Program Registration Guidance Documents

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Teacher, Educational Leader, and Pupil Personnel Services Certification Programs

If you are proposing a program that prepares students for teacher, educational leader, or pupil personnel services certification, go to Register a Program to Prepare Candidates for State Teacher, Educational Leader, or Pupil Personnel Services Certification for more information related to the registration of programs leading to certification.

Guidance on General Academic Program Proposal Documents

  1. Introduction
  2. Proposals Requiring Master Plan Amendment
  3. Proposals Requiring Charter Amendment or Amendment of Certificate of Incorporation
  4. Changes in Currently Registered Programs
  5. Glossary of Program Registration Terms
  6. Key Standards in the Regulations
  7. Counties Organized by Regents Higher Education Region
  8. Format Definitions
  9. External Reviews 
    1. Evaluation Report Form for Program Proposals 
  10. Department Expectations:  Admissions, Academic Support Services, Credit for Experience and Program Assessment and Improvement
  11. Department Expectations: Curriculum 
    1. Internships
    2. Financial Aid Considerations for Degree Programs
    3. Policy Statement on Liberal Arts and Sciences
  12. Department Expectations: Faculty
  13. Department Expectations: Financial Resources and Instructional Facilities
  14. Department Expectations: Library Resources
  15. Department Expectations: Graduate programs
  16. Department expectations: Transfer to Baccalaureate Programs
  17. Review Process for Approval of Programs in the Distance Education Format
    1. Determining Time on Task in Online Education
  18. Review Visits
  19. New York State Taxonomy of Academic Programs (HEGIS Codes)

 

Introduction

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The Office of Higher Education assesses the compliance of public, independent, and proprietary degree-granting institutions and their programs with the standards of quality set forth in law, rule, and regulation. This includes reviewing applications to establish new higher education institutions, major changes to the missions of existing higher education institutions, proposed programs of study, and changes to currently registered programs. Programs registered (approved) by the New York State Education Department are listed on the Department’s Inventory of Registered Programs.

The program registration process considers all significant aspects of an institution’s educational enterprise as it relates to a proposed program. Program registration is the Department’s chief means to ensure that colleges, universities, and professional schools maintain quality standards.

What requires registration?

Registration of a curriculum (program of study) indicates its approval based on quality standards in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. Section 50.1 (i) of those regulations defines curriculum or program as “the formal educational requirements necessary to qualify for certificates or degrees. A curriculum or program includes general education or specialized study in depth in a particular field, or both.” Section 52.1 requires registration of the following types of curricula at colleges, universities, and professional schools before those institutions may offer them:

every curriculum creditable toward a degree offered by institutions of higher education;
every curriculum leading to a certificate or diploma bearing credit towards a degree;
every curriculum leading to licensure in a profession;
every curriculum for which registration is required by statute, the Rules of the Regents, or any other section of these regulations; and
every curriculum leading to a certificate or diploma offered by a non-chartered proprietary institution authorized by the Regents to grant degrees, except noncredit curricula approved by another State agency for the purpose of licensure by that agency.

(Statutory Authority: Sections 207, 210, 6506, and 6507 of Education Law. See also Section 13.1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents.)

Proposal Submission and Review Process

The submission process and application forms vary according to the category of program being sought. There are three categories of program proposals considered by the Department:

Programs to prepare candidates for teacher, educational leader, or pupil personnel services certification
Programs to prepare candidates for a professional license
All other (general academic) programs

For more information, please see the Department's program registration page.

In general, the Department reviews proposals in the order in which they are received, but it also seeks to allot its efforts equitably across all institutions. Institutions that submit multiple proposals over a short period of time should prioritize their submissions, since a cluster of proposals may not be reviewed in strict chronological order.

If the Department finds that a proposal is incomplete or does not provide evidence of compliance with registration standards or expectations, it advises the designated contact person for the institution. The Department may specify a deadline (typically 30 days) for the institution's response to the noted concerns.

If the institution does not provide an adequate response by the specified deadline, the Department may withdraw the proposal from further consideration. Proposals that are denied or withdrawn by the Department may be revised and submitted at a later date when the institution is able to demonstrate compliance with all standards.

Proposals Requiring Master Plan Amendment

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What is a Master Plan?

A college or university states its mission, goals, and objectives in its master plan. The master plan describes the institution’s philosophy, purposes, and direction; the characteristics of the people it seeks to serve; the level and range of programs it offers; the research it conducts; and the services it provides. This plan may be modified by amendment as the institution evolves.

An institution’s or campus’s approved academic mission consists of the levels of study (associate, baccalaureate, first-professional, master’s, and doctoral) it offers and the set of disciplinary areas in the New York State taxonomy of academic programs in which it offers degree programs at each level of study.

What is a Master Plan Amendment?

When an institution seeks to expand its academic mission (e.g., by offering a degree at a new level of study or in a new disciplinary area), it must submit a master plan amendment application for review and approval by the Board of Regents. The Regents must approve an amendment of an institution’s master plan before the institution can undertake the proposed activities. The main purpose of this process is to permit public review of significant changes in an institution’s academic mission.

What actions require Master Plan Amendment?

Board of Regents approval of a first master plan or of an amendment to an existing master plan is required in the following instances for degree programs:

•   An institution’s initial authorization to award a degree (i.e., a new college);

•   An institution's first program at a new level of study (e.g., first master’s degree);

•   An institution's establishment of a branch campus or inter-institutional program;

•      At each degree level an institution’s first program (associate, baccalaureate, first-professional, master’s, and doctoral) in each of the following ten disciplinary areas:

  • Agriculture
  • Biological Sciences
  • Business
  • Education, including education, home economics, and library science; however, an institution offering home economics and/or library science but not education programs may not offer education programs without approval of a master plan amendment.
  • Engineering, including engineering, architecture, engineering technology, metallurgy, and related interdisciplinary studies; however, an institution offering architecture, engineering technology, and/or metallurgy but not engineering programs may not offer engineering programs without approval of a master plan amendment.
  • Fine Arts
  • Health Professions
  • Humanities, including humanities, area studies, classics, comparative literature, English, foreign languages. linguistics, philosophy, religious studies, theology, and related interdisciplinary studies
  • Physical Sciences, including physical sciences, astronomy, astrophysics, atmospheric sciences and meteorology, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, geology, geophysics and seismology, mathematics, oceanography, paleontology, physics, and related interdisciplinary studies
  • Social Sciences, including social sciences, anthropology, archaeology, communication, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, public affairs, and sociology.

How are Master Plan Amendments related to an institution’s academic mission and program of study?

An institution’s academic mission consists of the levels of study it offers and the set of disciplinary areas in the New York State taxonomy of academic programs in which it offers degree programs at each level of study. Each program of study at an institution is a curriculum as defined in Section 50.1 (i) of the Commissioner’s Regulations.

For purposes of administration, each program of study is categorized in a Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS) subject field, which reflects taxonomy of academic disciplines.

Are there any exceptions to the Master Plan Amendment process?

An institution authorized to confer baccalaureate and master’s degrees and offering registered baccalaureate programs in a HEGIS subject field (4-digit level) within one of the ten disciplinary areas (see above) may register a master’s degree program in the same subject field without approval of a master plan amendment, even if it would be the institution’s first master’s degree program in the disciplinary area. Subsequent registration of additional master’s degree programs in the disciplinary area would not need master plan amendment approval.

For example, if an institution authorized to confer master’s degrees offers a registered baccalaureate program in zoology (HEGIS 0407) and wishes to offer a master’s degree program in the same subject field, zoology, the only action needed would be registration, even if the program would be its first master’s degree program in the Biological Sciences disciplinary area.

Master Planning for New Institutions:

Establishing a new higher education institution requires Regents review and approval of a master plan amendment. This includes the conversion of an existing non-degree institution to a degree-granting institution.  Individuals interested in this process should review the Higher Education Authorization section of this Website.

Master Planning for Branch Campuses and Inter-institutional Programs

Establishing a branch campus or inter-institutional program requires Regents review and approval of an amendment to an institution’s master plan. Branch campus is defined as a unit of an institution located at a place other than the institution’s principal center, at which the institution offers one or more degree programs. For an independent institution, a concurrent charter amendment also may be needed. 

