Accreditation Handbook—Chapter XI: Expectations of Programs
All accredited and candidate programs are required to advise the CAA of changes that may affect its compliance with all Standards for Accreditation and accreditation status. Most changes, such as those related to faculty or curriculum, are typically reported through annual reports.
Some types of changes do require prior approval by the CAA, while other types of changes simply require timely notification. Failure to advise the CAA or the Accreditation Office within the timelines may jeopardize the program’s accreditation status. The policy and procedures in Chapter XI, “Expectations of Programs,” of the Accreditation Handbook articulate how and when to report the following types of changes to the CAA:
Substantive Change Plans
Under CAA’s Substantive Change Policy, programs must seek approval when adding or modifying the education delivery to include distance education, satellite program or branch campus, or a contractual arrangement. Details and definitions are outlined in Chapter XI of the Accreditation Handbook.
Programs planning to seek approval of a proposed substantive change must contact the accreditation office at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the process and timelines. The program must:
- Agree to not enroll students in the proposed additional modality until the substantive change has been approved by the CAA.
- Submit a substantive change plan at least 12 months before the enrollment of students into the proposed program. Plans must be submitted by February 1 or August 1 for consideration by the CAA.
- File a Notice of Intent at least 5 months before planned submission date (i.e., by September 1 for February 1 submission, or by March 1 for August 1 submission). These notification deadlines allow sufficient time for the program to be appropriately scheduled and provided access to complete questions to support its request for a substantive change. If the program fails to meet the notification deadline, it will be scheduled for the next report fielding.
- Provide documentation that final approval by all appropriate university and state authorities has been secured. Materials may be submitted for CAA review prior to the final approval by the authorizing body, but the CAA will not approve the plan until all approvals are final.
- As of January 2020, candidacy programs are no longer eligible to seek approval of substantive changes during their candidacy term.
- As of July 1, 2021, the CAA's revised definition of distance education went into effect, and now includes expectations for programs to document its substantive and regular interactions between instructors and students.