Program Changes - Procedures

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Program Changes - Procedures

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Approval authority
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Designated officer
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)
First approved
5 February 2009
Last amended
23 June 2016
Effective start date
1 May 2015
Review date
1 May 2020
Status
Active
Related documents
Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation - Procedures
Higher Degree by Research Accreditation - Academic Policy
Higher Degree by Research Accreditation - Procedures
Program Accreditation - Procedures
Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
Program Discontinuation and Suspension of Intake - Procedures
Program Review - Procedures
Related legislation / standards
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Act 2011
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.

1. Purpose of procedures

These procedures detail the steps that must be undertaken to approve changes to an accredited program at the University of the Sunshine Coast. These procedures must be read in conjunction with the Program Accreditation and Course Approval – Governing Policy. The procedures do not apply to higher degrees by research.

These procedures do not apply to proposals to change an existing accredited program which would result in the assignment of a different Field of Education (FOE) code, or to the introduction of a double degree constructed from two existing accredited programs. These instances are considered to be a new program and the Program Accreditation – Procedures apply.

These procedures do not apply to program discontinuations or suspensions, refer to the Program Discontinuation and Suspension of Intake – Procedures.

2. Program changes and approval authorities

2.1 The authority to approve changes to programs varies, depending on the nature of the proposed changes. If the approval authority is unclear in these procedures, the Chairperson, Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC) will make a determination of the appropriate level of approval authority required.

2.2 Changes approved by Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC)

2.2.1 Following consideration by the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee, Learning and Teaching Committee will consider and approve:

(a) altering the requirements for completion of a program (including the addition or removal of exit and entry points, study components and/or required courses), and

(b) structural change relating to a study component.

Refer to section 5 for processes.

 
2.3 Changes approved by Academic Board

2.3.1 Following consideration by Learning and Teaching Committee, Academic Board will consider and approve:(a) a re-visioning of the learning outcomes and any consequential structural changes

(b) a change to the award title (requires a new program code)

(c) a change to the total unit value of a currently accredited program (requires a new program code)

(d) a change to the duration (standard completion time) of an accredited program

(e) a significant alteration to the entry requirements.

Refer to section 5 for processes.

2.4 Changes approved by the Vice-Chancellor and President or delegate

The following types of proposed program changes will be documented by the Executive Dean, for the approval of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (as delegate of the Vice-Chancellor and President):

(a) the offering of an existing program at a new location

(b) changing the funding arrangement for an existing program

(c) the offering of an existing program at an additional calendar entry point

(d) the discontinuation of an existing program at a location

(e) a change to a program that has significant resource impact outside the proposing faculty or for the University

(f) the discontinuation of a study component

Refer to section 6 for details of the process for approval.

2.5 Changes approved by the Executive Dean

2.5.1 Any proposals for program changes that proceed to Learning and Teaching Committee or Academic Board for approval, would first be approved by the Executive Dean, giving due regard to resourcing and the program’s continued financial viability.

2.5.2 Any changes to a program that are not specified above in 2.2-2.4 may be approved by the Executive Dean, giving due regard to both academic merit, and to resourcing and the program’s continued viability. Refer to section 7 for processes.

3. Timeframes for changes to programs

3.1 Faculties should plan and progress all proposed program changes so that sufficient time is allowed for informed consideration of, and decision-making based on, the merit and academic integrity of proposed changes to a program and any associated resource and other implications.

3.2 Each year, Academic Secretariat sets timelines covering a two-year period, in consultation with relevant parties, to ensure timely progression of proposals.

3.3 In exceptional circumstances, approval may be granted to expedite the accreditation processes through a minor variation of the procedures, whereby the Chairperson of Academic Board or the Chairperson of the Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC), acts on behalf of the relevant Committee in considering a proposal for change.

3.4 An application can be made by the relevant Executive Dean to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, through Academic Secretariat, for approval to expedite. The written request outlines:

  • the reasons for requesting expedition
  • the consequences if the expedited process were not followed
  • the anticipated approval timeline.

3.5 The Chairperson of the relevant committee reports to the ensuing meeting of the committee on any actions taken on the committee’s behalf.

3.6 Faculties at their discretion and with the approval of the relevant committees, can identify a similar expedited process for their faculty.

4. Program change proposal

4.1 Program redesign

4.1.1 All proposed changes to a program need to be designed to ensure that the program continues to meet all criteria for accreditation of a program as provided in the parent policy.