Is a Master Plan Amendment required for courses offered at an Extension Site?

Individual courses offered at an extension site would not require the approval of a master plan amendment and/or charter amendment. Institutions are required to inform the Department of the locations of extension sites and inter-institutional sites. They do this through the Inventory of Off-Campus Instructional Locations (NYSED-8 form) in the Higher Education Data System (HEDS). Part 54 of Commissioner’s Regulations also defines extension centers and inter-institutional centers and requires that institutions receive the Commissioner’s approval to operate them.

More information on off-campus instruction can be found here:

http://www.nysed.gov/college-university-evaluation/campus-instruction

 

What is the process for requesting a Master Plan Amendment?

The institution should carefully read the guidelines found in the beginning of this section to determine if the proposal requires a master plan amendment (MPA).  If a MPA is determined to be required, the institution must complete and submit the MPA supplement in addition to the registration materials for new programs.

When both applications have been submitted and reviewed, the Department sends the required abstract to other colleges and universities in the region of the proposed program in order to solicit (canvass) their comments and advice on the need and demand for the proposed program(s) and the potential effect on other institutions.  (See section on Counties Organized by Regents Higher Education Region in the document.)

The letter (canvass) invites the regional institutions to voice support, concerns and objections and also informs them of the right to request a public hearing.  If a public hearing is requested, the Department coordinates the hearing and it is presided over by a member of the Board of Regents.  The purpose of the hearing is to provide an opportunity for colleges and universities in the region, and other interested parties, to comment on how the proposal may affect their institution.  It is not an adjudicatory hearing.  The hearing summary is presented along with the MPA item to the Board of Regents for its consideration at a Regents meeting.

If objections or concerns have been raised, the institution responds to those concerns in writing to the objecting institution.  The Department should be copied on the response. 

If no objections have been raised, the Department prepares a formal recommendation to the Board of Regents following its review and analysis of the information provided. (Following Regents approval of an amendment to the master plan of State University or City University, the Governor must approve the amendment. The Department cannot register the program proposed until the Governor has approved the master plan amendment.)

(Statutory Authority: Section 237 of Education Law. See also Section 52.1 and Part 54 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.)

Proposals Requiring Charter Amendment or Amendment of Certificate of Incorporation

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Section 224 of Education Law states, “No individual, association, co-partnership or corporation not holding university, college or other degree conferring power by special charter from the legislature of this state or from the regents shall confer any degree."

What is a charter?

The Board of Regents incorporates independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities by issuing a charter. Each corporation the Regents create possesses the corporate powers that its charter specifies together with the powers the Education Law confers on all such corporations.

An independent institution’s charter defines its legal authority with respect to the location and scope of its programs of study and the degree(s) it may award.

What actions require charter amendment?

The following conditions require amendment of an institution’s charter:

  • Initial authority to award degrees. The process by which an existing non-degree institution chartered by the Regents acquires degree-conferring power includes amendment of its charter.  The process requires information beyond that required for program registration and master plan amendment approval for existing degree-granting institutions.  
  • New degree titles, including degrees at new levels. Most charters list the specific degree titles the institution may award. Adding a new degree title may require a charter amendment.
  • Change of location or establishment of a branch campus. Charters specify an institution’s principal location and the additional locations at which it may operate. Therefore, moving the main campus to a location not authorized in the charter or establishing a branch campus in a location not authorized by the charter requires a charter amendment. (Establishment of a branch campus also needs approval of an amendment to the institution’s master plan.)
  • Operation beyond limitations of the charter. In general, if an independent institution wishes to engage in an activity beyond limitations specified in its charter, it needs a charter amendment. This may include, but need not be limited to, extending its programs to a new level of study (e.g., a two-year college seeking baccalaureate powers) or expanding into fields not authorized by the charter (e.g., medicine or dentistry).
  • Other actions not related to programs of study, such as changing the number of the institution’s trustees, also may require amendment of an independent institution’s charter.

 

Filing a Petition for a Charter Amendment

If a charter amendment is necessary, the institution must file a petition for charter amendment with the Office of Counsel:

Office of Counsel
State Education Department
Education Building - Room 116
Albany, New York 12234

 

When should a charter amendment be requested?

The institution should submit the charter-related materials to the State Education Department's Office of Counsel at the same time that the proposal for registration action is submitted. The process described should also be followed by an institution seeking a Regents charter for initial authority to award degrees.

http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/charters/

Do public (SUNY and CUNY) institutions have charters?

Public institutions are not chartered by the Regents.  The State University of New York and The City University of New York and their campuses and community colleges exist by virtue of provisions of Education Law (Article 8 for SUNY, Article 125 for CUNY and Article 126 for community colleges). Section 355 of Education Law authorizes the State University Trustees to confer all degrees they were authorized to award when it was enacted (July 1, 1948) “and also such other degrees as the regents may hereafter specifically authorize them to grant.” Section 6206 authorizes the City University Trustees to confer the degrees that the New York City municipal colleges awarded prior to April 16, 1926, “and also such other degrees, as the regents thereafter specifically authorized or may hereafter authorize them to grant.” For each system, the Regents authorize use of additional degree titles campus-by-campus, on the request of the system’s Board of Trustees.

What is a certificate of incorporation?

Proprietary colleges are sole proprietorships, associations, partnerships, or business corporations that operate for profit. To operate in New York State, proprietary colleges require a certificate of incorporation.  They may offer degrees only if the Regents grant them the authority to do so. Such authorization is granted individually for each degree title (e.g., Associate in Applied Science [A.A.S.]). Section 224 of Education Law prohibits the transfer of authority to a new owner without action by the Regents.

A proprietary college’s certificate of incorporation with the Department of State may also need to be amended in connection with proposals to award new or additional degree titles, to change the location of an existing campus or to establish a new branch campus, to change the name of the college, or to conduct any activities beyond the limitations expressed in the certificate of incorporation.  Such amendments are, in turn, submitted to the Department for the consent of the Commissioner.

More information on filing for consent of the Commissioner can be found here:

http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/consents

(Statutory Authority: Section 224 of Education Law; for charters, see also Sections 216, 216-a, 217, 218, 219, 223, and 226; for degree authorizations for units of State and City 
University, see Sections 355 and 6206, respectively).

Changes in Currently Registered Programs

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Approval must be sought for proposed changes in a currently registered program as indicated below. 

  • Cumulative change of one-third or more of the minimum credits required for the award (e.g., a change of 20 credits or more in a registered associate degree program). 
  • Changes in a program’s focus or design (e.g., the elimination of management courses in a Business Administration program
  • Adding or eliminating an option or concentration (e.g., the addition of a concentration in Biophysics to a Physics program)
  • Eliminating a requirement for program completion (e.g., the elimination of the internship requirement)
  • Altering the liberal arts and science content in a way that changes the degree classification (e.g., increasing the number of liberal arts and sciences credit in a program leading to an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree from 20 to 45, the minimum required for the Associate in Arts (A.A.) award)
  • Program title (e.g., Psychology to General Psychology)
  • Program award (e.g., BS to a BA)
  • Mode of delivery (e.g., a program leading to an associate’s degree in two years is offered in an accelerated format, leading to completion in less than two years)
  • Discontinuing a program (e.g., enrollment has ceased and no resources are directed to the program)
  • Format change (e.g., the requirements of a program offered completely during the day can now be completed during the evening.)
  • Establishing a dual degree program based on existing registered programs (e.g., establishing a BA in Environmental Studies/MPA in Public Administration)
  • Creating a new program from a concentration/track in an existing program (e.g., establishing a program in Finance based on a concentration in Finance in an MBA program)

 

 

Important Notes

  • If new courses are being added as part of the noted change(s), provide a syllabus for each new course and list the name, qualifications, and relevant experience of faculty teaching the course(s). Syllabi should include a course description, objectives, prerequisites, credits allocated, methods of assessing student achievement, etc.  Additional expectations for syllabi can be found in the Department Expectations: Curriculum section of this document.
  • If the requested changes result in the reclassification of the program into a different major subject area and if this represents the first program offered by your institution in that major subject area, approval of the changes may also require an application for a master plan amendment, since this is a significant change in the institution's academic mission.  Additional information on master plan amendments can be on p. # of this document or here:    http://www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/aipr/guidance/gpr2.html
  • If you are requesting a change in degree award to a degree title which is not authorized in your institution's charter or certificate of incorporation, approval of this change may also require application for an amendment of the charter or certificate of incorporation. 
  • If the change involves establishing an existing registered program at a new location, complete a new registration application for the proposed program. This is considered to be a new program.
  • For programs that are registered jointly with another institution, all participating institutions must confirm support for the changes.
  • To change a registered professional licensure program or add a license qualification to an existing program, contact the Office of the Professions for guidance. The Office of the Professions is not part of the Office of Higher Education.

