New Programs:

Proposals must be submitted to the College, and ultimately in some instances the Board of Regents, when departments or programs want to:

  • Add a new degree program
  • Add a new post-baccalaureate certificate program
  • Add a new minor

All proposals for new programs must include the following:

  • A memo from the department head or program director to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with an overview of the new program, the rationale for its development, and the dates of faculty, department head, and/or sponsoring program approval
  • The semester and year of planned implementation
  • A detailed proposal narrative (see below)

Depending on the nature of the new program, proposals may also require one or more of the below supporting materials:

  • Detailed budget information: e.g., what new or additional resources will be needed to sustain the program, what revenues will be derived from it, and what student financial support will be required, if any.
  • Degree program information, including: coursework requirements and electives, sample plans, final exam information, admission requirements, advising, academic standards and progress, etc.
  • Faculty and staff: include a list of designated program faculty with short CV’s and summarize any staff support that will be needed.
  • Supporting letters: from other deans, department heads, faculty, industry and community leaders, etc.

Changes or Discontinuation of Existing programs:

Proposals must be submitted to the College, and ultimately in some instances the Board of Regents, when departments or programs want to:

  • Add a sub-plan to an existing academic program (e.g., add a Plan C)
  • Change a program name
  • Change a degree designation
  • Discontinue a program or sub-plan
  • Offer distance delivery of all or substantially all coursework for an existing degree (in this case, additional questions need to be addressed – see below)
  • Add a new delivery site for an academic plan
  • Change a degree program’s academic home (college)
  • Merge existing degree programs
  • Change number of required credits
  • Change curricular details such as required courses or electives

All proposals must include the following:

  • A memo from the department head or program director to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with an overview of the requested change, the rationale for the change, and the dates of faculty, department head, and/or sponsoring program approval
  • The semester and year of planned implementation
  • Statement of how current students may be affected by the change and plans for accommodating them, if needed

Proposals to add a sub-plan to an existing degree must also include:

  • Degree program information, including: coursework requirements and electives, sample plans, final exam information, admission requirements, advising, academic standards and progress, etc.
  • Detailed budget information: e.g., what new or additional resources will be needed to sustain the program, what revenues will be derived from it, and what student financial support will be required, if any.

In cases where substantial changes are being made to an existing program, it may be more appropriate to follow the procedures outlined above for a brand new program.

Procedures after Proposal Submission

Proposals must be submitted electronically to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who will review the materials together with the CSE Graduate Education Committee. Programs will receive feedback and will be asked to make revisions where deemed critical for success of the proposal at higher levels of the University.

Proposals fully approved at the collegiate level will be entered into the Program and Curriculum Approval System (PCAS) for transmission to the Provost’s Office. If approved at that level, they will be presented to the Board of Regents for final action (if required). Proposals for new or substantially changed Ph.D. programs will be reviewed by the University’s Graduate Education Council in conjunction with the Provost.

Proposal Narrative

The headings below mirror the fields that are required in PCAS. The proposal narrative should follow this basic outline, as it will make it considerably easier to complete the corresponding sections in PCAS later. For new program proposals, all questions should be addressed. The character limits listed below refer to the information that can be entered into PCAS. You are not required to stay within those limits for the narrative submitted to the College.

PCAS Fields

  1. Mission, Priorities, and Interrelatedness (2000 characters):
    • In what specific ways is the proposed program consistent with the University’s mission? With the unit’s mission?
    • How does the program support the unit’s strategic direction and compact?
    • How will the program contribute to the priorities of the University, the campus, and the unit?
    • How does the program relate to other University academic programs?
    • What are the implications – including impact of prerequisites and related courses – on other units, colleges, or campuses? (Document your consultation by providing copies of correspondence with relevant units to establish collaborations on interdisciplinary programs, use of courses from other units, etc.)
  2. Need and Demand (2000 characters):
    • What is the need and demand for the program? Proposals for programs that reach very small numbers of students are discouraged. Use the following kinds of evidence, as appropriate:
      • Evidence that the program meets societal needs and expectations.
      • Evidence of consultation with employers or professional organizations, if appropriate.
      • Employment data, if appropriate (availability of jobs for graduates).
      • Enrollment data for similar programs.
      • Data reflecting student interest or demand, both short- and long-term.
      • Projected number of applicants to the program.
      • Projected number of degrees to be conferred per year.
    • What is the intended geographic service area and the prospective student market?
    • How will students benefit from the program?
  3. Comparative Advantage (2000 characters):
    • What are the unique characteristics of the program that make it particularly appropriate to the University of Minnesota?
    • Are there comparable academic programs in Minnesota, and, if applicable, elsewhere? (Document your consultation with other units within the University and/or research of other institutions with similar programs, if they exist, in the area.)
  4. Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Use of Resources (2000 characters):
    • Is the program within the capacity of the unit’s resources?
    • Have resources been reallocated within the unit to support the proposed program? If so, how?
    • If additional resources are needed, how will the program leverage existing resources to attract new resources?
    • What steps will be taken to ensure the program is operated economically and effectively?
  5. Program Quality and Assessment (2000 characters):
    • What are the learning outcomes for the program? How will the outcomes be measured? How often?
    • How, when, and by whom will program quality be measured?
    • How will the college, the department, and program instructors continue to improve the teaching and learning in this program?
    • Is the program subject to review by a specialized accreditation agency? If yes, what agency and what is the review cycle?
    • How, if at all, will the program address the University’s diversity goals, e.g., student and faculty recruitment, curriculum, etc.?
  6. Program Development (2000 characters):
    • What planning and development authorities generated the proposal?
    • When was the proposal reviewed and approved (department, college or campus curriculum committees, dean/vice chancellors’ offices, etc.)?
  7. Catalog Description (3200 characters):
    • A description of the program that will appear in the online catalog.

To offer distance delivery of all or substantially all coursework for an existing degree:

Permission from the University’s regional accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, is required. Please contact the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost for details. Among the questions that will need to be addressed are:

  • What is the evidence that the plan is consistent with the role and mission of the unit, including its goals with regard to student access?
  • Does the plan take the college or campus beyond its institutional boundaries, e.g., students to be served, geographic service area, locus of instruction, curriculum to be offered, or comparable formally stated definitions of institutional purpose?
  • Is the academic and administrative staffing structure appropriate (and fully qualified) to support the plan?
  • How are students provided with adequate technical support for each educational technology hardware, software, and delivery system required in the plan?
  • How were appropriate learning outcomes established? How does the plan design involve the demonstration of such skills as analysis, comprehension, communication and effective research?
  • What provisions for instructor-student and student-student interaction are included in the plan/course design and the course syllabus? How is appropriate interaction assured?
  • What support services, including orientation and training, are available to those responsible for preparing courses or plans to be offered electronically? What support services are available to those faculty members responsible for working directly with students?
  • How do potential students learn about the electronically offered plan?
  • What criteria are used to determine the student’s eligibility for admission to the plan?
  • How are the following services provided to distance-learning students: information about the college, plan, courses, and costs; pre-registration advising; admission application, placement, enrollment and registration; and financial aid?