Academic Program Approval Process

Developing Collaborative Academic Programs

May include new collaborative academic programs and developing agreements to convert existing single-campus academic programs to collaborative academic programs.

Because Indiana University is a multi-campus institution offering a single diploma (rather than a multi-university system offering unique diplomas from each campus), the faculty representing a particular discipline on any given IU campus are necessarily in relationship with faculty in the same discipline on every other IU campus. This means there are natural opportunities for faculty in the same discipline from the various campuses to engage in collaborative academic programs, particularly given the recent rise of interactive technologies for teaching and learning and increasing demand for online courses and programs.

Because online degrees are not bound by regional service areas, which are the traditional organizing structure at IU for campuses and academic programs, any online program proposal has the potential to be a Collaborative Academic Programs (CAP). Additionally, any on-campus program that involves the delivery of hybrid courses, faculty-sharing, and course-sharing also has the potential to be a CAP.

In partnership with IU’s Office of Online Education (OOE), the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs (OEVPUAA) is responsible for convening Executive Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs (EVCAAs) and academic administrators from campuses with vested interests to facilitate the development of a CAP and any associated Memoranda of Agreement (MOA).

If EVPUAA or OOE identify any campus as having an existing program in the same disciplinary area as a proposed program, a meeting may be convened to consider the development of a CAP. Any academic department or school may propose a new CAP, as well. Regardless of the source of origination, all CAP proposals follow the development phases outlined below.

Phases of Proposal Development for Collaborative Academic Programs

  • Phase 1: Documentation of Interests and Responsibilities

    CAP proposers are encouraged to work closely with the campus EVCAA during the proposal development process, and to review the webpage for the academic program approval process.

    1. Notify the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs (OEVPUAA) of the intent to submit a proposal for a new CAP by contacting:
      Charla Stonecipher, Administrative Assistant
      Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs

    2. OEVPUAA will work with the IU Office of Online Education (OOE) to assign an Assistant Vice President (AVP) to facilitate the development of the CAP and associated MOAs.
    3. The AVP will contact EVCAAs at other IU campuses to determine interest in participating in the CAP. Depending on campus, this decision may involve a department chair, school dean, or associate VCAA. Each campus will be asked to specify (in writing), one of the following (a – c, below):
      1. Our campus is interested in collaborating to develop a joint program with the proposing campus, and we currently have the capacity (faculty expertise and availability) to contribute to the offering of this program. We understand that by indicating our interest in exploring this possibility, we are not obligating our campus’s participation in the program as it is ultimately developed.
      2. Our campus is not interested in or does not have sufficient faculty with expertise in the proposed program. We have no objections to the proposing campus moving forward with its proposal. If a collaborative academic program is created, and we wish to join later, we understand that our participation will be within the terms specified by the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) created by original partners in the joint degree.
      3. Our campus is not interested in collaborating to develop a joint program with the proposing campus at this time. We have concerns about the proposed program and believe it is not in the best interests of Indiana University, for one or more of these reasons (please indicate):
        1. The program duplicates an already-existing online program and creates unnecessary competition within IU.
        2. We can document that the proposing campus lacks resources or faculty expertise to offer the proposed program.
        3. Other reason (fully explained).
    4. If any campus wishes to collaborate with the originating campus to explore a CAP, the AVP will convene appropriate academic administrators from the participating campuses to facilitate the development of the CAP and associated MOAs.
    5. Phase 1 will be completed with a signed Phase 1 Memorandum of Agreement, which includes:
      1. Statement of purpose for the CAP.
      2. Target audience.
      3. Goals for the CAP.
      4. Statements of responsibilities.
      5. Compliance commitments.
      6. Name of designated curriculum representative for participating campuses.
      7. Deadline for completing the proposal and MOAs for the CAP.
    6. A campus may, at any time until MOA is signed, withdraw from the CAP.
  • Phase 2: Curriculum Planning and Market Analysis

