Reporting and Approval of Academic Actions Constituting Substantive Change
University Policy Number 3003
Categorized: Academic Policies
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost
- Responsibilities and Procedures for Obtaining Approval of Potential Substantive Changes at George Mason University
- SubChange Actions and Information spreadsheet
- Contact information for Reporting Substantive Change
Related Law & Policy:
- SACSCOC – Substantive Change for SACSCOC-Accredited Institutions Policy Statement
- SACSCOC – Direct Assessment/Competency-Based Programs Policy Statement
This policy applies to all actions defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) as substantive change. Substantive changes are categorized as relating to the institution, to programs, or to off-campus instructional sites, as shown in the table below.
II. Policy Statement
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the George Mason University operates in compliance with regulations established by SACSCOC. Because it is the responsibility of the Provost, as chief academic officer, to ensure that all college-level units of the university consistently meet these regulations, all such actions must be reviewed and approved by the Office of the Provost prior to implementation. A centralized approval process is also intended to relieve the deans and directors or college-level units of the responsibility of remaining familiar with the details of an external policy that changes frequently.
All substantive changes to academic degree programs must be reported by the colleges and schools to the Office of the Provost, in order to request written approval for the substantive change action and for the implementation timeline. College-level units are not permitted to implement substantive change actions without written approval from the Office of the Provost.
Refer to the “Responsibilities and Procedures for Obtaining Approval of Potential Substantive Changes at George Mason University” document for additional information regarding the reporting of potential substantive changes at George Mason University.
“Substantive change” is defined in accordance with relevant SACSCOC policies. In general, the term refers to the kinds of actions outlined in the Responsibilities and Procedures for Obtaining Approval of Potential Substantive Changes at George Mason University.
Failure to comply with the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy may result in negative action by SACSCOC with regard to George Mason University’s accreditation. Deans and directors of college-level units are expected to ensure that their units remain in compliance with this policy.
A. Effective Date: August 15, 2010
B. Date of Most Recent Review: February 23, 2021
VII. Timetable for Review
This policy, and any related procedures, shall be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed.
Peter N. Stearns
Date approved: August 25, 2010
Revised: May 3, 2016
Revised: January 13, 2020
Revised: March 4, 2021