Degree/Certificate Pre-Proposal Process

IUPUI is a diverse, large and growing campus. It is important that new degrees and free-standing certificates serve the mission and goals of the proposing school while not causing harm to other schools. Degrees should, therefore, serve the mission and strategic goals of the campus as a whole. Further, given enhanced scrutiny by state entities such as the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, it is also more important than ever that new programs are sustainable financially. 

Recent practice has involved a very brief statement to the executive vice chancellor for administrative approval to move forward with full degree proposals. The process outlined here is meant to formalize that process, gather more data to make more informed decisions, and include more decision makers (both faculty and administrators) in the pre-proposal approval process. To that end, the Academic Programs Committee (APC), will review potential new degrees and free-standing certificate programs for student demand, potential financial viability, potential conflict with existing programs, and alignment with school and campus strategic plans. This change in procedure is effective July 1, 2017.

Academic Programs Committee

The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) will form an Academic Programs Committee (APC), comprised of the following individuals or their designees: the executive vice chancellor, the senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, the vice chancellor for finance and administration, the senior advisor to the chancellor for planning and institutional improvement, the associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education, the associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, the associate vice chancellor for graduate education, the president of the Indianapolis Faculty Council (IFC), and the chair of the IFC committee on campus planning (or another designee named by the IFC president). The APC will review pre-proposals for new degrees and new free-standing certificate programs in advance of the development of a full academic proposal. In this way, the APC can facilitate communication among schools and programs at IUPUI that might be affected by the newly proposed academic program. This process will facilitate cross-school collaboration and pave the way for a smooth program development process if the proposal does move forward.

Procedure for the Development of New Degree Programs and Free Standing Certificates

At the earliest point possible when a department or school intends to propose a new degree or new free-standing certificate, the unit should submit a “pre-proposal” to the senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. The intent is for the pre-proposal to be reviewed before faculty expend the substantial amount of time necessary to craft a full proposal for new degrees and new free standing certificates. The “pre-proposal” should precede the development of a full proposal and should include as much of the following information as possible. Because any successful degree proposal eventually must address the following items, it is in the best interest of program developers to consider these issues during the early planning phase. The “pre-proposal” document is intended to be brief--typically not exceed five pages. The pre-proposal should include the following:

  • Student population to be targeted
  • Brief analysis of the student demand for the degree and likely enrollment numbers (look to existing programs as feasible)
  • Brief description of the proposed curriculum (listing of existing and proposed courses)
  • Brief description of how the proposed degree aligns with school, program and campus missions and strategic plans
  • Evidence of support from the dean of the proposing unit and promise (and feasibility) of financial support if approved
  • List of similar programs at other IU campuses (in consultation with SAVCAA as needed)
  • Career opportunities (in the state or region) which graduates of this program would be qualified to pursue; evidence regarding job placement of graduates from existing programs at other institutions (if possible)
  • List of related programs at IUPUI and those that might be affected by the proposed degree and indication of support from leadership of affected programs (in consultation with the SAVCAA as needed)
  • Evidence of faculty support for the program; involvement in program development and expected impact on faculty workload/assignments
  • Description of costs associated with developing the program–will it require new facilities or new faculty hires?
  • Will special fees be associated with the degree/certificate? (Such fees must be requested through the Bursar after the degree/certificate is formally approved.)
  • Will it be in part or wholly online?   
  • For free-standing certificates, if the proposing unit wishes for the certificate to be financial aid eligible, the proposing unit must be prepared to provide evidence of compliance with gainful employment guidelines.(

The APC will examine all pre-proposals to assure that:

  • They align with the mission and strategic goals of IUPUI and the home schools and do not pose an undue burden on the campus or other schools.
  • There is adequate unmet student demand in the state/region and that the program is fiscally feasible and sustainable.
  • Any overlap between existing programs and the pre-proposal is addressed and information regarding concerns and questions from deans of affected schools is sought and considered before rendering a decision. 

Program proposers will be given an opportunity to supply additional information as needed and notified of the APC’s decision. If the APC signals support for a pre-proposal, the unit will then be invited to prepare a full degree proposal for consideration by the appropriate faculty bodies--Undergraduate Affairs Committee (UAC) and the Graduate Affairs Committee (GAC). An invitation to submit full proposals does not guarantee approval by the GAC or the UAC.

Begin the pre-proposal application