To contact the Office of the Professions, go to http://www.op.nysed.gov/home.html

Glossary of Program Registration Terms

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award: the degree or certificate granted for completion of an academic program e.g., Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.).

branch campus or interinstitutional program: a unit of an institution located at a place other than the institution’s principal center or at another degree-granting institution, at which the institution offers one or more curricula leading to a certificate or degree.

certificate: a credential issued by an institution in recognition of the completion of a curriculum other than one leading to a degree.

course: an organized series of instructional and learning activities dealing with a subject.

credit: a unit of academic award applicable towards a degree offered by the institution.

curriculum or program: the formal educational requirements necessary to qualify for certificates or degrees. A curriculum or program includes general education or specialized study in depth in a particular field, or both.

dual degree program: one program leading to two degrees offered by a single institution (e.g., BS/MS).

extension center or interinstitutional center: a unit of an institution located at a place other than the institution’s principal center or at another degree-granting institution, at which the institution does not offer any curricula leading to a certificate or degree, but at which the institution conducts more than 15 courses for credit or has more than 350 course registrations for credit in any academic year.  Commissioner’s approval is required.

extension site or interinstitutional site: a unit of an institution located at a place other than the institution’s principal center or at another degree-granting institution, at which the institution does not offer any curricula leading to a certificate or degree, and at which the institution conducts no more than 15 courses for credit and has no more than 350 course registrations for credit in any academic year.  Approval is not required.

(More information on extension sites and centers can be found here:
http://www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/aipr/Off-CampusInstruction1.html

initial degree program: the first college degree program the institution is authorized by the Regents to offer.

institutional representative/designated person: the individual designated by the institution as the official liaison with the Office of College and University Evaluation of the State Education Department on all matters having to do with submission and approval of proposals for new programs, changes or discontinuances, as well as with institutional review and accreditation by the Board of Regents.

jointly-registered program or program offered jointly: one program that is offered by two or more institutions.

new level of study: a degree level above the highest level the institution is currently authorized to offer (e.g., master’s degree for a baccalaureate-level institution).

program title: the name of the degree or certificate program, usually indicating the subject field of the program or the major, e.g., Human Resource Management, Latin American Studies, Chemistry.

registration: approval by the State Education Department of a curriculum in an institution of higher education for general purposes, for admission to professional practice, or for acceptance toward a credential issued by the department or by the institution.

semester hour: a credit, point, or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of a course which requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments, except as otherwise provided pursuant to section 52.2(c)(4) of the Commissioner’s Regulations. This basic measure shall be adjusted proportionately to translate the value of other academic calendars and formats of study in relation to the credit granted for study during the two semesters that comprise an academic year.

Key Standards in the Regulations

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The following citations from the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education include sections that are referenced within the Application for Registration of a New Program. Please note, however, that this compendium does not include all regulations applicable to program registration. For example, full standards required for programs which lead to teacher certification or licensure in certain professions, as well as procedures for appeal on denial of initial registration, are contained elsewhere in Part 52 of the Regulations.

Registration of Curricula

Section 3.47 Requirements for earned degrees.

(a) No earned degree shall be conferred unless the candidate has had a preliminary education of at least a four-year high school course, or its equivalent, as determined by the commissioner. Satisfactory evidence of such preliminary education must be offered before beginning the course of study for the degree.

(b) No earned degree shall be conferred in this State on any person who has not completed the course of studies requisite to such degree, which institution shall be authorized to confer the same. No earned undergraduate or graduate degree shall be conferred unless the applicant has completed a course of study registered by the department.

Section 52.1 Registration of postsecondary curricula.

(a) Registration is required for:

(1)       every curriculum creditable toward a degree offered by institutions of higher education;

(2)       every curriculum leading to licensure in a profession;

(3)       every curriculum for which registration is required by statute, the Rules of the Regents, or any other section of these regulations; and

(4)       every curriculum leading to a certificate or diploma offered by a nonchartered proprietary institution authorized by the Regents to grant degrees, except non-credit curricula approved by another State agency for the purpose of licensure by that agency.

(b)        To be registered each curriculum shall:

(1)       be submitted to the commissioner, together with such information as the commissioner may require, in a form acceptable to the commissioner;

(2)       conform to all applicable provisions of this Part; and

(3)       show evidence of careful planning. Institutional goals and the objectives of each curriculum and of all courses shall be clearly defined in writing, and a reviewing system shall be devised to estimate the success of students and faculty in achieving such goals and objectives. The content and duration of curricula shall be designed to implement their purposes.

(c)        In addition to the requirements of subdivision (b) of this section, to be registered every new curriculum shall be consistent with the Regents Statewide Plan for the Development of Postsecondary Education.

(d)        Registration shall be granted only to individual curricula.

(e)        Curricula offered at each branch campus shall be registered separately from curricula at an institution’s principal center.

(f)         Each course offered for credit by an institution, shall be part of a registered curriculum offered by that institution, as a general education course, a major requirement, or an elective.

(g)        Each curriculum for which registration is required shall be registered before the institution may publicize its availability or recruit or enroll students in the curriculum.

(h)        New registration shall be required for any existing curriculum in which major changes are made that affect its title, focus, design, requirements for completion, or mode of delivery.

(i)         The length of the term of registration of each curriculum shall be determined by the commissioner.

(j)         Application for reregistration of each curriculum shall be presumed, and no actual application for reregistration shall be required of an institution.

(k)        Each institution shall notify the department in writing of the discontinuance of any registered curriculum.

(l)         Registration or reregistration of a curriculum may be denied if the commissioner finds that curriculum, or any part thereof, not to be in compliance with statute or this Title.

(1)        Notice of the denial of registration or reregistration shall be given in writing by the department to the chief executive officer of the institution and shall state the specific reasons for denial. When an initial registration of a proposed curriculum is denied, such notice shall also advise the institution of its rights to appeal such denial pursuant to section 52.24 of this Part. When reregistration of a curriculum is denied, such notice shall also advise the institution of its rights to appeal such denial pursuant to section 52.23 of this Part.

(2)        Reregistration of a curriculum shall be denied only upon a finding that a curriculum fails to comply with any applicable provision of statute, of the Rules of the Board of Regents or of this Part. Such findings shall be based on an inspection followed by a written statement specifying failures to comply. The institution shall have an opportunity to respond in writing to such statement, and an opportunity to submit a plan, acceptable to the commissioner, to achieve compliance.

(3)        If a plan acceptable to the commissioner is submitted, the curriculum will be registered during the period in which such plan is being implemented. At the end of such period, an inspection shall be made to determine the extent to which compliance has been achieved, and registration shall be denied or renewed based on such determination. Such denial of registration shall conform to the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subdivision.

(4)       Upon notification by the institution of its termination of a curriculum, the curriculum shall not be reregistered beyond the date on which there are any students enrolled in it.

(m)       In accordance with the provisions of section 224 of the Education Law, the approval of the commissioner may be granted to a person, firm, association, or corporation to advertise in the State a college degree granted by an institution located outside of the State, provided that such institution is recognized as a candidate for accreditation by the appropriate regional association, is accredited by a specialized accrediting association recognized by the United States Commissioner of Education, or, in the judgment of the New York State Commissioner of Education, meets the standards of quality set forth in section 52.2 of this Part.

