Academic Program Approval Process
Developing Online Academic Programs
(including new online programs and converting existing on-campus or hybrid academic programs to online)
Academic departments or Schools wishing to propose a new online academic program (including new online degree, major, certificate, etc.) must follow the steps outlined below (which are summarized in the Academic Program Approval Matrix.)
Program proposers are encouraged to:
a. review the webpage for the academic program approval process
b. work closely with the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of your campus during the proposal development process.
- Early in the process, before a full proposal is developed, notify the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs (OEVPUAA) of the intent to submit a proposal for a new online academic program by contacting:
Natalie Harvey, Administrative Assistant
Office for Statewide Academic Relations
- OEVPUAA will work with the IU Office of Online Education (OOE) to assign an Assistant Vice President (AVP) to guide the program proposers through the proposal process.
- AVP will assist with obtaining student and employer demand for the program:
- For small programs, UAA or its designee will conduct a limited market analysis.
- 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).
- The AVP will assist the program proposers in contacting relevant leadership at the other IU campuses to discuss the proposed program to determine interest in participating in the online program. Depending on campus, this may be a department chair, school dean, or associate VCAA, with copy to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Each campus will be asked to specify (in writing), one of the following (a – c, below):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
- The program duplicates an already-existing online program and creates unnecessary competition within IU.
- We can document that the proposing campus lacks resources or faculty expertise to offer the proposed program.
- Other reason (fully explained).
- If any campus wishes to collaborate with the originating campus to explore a joint program, the AVP will facilitate discussions among the campuses, following the process for Developing Collaborative Academic Programs.
- In the case that any campus provides a response as stated in Step 4 or if negotiations between campuses break down in Step 5, 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.
If interested campuses are dissatisfied with the decision of the OOE, appeal may be made to the ALC Executive Committee (comprised of IU’s Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs, Executive Vice President and Provost of IU-Bloomington, and Executive Vice President and Chancellor of IUPUI) for final decision and resolution of the matter.
- The completed proposal is submitted to all participating campuses to undergo their processes for review and approval.
- For new academic programs, program proposers
- write the proposal using the format prescribed by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE),
- complete the IU Academic Leadership Council (ALC) cover sheet (optional), and
- complete the Office of Online Education (OOE) Initial Request form
- For the addition of a distance delivery format for an existing program, proposer will complete
- For new academic programs, program proposers
- Once approved by the campuses, the completed proposal, including any joint program MOU and the OOE form, is submitted to the OEVPUAA via APPEAR, who will submit the proposal to OOE.
- The OOE director, or his or her designee, will use the following criteria to ensure the following steps have been completed following appropriate process and relevant guidelines:
- There is a clear market demand (student and/or employer demand).
- Campuses have been consulted and any objections have been cleared.
- Program meets the “no duplication without distinction” standard as mandated by the IU Board of Trustees.
- Program meets the “no internal competition” standard as mandated by the IU Board of Trustees.
- To expedite the process as much as possible, proposers are strongly encouraged to submit graduate program proposals to OEVPUAA at the same time they are submitted to the Graduate School. This will permit OOE to conduct its work concurrently with the Graduate School review.
- 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.
- If approved by ALC, the proposal is submitted to the Board of Trustees.
- Existing programs to be offered online are submitted as Administrative Action Report (AAR) items.
- New programs are submitted as action items.
- Once approved by the Board of Trustees, the OEVPUAA takes the proposal to ICHE.
- For existing programs to be offered online, OEVPUAA completes and submits the Academic Program Inventory (API) change form to ICHE.
- Entirely new degrees are submitted to ICHE as action items with full documentation.
- For joint degrees, 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.
- Following ICHE approval, OEVPUAA notifies:
- OOE (for records archive and website update)
- Campus EVCAA,
- University Student Services and Systems, and
- University Institutional Research and Reporting.