Discontinuance of Academic Programs
A. Policy And Procedures For The Discontinuance Of Academic Programs (Degree Programs)
In the normal course of a University's curricular evolution, there are times when it is appropriate to discontinue an academic program. The California State University has set guidelines that campuses must follow in order to discontinue an academic program in EP&R 79-10, "Interim Policy for the Discontinuance of Academic Programs," (Dumke) and EP&R 8O-45, "Clarification of Interim Policy for the Discontinuance of Academic Programs," (Sherriffs). These require the campuses to establish an orderly procedure for program termination to ensure that affected public and enrolled students are properly considered. EP&R 79-10 prohibits "any administrative action leading to the de facto or official discontinuance of an academic program before the Chancellor has commented on the proposal."
This document states the policy and procedures for the discontinuance of academic programs at Sonoma State University. An academic program is defined in this statement, as it is generally in the CSU system, as a sequence of courses leading to an academic degree. (Minors, options, concentrations, and special emphases are treated in a separate statement.)
It is the policy of Sonoma State University that a proposal for the discontinuance of an academic program shall be presented in a formal manner (described below) for the consideration of the faculty through the Educational Policies Committee of the Academic Senate. The Committee shall review discontinuance proposals in a timely manner and shall make recommendations to the Academic Senate on this issue. The Academic Senate shall give timely consideration to this recommendation and forward its recommendation to the President. In the event the President supports termination, he shall forward the recommendations of the Educational Policies Committee and of the Senate to the Chancellor for comments.
No action shall be taken to limit enrollment into the program whose discontinuance is being proposed until reviewed by the Educational Policies Committee and the Academic Senate. If, after the Chancellor comments, the decision of the President is to discontinue the program, the Academic Vice President, the Dean of the School in which the program resides, and the Department Chair or Coordinator of the program shall establish a written schedule for the orderly phasing out of the program in order that enrolled students may earn the degree.
The determination to discontinue an academic program shall be based at all levels on consideration of the following factors:
- The centrality of the academic program to the curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences of the University. This should include a consideration of the impact of discontinuing the program on the General Education Curriculum and on support for other academic programs of the University. The availability of other programs at the University that provide essentially similar educational experiences should be weighed.
- The trends in the enrollment and numbers of degrees in the program granted and the future prospects for these.
- The needs of the service area and society. Due account should be given to the presence or lack of the same program at other colleges in or near to the service area and in the entire CSU system so as to mitigate the limitation on access of citizens to higher education. The needs of special groups: ethnic, professional, industrial, etc., should be weighed.
- The availability of resources to sustain the program at an acceptable level of academic quality.
Procedures for the Submission and Consideration of Proposals to Discontinue Academic Programs
Recommendations for program discontinuance are to be made to the Educational Policies Committee of the Academic Senate and to the Academic Vice President. A copy of the recommendation should be sent at the same time by the proposer to the Chair of the Faculty, the President, and Dean of the School and the Chair of the Department in which the program resides. After due and timely consideration of this recommendation, the Educational Policies Committee shall make a recommendation to the Academic Senate which shall in turn formulate in a timely manner a recommendation to the President on the matter.
Guidance for Proposers of Program Discontinuance
It is the obligation of persons proposing the discontinuance of an academic program to present a written recommendation containing information and numerical data to constitute a reasonable rationale for proposed action. The EPC is available for consultation with persons contemplating making a proposal to discontinue an academic program; a preliminary discussion with the EPC or its Chair is recommended.
A recommendation should include the following information except when information is unavailable or inappropriate:
- Tabulations of the numbers of students recorded as declared majors in the academic program and the numbers of students receiving the degree granted in the program in each of the preceding five years.If it is deemed that these data are insufficient to show the numerical impact of the program, it is recommended that enrollment figures in each of the required courses of the major for the past five years be included.
- Copies of recent evaluations of the program from the regular periodic university academic program review, off-campus consultants and/or accrediting agencies, student groups, etc. If these evaluation(s) are already available to members of the EPC and the Academic Vice President, the proposer(s) may, with the prior concurrence of the Chair of the EPC, just cite pertinent information from them.
- A specification of the lack of those resources, current or future, needed to sustain the program. This should include, when appropriate, information regarding the lack of adequate faculty resources, lack of proper facilities and equipment, of supplies funding, or of an adequate and adequately trained support staff. Consideration should be given to the impact which provision of adequate resources for the program might have on support and quality of other academic programs at the University.
- A discussion on the prospects and service area and societal needs relative to the program over the next five to ten years supported by any available demographic or economic information.
- A commentary on the effect, if any, on the General Education curriculum or the curriculum of other majors, if the program is discontinued. This, and any other information the proposer(s) wish to present, should be used in the recommendation to show that the program in question either does not effectively satisfy its stated academic objectives or no longer meets a discernible societal need sufficient to justify its continued inclusion in the academic program of the University.
Preliminary Action by the EPCThe Educational Policies Committee shall make an initial finding of whether or not the recommendation makes a sufficient case to warrant further consideration of the matter. If the EPC finds that further consideration is unjustified, the Chair of EPC shall inform the proposer(s) of the program termination, the Chair of the Faculty, the Academic Vice President, and the Dean of the School and the Chair of the Department in which the program resides, of that finding. Subsequent consultation may result in the EPC being requested to conduct a full review of the recommended program discontinuance.
- EPC Prodedures: The EPC may utilize whatever procedures it deems appropriate for the consideration of the proposal to discontinue a program. However, these procedures must include open hearings to permit all affected or interested persons (including enrolled students) to comment on the proposed termination. The EPC should solicit the participation in hearings or written comments by such persons. The EPC may request additional information from the proposer(s) or seek information itself.
The EPC shall submit its recommendation on the proposed program discontinuance to the Academic Senate with a copy to the proposer(s), the President, the Academic Vice President, and the Dean of the School and Chair of the Deparment of the program.
- Procedures for the Phase-Out of Discontinued Programs: If, after the President has received Chancellor's Office comments on a proposal to terminate an academic program, he decides to terminate it, the Academic Vice President and the Dean of the School and the Chair of the Department in which the program resides shall prepare a written schedule for the orderly phasing out of the academic program. This shall include notification of the Admissions Office of a cut-off date after which no additional new or transfer enrollments are to be accepted into the program and notification of enrolled students of the mechanisms by which they may complete their degrees. Faculty threatened with lay-off as a consequence of the program termination should also be notified in accordance with the university policy on faculty lay-offs.
In consultation with the Dean of the School and the Chair of the Department in which the program resides, the Registrar shall prepare an official list of all the students enrolled as of the cut-off date as majors in the program. The School Dean shall also prepare a letter notifying all students on the official list of the discontinuance of the program and providing the following information:
- the date by which the degree requirements must be completed in order to receive the specified degree from this institution;
- the last semester and year in which each course required in the major will be offered;
- the availability of closely related degree programs offered by this campus to which the student may wish to transfer;
- the availability of similar programs offered by other institutions in the geographical area;
- the extent to which transfer work, substitutions, etc., may be considered in meeting the requirements for the degree.
B. Policy On the Discontinuance Of Minors
Proposals to discontinue minors must be reviewed by the department or unit in which the minor resides, the School, and EPC. EPC will decide whether hearings are warranted, and if so, the scope of such hearings. EPC will recommend discontinuance of minors to the Senate for final action. The School Dean will be responsible for developing a phase-out schedule to accommodate students currently enrolled.
SSU Curriculum Guide Fall, 1985