Joint and Dual Academic Agreements

Type of Policy: 
Administrative
Effective Date: 
August 2014
Last Revised: 
August 2014
Review Date: 
August 2017
Policy Owner: 
Library Learning Excellence
Contact Name: 
Catherine Murray-Rust
Contact Title: 
Vice Provost Learning Excellence and Dean of Libraries, SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison
Contact Email: 
catherine.murray-rust@library.gatech.edu
Reason for Policy: 

This policy is designed to ensure that Georgia Tech complies with applicable accreditation principles of SACSCOC and Policy and Procedures of the Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia (USG) for academic programs offered via collaborative agreements between Georgia Tech and other institutions.

Policy Statement: 

Georgia Tech is responsible for providing timely notification to SACSCOC and to the USG’s BOR of agreements involving dual or joint academic agreements (awards), providing signed copies of the agreements and any other documentation or information required by SACSCOC or USG BOR policies and procedures for review.

This policy outlines the procedures Georgia Tech must follow to comply with SACSCOC’s Agreement Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards Policy and the USG’s BOR Curriculum and Off-Campus Instructional Sites policy. Adherence to the policy will ensure Georgia Tech avoids sanctions and penalties associated with non-compliance.

Scope: 

This policy applies to dual or joint academic agreements (awards) established for the purposes of awarding academic completions awards, e.g. certificates, diplomas or degrees.

Policy Terms: 

Dual Academic Award
Students study at two or more institutions and each institution grants a separate academic award bearing only its name, seal and signature.

Joint Academic Award
Students study at two or more institutions and the institutions grant a single academic award bearing the names, seals and signatures of each of the participating institutions.

Faculty Sponsor / Point of Contact
The Georgia Tech faculty employee responsible for developing and / or negotiating the terms and operational details of the dual or joint academic award on behalf of Georgia Tech and providing information and regular reports to every responsible person in his / her business unit responsible for oversight. The agreement must be signed by an authorized agent of Georgia Tech – this may or may not be the Georgia Tech Faculty Sponsor / Point of Contact.

Procedures: 

5.1 Dual Academic Awards

SACSCOC: Dual Academic Awards
Entering into an agreement with another institution involving a dual academic award is a substantive change that requires an institution to submit a letter of notification to SACSCOC six months prior to implementation of the agreement and a final signed copy of the agreement. Formal, written acceptance of that notification and agreement by SACSCOC is required before implementation of the provisions of the agreement.

The following should be submitted to SACSCOC:

  • A notification letter that includes a statement of intent, the anticipated beginning date of the agreement, a description of the agreement, the complete address/location parties involved in the agreement and information for contact persons at each participating institution regarding the agreement
  • A copy of the final signed agreement
If the joint or dual academic award involves offering 50 percent or more of a program at a previously unapproved off-campus site by a member institution or involves offering a new program which is significantly different from currently offered approved programs, notification is due six months prior to implementation date with a prospectus for approval due at least three months prior to implementation.

USG’s BOR: Dual Academic Awards
Dual Degrees in the University System of Georgia are defined according to the SACSCOC Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards: Policy and Procedures Policy. Notification to the Office of Academic Programs is required at least two weeks prior to implementation. Only dual degrees comprised of academic programs that have been previously approved by the BOR either at a single University System institution or between University System institutions shall be forwarded as notification items. All new degree programs require Board approval.

5.2 Joint Academic Awards

SACSCOC: Joint Academic Awards –
Category One: Partner Institutions that are all SACSCOC accredited

Entering into an agreement with another institution involving a dual academic award is a substantive change that requires an institution to submit a letter of notification to SACSCOC six months prior to implementation of the agreement and a final signed copy of the agreement. Formal, written acceptance of that notification and agreement by SACSCOC is required before implementation of the provisions of the agreement.

The following should be submitted to SACSCOC:

  • A notification letter that includes a statement of intent, the anticipated beginning date of the agreement, a description of the agreement, the complete address/location parties involved in the agreement and information for contact persons at each participating institution regarding the agreement
  • A copy of the final signed agreement

If the joint or dual academic award involves offering 50 percent or more of a program at a previously unapproved off-campus site by a member institution or involves offering a new program which is significantly different from currently offered approved programs, notification is due six months prior to implementation date with a prospectus for approval due at least three months prior to implementation.

SACSCOC: Joint Academic Awards –
Category Two: At least One Partner Institution is accredited by a US Department of Education (DOE) recognized accreditor other than SACSCOC

Entering into an agreement with another institution involving a dual academic award is a substantive change that requires an institution to submit a letter of notification to SACSCOC six months prior to implementation of the agreement and a final signed copy of the agreement. Formal, written acceptance of that notification and agreement by SACSCOC is required before implementation of the provisions of the agreement.

The following should be submitted to SACSCOC:

  • A notification letter that includes a statement of intent, the anticipated beginning date of the agreement, a description of the agreement, the complete address/location parties involved in the agreement and information for contact persons at each participating institution regarding the agreement
  • A copy of the final signed agreement
  • Documentation that the non-SACSCOC partner institution is not on a public sanction with its accreditor
  • Documentation that the courses or programs of the non-SACSCOC Partner institution (s) are consistent with the educational purpose and goals of the SACSCOC-accredited institution (s)
  • Documentation that the institution meets the provisions of Comprehensive Standard 3.4.7 (consortial relationships / contractual agreements) including the analysis of credits accepted in transfer
  • A plan to monitor and ensure that the quality of contributions made by the partner institution (s) meets SACSCOC expectations
  • A plan and process produced by the SACSCOC accredited institution (s) ensuring that the agreement and awarding of a joint award does not result in the appearance of extending SACSCOC accreditation to partner institutions through promotional materials, academic publications, student transcripts, credentials verifying program completion and releases to the news media
  • Prototypes of official academic documents (e.g. student transcript, degree, diploma, certificate) involved in the agreement. If the joint or dual academic award involves offering 50 percent or more of a program at a previously unapproved off-campus site by a member institution or involves offering a new program which is significantly different from currently offered approved programs, notification is due six months prior to implementation date with a prospectus for approval due at least three months prior to implementation.