(n)        At the request of an institution, the department may review noncredit curricula to attest their quality for approval for the training of veterans.

Section 52.2  Standards for the registration of undergraduate and graduate curricula

(a)        Resources. The institution shall:

(1)       possess the financial resources necessary to accomplish its mission and the
purposes of each registered curriculum;

(2)       provide classrooms, faculty offices, auditoria, laboratories, libraries, audio­visual and computer facilities, clinical facilities, studios, practice rooms, and other instructional resources sufficient in number, design, condition, and accessibility to support the curricular objectives dependent on their use;

(3)       provide equipment sufficient in quantity and quality to support instruction, research, and student performance; and

(4)       provide libraries that possess and maintain collections sufficient in depth and breadth to support the mission of the institution and each registered curriculum. Libraries shall be administered by professionally trained staff supported by sufficient personnel. Library services and resources shall be available for student and faculty use with sufficient regularity and at appropriate hours to support the mission of the institution and the curricula it offers.

(b)        Faculty.

(1)        All members of the faculty shall have demonstrated by training, earned degrees, scholarship, experience, and by classroom performance or other evidence of teaching potential, their competence to offer the courses and discharge the other academic responsibilities which are assigned to them.

(2)        To foster and maintain continuity and stability in academic programs and policies, there shall be in the institution a sufficient number of faculty members who serve full-time at the institution.

(3)        For each curriculum the institution shall designate a body of faculty who, with the academic officers of the institution, shall be responsible for setting curricular objectives, for determining the means by which achievement of objectives is measured, for evaluating the achievement of curricular objectives, and for providing academic advice to students. The faculty shall be sufficient in number to assure breadth and depth of instruction and the proper discharge of all other faculty responsibilities. The ratio of faculty to students in each course shall be sufficient to assure effective instruction.

(4)        At least one faculty member teaching in each curriculum culminating in a bachelor’s degree shall hold an earned doctorate in an appropriate field, unless the commissioner determines that the curriculum is in a field of study in which other standards are appropriate.

(5)        All faculty members who teach within a curriculum leading to a graduate degree shall possess earned doctorates or other terminal degrees in the field in which they are teaching or shall have demonstrated, in other widely recognized ways, their special competence in the field in which they direct graduate students.

(6)        The teaching and research of each faculty member, in accordance with the faculty member’s responsibilities, shall be evaluated periodically by the institution. The teaching of each inexperienced faculty member shall receive special supervision during the initial period of appointment.

(7)        Each member of the faculty shall be allowed adequate time, in accordance with the faculty member’s responsibilities, to broaden professional knowledge, prepare course materials, advise students, direct independent study and research, supervise teaching, participate in institutional governance and carry out other academic responsibilities appropriate to his or her position, in addition to performing assigned teaching and administrative duties.

(c)       Curricula and awards.

(1)       In addition to the requirements of section 53.3 of this Subchapter, the objectives of each curriculum and its courses shall be well defined in writing. Course descriptions shall clearly state the subject matter and requirements of each course.

(2)       For each curriculum, the institution shall assure that courses will be offered with sufficient frequency to enable students to complete the program within the minimum time for completion, in accordance with paragraphs (6) - (10) of this subdivision.

(3)       Credit toward an undergraduate degree shall be earned only for college level work. Credit toward a graduate degree shall be earned only through work designed expressly for graduate students. Enrollment of secondary school students in undergraduate courses, of undergraduates in graduate courses, and of graduate students in undergraduate courses shall be strictly controlled by the institution.

  1. A semester hour of credit may be granted by an institution for fewer hours of instruction and study than those specified in subdivision (o) of section 50.1 of this Subchapter only:

            (i)                    when approved by the commissioner as part of a registered curriculum; or
(ii)        when the commissioner has granted prior approval for the institution to maintain a statement of academic standards that defines the considerations which establish equivalency of instruction and study and such statement has been adopted by the institution.

             (5)       The institution shall assure that credit is granted only to students who have achieved the stated objectives of each credit-bearing learning activity.

             (6)       Associate degree programs shall normally be capable of completion in two academic years of full-time study, or its equivalent in part-time study, with an accumulation of not less than 60 semester hours.

             (7)       Baccalaureate degree programs shall normally be capable of completion in four academic years of full-time study, or, in the case of five-year programs, five academic years of full-time study, or their equivalent in part-time study, with an accumulation of not less than 120 semester hours.

             (8)       Master’s degree programs shall normally require a minimum of one academic year of full-time graduate level study, or its equivalent in part-time study, with an accumulation of not less than 30 semester hours. Research or a comparable occupational or professional experience shall be a component of each master’s degree program. The requirements for a master’s degree shall normally include at least one of the following: passing a comprehensive test, writing a thesis based on independent research or completing an appropriate special project.

             (11)     In addition to the requirements of this section, a program designed to fulfill in part the requirements for licensure in a profession regulated by Title VIII of the Education Law shall also meet such requirements as may be established by statute, by the rules of the Regents, or by any other section of this Part.

             (12)     All registered programs intended to satisfy the educational requirements for professional licensure as identified in paragraph (a) of subdivision (3) of section 6507 of the Education Law or intended to satisfy the educational requirements for certification or licensure as a teacher, pupil personnel services professional, school administrator and supervisor, or school district administrator shall include two hours of approved coursework or training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment. Such coursework or training shall include information concerning the physical and behavioral indicators of child abuse and maltreatment and the statutory reporting requirements set out in Social Services Law sections 413 through 420, including, but not limited to, when and how a report must be made, what other actions the reporter is mandated or authorized to take, the legal protections afforded reporters, and the consequences for failing to report.

(d)        Admissions.

(1)        The admission of students shall be determined through an orderly process using published criteria which shall be uniformly applied. Among other considerations, the admissions process shall encourage the increased participation in collegiate programs at all levels of persons from groups historically underrepresented in such programs.

             (2)     Admissions shall take into account the capacity of the student to undertake a course of study and the capacity of the institution to provide the instructional and other support the student needs to complete the program.

 

Section 54.1 Approval of off-campus instruction.

(a)       Branch campuses.

(I)         No independent institution shall establish a branch campus unless the institution is authorized to establish such branch campus by its charter and master plan, as approved by the Regents.

(2)        No public university or college thereof shall establish a branch campus unless the university is authorized to establish such branch campus by its master plan as approved by the Regents and the Governor.

(3)        No degree-granting proprietary institution shall establish a branch campus unless the institution has the permission of the Regents to establish such branch campus.

(4)        The criteria to be used in reviewing the application of an institution to establish a branch campus will include:

                                         (i)         the conformity of the curricula to be offered at the proposed branch campus with the standards of academic quality required by Part 52 of this Title;

                                    (ii)        the need or demand for the branch campus or the curricula to be offered there from the points of view of students or special groups of students such as military personnel and people in sparsely populated areas, potential employers of the graduates of such curricula, the institution, and the public;

                                    (iii)       the impact of the proposed branch campus upon the institution and upon other institutions in the region and in the State as a whole; and

                                    (iv)       the compatibility of the proposed branch campus with the Regents Statewide Plan for the Development of Postsecondary Education.

Counties Organized by Regents Higher Education Region

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Canvasses of most actions requiring master plan amendments are conducted of institutions residing within the Regents Region of the proposed action.  Note: canvasses of doctoral programs are conducted of all institutions within New York State that offer doctoral programs.

The Directory of College and University Campuses in New York State lists college contact information and Regents Region.

