Guidelines for Developing Certificate Programs Procedure
|Office of Academic Affairs|
|Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs|
|Academic and Student Affairs|
|CUSP 1/29/2010; GSPC 2/10/2010|
|Developing Certificate Programs|
Certificate programs can become a significant tool in achieving our mission to serve adult learners. Many students need short, focused educational programs for professional development, career advancement, re-tooling, or personal interest. Certificate programs may serve as stepping-stones for students who later move into a degree program or as supporting courses for another higher education partner. A certificate program is a focused group of studies or courses supporting learning objectives that meet the needs of a particular audience or profession.
Principles and Implications
The college will register only one certificate at each level (graduate and undergraduate) with the same purpose and title. Undergraduate certificates are available college-wide, with the exception of those related to the Labor Studies AOS or to the B.S. in Nursing. Consequently, the team developing an undergraduate certificate proposal related to the remaining AOSs must work across centers and with relevant AOS groups. Graduate certificate proposals are developed by CGP, according to their curricular review process.
There is no prescribed number of credits for a certificate, but the number must be reasonable. Normally a certificate program at the undergraduate level will contain no more than 24 credits and at the graduate level will contain no more than 12. Studies or courses included in a certificate program must be applicable to a degree program. The credits must be accepted into the DP in the identified program, AOS/concentration should the student choose to matriculate. For an undergraduate certificate, the proposal must describe the link between AOS and concentration guidelines. For graduate programs, the proposal must define the placement of the credits within existing programs.
The studies or courses that comprise a certificate must make a coherent whole that can stand on its own. The certificate program is integrated and not simply a collection of courses or studies. Thus, certificate programs include overall learning objectives. The proposal makes integration methods explicit, identifies the learning objectives for the certificate and describes how the studies or courses within the program meet those objectives
Certificates are generally structured programs, but need not be lock-step. It is possible to offer students course/study options within a certificate as long as the linkage can be made between the options and overall program goals. Where appropriate, the certificate program can be designed to meet external standards.
Certificate Program Development Procedures
A certificate is a credential issued by SUNY in recognition of the completion of a credit-bearing curriculum other than one leading to a degree. The certificate award appears on the college transcript. The college must receive authorization from SUNY and the New York State Education Department (SED) to award a certificate. The SUNY and SED requirements for program proposals are specified in detail. Hence, the college reviews and approves certificate proposals through the relevant college governance structures. A sponsoring dean or designee normally takes the responsibility for moving a certificate proposal forward and ensuring appropriate consultation. Early consultation with colleagues, relevant deans and the Assistant Vice President for Academic Program Development (AVPAPD) is strongly encouraged.
As there are a number of approval steps, both internally and externally, the standard lead time is six months for review and consideration of certificate program proposals. Bear in mind the college’s governance cycle.
- The sponsoring dean submits a concept paper and a letter of support from the appropriate faculty constituency (AOS convener, program chair/director) to the AVPAPD. The concept paper addresses the following:
- The need for the certificate (Rationale)
- The intended student population
- The major topics and curriculum of the certificate
- The admission requirements (graduate enrollment requires proof of a bachelor’s degree)
- The primary or overall student learning outcomes for the proposed certificate
- The degree program(s) within which the certificate will be applicable
- The delivery methods
- A description of any partner(s) and the partner’s roles in the delivery or use of the certificate
- Any off-site delivery plans
- Any plans for delivery of courses by non-degree awarding organizations
- The individual who will serve as the program coordinator
- Any additional resources (faculty, staff, materials, equipment, space) required to offer the certificate
- The AVPAPD consults with the Provost and others as a appropriate and responds in writing regarding the college’s ability and willingness to support further development activities.
- In cases where the certificate program requires additional resources or budgetary authority, the Office of Academic Affairs consults with the Office of Administration and others as appropriate, before responding to the concept paper.
- With concept approval comes support for planning activities and as appropriate forming a small college-wide committee.
- The sponsoring dean submits a formal proposal to the AVPAPD.
- The proposal is prepared following SUNY program review guidelines and using SUNY forms. Handbooks and forms are available at http://www.suny.edu/provost/ProgramReview/index.cfm. For advice on which form to use and on completing the forms, consult the Office of Academic Programs. The proposal includes a plan for assessing student learning and program outcomes.
- The AVPAPD reviews the proposal and makes a recommendation to the Provost regarding next steps.
- If the proposal is ready and is supported by the Provost, the AVPAPD the works with the dean to shepherd the proposal through the college’s formal review and approval steps and submission to SUNY. If the proposal is not ready or cannot be supported, the AVPAPD responds in writing to the sponsoring dean. The internal review steps include:
- Review and approval by relevant faculty groups
- For undergraduate proposals related to an area of study, approval by the AOS
- For proposals related to nursing, approval by the nursing faculty
- For graduate proposals, approval according to CGP procedures
- The Committee on Undergraduate Studies and Policies, or the Graduate Studies and Policy Committee, reviews the proposal and makes a recommendation to the College Senate.
- The College Senate reviews and recommends new programs to the President and the Provost.
- Upon approval by the President and Provost, the Office of Academic Affairs submits proposals for certificates to SUNY.
- Upon SUNY approval, the proposal is submitted to SED for approval and program registration.
- Review and approval by relevant faculty groups
- Proposals must be formally approved through college governance processes, the college administration, and SUNY, and must be registered by SED before marketing the certificate or enrolling students in the program.