If the joint or dual academic award involves offering 50 percent or more of a program at a previously unapproved off-campus site by a member institution or involves offering a new program which is significantly different from currently offered approved programs, notification is due six months prior to implementation date with a prospectus for approval due at least three months prior to implementation.

SACSCOC: Joint Academic Awards –
Category Three: At least One Partner Institution is not accredited by a US Department of Education (DOE) recognized accreditor

Entering into an agreement with another institution involving a dual academic award is a substantive change that requires an institution to submit a letter of notification to SACSCOC six months prior to implementation of the agreement and a final signed copy of the agreement. Formal, written acceptance of that notification and agreement by SACSCOC is required before implementation of the provisions of the agreement.

The following should be submitted to SACSCOC:

  • A notification letter that includes a statement of intent, the anticipated beginning date of the agreement, a description of the agreement, the complete address/location parties involved in the agreement and information for contact persons at each participating institution regarding the agreement
  • A copy of the final signed agreement
  • A description of (1) any external governmental or accrediting agency approval for the institution (s) or programs (s) involved in the agreement, excluding the SACSCOC institutions (s), (2) the process of quality assurance used by the agency granting this approval, and (3) any required legal or licensing approvals
  • Documentation that the courses or programs of the non-SACSCOC Partner institution (s) are consistent with the educational purpose and goals of the SACSCOC-accredited institution (s)
  • Documentation that the institution meets the provisions of Comprehensive Standard 3.4.7 (consortial relationships / contractual agreements) including the analysis of credits accepted in transfer
  • Documentation that faculty involved in the collaboration are qualified to teach assigned components or courses and a description of the means by which the SACSCOC accredited institutions (s) will monitor these qualifications (Submit a completed SACSCOC Faculty Roster Form)
  • Documentation describing the physical and learning resources that will support the collaboration
  • A plan and process to monitor and ensure that the quality of contributions made by the partner institution (s) meet applicable SACSCOC requirements
  • A plan and process produced by the SACSCOC accredited institution (s) ensuring that the agreement and awarding of a joint award does not result in the appearance of extending SACSCOC accreditation to partner institutions through promotional materials, academic publications, student transcripts, credentials verifying program completion and releases to the news media
  • Prototypes of official academic documents (e.g. student transcript, degree, diploma, certificate) involved in the agreement

If the joint or dual academic award involves offering 50 percent or more of a program at a previously unapproved off-campus site by a member institution or involves offering a new program which is significantly different from currently offered approved programs, notification is due six months prior to implementation date with a prospectus for approval due at least three months prior to implementation.

USG’s BOR: Joint Academic Awards
Joint Educational Programs in the University System of Georgia are defined according to the SACSCOC Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards: Policy and Procedures Policy. Notification to the Office of Academic Programs is required at least two weeks prior to implementation. Only joint degrees comprised of academic programs that have been previously approved by the BOR either at a single University System institution or between University System institutions shall be forwarded as notification items. All new degree programs require Board approval.

Required notification forms and documentation can be found at http://www.usg.edu/academic_programs/changes

Responsibilities: 

8.1. Responsible Party
Faculty Sponsor / Point of Contact

  • Notifies and receives approval from every responsible person/business unit noted in the Institute’s Graduate and Undergraduate Curriculum Committees Process for Approving Curricular Change – Steps 1-3 and 5 in the Approval Process. This can be found on the ICC website (information on website and location from Reta)
  • Consults with SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison to determine if SACSCOC requirements and standards apply
  • Provides final agreement to the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison for submission to SACSCOC is applicable
  • Completes and provides to the Substantive Change Standing Committee and the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison all required SACSCOC and USG BOR documentation necessary for approval of any substantive change (i.e. a completed prospectus)
  • Implements and submits annual assessment and periodic review report to every responsible party including the SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison

8.2. Responsible Party
Registrar

  • Ensures that the policies, procedures for internal review and approval are developed, maintained and followed for internal reviews and approvals
  • Responsible for the Institute’s Graduate and Undergraduate Curriculum Committees Process for Approving Curricular Change

8.3. Responsible Party
SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison

  • Provides feedback to the Faculty Sponsor / Point of Contact regarding elements in the dual or joint agreement that may be of concern to SACSCOC
  • Receive from the Faculty Sponsor / Point of Contact all required documentation. Review and timely submits all required documentation to SACSCOC and the USG BOR. Coordinate with the Faculty Sponsor / Point of Contact any required follow up action items / information needed
  • Ensure compliance with appropriate SACSCOC, USG’s BOR and U.S. Department of Education responsibilities and requirements
Enforcement: 

Failure to comply with SACSCOC’s substantive change procedures, could result in the Institute’s loss of Title IV funding, the Institute’s reimbursement to the U.S. Department of Education money received for programs related to unreported substantive change, sanction or removal from membership with SACSCOC.

Optional: To report suspected instances of noncompliance with this policy, please visit Georgia Tech’s EthicsPoint, a secure and confidential reporting system, at: https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=7508

Policy History: 
Revision DateAuthorDescription
08-2014Library Learning ExcellenceNew Policy
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