(Statutory Authority:  Section 50.1(u), Regulations of the Commissioner of Education)

  1. Western Region
    Allegheny County
    Cattaraugus County
    Chautauqua County
    Erie County
    Niagara County
     
  2. Finger Lakes Region
    Genesee County
    Livingston County 
    Monroe County
    Ontario County
    Orleans County
    Seneca County
    Wayne County
    Wyoming County
    Yates County 
     
  3. Central Region
    Cayuga County
    Cortland County
    Madison County
    Onondaga County
    Oswego County
     
  4. Southern Tier Region
    Broome County
    Chemung County
    Chenango County
    Delaware County
    Schuyler County
    Steuben County
    Tioga County
    Tompkins County
     
  5. Mohawk Valley
    Fulton County
    Herkimer County
    Montgomery County
    Oneida County
    Otsego County
    Schoharie County
     
  6. North Country Region
    Clinton County
    Essex County 
    Franklin County
    Hamilton County 
    Jefferson County
    Lewis County
    St. Lawrence County
     
  7. Capital Region
    Albany County
    Columbia County
    Greene County
    Rensselaer County
    Saratoga County
    Schenectady County
    Warren County
    Washington County
     
  8. Hudson Valley Region
    Dutchess County
    Orange County
    Putnam County
    Rockland County
    Sullivan County
    Ulster County
    Westchester County
     
  9. New York City Region
    New York County (Manhattan)
    Bronx County
    Kings County (Brooklyn)
    Queens County
    Richmond County (Staten Island)
     
  10. Long Island Region
    Nassau County
    Suffolk County

Format Definitions

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Evening: All requirements for the degree or other award must be offered during evening study.

Weekend: All requirements for the degree or other award must be offered during weekend study.

Evening/Weekend: All requirements for the degree or other award must be offered during a combination of evening and weekend study.

Day Program:  For programs having EVENING,  WEEKEND, or EVENING/WEEKEND formats, indicates that all requirements for the degree or other award can also be completed during the traditional daytime study.

Independent Study:  A major portion of the requirements for the degree or other award must be offered through independent study rather than through traditional classes.

Distance Education:  50% or more of the course requirements for the degree or other award can be completed through study delivered by distance education.

External:  All requirements for the degree or other award must be capable of completion through examination, without formal classroom study at the institution.

Accelerated:  The program is offered in an accelerated curricular pattern which provides for early completion.

Standard:  For programs having Independent, Distance Education, External, OR Accelerated formats, indicates that all requirements for the degree or other award can also be completed in a standard, traditional format.

Bilingual: Instruction is given in English and in another language.  By program completion, students are proficient in both languages.  This is not intended to be used to identify programs in foreign language study.

Language:  The program is taught in a language other than English.

Upper-Division:  A program comprising the final two years of a baccalaureate program. A student cannot enter such a program as a freshman.  The admission level presumes prior completion of the equivalent of two years of college study and substantial prerequisites.

Cooperative:  The program requires alternating periods of study on campus and related work experience.  The pattern may extend the length of the program beyond normal time expectations.

5-Year:  For baccalaureate programs. Indicates that because of the number of credits required, the program is approved as a 5-year program with five-year State student financial aid eligibility.

4.5 Year: For baccalaureate programs.  Indicates that because of the number of credits required, the program is approved as a 4.5-year program with 4.5-year State student financial aid eligibility.

Not Full-Time: The program cannot be completed on a full-time basis: for example, a 60-credit program that leads to an associate degree that cannot be completed in two academic years.  Such programs are not eligible for TAP payments to students.

Exempted from Branch Campus Requirement:  The program has been specifically exempted from Part 54 of Commissioner’s Regulations requiring branch campus status.  For example, some certificate programs at worksites have been granted this exemption.

External Reviews

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Evaluation Report Form for Program Proposals

Please note the following important change in procedure concerning external reviews of program proposals:

The Department’s approval of external reviewers for most proposals is no longer required prior to the reviews being conducted. (See exceptions below.) Institutions are responsible for securing qualified external reviewers who do not have a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. Please review the following important information about the external review process.

Which applications require external review?

  • Applications that require master plan amendment
  • Applications for registration of new graduate-level general academic degree programs (does not qualify individuals for professional licensure or educator certification)
  • Applications for registration of programs in new or emerging fields
  • Applications for registration of new graduate-level teacher, educational leader, or pupil personnel services programs that lead to an area of certification, or certification extension, that is new for the institution
  • Other applications for which the Department determines an external review is necessary in order to make a registration decision
  • Applicants seeking authorization for initial degree authority: the Department will identify the need for external review(s) after its initial assessment of the applying entity's application for degree authority.

Exceptions: As noted above, prior approval by the Department of external reviewers is no longer required, with the following exceptions:

  • Proposed Doctoral Programs: doctoral program reviewers must have experiences specific to doctoral faculty, including administrative and scholarly credentials. As a result, the Department will continue to require preapproval of doctoral program reviewers.
  • Professional Licensure Programs: for more information about the external review process for programs that prepare individuals for a professional license, contact the Professional Education Program Review unit of the Office of Professions.

 

Note:  If you are unsure if the application you are planning to submit requires an external review, please contact the appropriate office prior to submitting the application.

 

Who qualifies as an appropriate external reviewer?

It is expected that the proposed external reviewer is a recognized expert in the field of the proposed program, as demonstrated by appropriate educational credentials, professional experience and academic teaching and/or administrative experience in similar programs.  The proposed reviewer must not have a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest with the institution or program under review.

 

When is there a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest?

There is a conflict of interest/appearance of a conflict of interest when the potential reviewer:

  • is a present or former employee, student, member of the governing board, owner or shareholder of, or consultant to the institution that is seeking approval for the proposed program or for new degree authority, including those persons who may have consulted on, or helped to develop, the application;
  • is a spouse, parent, child, or sibling of any of the individuals listed above;
  • is seeking or being sought for employment or other relationship with the institution submitting the application;
  • has now, or has had in the past,  a relationship with the institution submitting the application that might compromise objectivity;

 

Note:  If the Department finds that the external reviewer chosen by the institution has a conflict of interest, it will terminate the review of the application and notify the institution that the application is incomplete and will be closed. 

 

What documents are required to be submitted to the Department as part of an external review?

  1. The applicable external review form (for programs below the doctoral level):
  1. The institution’s response to the external review evaluation report
  2. A brief rationale for the selection of the external reviewer
  3. The external reviewers’ resume/CV
  4. conflict of interest statement signed by the external reviewer

 

How do I submit the external review documents?

All of the documents listed above should be scanned and submitted to the Department with the application for registration of a new academic program or the application for new degree authority.  See the applicable registration application form for submission instructions.

SUNY and CUNY institutions: contact System Administration for information about the proposal submission process.

Department Expectations: Admissions, Academic Support Services, Credit for Experience and Program Assessment and Improvement

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(Application for Registration of a New Program - Task 2)

Admissions

  • Admissions criteria are fully and accurately described in the proposal and in the publications of the institution.
  • Admissions criteria specific to the program may be different from general institution admissions criteria.  If so, this should be noted and the differences fully described. If identical to the general admissions criteria, please identify the general admissions criteria.
  • Admissions criteria may include
    • Minimum GPA or entrance exam scores
    • Work experience
    • Achievement of specific degree program
    • Completion of specific coursework
  • All course placement testing is fully described in the publications of the institution.
  • The institution adheres to published admission criteria and policies for admitting only those students capable of completing the course of study to which they apply, given the instructional and other support the institution provides.
  • The institution identifies and encourages the enrollment of prospective students from historically underrepresented groups by including targeted activities in its admissions process.

 

Academic Support Services

  • The institution describes how it will provide adequate advising and program planning services to support students in the proposed program.
  • The institution describes the provision of academic and other support services that students may need to succeed in the proposed program.  In addition to academic program planning and counseling, support services may include, in accordance with institutional mission and student needs for academic success:
    • Tutoring
    • Personal counseling
    • Career counseling
    • Computing resources and services
    • Essential skills development; including study skills, information literacy, communication skills and quantitative skills
    • Assistance in preparation for licensing/certification exams and other requirements for professional practice

 

Credit for Experience

  • Each institution sets its own policy for accepting credits and awarding credit for experience.  The policy should be in writing and should be defendable.
  • Credit is only granted for prior learning that is demonstrated to be equivalent to that in the institution’s registered curricula and component courses.
  • The institution must have a detailed written process for the evaluation of credit for experience that may include:
    • Professionals in the field serving as evaluators
    • Submission of essays and other evidence of learning
    • Testing
    • Examination results, e.g., CLEP

 

Program Assessment and Improvement

  • There is a plan for ongoing and formal periodic review of curricular design and content, and in program effectiveness in implementing its stated purposes for each program.  The plan may include:
    • Schedule of periodic  plan implementation
    • Departmental review
    • External peer review
    • Surveys from multiple sources, e.g., faculty, students, alumni at different points of experience, and employers
    • Student outcomes data, as indicated by surveys and other sources
    • Prior and planned use of findings to improve programs and student achievement.
    • Evidence that data gathered is used to inform program improvement.

