As a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Pearl River Community College (PRCC) is committed to continuing its accreditation by ensuring that it meets its mission of “providing quality educational and service opportunities for all who seek them” in accordance with all policies and procedures required by the SACSCOC, including the requirement to notify the SACSCOC of substantive changes, and, when required, to seek approval prior to the initiation of changes.
Substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution and includes, among others, the following:
- Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution.
- Any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the 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.
- A change from clock hours to credit hours.
- A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program.
- The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50 percent of an educational program.
- Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus, or institution.
- Entering into a collaborative academic arrangement such as a dual degree program or a joint degree program with another institution.
Note: The following link (http://sacscoc.org/SubstantiveChange.asp) will provide a more complete list of possible substantive changes with applicable time frames.
Questions and proposed recommendations regarding changes which may be classified as substantive are referred to the Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research who serves as both the SACSCOC Liaison and the Chair of the Substantive Review Committee. The Committee, which includes representatives from the Poplarville Campus, the Forrest County Center, and the Hancock Center, meets as often as needed, but at least once each semester, in order to review any changes in the SACSCOC Substantive Change for Accredited Institutions policy and to review related items to ensure that the College is in full compliance with the SACSCOC Substantive Change policy.
If the Substantive Review Committee finds that a change is substantive in nature, the Chair of the Committee notifies the College President. If there is uncertainty regarding the change, the Chair/SACSCOC Liaison will gather additional input from SACSCOC personnel as needed.
Once the Substantive Review Committee determines that the proposed change is substantive, the request is directed to the next appropriate level. If the change is found to be general (a change in the established mission or objectives of the College, a change in the legal status of the College, the establishment of a branch campus, etc.) in nature, the Chair/SACSCOC Liaison and other appropriate personnel will then provide the necessary paperwork to the College President so that information is provided to the SACSCOC in a timely manner, often at least six months prior to implementation of the proposed change. Once all appropriate approvals have been received, the College President sends the recommendation for change to the Board of Trustees for final approval before implementation of the change.
If the Substantive Review Committee finds that a change involves the addition of an instructional course or program which represents a significant departure either in content or method of delivery from the past or involves another significant change as in the closing of a program, entering into a collaborative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution, etc., the change is presented to the Instructional Council where the request is reviewed. If the Council approves the request, the required Curriculum Proposal form is sent to the appropriate personnel for approval. If a change is found to be substantive in nature, the Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research/SACSCOC Liaison and other appropriate personnel will provide the President of the College with necessary information so that all paperwork required by SACSCOC can be completed and submitted in a timely manner. Once approval has been received from SACSCOC, the Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research/SACSCOC Liaison completes the Curriculum Proposal form and sends it to the Director of Admissions and Records who requests approval as needed from the Department of Education. As with all significant changes, once the appropriate approvals have been received, the College President sends the recommendation for change to the Board of Trustees for final approval before implementation of the change.
During the process of review, if SACSCOC requires the College to write a prospectus or provide additional information/documentation, the Substantive Review Committee along with other personnel designated by the President, will be responsible for ensuring that the President is provided with this information so that it can be submitted to SACSCOC in a timely manner. The Committee members will also organize any on-site substantive change committee visits. Documentation regarding all substantive changes will be maintained in the Office of the Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research.
Both the members of the PRCC community and the public can review this policy, as well as all others, in the printed version of the Policy and Procedure Manual and on the PRCC web site. As with all college policies, this policy can be reviewed and revised as needed.