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900.6 - Substantive Change

University Group Policy #900.6

I.    Executive Summary

Member institutions are required to notify the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval prior to the initiation of changes. Member institutions are also required to have a policy and procedure to ensure that all substantive changes are reported to the Commission in a timely fashion. Institutional responsibilities related to reporting are specifically outlined by SACSCOC. Failure to report planned substantive changes prior to implementation of the proposed program can result in loss of accreditation

II.  Policy Statement

It is the policy of Winston-Salem State University to comply with the requirements of SACSCOC, as they may
be amended from time to time, by obtaining approval prior to implementing substantive changes to its

III.     Definitions

Substantive change means a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope. SACSCOC policy
shall control what constitutes a substantial change. Examples of substantive changes at Winston-Salem State
University (“WSSU”) may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution,
  • Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution,
  • Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution,
  • The addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when the institution was last evaluated,
  • The addition of courses or programs of study at a degree or credential level different from those
  • included in the institution’s current accreditation or reaffirmation, or
The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50% of an educational program.

IV.    Guidelines

The Chancellor of WSSU has overall responsibility for ensuring compliance and for reporting substantive
changes to SACSCOC. The university’s Accreditation Liaison is responsible for assisting that WSSU is
complying with the SACSCOC Policy and Procedures on Substantive Change. Under the guidance of the
Provost, the University Deans are responsible for:

  • Recognizing pending substantive changes;
  • Ensuring that all relevant notification and approval processes outlined in the on- campus routing forms
    for approval of undergraduate and graduate curricular proposals are followed;
  • Reporting actions that may be substantive to the Accreditation Liaison; and
  • Ensuring that the university has obtained prior approval from SACSCOC before implementing any
    programs with substantive changes.

V.     Applicability

This policy applies to all employees and relevant programs.

IV.    Compliance

The institutional accreditation liaison will review new recommended programs with the Provost on a quarterly basis to ensure that all substantive changes are reported in accordance with the policy of SACSCOC. The Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and the Chief Legal Counsel are responsible for ensuring compliance regarding substantive changes relevant to their areas.

Responsible Division: Office of the Chancellor

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Adopted: March 16, 2018

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