4.1.2 The Program Coordinator in association with all relevant staff finalises the redesign of the changed program in line with any faculty requirements and processes, ensuring that:

(a) consultations are held with all parties:

(i) with a legitimate interest in the program, including for example other faculties and service areas of the University, potential employers, professional and registration bodies

(ii) for whom there may be resource, legal or administrative implications with the proposed changes, including for example USC International, Information Technology Services, Information Services, Student Services and Engagement, Asset Management Services, Marketing and External Engagement

(b) input is sought from other appropriate sources with expertise relevant to redesign of the program, for example academic developers within the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT)

(c) the program is designed and developed consistent with –

  • the Australian Qualifications Framework and associated guidelines and principles
  • the Higher Education Standards Framework
  • any standards for external recognition, registration or accreditation of the proposed program or potential graduates
  • relevant policy, procedures and good practice in program design and development for programs of that level.

4.1.3 The Program Coordinator writes a proposal using the template appropriate for the nature of the change, and revises the existing Program Outline incorporating the proposed changes. Any new courses associated with the proposed change are documented using the Course Outline template.

4.1.4 The proposal is the case made for making changes to the program.

4.1.5 The proposed new Program Outline is the revised version intended to replace the current Program Outline and is used to assess the merit and academic integrity of the changed program and forms the basis for provision of information to students, intending students, the University community and the public concerning the program.

5. Changes requiring Learning and Teaching Committee or Academic Board Approval

5.1 Consideration by Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee and Executive Dean

5.1.1. The Program Coordinator submits the Proposal and the Program Outline via the relevant Head of School to the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee.

5.1.2 The committee considers the documentation at its respective meeting and minutes are made of the discussion and any related recommendations.

5.1.3 In considering the documentation, the committee takes account of matters within its terms of reference and forms a view on whether the program as changed would continue to meet the criteria for program accreditation provided in the Program Accreditation and Course Approval – Governing Policy.

5.1.4 Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee considers the academic merit of the proposed changes to the program on the basis of the documentation and in the case of changes that require Learning and Teaching Committee and Academic Board approval:

(a) resolves to recommend to Learning and Teaching Committee that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved; or

(b) resolves to recommend that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved subject to identified amendments being made to the associated documentation to the satisfaction of the Chair, Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

5.1.5 If unqualified approval is recommended, the Secretary, Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee refers the documentation and relevant extract from the Committee’s minutes to the Executive Dean for consideration.

5.1.6 If approval is recommended subject to amendments being made:

(a) the Program Coordinator is advised to make the amendments and submit to the Chair of the Committee, the amended documentation together with a written response to the matters identified, including a statement detailing the changes made to the documentation (with page references); and

(b) the Chair, Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee reviews the amended documentation and if satisfied with the revised documentation, then forwards it to the Executive Dean.

5.1.7 Following consideration of the proposal by the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee, the relevant accreditation officer completes a proforma to request from Student Services and Engagement the following as required:

(a) allocation of Course Codes for any new courses; and

(b) allocation of a new Program Code if any of the following changes are being proposed:

(i) change of program title

(ii) change to the duration of the program

(iii) change to the total unit value for the program.

5.1.8 Student Services and Engagement allocates the codes and advises the accreditation officer.

5.1.9 The accreditation officer requests Information Management Services Unit to create a new University file for each new course allocated a code and a new program file if a new program code has been allocated. If a new program file is requested, the accreditation officer also advises Information Management Services Unit of the current file number for the program involved.

5.1.10 The accreditation officer updates the relevant documentation to include new course codes and file numbers.

5.1.11 The accreditation officer provides Asset Management Services, Information Services and Information Technology Services with a copy of the Course Outline and Course Administration Details and the completed resource impact statement.

5.1.12 The Executive Dean considers the documentation in consultation with the relevant Head/s of School, taking into account any matters of relevance.

5.1.13 If the Executive Dean decides that approval should be sought for the changes, they sign the relevant section of the proposal.

5.1.14 The Executive Dean arranges for a PDF copy of the complete documentation to be submitted to Academic Secretariat.

5.1.15 The Executive Dean arranges for a copy of the complete signed documentation to be recorded in the relevant program and course files in the University’s Records Management System.

5.2 Progression of documentation through University committees

The Academic Secretariat checks the documentation for completeness and clarity, accuracy, internal consistency, compliance and consistency with relevant University policies and procedures, and liaises with relevant faculty staff in order for appropriate actions to be taken to address any issues and for amended documentation to be submitted where required.

