3.36.2 Academic Program Modification and Review

Responsible Position

Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs


Minnesota State Board Policy

Minnesota State System Procedure

Minnesota Statute 135A.052 Postsecondary Missions


Maintenance of academic program records

ATCC shall maintain their academic program records in the program inventory to inform students, address consumer disclosure requirements, and support ATCC business practices. Program information to be maintained includes the following:

  1. Accreditation for the program, if applicable
  2. Career clusters, pathways, and assessments
  3. Center of excellence affiliation, if applicable
  4. Closed enrollment status and organization(s) served
  5. Delivery mode
  6. Effective begin and end terms
  7. Emphases, if applicable
  8. Green designation, if applicable
  9. Locations
  10. Name, description, student learning outcomes, and URL
  11. Time to completion
  12. Type, Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code, and level
  13. Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes, if applicable
  14. Transfer Pathway Designation

Approval of names for academic programs and emphases

ATCC has considerable latitude to name an academic program consistent with its content and purpose, although consideration should be made for clarity, brevity, and professionalism.

  1. Names for academic programs must:
    • represent the learning outcomes as reflected by core content of the curriculum,
    • reflect the assigned Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes unless a suitable CIP code is not available,
    • be less than or equal to 50 characters in length, including spaces so that a name can appear on student awards and transcripts. If this title exceeds 50 characters (including spaces), a short title must also be identified due to ISRS field limitations,
    • include the word “advanced only” when justified relative to preceding programs, comparison to entry level job standards, or special admissions criteria,
    • be permitted to use the prefix “pre-“ when
    • the program prepares individuals for an associate of science degree that a graduate must complete to be admitted to a baccalaureate-level program that is the minimum necessary qualification for practice, such as any of the engineering specialties,
    • marketing a baccalaureate degree for a post-baccalaureate professional field such as pre-dentistry, pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-veterinary medicine, pre-nursing, pre-chiropractic medicine, pre-occupational therapy, pre-optometry, and pre-physical therapy.
    • Transfer pathway programs must follow the naming convention “[Discipline] Transfer Pathway”.
  2. Academic program names must not include ampersands or references to:
    • the words “programs,” “awards” (certificate, diploma, associate), “delivery mode,” “emphasis,” “option,” or other curricular descriptors.
    • the term “pathway” in a program title is limited to designated transfer pathway programs
    • words such as “basic,” “careers,” “concepts,” “core,” “foundations,” “fundamentals,” “general,” “introduction,” and “orientation” when the program is intended for occupational preparation,
    • accreditation or external curriculum approvals, such as AACSB, ABET, ACS, or NCATE. An acronym, if essential, may be used in conjunction with relevant text to communication program content,
    • licensure when licensure is granted by an external agency and not ATCC. An emphasis title may include the word “non-licensure” to indicate that the program does not prepare a student to apply for licensure,
    • certified or registered when this recognition is granted by an external agency and not ATCC. Either term is allowed in an academic program name if doing so is required by an external agency. Nursing program titles recommended by the
    • Minnesota Board of Nursing must exclude use of words “certification” and “registered”, for example:
      • “Nursing Assistant” for nursing assistant certification and home health aide certification,
      • “Practical Nursing” for licensed practical nursing, or
      • “Nursing” for registered nursing.

Approval of changes to existing academic programs

  1. Closure. Closure of an academic program must be approved by the Minnesota State Chancellor. Approval will only be granted under the following circumstances:
    • the closure is requested by ATCC and the Minnesota State Chancellor determines that the documentation provided supports closure;
    • the Minnesota State Chancellor determines that closure is warranted; or
    • the academic program has not been reinstated following a suspension.
    The academic program closure application must be documented, as applicable, regarding:
    • academic program need,
    • student enrollment trends,
    • employment of graduates,
    • the financial circumstances affecting the academic program or ATCC,
    • the plan to accommodate students currently enrolled in the academic program,
    • impact on faculty and support staff,
    • consultation with appropriate constituent groups including students, faculty, and community,
    • alternatives considered, and
    • other factors affecting academic program operation.
    A closed academic program cannot be relocated, replicated, or reinstated.
  2. Redesign. Prior approval must be obtained from the Minnesota State Chancellor for academic program redesigns that affect the approved name, CIP code, the addition of emphases, a change in award, or a change in credit length when the change exceeds the maximum or fails to meet the minimum credit lengths defined in policy.

