource availability, and impact on other academic units across the University. Unlike a fully developed P-1, P-3, or P-6, the prospectus is intended to generate early consultation at ACUE and to identify or flesh out issues that must be addressed in the full P-1, P-3, or P-6 proposal.
Prospectuses submitted by a college's associate dean a minimum of one week before the next ACUE meeting will be vetted at that meeting. Arrangements may be made under extraordinary circumstances for proposals submitted during the summer.
Step Two: Curricular program prospectuses will be distributed electronically by the Office of Undergraduate Education to ACUE membership, including the Office of the University Faculty Senate, prior to each ACUE meeting. ACUE members should use this opportunity for formative consultation with appropriate colleagues in their college, across the University, and with the originating college.
Step Three: Following discussion of the curricular program prospectus at ACUE, an ACUE committee consisting of the ACUE chair, the University College associate dean who serves on ACUE, the chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs and an Office of Undergraduate Education associate dean will review the prospectus. The ACUE committee may also invite others as appropriate to add expertise. The ACUE committee will provide a brief recommendation to the submitting college, taking into consideration the ACUE discussion, curricular integrity, and strategic university considerations such as physical, fiscal, and faculty resources.
Upon receipt of the ACUE recommendations, a full P-1, P-3, or P-6 proposal, including evidence of consultation and attention to ACUE recommendations, may be submitted to the University Faculty Senate (P-1, P-6) or to the Office of Undergraduate Education (P-3) as appropriate. P-1, P-3, and P-6 proposals must include a copy of the ACUE recommendations.
III. P-1, P-3, P-6 Authority and Expectations
The Provost, as chief academic officer, maintains authority for the Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures that govern the undergraduate curriculum and may, in consultation with faculty, deans, and other appropriate offices, make exceptions to them.
Colleges and departments are required to engage in formal consultation when proposing new (P-1) undergraduate majors, options, IUGs and minors; or when moving or discontinuing degree programs among colleges or college locations, including World Campus and Continuing Education (P-3); and academic program phase-out (P-6).
P-1, P-3, and P-6 proposals from the non-University Park campuses must be submitted by the appropriate Chancellor to the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses (VPCC) for consultation and endorsement prior to their entry into the University Faculty Senate and Office of the Provost approval paths described elsewhere in P: Curricular Principles and Procedures. In each case, the VPCC and the Office of Undergraduate Education will consider relevant academic and strategic factors, including those listed below in V: Common Program Justification Criteria.
It is important to distinguish between program phase-out (P-6), which refers to procedures by which degree programs are dropped, and department phase-out, the procedures by which academic departments are discontinued. When proposing the phase-out of a department, reference should be made to the "Faculty Senate Guidelines for Review of the Establishment, Reorganization, or Discontinuation of Academic Organizational Units" (http://www.psu.edu/ufs/guide/reviewacadunits.html).
It is necessary to complete separate proposals, and to receive separate approvals, to phase out a program and a department in which it resides. A department may be phased out without discontinuing programs, which may be moved to alternative departments or colleges. The P procedures do not pertain to departmental phase-out.
Consultation provides the foundation of disciplinary continuity and scholarship and a basis for principled collegial faculty governance. Evaluative analyses and assessments are accepted as contributions toward a common goal of academic coherence and achievement and do not in and of themselves restrict the development, alteration, or phasing out of programs.
Consultation should be conducted via electronic media such as those employing summary e-mail statements with detailed attachments or web links. It must be possible to forward attachments and/or links to appropriate colleagues without passwords or similar limitations.
ACUE deans are the primary academic conduit among Penn State schools and colleges for purposes of consultation. A current ACUE roster is maintained by the Office of Undergraduate Education and is available for purposes of consultation as a LISTSERVE.
Consultation must include those likely to have a common interest in a proposed curricular action and include any faculty group or program that would reasonably and predictably offer courses or programs that seek academic outcomes similar to the proposed program. This includes all ACUE deans, academic units within the college in which the proposal is made, other colleges in which the proposed program/major, option, IUG or minor is offered or will be offered or will in any way be directly affected.
Consultative comments, and responses to them, must be included in proposals sent to the University Faculty Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs, which will forward the correspondence with the proposal when it is delivered to the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education for further review.
Consultation is conducted with an expectation of timeliness that includes a minimum of ten business days in which consultative responses may be returned electronically. Reasonable extensions should be provided at the request of an ACUE dean.
The proposing unit should respond electronically and in a timely manner to those who have submitted concerns, objections, or exceptions to proposals.
V. Common Program Justification Criteria
P-1 and P-3 proposals must include current, localized data and information relevant to several academic and strategic elements. These include, but may not be limited to:
1. A statement of clear, measurable and rigorous program objectives and learning outcomes.
2. Relationship of proposal to university and college mission.
3. Learning quality indicators such as:
4. Impact on Penn State college and campus enrollments and flow of students among campuses;
5. Market need and demand documented by current, valid, and reliable evidence;
6. Physical and fiscal resource availability (please include the official Faculty Senate costing analysis form as well as other relevant information);
7. Strategic and academic approval and support demonstrated by the sign-off of the appropriate chancellor and/or dean;
8. Disciplinary community and administrative consultation.
VI. Consortium Program Authorization and Delivery
Programs may arise on occasion that support hybrid administrative and delivery structures. P-1 and P-3 processes allow colleges to share authorization to deliver programs and to award degrees. Under special circumstances involving accreditation, licensing, or other extraordinary elements, a college that does not have authorization to award a particular degree may nonetheless deliver the degree curriculum as an "extended degree program" through the auspices of an authorized Penn State college.
The organizational structure of the Commonwealth Campuses and the University College, University Park, new technology developments in course delivery, and the University's commitment to viewing Penn State as one university also enable a consortium of Penn State colleges and/or campuses to integrate faculty, administrative, fiscal, and physical resources to deliver a single academic program. This differs from the above examples in that consortium degree authorization and delivery is based upon the sum of consortium resources across members, rather than the presence of all necessary elements within a single campus or academic unit.
Consortium Programs must meet all the Common Program Justification Criteria detailed in Section V above. Consortium Programs also generate the need for additional elements of strategic and academic planning because of the special responsibilities carried by each unit to contribute to the success of the students and faculty from beyond any single campus. Toward this end Consortium P-1, P-3 and P-6 proposals should, in addition to the Common Program Justification Criteria, include (but may not be limited to):
Additionally, the Vice President of Commonwealth Campuses, the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education, and the Provost may, at their individual discretion, require a memo of understanding with participant sign-off, or a meeting of principle administrators during the formative and/or review process, to assure common understandings and expectations.
Approved: ACUE (9-5-02)
Revised: ACUE (9-2-04, 10-7-04)
Revised: Editorial (10-26-05)
Revised: ACUE (11-3-05)
Revised: ACUE (3-2-06)
Revised: ACUE (7-6-06)
Revised: ACUE (3-1-07)
Revised: ACUE (2-7-08)
Revised: Editorial (2-4-09)
Revised: ACUE (1-7-10)
Revised: ACUE (7-7-11)
Revised: Editorial (5-11-12)
Revised: ACUE (9-6-12)
Revised: ACUE (12-6-12)