Department Expectations: Curriculum

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(Application for Registration of a New Program - Task 3)

  • Undergraduate degree programs must contain the required amount of liberal arts and sciences content for the degree award cited.
  • Master’s degree programs shall normally include:
    • A minimum of one academic year of full-time graduate level study, or its equivalent in part-time study
    • An accumulation of not less than 30 semester hours
    • Research or a comparable occupational or professional experience
    • At least one of the following: passing a comprehensive test, writing a thesis based on independent research or completing an appropriate special project
  • The design of each curriculum, and degree programs as a whole, are coherent, implement the philosophy, purposes and educational objectives of the program and institution, and are consistent with professional expectations in the field.
  • Methods of instruction are consistent with the purposes and objectives of the program of each course.
  • Courses are offered frequently enough to ensure timely completion of the program, as demonstrated in the sample program schedule.
  • Curriculum content proceeds from introductory level to advanced level in logical sequence with appropriate breadth, depth, and currency; appropriate prerequisite knowledge and skill is required
    • This is illustrated by the sequence of courses as listed in the Sample Student Schedule and content of syllabi and statements of prerequisites.
  • Syllabi are submitted for all new courses in the major of proposed undergraduate programs.
    • Syllabi for all courses required for proposed undergraduate programs should be available upon request.
  • Syllabi are submitted for all courses of proposed graduate programs.
  • Syllabi are demonstrably consistent with, or superior to those of comparable courses and programs at comparable institutions; syllabi embed the content and skill expectations of professional associations in the field
  • Syllabi are reflective, comprehensive and confirm the expertise and pedagogical skill of the instructor, and should include the following items:
    • course description
    • course objectives
    • prerequisites
    • credits allocated
    • assignments
    • method of assessing student achievement, including the assessment rubrics at the course and project levels
    • basis of grade determination;
    • bibliographic and other resources
    • other course policies related to integrity of credit
    • Author(s) of syllabus and resume(s), if not cited in the faculty table required in Task 4: Faculty. 
  • Syllabi demonstrate that at the course level the requirements for expected time on task meet the requirements of CR 50.1(o) , that all work for credit is college-level, of the appropriate rigor, and that credit will be granted only to students who have achieved stated learning objectives.

Internships 

If the proposed program requires the completion of an internship or similar experience, the following expectations apply:

  • The requirement for the internship is detailed in the program description.
  • The internship is a learning experience that provides opportunities for the student to apply knowledge gained through coursework.
    • The primary purpose of the internship is not to advance the operations of the internship site/employer or to complete work that a regular employer would routinely perform.
  • Qualified members of the faculty are assigned to oversee each internship experience.
  • The requirements for each internship experience are outlined in a complete and thorough syllabus, including the elements listed in the Department Expectations: Curriculum document/section of this document. The syllabus also includes the following information, if applicable:
  • required “on-campus” meetings
  • required assignments, e.g., reading assignments, portfolio
  • duration and hours of the internship
  • salary
  • Students are made fully aware of tuition, fees, minimum qualifications or eligibility requirements, and process and/or registration requirements that are specific to the internship. 
  • Students participating in internships are provided a job description or similar document, outlining the specific activities of the position.
  • The institution is responsible for communicating and contracting with the internship hosts, for visiting internship sites, and for securing mid-term and final evaluation reports from the hosts. 
  • Internship supervisors are fully briefed and trained on the institution’s expectations and requirements for the student’s experience and performance and provide routine feedback to the student and the institution.
  • Assessment of the internship experience is included in the institution’s program assessment plans.

 

Financial Aid Considerations for Degree Programs

The eligibility of the proposed program for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).is determined through a review of the Sample Student Schedule. 

If a program can be completed in the “normal” time for the particular degree level, the program is registered as being offered on a full-time basis. Only programs registered as full time are eligible for TAP.

A full-time program is one that is capable of completion in the “normal” time. For example, section 52.2(c)(7) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education specifies that a four-year undergraduate degree must be capable of completion in four academic years of full-time study. Thus, a baccalaureate degree that requires 120 semester hours should be capable of completion at the rate of 15 semester hours per semester to be completed in the normal time of four academic years.

“Full-time program” differs from a student’s full-time course load or full-time study requirements. While a full-time program must be capable of completion in the normal time to be registered as a full-time program, students need not complete the program at the rate of 15 semester hours a semester. The full-time study requirement, pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulations section 145-2.1 (a), is a minimum course load of at least 12 semester hours.

For more information on the New York State Tuition Assistance Program, contact the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) https://www.hesc.ny.gov/.

 

Policy Statement on Liberal Arts and Sciences

This guidance is intended to assist institutions of higher education in New York State in meeting the requirements of the Rules of the Board of Regents, Section 3.47 (c), Requirements for Earned Degrees, Undergraduate degrees:

“Undergraduate degrees shall be distinguished, as follows, by the minimum amount of liberal arts content required for each degree.  The required liberal arts core shall not be directed toward specific occupational or professional objectives.”

Degree and minimum required total program credits

Minimum Proportion of Content

Minimum Number of Credits

Associate in Occupational Studies (60)

0

0

Associate in Arts (A.A.) (60)

3/4

45

Associate in Science (A.S.) (60)

1/2

30

Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) (60)

1/3

20

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) (120)

3/4

90

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) (120)

1/2

60

All other undergraduate baccalaureate degrees (BBA, BE, BFA, BPS, BTech, etc.) (120)

1/4

30

The liberal arts and sciences comprise the disciplines of the humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences. 

Examples of course types that are generally considered within the liberal arts and sciences:

  • Humanities:
  • English—composition, creative writing, history of language, journalism, linguistics, literature, literature in translation, playwriting
  • Fine arts—art appreciation, history or theory
  • Foreign languages—composition, conversation, grammar, history of the language, literature of the language, reading, translation studies
  • Music—music appreciation, history or theory
  • Philosophy—comparative philosophy, history of philosophy, logic, schools of philosophy
  • Religion—comparative religion, history of religion
  • Theater—dramatic interpretation, dramatic literature, dramaturgy, history of drama, playwriting
  • Natural sciences and mathematics:
  • Natural sciences—anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, earth science, geology, physics, zoology
  • Mathematics—calculus, mathematical theory, statistics
  • Computer Science—broad survey/theory courses
  • Social sciences:
  • Anthropology, cultural studies, economics, geography, government, history, political science, psychology, sociology
  • Criminal justice—introductory and broad survey courses
  • Communications—interpersonal communication, mass communication, public speaking, speech and rhetoric

Examples of course types that are generally not considered within the liberal arts and sciences:

  • Agriculture
  • Business—administration, finance, human resources, management, marketing, production
  • Computer applications (e.g., word processing, database, spreadsheet), programming (e.g., specific languages)
  • Health and physical education
  • Home economics 
  • Education and teaching methods 
  • Library science 
  • Music—studio, performance, practice courses—voice, instrument, direction, conducting
  • Office technologies and practice 
  • Performing and related arts—acting, costume design, dance, direction, lighting, production, scene construction, sound production 
  • Specialized professional courses in such fields as accounting, architecture, dental hygiene, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, podiatry, veterinary medicine
  • Studio art—drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture
  • Technology/technician fields—construction, data processing, electrical, electronics, graphic arts, mechanical, medical, refrigeration repair
  • Television and radio production
  • Theology—pastoral counseling, ministry

 

Department Expectations: Faculty

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(Application for Registration of a New Program - Task 4)