5.3 Learning and Teaching Committee

5.3.1 Academic Secretariat forwards the documentation to the Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC).

5.3.2 Learning and Teaching Committee considers the academic merit of the proposed changes to the program on the basis of the documentation and in the case of changes that the Learning and Teaching Committee can approve:

(a) resolves that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved, identifying when the changes to the program and any associated discontinuation of courses and study components will take effect; or

(b) resolves to approve the proposed changes to the program as currently documented, subject to identified amendments being made to the associated documentation; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

5.3.3 If approval is recommended subject to amendments being made:

(a) the relevant faculty is advised to make the amendments and submit to the Chair of the Committee, through Academic Secretariat, the amended documentation together with a written response to the matters identified, including a statement detailing the changes made to the documentation (with page references); and

(b) the Chairperson, Learning and Teaching Committee, reviews the amended documentation and if satisfied that the required amendments have been made attests to this in writing and forwards the attestation to Academic Secretariat.

5.3.4 The Secretary, Learning and Teaching Committee provides written advice to all relevant parties of the outcome of final considerations concerning proposals for changes to programs approved by the Learning and Teaching Committee.

5.3.5 Learning and Teaching Committee considers the academic merit of the proposed changes to the program on the basis of the documentation and in the case of changes that require Academic Board approval:

(a) resolves to recommend to Academic Board that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved; or

(b) resolves to recommend that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved subject to identified amendments being made to the associated documentation; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

5.3.6 If unqualified approval is recommended, Academic Secretariat refers the documentation and relevant extract from the Committee’s minutes to the Academic Board for consideration.

5.3.7 If approval is recommended subject to amendments being made:

(a) the relevant faculty is advised to make the amendments and submit to the Chair of the Committee, through Academic Secretariat, the amended documentation together with a written response to the matters identified, including a statement detailing the changes made to the documentation (with page references); and

(b) the Chairperson, Learning and Teaching Committee, reviews the amended documentation and, if satisfied that the required amendments have been made, attests to this in writing and forwards the attestation to Academic Secretariat.

5.4 Academic Board

5.4.1 For changes requiring Academic Board approval, Academic Secretariat forwards the latest version of the documentation and associated extracts from minutes of the Learning and Teaching Committee to the Academic Board.

5.4.2 Academic Board considers the academic merit of the proposed changes to the program on the basis of the documentation provided, and:

(a) resolves that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved, identifying when the changes to the program and any associated discontinuation of courses and study components will take effect; or

(b) resolves to recommend that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved subject to identified amendments being made to the associated documentation to the satisfaction of the Chairperson Academic Board; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

5.4.3 If approval of changes is subject to any required amendments being made:

(a) the relevant faculty is advised to make the amendment and submit to the Chairperson, Academic Board, through Academic Secretariat, the amended documentation together with a covering statement detailing the changes made to the documentation (with page references);

(b) the Chairperson, Academic Board, reviews the amended documentation and if satisfied that the required amendments have been made attests to this in writing and forwards the attestation to Academic Secretariat.

5.4.4 The Secretary, Academic Board provides written advice to all relevant parties of the outcome of final considerations concerning proposals for changes to programs approved by Academic Board.

5.5 Post-approval matters

Faculty staff, following the receipt of written advice from the Secretaries of either Academic Board or Learning and Teaching Committee, are responsible for making the appropriate changes to University webpages and informing relevant parties (internally and externally) of the implementation of the approved changes to the program.

6. Program Changes requiring Vice-Chancellor and President (or delegate) approval

6.1 Design and consultations

6.1.1 The Program Coordinator consults with all interested parties concerning the proposed changes, including relevant areas of the University for which the changes may have administrative or resource implications. If the changes also involve any changes to current courses, majors or minors offered in other programs consultations are held with the relevant Program Coordinators.

6.1.2 The Head of School submits a Program Bulletin Notification (Program Change) to the Executive Dean, who releases it to the University Community via Academic Secretariat.

6.1.3 The Program Coordinator writes a proposal using the relevant template, and revises the existing Program Outline incorporating the proposed changes.

6.1.4 The new Program Outline is the version intended to replace the current Program Outline.

6.2 Consideration by Executive Dean

6.2.1 The Program Coordinator submits the Program Change Proposal and the Program Outline via the relevant Head of School to the Executive Dean.