    Prior approval is not required for deletion of emphases or changes in credit length when the change is within the limited established by board policy. ATCC shall report these changes to the Minnesota State Chancellor.
  3. Suspension and reinstatement. ATCC may suspend an academic program for three years. ATCC shall apply to the Minnesota State Chancellor for suspension of an academic program. The application must include documented reasons for suspension and a reinstatement plan with a date for reinstatement. The suspension may be extended for up to one year with notification to the Minnesota State Chancellor. The Minnesota State chancellor shall close an academic program that has not been reinstated following a suspension.

    Reinstatement requires approval of the Minnesota State Chancellor based on review of required documentation. The reinstatement plan must describe reasons for the suspension, identify specific actions to resolve the problems and address the following factors, as applicable:
    • academic program need;
    • student enrollment trends;
    • employment of graduates;
    • financial circumstances affecting the academic program or ATCC;
    • the plan to accommodate students currently enrolled in the academic program;
    • impact on faculty and support staff;
    • consultation with appropriate constituent groups including students, faculty, and community;
    • academic program accreditation and licensure;
    • alternatives considered; and
    • other factors affecting academic program operation.
    A suspended academic program must not be relocated or replicated until it is reinstated.
  4. Academic program replication or relocation. Replication and/or relocation of an academic program requires approval by the Minnesota State Chancellor when the replication or relocation:
    • is offered at a location that is new to ATCC,
    • affects an existing agreement between colleges and/or universities,
    • is in the same service area or within a reasonable commute of a similar academic program offered by another college, or
    • involves leasing non-Minnesota State property.
    If none of the above applies, only notification by the ATCC President to the Minnesota State Chancellor of the location is required.

    Relocation to another college or university requires approval of the Minnesota State Chancellor. The college or university which the academic program is reassigned must provide for the viability of the academic program.

Student consultation and review regarding academic program decisions

When academic program changes are proposed as described above, students must be provided an opportunity to be involved as required by Minnesota State Board Policy 2.3 and System Procedure 2.3.1.

Expedited approval of 9-16 credit certificate programs

Approval of certificate programs designed to meet a near-term workforce training need requested by employer(s), workforce center(s), or other entities can be expedited depending upon the potential for unnecessary program duplication. Documentation must demonstrate training need for the current or next semester, but evidence of other labor market information and student interest is not required.

  1. Potential duplication. When another college or university offers a similar program online or within an overlapping program service area or within a 45-mile commute distance, a notice of intent must be distributed to other colleges or universities through Program Navigator with a five-day waiting period. Upon approval, the proposed program can be offered for one or more cohorts within a 12-month period from the start of the first cohort. Subsequently, a new program application must be submitted for the program to be considered for continuation.
  2. Non-duplicative. When another college or university does not offer a similar program online or within the program service area, a notice of intent is not required. Upon approval, the proposed program may be offered without conditions.

Student Options when Academic programs are Suspended, Closed, Relocated, or Changed

ATCC shall establish plans to address students’ opportunities to complete an academic program when it has been suspended, closed, relocated, or when the requirements have changed.

Academic Program Suspension, Closure, or Relocation

ATCC shall develop a plan to serve students who were admitted to an academic program proposed for suspension, closure, or relocation. The plan must identify admitted students who are covered by the plan and their options to complete the academic program. ATCC shall notify students about their options and assist them with their individual plans. Students covered by the plan shall maintain full-time enrollment status unless ATCC makes other provisions.

Academic Program Changes

ATCC shall notify students who have been admitted to an academic program of any changes to the academic program. Students must be given an opportunity to graduate under the catalog requirements at the time of their admission to ATCC or under any subsequent catalog requirements.

Academic Review

Periodic review of academic programs is the responsibility of ATCC. The review must encompass all instructional areas and be structured according to discipline, academic program or program cluster, department, or other academic unit.

Related ATCC Documents:


Approved by: Leadership Council

Effective Date: 4/6/2021

Next Review Date: April 2024

Archive: 3.11.1 Academic Program Review