  • The faculty assigned to the proposed program have the professional expertise, college teaching and administrative experiences appropriate to their assignments.
  • The faculty have the documented expertise, including the advanced study and licensure appropriate to the field, to teach effectively each course to which they are assigned in appropriate depth and breadth, and to conduct other faculty responsibilities set forth in the standards.
    • The information listed in the Faculty charts (earned degrees and disciplines, certifications, experience, scholarly contributions, etc.) indicate that the program faculty have the needed expertise and background to teach the assigned courses.
  • Faculty members teaching at the certificate, associate degree, and baccalaureate levels hold at least a master's degree in an appropriate field and have the background for in-depth teaching, curriculum development, and program evaluation responsibilities.
    • Certain occupational specializations may merit demonstration of competence alternative to a master’s degree.  In all institutions, faculty with master degrees and beyond, and with substantial collective experience in college teaching and academic administration should be strongly predominant.
  • A least one faculty member teaching in each curriculum at the baccalaureate level must hold an earned doctorate in the discipline of the major of the proposed program.
  • Faculty members teaching at the graduate level must hold earned doctorates or other terminal degrees in their specialty areas, except as indicated below.
  • Faculty members teaching at the graduate level without an earned doctorate or other terminal degree have significant, widely recognized special competence in the field in which they teach.
    • This is demonstrated through national or international publications, research recognized in the field and other contributions to the advancement of knowledge, professional practice or quality of life. The burden of proof is on the institution to demonstrate the special competence of such individuals.
  • Faculty resumes/curricula vitae (if requested) list the following:
    • Education
    • Other credentials (e.g., licenses or certifications)
    • Teaching and administrative experience
    • Publications
    • Service
    • Memberships in professional or academic organizations
  • The faculty are clearly responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating curricular design; ongoing quality assurance; and advising.
    • This can be demonstrated through the answer to Task 2, Item 3 d:
      • Describe the role of faculty in the program’s design.
  • The number of full-and part-time faculty members is sufficient to assure the consistent attainment of program objectives with respect to breadth and depth of instruction, timely offering of all courses needed to complete the program within the appropriate period of time, and effective conduct of other academic responsibilities.
  • There is a sufficient and appropriate number of ongoing full-time faculty members to assure continuity of leadership and stability in the proposed program, including the following responsibilities:
    • development, implementation, evaluation and improvement of curricula,
    • ongoing assurance of the integrity of credit,
    • quality of teaching and learning,
    • advising; and
    • appropriate allocation and use of services and resources.
  • Any exception to the maintenance of a well-qualified core of ongoing full-time faculty in each program area is thoroughly documented in terms of high qualitative learning outcomes for students as well as the unique nature of the field.
    • This can be demonstrated through graduation rates, placement rates and/or other outcomes that meet or exceed rates at comparable institutions.
  • For proposed programs whose faculty have yet to be hired, provide a description of the required academic credentials and experience.
    • Position description or announcement may also be submitted.
  • Class size and the methods of instruction are consistently conducive to effective learning.  The size of each class is such as to assure prompt, continual, and substantive feedback on student performance during the course and to assure ongoing faculty accessibility to students in the course.
  • Class size is such that the instructor, or a well-qualified member of the instructional team for the course, has knowledge of each student’s strengths and weaknesses in the course and interacts with the student to strengthen performance.
  • Faculty workloads are consistent with student skill levels and their assessed needs for instructional support, feedback, and mentoring.
  • Faculty workloads permit sufficient time to participate in academic governance, advising, research, professional development, and other designated responsibilities.
  • Faculty workloads provide sufficient time for course preparations and for frequent, timely and careful assessments of students’ progress, including the development of writing and analytical skills.
    • Total teaching loads, including overload assignments, take into account the effect of class size and total student load on quality of instruction.
    • Normally, full-time faculty have a teaching load of no more than three separate course preparations per semester.

Department Expectations: Financial Resources and Instructional Facilities

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(Application for Registration of a New Program - Task 5)
  • Facilities and equipment are adequate to support the program at the level described.
  • The summary includes information about the specific resources to support the program, such as:
    • Laboratories
    • Technical and other equipment
    • Studios
    • Meeting spaces
    • Office space for faculty and staff
    • Technology
    • Support staff
  • The summary includes information about access to resources for students with disabilities.
  • The institution has budgeted a satisfactory amount to launch, implement and sustain the proposed program at a strong qualitative level.
  • The budget should include expenses for faculty compensation, library resources, equipment and student support services.

If no new resources are identified as needed for the proposed program, describe why none are needed.

Department Expectations: Library Resources

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(Application for Registration of a New Program - Task 6)

  • The description of library resources and/or plan for library development includes educational and research materials in an appropriate print and non-print mix in depth and breadth to support the proposed new curriculum.
  • The institution demonstrates that students attain through instruction and practice the advanced information literacy skills appropriate to the attainment of the general education and program skill goals.
  • Library resources include a sufficient number of appropriately trained library staff to support the proposed program. 
  • Professional library staff possess master's degrees from accredited library schools.

Department Expectations: Graduate programs

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(Application for Registration of a New Program - Task 7)

  • Faculty members teaching at the graduate level hold earned doctorates or other terminal degrees in their specialty areas.
  • Faculty members teaching at the graduate level without an earned doctorate or other terminal degree have significant, widely recognized special competence in the field in which they teach graduate students as demonstrated by such means as scholarly activity and/or a publication record. 
  • Coursework in graduate courses is clearly graduate-level work, and advanced in content, rigor and requirements.

Department expectations: Transfer to Baccalaureate Programs

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(Application for Registration of a New Program - Task 9)

  • Published information about the program is clear and specific about the details of transfer from program to program within the institution and within the guidelines of the articulation agreements with other institutions.

Review Process for Approval of Programs in the Distance Education Format

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Colleges and universities located in or operating in New York State that offers degree or certificate programs in which a major portion (i.e., 50% or more) of the requirements can be completed through study delivered by distance education must have those programs registered in the distance education format. 

To add Distance Education format to a registered program, submit the Add the Distance Education Format application. 

To submit a proposal for a new degree or certificate program to be offered in Distance Education format, submit the Add the Distance Education Format application with the Register a New Degree Program (non-doctoral) application.

  1. Distance Education Programs: Principles of Good Practice
  2. Determining Time on Task in Online Education

Distance Education Programs: Principles of Good Practice

Organizational Commitment

Principle:  Distance learning must be backed by an organizational commitment to quality and effectiveness in all aspects of the learning environment. Discussion:  To be effective distance learning programs must be backed by a commitment on the part of the institution or organization to include distance learning in its planning and goal-setting, to treat distance education and on-campus education equitably in its policies and procedures, and to provide the necessary resources – human, fiscal, programmatic and technical --- to support those programs. Operational Criteria:

  • The institution's distance learning activity is consistent with the institutional mission.
  • The institution shows evidence - through its priorities, goals, strategic plans, policies, procedures, faculty recognition, and infrastructure - that it values distance learning.
  • The institution's distance learning programs show evidence of careful planning, including identification of the need, the nature and size of the intended audiences, provisions for serving those audiences, and a plan for adding resources (financial and human, including instructional staffing and support functions) to accommodate future program growth ("scalability").
  • The institution has committed sufficient resources to its distance learning programs and services to ensure their effectiveness.
  • The institution has clearly identified a single office or officer with responsibility for assuring the quality of all distance education across the institution.
  • The institution ensures that the administration of its distance learning programs by knowledgeable personnel with adequate time and resources to accomplish this task.
  • The institution has developed and implemented a process for sustaining faculty professional development in distance learning.  This process recognizes that teaching in the distance learning environment requires different pedagogical and communication strategies to function effectively and that the faculty member and the institution share responsibility for assuring effectiveness.
  • If the institution uses courses, programs, or academic support services from another provider, it has an adequate process in place (with faculty participation) for evaluating their quality, academic rigor, and suitability for the award of college credit and a degree or certificate.
  • The institution has in place a comprehensive, viable technology plan for distance learning.
  • The institution has a clear policy on ownership of course materials developed for its distance education courses; this policy is shared with all faculty and staff involved in distance education at the institution.

