Jan 26, 2022  

Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Planning

09:10:01 Substantive Change Notification and Approval (SACSCOC)


  1. Institutional Obligation
    1. Chattanooga State Community College (ChSCC) is required to notify and seek approval from its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), of proposed, significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of the institution. In some cases, approval must be obtained prior to the initiation of any significant changes. The College's faculty and staff are obliged to assist the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison in recognizing and reporting such substantive changes.
  2. Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to ensure continuous compliance with the SACSCOC standard and supporting policy on substantive change. All College changes deemed to be "substantive" must be approved by the president, with subsequent notification to and/or prior approval from the College's regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  3. The SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy defines what changes are deemed to be substantive and the requirements, procedures and processes for coordinating the College's timely and complete notification of substantive changes to SACSCOC. Although this policy is primarily designed to address academic programs and curricular issues, other defined substantive changes are also covered.
  4. SACSCOC Policy on Substantive Change
    1. SACSCOC accredits Chattanooga State Community College; such accreditation encompasses all instructional sites and all delivery modalities. SACSCOC is recognized by the United States Department of Education as an agency whose accreditation enables its member institutions to seek eligibility to participate in federally funded programs. SACSCOC requires accredited institutions to follow the substantive change procedures of the association. In order to retain accreditation, the College is required to comply with SACSCOC procedures concerning substantive changes.
    2. This policy is enacted pursuant to the SACSCOC policy on Substantive Change for SACSCOC Accredited Institutions http://sacscoc.org/SubstantiveChange.asp.
  5. Definition
    1. Substantive Change, as it is termed by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)-includes, but is not limited to:
      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 such as a dual degree program or a joint degree 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
  6. Procedural Types
    1. SACSCOC outlines procedures for addressing the different types of substantive changes:
      1. Procedure One for the Review of Substantive Changes Requiring Notification and Approval Prior to Implementation
      2. Procedure Two for the Review of Substantive Changes Requiring Only Notification Prior to Implementation
      3. Procedure Three for Closing a Program, Site, Branch Campus or Institution
  7. Internal Process for Reporting Substantive Changes
    1. The administrative heads of both academic and non-academic units are responsible for being attentive to what SACSCOC considers a "significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution" and for being aware of related information resources concerning accreditation (see http://www.sacscoc.org).
    2. The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison, appointed by the President, presents to appropriate parties, an overview and any changes to the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy at least once a year.  Appropriate venues for the presentation include, but not limited to, President's Cabinet meeting, Executive Staff meeting, Dean's Council meeting.
    3. The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison presents to President's Cabinet a quarterly report of all activities regarding substantive changes.
    4. The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison holds an ex officio seat on the standing Curriculum Committee in order to advise on curriculum proposals and adherence to SACSCOC principles.
    5. It is the duty of the vice-presidents, deans, department heads, directors, and like administrators to ensure that the College's SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison is notified of planning for a modification that may prove substantive and that the president is informed of the determination of such status. Implementation of a change that clearly is or may be substantive cannot occur until the College notifies SACSCOC of its intention and receives approval, if such change requires it. The different types of substantive change, the specific procedure to be used for each, their respective approval/notification requirements, and their reporting time lines are included in the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy.
    6. If a substantive change notification or approval is required, the Vice President of the division involved will assign an appropriate person within the division/department to serve as lead writer. The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison will provide logistical and technical assistance in the development of the letter/prospectus to whomever the VP assigns as lead writer. The SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison will coordinate the collection and compilation of information necessary for such notification and will transmit all documentation to the appropriate SACSCOC office, following published SACSCOC guidelines for transmittal.
    7. If the proposed substantive change requires approval prior to implementation, the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison will communicate the pending application status to the Vice President of the affected division, up to and including final approval notification by SACSCOC.
  8. Failure to Comply with Reporting Requirements
    1. Failure of the College to report these and other planned substantive changes can result in loss of regional accreditation as well as Title IV funding, and be required by the U.S. Department of Education to reimburse it for money received by the institution for programs related to the unreported substantive change. For these reasons, and to preclude the possibility of the quality of the College's programs being called into question, the aforementioned processes for recognizing and reporting substantive change are hereby established.

Revisions: 5/31/2019 tnw


Submitted to Policy Review Committee on June 14, 2019

Submitted to Policy Review Board on July 22, 2019

Approved by Policy Review Board on July 31, 2019


See Previous Version(s):

Source: Original Approved by Executive Staff, President's Cabinet, and President, September, 2012

Revision Approved: Policy Review Board, December 6, 2018