3.12.1 Substantive Change

Comprehensive Standard 3.12.1: Substantive Change

The institution notifies the Commission of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seeks approval prior to the initiation of changes.

Compliance Partial Compliance Non-compliance


The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) notifies the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) of substantive changes in programs and scope of operation and, when required, seeks approval prior to the initiation of changes. To ensure that the institution reports such changes promptly and consistently, USF Sarasota-Manatee has a formalized policy and procedures that it follows.


The policies and regulations of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) do not address substantive change as defined by SACSCOC; therefore, the USF System approved an internal policy for reporting substantive changes to SACSCOC (USF Policy 10-061, System Policy on Reporting Substantive Changes). The USF Policy 10-061, Section 1 requires each separately accredited institution within the USF System to establish procedures that the institutional Liaison to SACSCOC identifies substantive changes and works with the initiating units within the institution to prepare the appropriate notification to SACSCOC’s President.


Based on USF Policy 10-061, USF Sarasota-Manatee established its own Procedures for Substantive Changes for reporting substantive change. Institutional Research & Effectiveness (IR) tracks substantive changes through the Substantive Change Database that demonstrates the execution of and commitment to the substantive change policy and procedures. In addition to duties as SACSCOC Liaison, the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research & Effectiveness is a member of the Executive Leadership Team and monitors activities which may need to be reported or approved by SACSCOC prior to implementation.

The example below illustrates how USF Sarasota-Manatee personnel followed its Procedures for SACSCOC Substantive Changes.

At the biweekly meeting of the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs (RVC) and the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison (SAL) on April 8, 2015, Dr. Terry Osborn (RVC) notified Dr. Bonnie Jones (SAL) of the planned termination of the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Special Education. Dr. Osborn prepared the BOG Notification Form and ensured review and approval for the termination through all appropriate channels in the College of Education (Dean and faculty), USF System bodies (Academic & Campus Environment Advisory Council, Academic & Campus Environment Workgroup, and USF Board of Trustees). The USF System then sent Notification to the BOG. The SAL prepared the Notification Letter to Dr. Belle Wheelan, SACSCOC’s President, and Dr. Sandra Stone, Regional Chancellor, signed it. The SAL sent the letter to SACSCOC on June 12, 2015. Postal Tracking indicated that SACSCOC received it on June 15, 2015. The SAL added the termination to the USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Substantive Change Database (with Special Education). She will add additional information to the database upon a reply from SACSCOC.

Additional information on USF Sarasota-Manatee’s compliance with SACSCOC policies is provided in Comprehensive Standard 3.13.2 (Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards: Policy and Procedures).


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