200, Program/Course Approval and Reporting

200.1 Purpose

To establish processes and criteria for all programs and courses offered by a technical college to be approved by and reported to the Board of Higher Education and the legislature, in accordance with UCA 53B2a-104(2)(i), balancing appropriate oversight and quality control with timely, market-driven college responsiveness to regional employer needs.

200.2 Approval

Board of Higher Education approval: January 4, 2006. Replaced June 18, 2009. Revised April 10, 2014; June 12, 2014; June 11, 2015; June 8, 2016; September 14, 2016; May 18, 2017; September 13, 2017; May 17, 2018.

200.3 References

UCA 53B-2a-104, Utah System of Technical Colleges Board of Trustees – Powers and Duties
Policy 100, UTech Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles
Policy 204, Tuition and Fees

200.4 Definitions

4.1 Program: A sequence of educational and skill-developing experiences that lead to workplace competencies. Each program shall fully prepare a student for entry into specified employment related to the program. This mission-related, post-secondary training shall be approved in accordance with this policy and by the Council on Occupational Education and shall lead to the awarding of only one program certificate.

4.2 Course: A set of pre-determined, related competencies grouped into a logical sequence.

4.3 Program Certificate: An official credential issued to a student by a college registrar documenting that the student has completed a program. Each program certificate shall have only one curriculum tied thereto.

4.4 Substantive Change: A change in the objectives, length, content, or other revisions equaling or exceeding 25% of an existing educational program.

200.5 Approval of Courses, Programs, and Certificates

A course, program, or certificate, or a revision of an approved program or certificate, must be approved as provided herein prior to being offered by a technical college.

5.1 Courses

5.1.1 Courses within Programs: Approval of a program as provided in this policy shall constitute approval of all courses within the program.

5.1.2 Stand-alone Courses: Courses which are not part of an approved certificate program, whether mission-related (200.6) or community interest (200.7), shall be approved by a college chief instructional officer designated by the technical college president, and reported to the college board of directors as an information item (i.e., not requiring approval) in the next regularly scheduled meeting after approval by the instructional officer. Documentation specified in 200.8 shall be retained on file by the college.

5.2 Program Certificates

5.2.1 College Board of Trustees Approval: College programs and substantive changes to approved programs shall be approved by the college board of trustees based on the requirements of 200.6. For programs that are less than 900 hours and are not eligible for federal financial aid, final approval is delegated to the college board, and the programs may be implemented immediately upon college board and any required accreditation approval.

5.2.2 College Board Approval Documentation: For programs and substantive changes approved by the technical college board of trustees, documentation specified in 200.8 shall be forwarded to the Commissioner Higher Education for review and inclusion in technical college program inventories.

5.2.3 Commissioner Approval: Technical college programs that are 900 hours or longer or are seeking federal financial aid eligibility, and substantive changes to these programs, which have been approved by the college board of trustees shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Higher Education for approval. If the Commissioner concurs that the proposal meets the agreed-upon criteria established by the Board of Higher Education as provided in 200.6, he or she shall approve the request within five working days. If the Commissioner does not concur that the proposal meets the agreed-upon criteria, the proposal shall be returned to the college with comments, and the technical college may resubmit the proposal once identified adjustments are made. For financial aid-eligible programs, final approval is delegated to the Commissioner, and the programs may be implemented immediately upon Commissioner approval.

5.2.4 Board of Higher Education Information: For programs and substantive changes approved by the Commissioner under 200.5.2.3, documentation specified in 200.8 shall be submitted to the Board of Higher Education in their next regularly scheduled meeting as information items.

5.2.5 Non-substantive Changes: Program changes less than the 25% referenced in 200.4.4 shall be approved by a college chief instructional officer designated by the technical college president. Relevant updates to the documentation specified in 200.8.1 and 200.8.2 shall be forwarded to the  Commissioner for inclusion in technical college program inventories.

5.3 Reporting of Secondary Students’ Activities: Secondary Students’ educational activities or experiences shall be reported in technical college data summaries insofar as their enrollments may provide partial or complete fulfillment of competencies required for completion of a program certificate as defined in Policy 205.7.1. Exceptions to this rule shall be approved in writing by the Commissioner of Higher Education for one of the following reasons:

5.3.1 Rural School Exception: Instruction is occurring in a rural area and would otherwise not occur should the college cease providing it.

