3.4.1 Academic Program Approval

The institution demonstrates that each educational program for which academic credit is awarded is approved by the faculty and the administration.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

Each education program for which academic credit is awarded has been approved in accordance with Texas A&M University System Regulation 03.02.02 Approval Procedures for Degree Programs, Administrative Changes, etc.[1] and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Rules 5.45 [2] and 5.46 [3], which offer criteria for new programs. In accordance with these requirements and guidelines, as well as in consideration of requirements from accrediting agencies such as SACS, AACSB, ABET, NAAB, NCATE, NLNAC, and BNE, all courses and educational programs that constitute degree programs or for which academic credit is offered at PVAMU are initiated and approved by faculty and follow the approval process outlined in the Curriculum Review Process flow chart [4]. Colleges at the University may further define its review process, as does the College of Arts and Sciences, for further faculty review and approval of coursework and programs [5].

Requests are initiated by faculty and routed through the department curriculum committee and the department head. The curriculum committee and the department head must approve the changes, deletions, or additions before they go to the dean and the college/school curriculum committee. If, after review, the college/school curriculum committee and the dean approve the request, the dean, department head, or designee present their recommendations and case to the University Academic Council (UAC) [6] or Graduate Council (GC) [7] where appropriate. The UAC is charged with undergraduate curriculum issues and related matters.  It is composed of representative faculty members from each of the eight colleges appointed by the deans, and one representative of the dean appointed by the Provost.  Membership of the UAC is clearly stated in the UAC Bylaws under Article II, Membership and Participation [8]. The GC, composed of graduate faculty representatives from each College with a graduate program, is responsible for reviewing and approving graduate curriculum matters. Membership of the GC is clearly outlined in Academic Policy Memo AA013 [9]. A Task Force comprised of members of the UAC or GC may be formed to review proposals before the UAC or GC deliberate. Meetings are open to visitors, and minutes from these meetings demonstrate that faculty and administration approve programs and curricular changes, additions, or deletions [10] [11] [12] [13] [14].

The recent 2009 proposal for changes to the graduate program in English demonstrates the type of documentation reviewed by the University Academic and Graduate Councils. The English proposal includes: 1) a Cover Letter to the Deans of the Graduate School and College of Arts & Sciences, 2) a Summary of Change Requests Forms, 3) a Three-Year Course Rotation, 4) Current Degree Plans for comparison, 5) a Self Study with a comparison of course offerings at other universities, 6) Minutes from a One-Day English Faculty Assessment Retreat, 7) Minutes from a Follow-up Curriculum Meeting, 8) Sample Student Support, 9) a Program Learning Outcomes Matrix, 10) the English Recruitment and Retention Plan, 11) Sample Syllabi for proposed courses, and 12) THECB Update Forms [15].

In the case of new program proposals, the councils forward recommendations to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs who makes recommendations to the President. The President initiates the process for approval by the Chancellor, the TAMUS Board of Regents, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as appropriate [1]. In the case of approved updates to existing courses or new courses that will strengthen the curriculum of an existing program, the council's recommendations are sent to the Provost who is delegated final authority on curriculum matters by the President and CEO. Changes are vetted for correctness and then submitted to the Office of the Registrar for transmittal through an electronic system to the THECB. Once received and reviewed, the THECB notifies the University when courses have been added to the course inventory which is tied to funding via a CIP code [16]. Once a change has received all required approvals, implementing and monitoring the approved program or change rests upon the faculty, department head, and dean [17] [18].

Some approved courses or programs are offered through distance learning. The Council for Distance Learning is charged with "developing and maintaining the rules, procedures, and guidelines that will allow faculty and staff to gain and maintain distance education skills for the purpose of providing educational access to students who have traditionally been unnerved and under-served in the State of Texas and who elect to enroll in distance learning courses and programs." [19] The Distance Learning Council is comprised of faculty members from across the University, and includes administrators such as the associate provost [19] [20]. The procedures for approving distance, off-campus, and on-campus extension programs ensure that faculty and administrative approval is given before offering [21]. The approval process may also require a SACS prospectus for substantive change, which will also reflect the program's approval by faculty and administrators, including approval from TAMUS [22]. The Distance Learning Council approves and recommends programs and courses that have been developed in compliance with the approved distance learning procedures and requirements [23] [24] [25] [26]. Further proposals [27] [28] and administrator approvals are needed to offer full programs through distance learning [29] [30]. In the case of substantive changes, a proposal is completed showing administrative authorization as well [31].

All degree programs and courses at Prairie View A&M University have been reviewed and approved by faculty, administration, TAMUS, and THECB and can be found on the THECB’s website in its list of approved programs [32].

Supporting Documentation and Links

Comprehensive Standards 3.4.1

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