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Reorganization of Academic Programs and Academic Units and Suspension of Programs


  • Academic program: "An academic program is a structured grouping of coursework leading to a baccalaureate or graduate degree or to a teaching credential"
  • Academic unit: A department, school, college, or other administrative home for an academic program.

Policy Overview 

Program or Unit Reorganization

Reorganization of academic programs and academic units may result from regular, formal Program Review, accreditation recommendations, resource and enrollment issues, or curricular considerations.

Reorganization of academic programs and units may include but is not limited to mergers, consolidations, divisions, separations or movements of either academic programs or units that affect how those programs or units are administered.

Program Suspension

Suspension of an academic program may result from regular, formal Program Review, accreditation recommendations, resources and enrollment issues, or a demonstrated need for faculty to review the curricular or administrative structure of the program.

Program suspension is not acceptable when the aim is program discontinuance.  An academic program may not be suspended for a period of more than two full academic years.  After this period the program is automatically reinstated unless a new proposal is submitted to either (a) continue the suspension for an additional two-year term or (b) discontinue the program.


1. Initiation of Academic Program or Unit Reorganization or Program Suspension Proposals:

A proposal for the reorganization of academic programs or units, or suspension of an academic program, must be presented to the Provost and Vice Provost and the Academic Senate Chair by one or more of the following:

  • A simple majority of the tenured and tenure track faculty of the affected program(s) or unit(s)
  • The dean(s) of the college(s) involved in the academic programs or units to be reorganized, or programs to be suspended.
  • The President

The Provost may also initiate academic program or unit reorganization or program suspension.  All proposals will be forwarded by the Provost to the Academic Senate Executive Committee for review.

2. A proposal for the reorganization of an academic program or unit should be preceded by a full and open discussion with faculty members and staff in affected academic programs or units about the proposed changes.  All proposals must include;

A.  A summary of the consultative procedures followed

B.  A summary of the three main reasons for the proposed changes

A proposal for the reorganization of an academic program or unit that is regarded to be non-contentious by the affected faculty, the Chair(s)/Head(s)/Director(s), and the appropriate administrators, only requires 2A and 2B, above.  Non-contentious proposals will be reviewed by the Academic Senate Executive Committee on the earliest convenient date.

The Academic Senate Executive Committee will prepare a report either indicating agreement that the proposal is non-contentious or requiring a more detailed report.  Proposals classified as non-contentious by the Academic Senate Executive Committee will be placed on the Academic Senate consent agenda along with the Academic Senate Executive Committee report.  The Academic Senate will be notified of the consent agenda items.  Consent agenda items resulting from this process will be subject to appeal by any senator.  Pulled proposals will be placed on the next Academic Senate agenda as a business item in the first and second reading cycle.

A proposal for the reorganization of an academic program or unit that is regarded as contentious by affected faculty, Chair(s)/Head(s)/Director(s), appropriate administrators or the Academic Senate requires a detailed report that will include the following, in addition to 2A and 2B:

C.  A detailed account of the proposed administrative and curricular changes

D.  Compelling evidence to support the financial or academic benefits of any proposed reorganization or program suspension, relative to leaving the existing program or unit in place or unchanged.

E.  An explanation of the probable effects of the proposed changes relative to university-wide learning objectives, accreditations, and the university strategic plan

F.  A summary of the most recent program review and accreditation review, if applicable

G. The number of students, the number of faculty at each rank, and the number of staff at each rank involved in the affected academic programs or units, and the most probable way(s) the proposed changes will affect them, including an account of how faculty and staff duties will change as a  result of the proposed changes

H. Student enrollment and application patterns for the academic program(s) or units during the previous five years, if applicable

I.  The means by which the affected students, faculty and staff will be informed of the proposed changes

J.  An explanation as to how students currently enrolled in the program or units will be accommodated until they complete the program

K.  If the proposal is submitted during the summer, a compelling explanation as to why it is being submitted in summer and not during the academic year

L.  Acknowledgement of the proposal from the relevant dean(s) and relevant Chair(s)/Head(s)/Director(s)

3.  Any proposal that is calling for program suspension will include all of 2A-L, and;

M.  An explanation as to why program suspension, not program discontinuance, is being proposed.

N.  The date when the proposed program suspension would take effect, and the date when it is anticipated that the program would be reinstated.

P.   A complete list of the courses that will not be taught if the affected program is suspended

Q.  The changes that would be necessary in order to reinstate the program

4. Proposal Review:

Upon receipt of contentious proposal(s) to reorganize program or units, or to suspend academic programs, the Academic Senate Chair will form an ad hoc committee comprised of one faculty member from each college (none of whom are members of the affected programs or units), one student (who may be from one of the affected programs or units), and when possible, two faculty members from affected programs or units.

The charge of the ad hoc committee will be to review the proposal changes and provide a report with recommendations to the Academic Senate.

Proposal review periods are not to exceed twelve (12) weeks.

5.  Twelve Week Review Timeline

Week Procedure
One Ad hoc committee is formed.
two to Five Ad hoc committee begins reviewing proposal, consulting with dean(s), chair(s)/head(s)/director(s), members of the affected programs or units, and students in proposed affected programs or units.
six Academic Senate hosts one public meeting, ad hoc committee in attendance, to discuss proposed changes.
seven Ad hoc committee prepares and presents written report with recommendations to Academic Senate Chair.
eight Academic Senate Executive Committee considers ad hoc committee report, recommendations, and, if appropriate, agendizes report for full Academic Senate consideration.
nine Academic Senate considers ad hoc committee report as a business item, first reading.
eleven Academic Senate considers ad hoc committee report as a business item, second reading.
twelve Academic Senate Chair submits ad hoc committee report and Academic Senate decision to Provost/Vice Provost.

Source: AS 715-10 Resolution on the Academic Senate Policy and Procedures for Reorganization of Academic Programs and Academic Units and Suspension of Programs (PDF)



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