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3.12 Academic Program Suspension and Discontinuation

Chapter Three: Instructional Affairs

Procedure Title: Academic Program Suspension and Discontinuation
Based On: Board Policies 1, 2, 3, and 5
Procedure Number: 3.12
Date Adopted/Revised: August 12, 2005; November 21, 2006; May 15, 2007
An important goal of South Arkansas Community College is to provide quality programs which respond to the changing educational and human needs of the communities it serves. Meeting this mission requires continual assessment of the college’s academic programs. This procedure establishes criteria and a process for program evaluation and possible suspension or discontinuation. Departments and Divisions are expected to implement detailed program evaluation practices beyond that described in this procedure. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education demands that the college maintain a program review plan and that it submit a biennial summary of programs reviewed.
Discontinuation recommendations will normally be submitted to the President by March 1 of each year. Recommendations to discontinue a program may be initiated when a program fails to meet one or more of the following criteria:
I. Enrollment - Programs may be placed on probation and subsequently discontinued when the enrollment in the program falls below 50 percent of the maximum it can accept for two consecutive years. Maximum enrollment is defined by a table of program maximums. Enrollment numbers will be calculated on the 11th day of the first semester.
II. Graduation Rates- Programs may be placed on probation and subsequently discontinued when the number of graduates falls below four for two consecutive years without a compelling reason. The number of graduates will be counted using Arkansas Department of Higher Education data.
III. Faculty student ratios- Programs may be placed on probation and subsequently discontinued when student to faculty ratios fall below seven to one for two consecutive years. The number of faculty in a program will be calculated by allocating each college course to a program, totaling the credits and dividing by 30. Student numbers will be counted using the total number accepted on the 11th day of the semester of the program.
IV. Program Advisory Committee recommendations may be considered in the discontinuation of a program.
Other factors including job placement rates, accreditation requirements, clinical limitations, community service issues, the number of high school students in the program, advisory committee input about program quality, and program costs may also be considered in the implementation of this procedure. Programs that can be operated with very small expense may be continued even though they may not meet the criteria. Newly initiated programs will be subject to this procedure following the third year of operation
The above criteria will normally be reviewed by Division Chairs, the appropriate Vice President, the President, the Faculty Affairs Committee, and members of advisory committees. Division Chairs, with the help of the Registrar and the Director of Institutional Effectiveness will implement practices that will allow the accurate collection of the data for the implementation of this procedure. When a program is considered for discontinuation it will be put on probation for a period of one year. If the factors do not improve a recommendation to discontinue a program will normally be made by the appropriate Vice President to the President.
Following decision to discontinue a program, no student applications will be accepted beginning with the next immediate opening application date. Students currently enrolled in the program to be discontinued will normally be allowed to complete their course of study. Faculty who are affected will be considered for instructional assignments in new programs if qualified.