University Policy: Academic Affairs
Policy Category:
Academics and Faculty Affairs
Responsible Office:
Responsible Executive:
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
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Effective Date:

2.015 Approval of New Academic Programs

(1) Upon recommendation by the Chancellor, the Board will approve new academic degree programs. Academic degree programs include baccalaureate, professional, and graduate degrees of all types; certificates; and educator endorsements.

(2) Criteria for proposal of new academic programs by System institutions shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) The needs of Oregon for higher education and the state's capacity to respond effectively to social, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities.

(b) Student demand that may not be met satisfactorily by existing programs.

(c) Program duplication is primarily of concern at the graduate and professional levels; therefore, a duplicated graduate  or professional program must be specifically justified in terms of state's needs,demand,access, and cost-effectiveness.

(d) The resources necessary for the program are available within existing programs; have been identified within existing budgets and will be reallocated; or will be secured to meet reasonable time lines for implementation, typically within a  two-year limitation.

(e) The congruity of the proposed program with the campus mission and its strategic direction.

(f) Where appropriate and feasible, the program is a collaboration between two or more institutions that maximizes student access, academic productivity, and quality.

(3) The review and approval process consists of the following steps:

(a) Using the guidelines and format for submission of fully developed program plans, campuses will submit proposals to the Chancellor's Office, which will place the proposal on the next regular meeting agenda of the Academic Council. The Academic Council will review the program proposal in accordance with the criteria. If the proposed program is at  the graduate level, an external review will be required and subsequently reviewed by the Academic Council.

(b) If no major issues are left unresolved as a result of these deliberations,the Chancellor's Office will provide abstracts of the program proposals to other Oregon post-secondary and higher education institutions and the state's Office of Degree Authorization. Under administrative  rules  implementing provisions of state law, the System is required to give notice of intention to establish a new program before final Board approval is given, in order to allow for resolution of any claims of "detrimental duplication" or "significantly adverse impact" by an institution in another Oregon education sector. If no such claim is made in a timely manner, the internal process of program approval moves on to the next step. If a claim is made, the parties involved must follow the procedures specified in the state's administrative rules before continuing on to the next step in the System's approval process.


(i.) If the Board's criteria and the notice provisions are met, the vice chancellor will recommend the proposed program to the Chancellor for approval and placement on the Board's consent agenda.

(ii.) If, in the course of the Academic Council's and Chancellor's Office deliberations, it is determined that the proposed program does not meet the Board's criteria and the institution wishes to proceed anyway, the program will be presented to the Board for review and disposition after the statewide notice provisions are met.

(iii.) An annual summary of programs approved and programs closed will be reported to the Board.


2.021 Honorary Degrees -Amended 03/04/11

{Adopted by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, Meeting #109, January 28, 1941, p. 8; amended Meeting #520, January 18, 1985, pp. 7-8; amended Meeting #845, March 4, 2011)

(1) Each institution, with concurrence of its faculty, may decide to award honorary degrees.

(2) An institution wishing to award honorary degrees shall adopt criteria and procedures for selection that will assure that the award will honor outstanding contribution to the institution, state, or society or distinguished achievement.