Handbook for the review and Approval of new academic Programs


Program Design Team Membership



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Program Design Team Membership


A new program proposal (certificates and degree programs) may be initiated by faculty or administrators and development of the proposal involves a program design team who collaborate to develop the concept paper and the proposal. The size and composition of the design team is driven by the scope of the program under consideration, the existing expertise and by the stage of development.

At the concept stage, the design team may be relatively small and members will consult others as needed. If the new program arises from existing programs at the college, the design team will likely include members of that program and may consist entirely of program members. In cases where the college undertakes an entirely new initiative, the development team is more broadly constructed and may include external experts.



Once the Provost approves the concept, the design team membership broadens is membership for the program proposal stage. In particular, the team invites the Office of Integrated Technology to include a representative who can help identify and explore technology needs for the program. Certificate program credits are applicable to at least one degree program/AOS and consequently, design teams should include representation from the relevant program/AOS. Undergraduate certificate programs are generally designed to be available across the college and through multiple modes of delivery. Accordingly, those teams should include representatives from two regional centers, the Center for Distance Learning, the Labor Center and International Programs (the latter two deans may decline).

Transmission from One Step to the Next


Formal transmission from one stage to another is essential to understanding what review has occurred and appropriate next steps. The “Summary of Program Proposal Actions” included in this document accompanies submissions and is updated as it moves from step-to-step. Governance bodies formally communicate actions to the proposal originators, sponsors, the graduate dean (if applicable) and the assistant vice president for academic programs. In addition, the Senate includes the president and the provost in its communication.

Substantive Changes to the Proposal


Minor modifications to a proposal, such as adding or modifying language for clarity or the inclusion of additional information that enhances the proposal need not impede forward movement in the review and approval process. However, a substantive modification or a request for substantive change requires that the proposal initiators revisit the proposal and then move it through the review and approval processes again. These sorts of changes include changes to:

  • the nature of the curriculum (a change in overall credits or goals)

  • the primary mode of delivery

  • the program purpose

  • the audience(s) that the program is intended to serve

Posting for Comment


To provide the opportunity for comment and input, the Office of Academic Affairs will post program proposals for comment for 30 calendar days, excluding reading and no appointment periods. This posting will precede any formal action from the relevant standing committee (CUSP and GSPC) allowing time for faculty review and input. The posting will include an announcement on ESCNet with a link to the document and discussion space. With a public announcement and sufficient time before the standing committee takes action, the proposal will have had a broad vetting and subsequent steps in the approval process serve to ensure due diligence in preparing the proposal and in consultation.

Initiator Participation in Governance Meetings


Program proposal initiators, sponsors and the assistant vice president for academic programs will briefly present new program proposals to relevant governance committees. Those individuals will remain present for the discussion and actions to answer questions about the program and accept responsibility for any follow-up that may be necessary.

Review Processes and Timing


While program proposals are considered on a rolling basis, each proposal requires multiple reviews and a comment period to ensure appropriate consultation. Thus, the timelines included in this document are useful in thinking through planning for new programs. Missing the windows of opportunity may delay the launch of a program by as much as a year.

The flowcharts on the pages that follow provide an overview of the steps for review and approval of concept papers and program proposals within the college. Because of differences in external processes, the processes for four types of proposals are presented separately from least complex to most complex. Each is followed by a description of the steps.



  • New Advanced (Graduate) Certificate Program Proposal

  • New Undergraduate Certificate Program Proposal

  • New Undergraduate Degree Program Proposal (includes AOS)

  • New Graduate Degree Program Proposal

Timelines for certificates and degree programs follow the flow charts.

New Advanced (Graduate) Certificate Program



Advanced (graduate) Certificate Program Proposals

Concept Proposal


  1. The design team develops a concept proposal following the college’s template for certificate concept proposals and the “Guidelines for Developing Certificate Programs1.”

  2. The design team consults with the relevant program faculty to ensure that the certificate offerings are in keeping with the purpose of the degree program into which the offerings are applicable.

  3. The concept paper is reviewed by the School for Graduate Studies and the center recommends it to the Office of Academic Affairs.

  4. The dean transmits the concept proposal to the Assistance Vice President (AVP) for Academic Programs.

  5. The AVP reviews the concept paper to ensure that it is ready for further review and gathers additional information that may be needed. Once the concept proposal is complete, the AVP also makes a recommendation to the Provost, while at the same time submitting the concept proposal to GSPC.

  6. After considering the proposal, recommendations, and the feedback from GSPC, the Provost approves (or not) the concept for a certificate. If the concept is approved, the design team begins developing a full program proposal.

Program Proposal


  1. The design team develops the program proposal following the college’s template for advanced (graduate) certificate proposals (rather than the SUNY outline) and the “Guidelines for Developing Certificate Programs.” SUNY does not generally require a letter of intent or external review for advanced certificates. The design team should be working with the dean’s office, as the dean is responsible for the business plan in the proposal.

  2. The design team submits the proposal to the program for their recommendation. The program ensures that the certificate offerings are in keeping with the purpose of the degree program into which the offerings are applicable.

  3. The program chair submits the proposal to the SGS for the center and recommendation.

  4. The dean considers and recommends the certificate proposal to the Office of Academic Affairs, transmitting the proposal with the business plan to the Assistance Vice President (AVP) for Academic Programs.

  5. The AVP reviews the proposal to ensure that it is ready for further review and gathers additional information that may be needed.

  6. Once the proposal is complete, the AVP posts the proposal for a 30-day comment period, and submits concept proposal to GSPC.

  7. Once the comment period is over, GSPC reviews the feedback and considers the proposal. GSPC communicates its recommendation to the initiators, the SGS dean, AVP for Academic Programs and the Senate. If GSPC recommends that the proposal go forward, the GSPC chair also submits it to the Senate for consideration.

  8. The Senate considers the proposal and communicates its recommendation to the initiators, the SGS dean, AVP for Academic Programs, Provost and President. If the Senate recommends that the proposal go forward, the Senate chair makes that recommendation to the President.

  9. The AVP for Academic Programs prepares the SUNY submission, gathers the relevant signatures and submits the proposal to SUNY. The president’s signature is the college approval of the proposal.

  10. SUNY staff review the proposal and if approved, submit it to the New York State Education Department (SED).

  11. SED staff review the proposal and if approved, register the certificate program. The notice of registration is forwarded to the SUNY Provost and then to the ESC President.


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