Learning Design

Principle:  The institution's distance learning programs are designed to fit the specific context for learning. Discussion:  All programs the institution offers in a distance learning format must have quality, integrity, and consistency, and must fit the specific context for learning. That context includes the nature of the subject matter, the intended learning outcomes, the needs and goals of the learner, the learner’s environment, and the instructional technologies and methods. Operational Criteria:

  • The same academic standards and requirements are applied to programs offered on campus and through distance learning.
  • Distance learning programs are coherent, complete, and offered in a sequence or configuration that allows timely completion of requirements.
  • The same faculty qualifications are applied to distance education programs as all other academic programs.
  • Faculty are responsible for the initial and ongoing development and delivery of instruction in distance programs.
  • Distance learning programs provide clear statements of learner responsibilities and expectations of student participation and learning.
  • Distance learning programs provide for appropriate and flexible interaction between faculty and students and among students.
  • The technologies selected for a specific distance learning opportunity are appropriate for the intended learning outcomes, content, relevant characteristics of the learning and the learner, and student cost.
  • Distance learning programs include adequate verification of learners' work.
  • Faculty and program administrators determine the appropriate enrollment that can be supported in the distance learning program and in individual courses based upon the content and learning activities, the nature of the learners, the technologies used, and the support available to faculty.

 

Learner Support

Principle:  Distance learning activities are effectively supported for learners through fully accessible modes of delivery and resources. Discussion:  Distance learners often must assume greater responsibility for their own learning. They must understand and address their own learning needs; take initiative in asking questions and obtaining help; interact with faculty and other students as appropriate, and be prepared to deal with technical difficulties in the two-way flow of information. At the same time, institutions must develop and provide the necessary information and learner support systems to assist learners in carrying out their learning activities and using the available resources. Learner support must be appropriate to the distance learning modes used. Operational Criteria

  • The institution provides distance students with detailed information on admissions and program graduation requirements.
  • Distance program materials clearly and accurately represent the program, including detailed program completion requirements, the nature of the learning experience, program and faculty responsibilities, and the nature of faculty-student, student-faculty, and student-student interaction opportunities, techniques, and requirements. They define any specific student background, knowledge, or technical skills needed to undertake and successfully complete the distance program, and describe in layman's terms any technical equipment and/or software required or recommended.
  • The institution provides distance learners adequate academic support, including academic advisement, technical support, and other student support services normally available on campus. Program materials clearly describe how students obtain these support services.
  • The institution provides adequate library and information resources, services, and support for academic programs, including training in information literacy. These resources and services are accessible at a distance on a timely basis.
  • Administrative processes such as admissions and registration are readily accessible to distance students, and program materials clearly describe how access is obtained.
  • The institution provides orientation opportunities and resources for distance learners that are appropriate to the technologies used, the content, and the learners.

 

Outcomes and Assessment

Principle:  Distance education programs organize learning activities around demonstrable outcomes (often expressed in learning objectives), assist the learner to achieve these outcomes, and assess learner progress by reference to these outcomes. Operational Criteria:

  • Distance learning programs are expected to produce the same learning outcomes as comparable classroom-based programs. These learning outcomes are clearly identified -- in terms of knowledge, skills, or credentials -- in the course and program materials.
  • All aspects of the distance learning program are consistent with and shaped to achieve the demonstrable learning outcomes.
  • The means chosen for assessing student learning are appropriate to the content, learning design, technologies, and characteristics of the learners.

 

Program Evaluation

Principle:  The institution evaluates the effectiveness of its distance learning programs and uses the findings to improve the programs and services. Operational Criteria:

  • The institution has a process in place to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of all aspects of its distance learning programs on a regular basis.
  • The evaluation results are used for continuous program improvement.
  • Program evaluation procedures include a determination that distance learning programs result in learning outcomes appropriate to the rigor and breadth of the college degree or certificate awarded.

Determining Time on Task in Online Education

Time on task is the total learning time spent by a student in a college course, including instructional time as well as time spent studying and completing course assignments (e.g., reading, research, writing, individual and group projects.) Regardless of the delivery method or the particular learning activities employed, the amount of learning time in any college course should meet the requirements of Commissioner's Regulation Section 50.1 (o), a total of 45 hours for one semester credit (in conventional classroom education this breaks down into 15 hours of instruction plus 30 hours of student work/study out of class.) "Instruction" is provided differently in online courses than in classroom-based courses. Despite the difference in methodology and activities, however, the total "learning time" online can usually be counted. Rather than try to distinguish between "in-class" and "outside-class" time for students, the faculty member developing and/or teaching the online course should calculate how much time a student doing satisfactory work would take to complete the work of the course, including:

  • reading course presentations/ "lectures"
  • reading other materials
  • participation in online discussions
  • doing research
  • writing papers or other assignments
  • completing all other assignments (e.g. projects)

The total time spent on these tasks should be roughly equal to that spent on comparable tasks in a classroom-based course. Time spent downloading or uploading documents, troubleshooting technical problems, or in chat rooms (unless on course assignments such as group projects) should not be counted. In determining the time on task for an online course, useful information includes

  • the course objectives and expected learning outcomes
  • the list of topics in the course outline or syllabus; the textbooks, additional readings, and related education materials (such as software) required
  • statements in course materials informing students of the time and/or effort they are expected to devote to the course or individual parts of it
  • a listing of the pedagogical tools to be used in the online course, how each will be used, and the expectations for participation (e.g., in an online discussion, how many substantive postings will be required of a student for each week or unit?)

Review Visits

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Education Law § 215 gives the Department broad powers to carry out review visits to New York State’s colleges and universities:

§ 215. Visitation and reports

The regents, or the commissioner of education, or their representatives, may visit, examine into and inspect, any institution in the university and any school or institution under the educational supervision of the state, and may require, as often as desired, duly verified reports therefrom giving such information and in such form as the regents or the commissioner of education shall prescribe. For refusal or continued neglect on the part of any institution in the university to make any report required, or for violation of any law or any rule of the university, the regents may suspend the charter or any of the rights and privileges of such institution.

Rather than make regular, periodic peer review visits to New York State colleges and universities to assess compliance with the standards, in recent years the Office of Higher Education has applied a risk analysis approach to identify institutions that may not be in compliance with the regulations, and thus for which peer review visits appear to be warranted.

Risk factors that play into this analysis include the following:

  • significant enrollment growth or decline
  • proportion of applicants accepted
  • return of first-year students in the second year
  • associate and baccalaureate degree graduation rates
  • complaints received from students and their families
  • analysis of the latest audited financial statements of independent and proprietary institutions
  • financial aid reviews/disqualifications
  • investigations/inquiries from other State or federal agencies, or accrediting agencies

According to long-standing protocols and policies, as well as the Regents Rules governing institutional accreditation by the Board of Regents, the Office of College and University Evaluation also makes visits for other purposes:

  • visits to proposed degree-granting institutions 
  • follow-up visits to institutions newly receiving degree powers, including those institutions with provisional charters that request that their charters be made absolute 
  • consolidation of institutions (See Education Law § 223 on Consolidation of corporations)
  • deregistration/denial of a program (See Part 52.1(l)(2): “findings based on an inspection . . . “)
  • to follow up on implementation of recommendations from prior visits 
  • to follow up on new doctoral programs
  • applications by institutions to open branch campuses or extension centers (See: http://www.nysed.gov/college-university-evaluation/campus-instruction  : “There is also the expectation that a visit to the prospective center will be a part of the State Education Department’s review.”)
  • applications by institutions to move to a new degree level of study (See: http://www.nysed.gov/college-university-evaluation/campus-instruction “The process also includes an institutional self study and review by an external evaluation team.”)
  • institutional accreditation visits (See: Regents Rule 4-1.5(a)(4): “Site visit. The department shall conduct a site visit to the institution to assess compliance with the standards for institutional accreditation prescribed in this Subpart.”  Also RR 4-1.5(4)(iii); 4-1.5(5)(i)(b).
  • as part of reviews of potential purchasers of proprietary colleges to determine whether to recommend that the Board of Regents consent to transfer of degree powers (See Regents Rules §3.58: “The department may cause the institution to undergo site visits and may require the institution to provide additional reports and information [. . .]” )

New York State Taxonomy of Academic Programs (HEGIS Codes)

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