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Ask Kate - SUNY Q&A on Academic Programs

The following are items from “Ask Kate,” a Q&A with SUNY Assistant Provost Kate Van Arnam. These items were published between 2003 and 2005, and are archived at the following web site: http://www.suny.edu/provost/AskKate/.

To download a printable PDF version of this page, please click here. (.pdf, 16kb)

Q: When do we have to get a proposal to you if we want to admit students this September? (Please don't say we're already too late.)

KVA: Proposals for the revision of an existing program should allow a minimum 30 days for our review and at least the same for the registration review by the State Education Department. For proposals for a new program please allow a minimum 60 days for the University's review and the same for SED's.

Please note that the 30-day and 60-day time periods are not guarantees for approval. They are targets within which we seek to complete initial review of a proposal. The result of this initial review may either be approval or a request for additional necessary documentation. These targets assume uncomplicated proposals (no master plan amendment or degree authorization is required) and compelling and complete documentation.

In workshops I advise campuses to file program proposals a semester in advance of when they want to advertise the availability of the offering. You are welcome to submit a proposal now for a September 2004 start but we cannot guarantee its registration and you will have no time to market the program.

Recently we have experienced an SED-imposed deadline of May 7, 2004 for the revision of school leadership programs. Ideally we should have had the campus proposals in perfect form by April 7 to assure smooth processing and meeting the SED schedule without unnecessary disruption in our office. In the future, should SED issue other discipline-specific proposal deadlines, we will advise campuses sufficiently in advance of our corresponding deadline.

Q: We want to add a concentration to a Ph.D. program. Do we have to get approval from Albany?

KVA:
Yes. Commissioner's Regulation §52.1(h) applies to all levels of instruction: "New registration shall be required for any existing curriculum in which major changes are made that affect its title, focus, design, requirements for completion, or mode of delivery."

If you want to advertise or admit students to a concentration, we need to seek its registration. For the revision of a doctoral program, follow Appendix E, Guideline for Revision of Existing Academic Program, in the 2003 Handbook.

Please be sure that the concentration represents a focused field or specialization within the parent Ph.D. program rather than a new field or major option that would be better represented as a new Ph.D.

Q: We did look to see if we could find guidance in materials from your office, but didn't find any. Are we supposed to notify the Provost's office of the addition of minors? I know they don't require SED approval, but we need to know if your office wishes to be notified about them and/or must approve them. (The minor precipitating this inquiry is an interdisciplinary minor in classical studies that could be combined with any one of several majors on campus.)

KVA: I am happy to report that minors are a local campus matter. We do not receive, review or approve the introduction or the dissolution of minors, nor does the State Education Department.

Our experience has been that a minor is optional and is based on student interest and faculty expertise. It is an approved (by the campus) course sequence within an area of study providing a degree of specialization within that area, a specialty within a discipline, or a specialty integrating several disciplines. Minors are often recorded on transcripts, consist of 3 to 6 courses with a balance of introductory and advanced course work, most of which is in addition to the major. Minors are not advised in areas leading to New York State licensure or certification, such as engineering, nursing, medicine, and special education.

In our everyday program review work we see successful minors used convincingly as evidence of sustained demand, thus providing the basis for the necessary market documentation for a new major in the (former) minor discipline, in this case Classical Studies.

Q: I'm putting together a 'flow chart' for the program approval process to help our faculty. Once SUNY approves the program, it then forwards it to SED for registration. Is this step 'pro forma' or might there be a request for revisions by SED that sends the proposal back to the department? When can the department advertise the program, after SUNY or SED approval?

KVA: SED does often ask questions on compliance with the Rules of the Board of Regents and Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. These questions back to campus - with a copy to System Administration - tend toward technical matters such as program format, financial aid, and licensure issues. The campus responds directly to SED, with a copy to us. Keep in mind that our review involves State University policies and priorities and SED's review emphasizes regulatory compliance. Part 52.1(g) of the Regulations are clear on advertising: "Each curriculum for which registration is required shall be registered before the institution may publicize its availability or recruit or enroll students in the curriculum."

Attached for your information is a flow chart of the process that we use in program proposal workshops.

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Last Updated: 5/25/10