5.3.2 Articulation Exception: Knowledge and/or skills acquired can provide partial or complete fulfillment of competencies required for completion of a program certificate offered at another technical college.

5.3.3 Pathways Exception: The course provides introductory instruction in a field in which a program certificate is offered by the college, as part of an established and documented educational pathway agreement between the college, local public education provider(s), and/or other institution(s) of higher education.

200.6 Criteria for Offering Programs, Certificates, and Courses

Except for courses provided in 200.7, all courses, certificates, and programs offered by a college shall meet the following criteria as determined by the applicable approving entities specified in 200.5.

6.1 Course/Program/Certificate Approval: The course/program/certificate must be approved as provided in 200.5.

6.2 Career and Technical Education Mission: Except as provided in 200.7, the course/program/certificate shall be directly related to meeting the needs of Utah’s employers for technically skilled workers by preparing adult and secondary students to enter, re-enter, upgrade to, or advance within current or emerging occupations that generally do not require an associate or more advanced degree, as provided in Policy 100 (Mission Statement) and UCA 53B-1-101.5(2).

6.3 Program Duplication: The course/program/certificate shall not unnecessarily duplicate career and technical education programs between the technical college and another public or higher education institution in the region served by the college, as provided in UCA 53B-2a-112(2), and shall not include credit-based academic programs typically offered by community colleges or other institutions of higher education, as provided in UCA 53B-2a-106(4).

6.4 Basic Skills: The course/program/certificate may offer basic instruction in areas such as reading, language arts, and mathematics that are necessary for student success in a chosen career and technical education or job-related program, as provided in UCA 53B2a-106(2)(b).

6.5 Course, Program, or Certificate Need/Market Demand: The course/program/certificate shall meet a documented need by one or more Utah employers for new trained workers or for upgraded employee skills, with the need being sufficient to merit the allocation of technical college resources.

6.6 Occupational Advisory Committee Validation and Support: An occupational advisory committee shall exist for every program approved by the Council on Occupational Education.

6.7 Resource Availability: The technical college shall have sufficient financial, capital, and human resources to support the course/program/certificate, and the course/program/certificate need must be sufficient to justify allocation of college resources (200.6.5).

6.8 Course Length: Each course, whether within a program or standing alone, shall be assigned a course length which represents the expected time it would take a typical student to complete the course in a traditional classroom/lab-based format.

6.9 Program/Certificate Information: The program certificate and/or accompanying transcript for each program/certificate shall include a program/certificate title and sufficient detail such that a prospective employer or others viewing it will understand what the student accomplished in earning the certificate.

200.7 Community Interest Courses

A technical college may offer non-mission-related educational experiences or activities intended to enhance student skills for personal interest and to introduce the community to training opportunities at the college. As provided in UCA 53B-2a-106(2)(c), similar community offerings for these courses must be limited, and the courses must be financially self-supporting through student fees. These courses are not reported to the Council on Occupational Education nor to the state legislature.

200.8 Documentation for Course/Program/Certificate Approval

The following documentation shall be provided for approval of all courses, programs, and certificates, to be submitted and retained as provided in 200.5.

8.1 Program/Certificate Description: Program title, program length, Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code, and summary of scope and purpose.

8.2 Program/Certificate Outline: Course numbers, course titles, course descriptions and objectives, course lengths, specializations, emphases, course sequencing, and program structure as relevant.

8.3 Employer Support

8.3.1 Market Demand/Need: Summary of the criteria specified in 200.6.5, with documentation attached as needed.

8.3.2 Employer Advisory Committee: (Not required for stand-alone courses as defined in 200.5.1.2, although documented employer need/demand as provided in 200.6.5 shall be required.) Summary of the criteria specified in 200.6.6, with references to committee documentation filed with the college.

8.4 Approval: Date and reference to documentation of approval (such as signed memorandum, meeting minutes, etc.) by the person or entity specified in 200.5, with attestation that the relevant criteria specified in 200.6 have been duly reviewed, satisfied, and approved.