Program Modification or Discontinuance Review Procedure

     No. 1-14a      Rev. 12-13-11           Date 7-8-93



Utah State Board of Regent Policies and Procedures:

R401, Approval of New Programs, Program Changes, Discontinued Programs, and Program Reports

R411, Review of Existing Programs

R481, Academic Freedom, Professional Responsibility and Tenure

R482, Bona Fide Financial Exigency and Personnel Reduction


This policy defines the role of the faculty and the Faculty Senate when a program (See Regent's Policy 481 for definition) has been recommended for discontinuance or when modifications have been recommended which would adversely or critically affect faculty in a program or academic unit.  Program modification or discontinuance is not initiated for curriculum that has gone through the university curriculum approval process.

A. Program or organization unit modification or discontinuance may be initiated by the State Board of Regents, the president, the provost or a vice president, a dean, a department chair, a program director or a group or member of the faculty of the affected organizational unit.

B. Any deliberation related to program or organizational unit modification or discontinuance should involve the following groups or individuals:

(a) the faculty of the affected program or academic unit,

(b) the chair of the affected unit,

(c) an academic dean,

(d) the provost,

(e) the president and

(f) the Faculty Senate.

C. Prior to the institution making a final decision which would severely or adversely affect a program or unit, including modification or discontinuance, the program review procedure described in this policy shall be initiated. The Program Review Committee, as described below, shall conduct the review.

D. The Program Review Committee is to act in an advisory role and its recommendation is to be seen as vital input to the process of program/unit review with the president's decision to be taken as final.

E. Academic programs/units do not have legal rights.

F. The State Board of Regents must act on any program modification or discontinuation which falls within the purview of the Regents' policies and procedures.

G.  Program modification or discontinuance review needs to follow Regent's policies R401, R411, R481, and R482.

H.  Program review cannot be a substitute for personnel reviews and should be conducted independently of personnel reviews.

I.  Program modification or discontinuance may be based on any number of factors including but not limited to student demand, employment opportunities, quality of the program, contribution to the university's mission, economic considerations, etc.


A. Initiation of Process

1.  In order to initiate the modification or discontinuance of a program, written notice must be submitted by the entity or person designated in IIA to the Faculty Senate chair between the first day of fall semester and the fourth week of spring semester.  This written notice must

a.  clearly identify the program,

b.  state what faculty are identified with the program under consideration for modification or discontinuance.

c.  state the reasons for recommending modification or discontinuance in light of the university's academic mission,

d.  assess the probable consequences for faculty, related programs, and the university in general resulting from modification or discontinuance, and

e.  include a proposed time-table for accomplishing the modification or discontinuance

2.  The Faculty Senate chair must then inform the following affected parties of the pending program modification or discontinuance within 5 academic days:

a.  the faculty of the affected program or academic unit,

b.  the chair of the affected unit,

c.  the academic dean of the affected unit,

d.  the provost,

e.  the president

f.  the Faculty Senate.

3.  A review of the proposed program modification or discontinuance can be initiated by submitting written notice to the Faculty Senate chair within 15 academic calendar days of the affected parties being notified of the proposed modification or discontinuance as described above.  In order to initiate a review, a written request from any person in an adversely or critically affected academic program/unit should be made to the Faculty Senate chair.  Upon receipt of the written request, the chair of the Faculty Senate shall send written notification that a review has been requested to all affected parties as described in A2.  Pending a program modification or discontinuance review, no other action regarding this program may be taken.  If no review is requested, then the Faculty Senate chair notifies the president that the program modification or discontinuance review was not requested.

4.  The Faculty Senate executive committee will assemble the modification/discontinuance program review committee as described in B1 below within 5 academic calendar days of receipt of the program modification or discontinuance review request.

5.  The review will be conducted within 25 academic calendar days or less so as to not encumber the institutional planning process, interfere with time constraints imposed by external agencies, or unduly delay any affected faculty in their adjustments to the proposed changes.  Upon completion of the review, the completed report must be sent to the faculty, chair, and dean of the affected program or academic unit.

6.  All affected parties will then be given 5 academic calendar days to verify the accuracy of the data used in the report.  Should significant discrepancies exist in the data of the report, the committee must reconvene to revise the report and re-vote on the final report.  Then the final report is to be forwarded to all affected parties in 2 a-f.  Normally, the review process should be conducted and the University president's final decision should be completed as expeditiously as possible and reported to all affected parties as described in II.A2

B. Program Review Committee Composition

1. The Program Review Committee shall consist of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and only those substitute faculty members selected by the Executive Committee as to ensure voting representation from each organizational unit. A meeting of the Program Review Committee will be called by the chair of the Faculty Senate. The Committee will then elect its own chair. The chair and vice chair of the Faculty Senate shall serve on the Committee as ex-officio members without vote. The Committee shall consult with the president and provost during the course of its deliberations.

2. Any member of the Program Review Committee who is from the program under review is ineligible to vote on that case. Only one vote from each organizational unit will be allowed.

3. In the event that any member of the Executive Committee is unable to participate on the Program Review Committee for any reason, a substitute member from the absentee's respective organizational unit shall be selected by the Executive Committee.

C. Program Modification/Discontinuance Review Procedure

1.  The Committee shall involved the following people in their discussions:

a.  persons selected by the affected program/organizational unit who are members of that program/organization.

b.  the department chair over the affected unit.

c.  the dean over the affected unit.

d.  appropriate resource persons invited by the Committee chair.

2.  Information pertaining to the case will be sought from appropriate sources.

3.  Questions and clarification will be pursued until the Program Review Committee feels satisfactorily informed about the case.

4.  Deliberation will occur in closed session by the Program Review Committee with a Committee vote being taken by secret ballot.

5.  A recommendation will be made by the Program Review Committee based on a majority vote.

6.  After the data verification process described in A6, the final Program Review Committee recommendation and the final vote tally will be forwarded to the provost and the president of the University for their consideration.

7.  A copy of the Program Review Committee recommendations will be forwarded to the affected program/unit.

8. The University president will then prepare a final decision with copies to be sent to the affected program/unit and the Program Review Committee.

D. Additional Requirements 

1. If a party wishes to re-initiate program modification or discontinuance review within 3 years of that program's most recent review, the party must demonstrate to the chair of Faculty Senate that significant changes have occurred to the program that could affect the review.  Without significant changes, the program modification or discontinuance review cannot be initiated more than once every 3 years.  If the chair of the Faculty Senate determines no significant changes have occurred, then the previous program review committee recommendation stands. 

2. If academic/unit program review ensues as a result of the strategic planning process (PPM 1-14), adequate time should be allowed for the review and response by the Program Review Committee before a final institutional decision is made which would adversely or critically affect an academic unit or program.