Subject: Process for Adding and Deleting Academic Programs
Group: Institutional
Approved by: Senate
Approval date: 25 September 2007
Effective date: 25 September 2007     
Administered by: Vice-President, Academic & Research

1 — SCOPE AND PURPOSE OF THE PROCESS  
 
The development and approval of new programs is a complex undertaking. It requires the cooperation and coordination of many individuals, committees, and processes inside the University: the academic unit developing the program; the Dean; the Registrar; the University Planning Committee; the Academic Matters Committee; and the Mount Allison Senate. New programs also require the approval of the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC). Accordingly, new programs typically may take 12-24 months to be fully approved. The purpose of this document is to set out a process to guide the development and approval of new programs. It also sets out a process for deleting academic programs.

2 — ADDING NEW ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
 
New programs generally require new resources (faculty, capital, etc.) to support and maintain. They may also encompass a new disciplinary or interdisciplinary area or degree not previously offered at Mount Allison University. As such, any decision to implement a new program must involve careful deliberation in a variety of venues across the University.

2.1 Phase I: Letter of Intent
The process for developing new programs is lengthy and detailed. Before considerable amounts of time and energy are invested by academic units, two key questions must be addressed:
      
1. How will the proposed program fit into the academic unit’s plans and priorities and contribute to Mount Allison’s vision, mission, and goals as outlined in the Strategic Statement?

2. How might the resources required by the new program be made available?
The Letter of Intent gives an overview of the program and its origin, and allows for consideration of the above two questions. At this stage, it should be succinct (3-4 pages at most) and address the following issues:

  • Program fit with University and academic unit planning priorities;
  • Student demand and anticipated program growth;
  • Context for the proposed program, with evidence of provincial and/or regional need;
  • Current and proposed faculty and other teaching and research resources required to support the program;
  • Other resources required (infrastructure, operating budget, library, capital, space, etc.) and how they will be provided;
  • Confirmed and potential external financial support;
  • Possible and confirmed partnerships with other units and institutions.

Following the submission of the Letter of Intent to the Vice-President, Academic and Research, the unit head and the Dean shall meet with the Planning Committee. This stage should not be regarded as a pre-approval process, but rather as a chance to explore issues and identify both opportunities and areas of concern that will need to be addressed. The Planning Committee will provide written comments and advice about the proposed program.
      
2.2 Phase II: Presentation of Proposal for Approval
Phase II involves the preparation of the formal proposal package and guiding it through the appropriate internal and external committees. The formal proposal must conform to the guidelines set out in the MPHEC Policy on Quality Assurance (2005). (The policy is available on the MPHEC web site.) Proposals that do not address all of the areas required by this policy will not be considered by Planning or Academic Matters. Academic units are strongly urged to seek the advice and assistance of their Dean when preparing proposals.

The role of the Planning Committee in this phase is to consider the detailed proposal in light of the two key questions identified in Phase I. Following a meeting with the head of the academic unit and the Dean, the Planning Committee will indicate in writing to the Chair of the Academic Matters Committee whether or not they are satisfied that the two key questions have been addressed. It will also convey any further advice that it has to offer. If concerns are raised, the Chair of the Planning Committee and the Chair of Academic Matters will jointly determine whether or not to take the proposal forward.

The Planning Committee is concerned primarily with resource and planning information and normally shall not comment on academic program details that are the purview of the Academic Matters Committee (program structure and objectives, course content, anticipated student outcomes, etc.). Its assessment will focus on the following matters:

  • How the proposed program fits within the University and academic unit planning priorities;
  • The proposed program’s impact on other academic units;
  • Information on resource implications of the proposed program, including:
    • An assessment of the long-term costs of the proposed program, including those related to infrastructure changes necessitated by the program; and
    • An assessment of immediate costs and how they will be addressed.
  • Confirmation that the proposed time line for phase in the proposed program is feasible from a resource standpoint;
  • Confirmation that there is a provincial and/or regional need for the program.

3 — DELETING ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

The process for deleting academic programs is similar to the process followed to add them: proposals are developed by the academic unit, considered by the Planning and Academic Matters Committees, and forwarded to Senate for a decision. They must also be approved by the MPHEC (the Policy on Quality Assurance (2005) sets out guidelines for the preparation of proposals to terminate programs). Accordingly, all proposals to delete academic programs shall follow the above process, with the following exceptions:

  • Proposals to delete academic programs may start at Phase II of the process;
  • The formal proposal, prepared in accordance with the MPHEC guidelines, shall articulate the rationale for deleting the program and describe the phase-out plan for existing students;
  • The role of the Planning Committee is limited to the following matters:
    • Consideration of the implications of deleting the program from a resource standpoint.
    • Confirmation that the proposed time line for phasing out the program is feasible from a resource standpoint.
     
  • Upon receipt of the formal proposal, the Chair of the Planning Committee, in consultation with the Committee, shall decide if a meeting with the unit head and the Dean is required.


4 — SEQUENCING

The formal proposal may be considered simultaneously by the Planning Committee and the Academic Matters Committee but shall not be formally approved by the Academic Matters Committee until it has received the determination of the Planning Committee, as outlined above. The Chair of the Academic Matters Committee is responsible for guiding the proposal through Senate. The Chair of Academic Matters will also work with the academic unit to prepare the formal submission for the MPHEC and to address any concerns raised by the MPHEC. The Vice-President, Academic and Research, is the primary contact with the MPHEC