6.2.2 The Executive Dean considers the documentation in consultation with the relevant Head of School, taking into account any matters of relevance. The Program Change Proposal should evidence consultation with the Chief Financial Officer for comment on matters of resourcing and the program’s continued viability.

6.2.3 If the Executive Dean decides that approval should be sought for the changes, they sign the relevant section of the proposal.

6.2.4 The Executive Dean arranges for a PDF copy of the complete documentation to be submitted to Academic Secretariat.

6.2.5 The Executive Dean arranges for a copy of the complete signed documentation to be recorded in the relevant program file in the University’s Records Management System.

6.3 Approval by the Vice-Chancellor and President or delegate

6.3.1 Academic Secretariat checks the Program Change Proposal for completeness and clarity and liaises with relevant staff in order for appropriate actions to be taken to address any issues and for amended documentation to be submitted where required.

6.3.2 Academic Secretariat forwards the proposal to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (as the Vice-Chancellor and President’s delegate), who decides whether to approve or not approve the program change.

6.3.3 Academic Secretariat informs the Executive Dean of the decision and any required actions arising from the decision.

6.3.4 Academic Secretariat arranges for the approval documentation to be recorded in the relevant program file in the University’s Records Management System.

7. Changes to a program requiring approval by Executive Dean

7.1 Design and consultations

7.1.1 The Program Coordinator consults with all interested parties concerning the proposed changes, including relevant areas of the University for which the changes may have administrative or resource implications. If the changes also involve any changes to current courses, majors or minors offered in other programs consultations are held with the relevant Program Coordinators.

7.1.2 The Program Coordinator writes a proposal using the relevant template, and writes a new Program Outline incorporating the proposed changes, using the Program Outline template.

7.1.3 The new Program Outline is the version intended to replace the current Program Outline.

7.1.4 The Program Coordinator forwards the documentation to the Chairperson of the relevant Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee via the accreditation officer. Where the program changes relate solely to matters of resourcing and the program’s continued viability, the Chairperson of Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee can decide not to consider the changes at committee, and forward them directly to the Executive Dean.

7.2 Consideration by the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee

7.2.1 In considering the documentation, the committee takes account of matters within its terms of reference and forms a view on whether the program as changed would continue to meet the criteria for program accreditation provided in the parent policy.

7.2.2 The Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee considers the academic merit of the proposed changes to the program on the basis of the documentation and

(a) resolves to recommend to the Executive Dean that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved; or

(b) resolves to recommend that the proposed changes to the program as currently documented be approved subject to identified amendments being made to the associated documentation; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

7.2.3 If unqualified approval is recommended, the Secretary, Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee refers the documentation and relevant extract from the Committee’s minutes to the Executive Dean for consideration.

7.2.4 If approval is recommended subject to amendments being made:

(a) the Program Coordinator is advised to make the amendments and submit to the Chair of the Committee, the amended documentation together with a written response to the matters identified, including a statement detailing the changes made to the documentation (with page references); and

(b) the Chair, Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee reviews the amended documentation and if satisfied with the revised documentation, then forwards it to the Executive Dean.

7.3 Consideration by the Executive Dean

7.3.1 The Executive Dean considers the documentation and any recommendations of the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee and decides whether to approve or not approve the proposed changes or to approve the changes subject to amendments being made.

7.3.2 The Executive Dean signs the proposal to indicate approval of the change.

7.3.3 The Executive Dean arranges for:

(a) relevant areas of the University to be advised of the particular changes;

(b) updating of program information on the University’s Website where applicable; and

(c) the new Program Outline to be made available to staff through a central faculty repository.

8. Reporting

8.1 Summary reports of program changes approved is required to be submitted as follows:

Annually

  • Faculty Learning and Teaching Committees to Learning and Teaching Committee
  • Learning and Teaching Committee to Academic Board

Biannually

  • Office of the Vice-Chancellor and President or delegate (Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor), via Academic Secretariat to the University Executive.

8.2 Annual reports should be submitted to the first meeting each year and include all program changes approved in the previous year.

8.3 A report of all decisions types approved by the Vice-Chancellor and President or delegate (Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor) is noted at the next meeting of the Academic Board or its standing committees.

Templates are available from Skip Navigation LinksMyUSC > Teaching > Program Accreditation and Course Approval > Programs > Program Templates.

END

Appendix 1:

Flowchart: Approval Processes for a Change to an Existing Program

Available from MyUSC > Teaching > Program Accreditation and Course Approval > Programs > Guidelines and Flowcharts (Staff Login required)

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