    1. The AVP will assist with obtaining student and employer demand for the CAP proposal:
      1. For small programs, EVPUAA or its designee will conduct a limited market analysis.
      2. For large programs, or programs which will require substantial resources, and/or be offered by several campuses, a more extensive external market analysis may be appropriate (to determine how far it can extend its reach).
    2. The AVP will convene the CAP curriculum representatives from each participating campus to develop the Phase 2 Memorandum of Agreement, which includes:
      1. Curricular structure.
      2. Curricular framework -
        1. learning outcomes,
        2. pre-requisite courses,
        3. required courses,
        4. elective courses,
        5. specialization areas,
        6. degree map.
      3. Curriculum sharing plan.
      4. Agreements regarding learning resources–
        1. texts,
        2. libraries,
        3. learning management systems
      5. Faculty selection criteria and assignment to teach in CAP.
      6. Admissions requirements for transfer students.
      7. Processes  for student assessment.
      8. Processes for end-of-course evaluations.
      9. Schedules for course revisions.
    3. A campus may, at any time until MOA is signed, withdraw from the CAP.
  • Phase 3: CAP Administration

    1. The AVP will convene the appropriate academic administrator from each participating campus to develop the Phase 3 Memorandum of Agreement, which includes:
      1. Program Steering Committee structure and representatives.
      2. Promotion, marketing, and recruitment.
      3. Assignment of students to campus of enrollment.
      4. Provision of student services.
      5. Commitment to faculty development.
      6. Tuition, fees, and revenue sharing.
      7. Data needs and reporting.
      8. Program review schedule and activities.
      9. CAP MOA review schedule.
      10. Waiver of participation, or separation of campus from CAP.
    2. A campus may, at any time until MOA is signed, withdraw from the CAP.
  • Dispute Resolution and Arbitration

    In the case that any campus provides a response as stated in Phase 1 /Step 3c or if negotiations between campuses break down at any point in the CAP development process, the OOE will convene EVCAAs from all campuses with interest in the proposed program to resolve issues. If campuses cannot come to agreement, the OOE will arbitrate the matter.

  • CAP Proposal Approval Process

    1. The completed proposal and MOAs are submitted to all participating campuses to undergo their processes for review and approval.
      1. For new academic programs, program proposers
        1. write the proposal using the format prescribed by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE),
        2. complete the Office of Online Education (OOE) Program Approval form.
      2. For the addition of a distance delivery format for an existing program, proposer will complete
      3. the OOE Program Approval form.

    2. Once approved by the campuses, the completed proposal, including MOAs and the OOE form, is submitted to the OEVPUAA via APPEAR.

    3. The OOE Director, or designee, will use the following criteria to ensure the following steps have been completed following appropriate process and relevant guidelines:
      1. There is a clear market demand (student and/or employer demand).
      2. Campuses have been consulted and any objections have been cleared.
      3. Program meets the “no duplication without distinction” standard as mandated by the IU Board of Trustees.
      4. Program meets the “no internal competition” standard as mandated by the IU Board of Trustees.

    4. To expedite the process as much as possible, proposers are strongly encouraged to submit proposals for a graduate-level CAP to OEVPUAA at the same time they are submitted to the Graduate School. This will permit OOE to conduct its review concurrently with the Graduate School review.

    5. If the program proposal is approved by OOE (and graduate school, if applicable), it will be referred to ALC via the ALC Technical Committee. The ALC Technical Committee places the proposal either on the ALC consent agenda or on the ALC meeting agenda as a discussion/voting item.

    6. If approved by ALC, the proposal is submitted to the Board of Trustees.
      1. Existing programs to be offered online are submitted as Administrative Action Report (AAR) items.
      2. New programs are submitted as action items.

    7. Once approved by the Board of Trustees, the OEVPUAA takes the proposal to ICHE.
      1. For existing programs to be offered online, OEVPUAA completes and submits the Academic Program Inventory (API) change form to ICHE.
      2. Entirely new degrees are submitted to ICHE as action items with full documentation.

    8. For a new CAP, a substantive change request for a consortial arrangement must be submitted to the Higher Learning Commission. The AVP will assist with this. In many cases, this process can begin while the proposal is still under discussion at ICHE. However, ICHE approval must be obtained before the change request documents can be submitted to HLC.

    9. Following ICHE approval, OEVPUAA notifies:
      1. OOE (for records archive and website update)
      2. Campus EVCAA,
      3. University Student Services and Systems, and
      4. University Institutional Research and Reporting.