Federal Requirement 4.2

The institution’s curriculum is directly related and appropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates, or degrees awarded. (Program curriculum)  

Judgement: Compliant

Narrative:  

The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) mission is “to become one of the Southeast’s leading “metropolitan” universities … a university that acknowledges as its fundamental reason for being its relationship to expanding populations along the I-85 corridor. It aims to be recognized nationally among its peer metropolitan institutions for its excellence in education and commitment to its students, for its involvement in the Upstate, and for the clarity and integrity of its metropolitan mission.”

The primary responsibility of USC Upstate is “to offer baccalaureate education to the citizens of the Upstate of South Carolina and to offer selected master’s degrees in response to regional demand.”The mission emphasizes that, “USC Upstate strives to prepare its students to participate as responsible citizens in a diverse, global and knowledge-based society, to pursue excellence in their chosen careers and to continue learning throughout life. Curricula and services are designed for the University’s students, four to seven thousand in headcount, who are diverse in background, age, race, ethnicity, educational experience and academic goals. Students are drawn in large proportion from the Upstate where many choose to remain for their careers. A broad range of major curricula are provided in arts and sciences and in professional fields of study required by the regional economy, including business, education, and nursing. Through on-site instruction, distance learning, continuing education and inter-institutional articulation agreements, both traditional students and working professionals are served across the region.”

To ensure that all curricula are directly related and appropriate to the mission, each degree program for which academic credit is awarded is approved by numerous faculty and university committees, the administration, and state and regional agencies.

A full program proposalfor new degrees as well as substantive content changes in a program of studymust be approved through the following process:

Steps for Approval of New Programs 

  1. Department discusses possibility of new program with Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
  2. If decision is to pursue a new program, a Program Summary using the CHE format is prepared by the department and sent to the Senior Vice Chancellor for submission to CHE for approval for a new program. (Academic Affairs, not the departments, submits all Program Summaries and Program Proposals to CHE, USC Columbia and SACS.)
  3. Once CHE has approved the Program Summary, the development of the full Program Proposal, using the CHE format, is prepared in collaboration with the Senior Vice Chancellor.
  4. Submission of the program proposal to the Academic Affairs Committee of the school or college proposing the new program.
  5. If approved, submission of program proposal to faculty of school or college submitting proposal.
  6. If approved, submitted to Academic Budget and Facilities Planning Committee.
  7. For graduate program proposals only, program proposal is submitted to Graduate Committee and not to the Executive Academic Affairs Committee.
  8. If undergraduate program proposal is approved, submitted to the Executive Academic Affairs Committee.
  9. If approved, submitted to the Faculty Advisory Committee for inclusion on Faculty Senate agenda.
  10. If approved, submitted to Faculty Senate.
  11. If approved, submitted to Senior Vice Chancellor.
  12. If approved, submitted to Chancellor.

Once approved on campus, the signature page that accompanies the program proposal must have all the correct signatures before the proposal can be submitted to USC Columbia.

  1. Academic Affairs submits the proposal to the Provost’s office in Columbia.
  2. If approved, Provost’s office submits the program proposal to the President for review and approval (signature).
  3. If approved, Provost’s office places the program proposal on the agenda of the Academic Affairs and Faculty Liaison’s committee of the Board of Trustees.
  4. If approved, submitted to the Board of Trustees.
  5. If approved, Provost’s office sends Program Proposal to CHE.
  6. At CHE, Program Proposal submitted to the Advisory Committee on Academic Programs (ACAP)
  7. If approved, submitted to the Academic Affairs and Licensing Committee (CAAL) of CHE.
  8. If approved, submitted to the full CHE.
  9. Once approved, Academic Affairs submits notification to SACS.

At each step in the approval process, consideration is given to the appropriateness of the degree or program to the purpose and goals of the institution. Guidelines of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education Policies and Procedures for New Academic Program Approval and Program Termination “take a statewide viewpoint (and, in some cases, a regional or national viewpoint)” as programs are examined for compatibility with the mission, role, and scope of the institution.

Schools and colleges use numerous strategies to assure that their curricula are directly related andappropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution.For example, a guiding strategy of our metropolitan mission is “engagement” with the various economic, service and cultural sectors of the region. The Johnson College of Business and Economics fulfills the metropolitan mission by offering a business curriculum that engages students with the business community. Specifically, the New Business Enterprise class (SBAD 471, 2011-2012 Academic Catalog) works with businesses in the Upstate on developing business plans.

The mission of the Mary Black School of Nursing (SON) is to “…serve the citizens of Upstate South Carolina by providing education programs in nursing that are of the highest quality.”The programs offered at the Mary Black School of Nursing are “…designed for students who are diverse in background, age, race, ethnicity, educational experiences, and needs.”To achieve this mission, the curriculum was developed to facilitate and guide student achievement toaddress the health care needs of the population. The curriculum is enhanced through simulation, immersive technology, and the clinical experience. The Joint Center for Nursing Research and Scholarship was created to support future and current nurses through the use of technology.In addition, partnerships with area hospitals have resulted in funding for hiring additional full-time faculty members, as well as establishing and purchasing equipment for the Learning Resource Centers on both campuses.Partnerships have also resulted in joint offerings of programs and research activities.

The School of Education(SOE) meets the needs of the state and the local school districts by offering twelve certification degree programs at the undergraduate level, three master degrees, and one add-on certificate program. In keeping with our mission, the SOE has sustained ongoing reciprocal relationships with neighboring school districts. For example, with a general theme of “Preparing Teachers for a Diverse Society” the Teaching Fellows Program at USC Upstate seeks to provide a wide range of enrichment experiences for this group of outstanding education majors, to nurture them as a community of learners, to introduce them to possibilities for leadership in K-12 schools, and to retain the Fellows – notonly at the institution but in the profession as well.In addition, the SOE teaches courses on-site in public schools, provides in-service programs to teachers, provides clinical student placements, and designs and provides contract graduate courses to support immediate teacher certification needs.

The programs within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) also meet the needs of the community and region. For example, the Annual South Carolina Upstate Research Symposium highlights undergraduate research in the curriculum. This initiative resulted in partnerships among businesses, faculty and students. In 2010, a minor in Child Advocacy Studies was created to address child maltreatment.In addition, a Center for Child Advocacy was established to serve as a resource for the community.Likewise, the theater program has contributed magnificently to the cultural and artistic life of the community through their theater camps for children. These camps and productions not only serve to engage the youth of the community, but they provide hands-on experience in all aspects of theatrical production for students enrolled in the theater concentration.

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