Organizational change

Some units that administer academic programs within the university may seek to make changes to their organizational structure. Changes may be simple or complex, and include establishing or closing an academic unit, changing the name of an academic unit, reorganizing a college/school, establishing an off-campus site or any organizational change at or above the department level.

SCHEV staff must be notified in writing regarding any organizational change that involves the establishment, reorganization or termination at or above the department level. SCHEV Council approval is required for any organizational change (establishment, reorganization or closure) that may alter the mission of the university, its curricular offerings or may not be implemented within currently authorized funds. Generally, SCHEV considers organizational changes for units that house degree or certificate programs. However, there are particular nuances that require consultation with the Office of the Provost to ensure appropriate approvals are obtained. Some organizational changes also may require notification and/or approval from SACSCOC.

Types of organizational changes

Organizational changes can be simple or complex.

  • A simple change is a structural alteration (establishment, reorganization or closure/termination), proposed solely for the purpose of internal management, that would not alter the institution’s mission or curricular offerings and would be executable within currently authorized funds.
  • A complex change is a structural alteration (establishment, reorganization or closure/termination), not proposed solely for the purpose of internal management, that may alter the institution’s mission or curricular offerings and/or may not be executable within currently authorized funds (e.g., establishing a new unit – college, school or department – or a “non-exempt” off-campus instructional site).

Some organizational changes also may require notification and/or approval from SACSCOC.

Development and approval process

All academic units seeking an organizational change should follow this process.

Initiating unit contacts Provost’s Office using the program development and modification/organizational change request form to begin the process.

SCHEV liaison meets with the representative(s) from the initiating unit to provide guidance based on the specific request. SCHEV liaison supplies a proposal authorization form to complete after the meeting. The authorization form must be completed and signed by the appropriate officials before proposal development begins.

With support from the Provost’s Office, the initiating unit completes a full SCHEV proposal and VCU Substantive Change Checklist for the purpose of identifying SACSCOC implications.

After receiving approval at the appropriate levels within the school/college, the final proposal enters the university review and approval process:

  • University Council, Committee on Academic Affairs and University Policies
  • University Council
  • President’s Cabinet
  • Board of Visitors

Once internally approved, the proposal is submitted to SCHEV (and SACSCOC as needed) for notification or approval. The Office of the Provost facilitates the necessary submissions at this stage. Though this is the culminating step in the approval process, VCU cannot assume approval. The final outcome is not guaranteed.

If SCHEV approves the proposal, SCHEV staff will send a written approval to the provost. The Provost’s Office will send the written notification to the college/school dean and all relevant parties, which will include the date for program implementation. The program initiator will work with the Bulletin editor to provide content for the Bulletin.

If the organizational change constitutes a substantive change as per SACSCOC policy, then program approval must be obtained by SACSCOC as well prior to implementation.

Contact

Please direct questions to the academic program proposal specialist (schevliaisons@vcu.edu).