According to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a substantive change is "a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution" and "includes high-impact, high-risk changes that can impact the quality of educational program and services." Institutions are required to notify SACSCOC of substantive changes or, when appropriate, seek prior approval of those changes. Moreover, institutions are required to have a policy and procedure in place to ensure all substantive changes are reported to SACSCOC in a timely manner. Substantive changes most common to LSU (a Level VI institution) include, but are not limited to the following actions:
- Adding a program that is a significant departure from the existing programs, or method of delivery, from those offered when the institution was last evaluated.
- Adding an additional method of delivery to a currently offered program.
- Awarding dual or joint academic awards.
- Closing an institution, a program, a method of delivery, an off-campus instructional site, or a program at an off-campus instructional site.
- Adding a new off-campus instructional site/additional location including a branch campus
For additional information or questions, please contact us for further assistance.
All proposals for new academic programs, including certificates and degrees, must comply with the university’s internal routing process outlined in Policy Statement 45: Courses and Curricula and, if applicable, PS-116: Reporting Substantive Change to SACSCOC. Additionally, units seeking to add or close a method of delivery to a currently offered program must also inform OIE prior to implementation of the change; OIE will facilitate a substantive change notification to SACSCOC.
Units must allow for sufficient time to submit the substantive change notification or prospectus for significant departure or an off-site location to SACSCOC in advance of the anticipated implementation for the program. Units should seek guidance from OIE prior to requesting approval from Faculty Senate Courses and Curricula. Direct proposal materials to Tara Rose, Interim Associate Vice Provost, Office of Institutional Effectiveness. Upon completion of the substantive change review, OIE will notify both the unit and the Office of Academic Affairs whether the proposed program qualifies as a substantive change and, if so, will provide guidance regarding the development of the substantive change notification or prospectus.
Timeline for Substantive Change Submissions
The most common Substantive Changes by LSU are listed below with accompanying timelines. For questions, please contact OIE staff.
|Substantive Change Type||SACSCOC Action Required||Timeline to Complete LSU Approval||Timeline for SACSCOC Submission|
|New Program (< 50% new content)||Approval by Executive Council||12 months prior to implementation||January 1 or July 1|
|New Program (25-49% new content)||Notification||12 months prior to implementation||Before implementation|
|Program Closure||Approval by Executive Council||18 months prior to implementation||January 1 or July 1|
|Joint Academic Award (SACSCOC)||Notification||12 months prior to implementation||6 months before implementation|
|Dual Academic Award||Notification||12 months prior to implementation||6 months before implementation|
|Method of Delivery of Existing Program||Notification||6 months prior to implementation||Before implementation|
|Program Length Change (+/- 25%)||Approval by Executive Council||12 months prior to implementation||January 1 or July 1|