Steps to be Taken in Proposing New Academic Programs at UW-Superior

Carefully review the "Policy on University of Wisconsin System Array Management: Program Planning, Delivery, Review, and Reporting" which is also called UW System Administrative Policy 102 or SYS 102. It goes into use as of July 1, 2016. In it the process for establishing a new academic degree is laid out clearly in Sections 2.2 - 2.5. This guideline replaces the 2012 version that has been in use, as the definitive set of directions to planning academic programs. 

There are three steps to the program approval process: Approval to Plan, Degree Authorization, and Degree Implementation.

1. Approval to Plan Phase


This is a public document and should be no longer than 3 pages, including:

  1. Name of proposed degree, institutional setting, mode of delivery, and institutional contact information.
  2. A description of the new program that includes anticipated program and learning outcomes.
  3. Sufficient information about content and program level so that reviewers can understand how the program may relate to other offerings.
  4. Existing or anticipated resources required to deliver the program.
  5. Information on other required approvals to offer the program beyond the BOR (such as accreditation bodies, including the Higher Learning Commission) should be included.
  6. Evidence of how the program aligns with institutional mission, strategic plan, and existing program array, and a link to the institution's academic strategic plan.
  7. A rationale that clearly defines the need for the new program, including market and student demand in the context of local, regional, and system wide programs. The rationale should include evidence that the program will not produce unnecessary program duplication. Unnecessary is defined as the addition of an academic degree program that is already offered by 50% or more of the UW institutions, when there is a lack of convincing evidence that student demand exists to financially support and sustain its addition.


A. First preliminary institutional planning processes as required by that institution must be followed (see italicized section immediately below).

The steps to be undertaken and the approvals to be obtained at UW-Superior for a "Notice of Intent" to be moved forward are as follows and in this order:

  1. Conversation with the Dean of Faculties and Graduate Studies about department's intention to move forward with this The Dean will consult with the Provost and offer suggestions and feedback about your plan. Have a rough draft of the "Notice of Intent" ready for this discussion.
  2. Then the Department approves the "Notice of Intent".
  3. Undergraduate Academic Affairs Council (for graduate programs, it would be Graduate Council) reviews and recommends approval of "Notice of Intent".
  4. Faculty Senate reviews and recommends approval of "Notice of Intent," following an initial broad review of resource issues by its Planning and Budgetary
  5. Senate sends a written action memo to the Chancellor for signature before the "Notice of Intent" goes forward to System and other
  6. Chancellor may require a deliberative discussion with and additional information from the proposing department, the Provost, and/or the Dean of Faculties and Graduate Studies before sending the "Notice of Intent" Chancellor may also refuse to send the "Notice of Intent" forward.

B. Then the N.O.I. is sent by Chancellor, Provost or designee to AVP (Associate Vice President) of AFGP (the UW System Administration Office of Academic, Faculty, and Global Programs) and to to the Provosts of all the UW System.

C. Other UW System institutions have 10 days to review and respond to "Notice of Intent", looking at possible opportunities for collaboration, possible duplication, and fit to institutional mission. These other institutions may ask for additional review time (usually another 10 working days).

D. Meanwhile, the AVP of the AFGP is looking at this proposal in light of systemwide array and other considerations under UWSA policy. Response may go back to proposing institution Provost and the Senior Vice President of the UW System Office of Academic and Student.

E. Within five days of the end of the comment period, the institution's Provost or designee (at UW-Superior that is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs) compiles responses from other institutions and forwards to AVP of AFGP and to all the Provosts at other UW institutions.

F. Then, at the end of the 10-day comment period, one of several things can occur:

No Response Concerns, Issues or Opportunities for Collaboration No Facilitation Period or Following Facilitation Period

No comments or concerns by end of comment period: Interpreted as no serious concerns or issues.

If any of these other institutions expressed concerns, within 20 working days:

  • Provost or designee will consult with institutions raising them and submit document to AVP of AFGP and all Provosts outlining concerns, issues, opportunities and how they will be addressed.
  • AVP may request,additional data.
  • If one or more Provosts request a facilitated resolution, AVP will determine the appropriate manner in which to proceed.

AVP of the AFGP approves or denies pre-authorization Request.

  • If approved, the pre-authorization expires three years after date of APEI memo.
  • If pre-authorization is denied, institution may appeal to the Senior Vice President of the UW System Office of Academic and Student Affairs.The decision made by this person is final.

2. Authorization Phase


The next step is the submission of this document by the institution's Provost or designee. It is submitted with all required documents, including the Letter of commitment, and the Cost and Revenue Projections for Newly Proposed Program spreadsheet. These are public documents. They must be submitted at least eight weeks before the Board meeting at which the institution requests the proposal be considered. As the audience is the Board of Regents and other System administrators, technical jargon should be avoided and acronyms should be clearly defined.


The proposal is limited to 8 to 10 pages. It must address foundational elements: who, what, where, when and why. It should be clearly written and convey the purpose and need for the program, the ability of the institution to carry it out, and the value to and impact on Wisconsin residents and students.

The proposal MUST follow the UW System BOR Format.  It includes notations and comments as directions in its text. It outlines the very specific discussion points and questions to be addressed in the proposal.

The steps to be undertaken and the approvals to be obtained at UW-Superior for an "Authorization to Implement a Degree Proposal" to be moved forward are as follows and in this order:

  1. Department shares draft proposal with Provost .The Provost may require additional discussion with, supplementary information from, and/or revision by the proposing department and/or the Dean of Faculties and Graduate Studies before committing the University to this The Provost must affirm an institutional commitment. for the proposal to move any further.
  2. The Provost provides an Institutional Letter of Commitment for the proposal document  and a spreadsheet, the Cost and Revenue Projections for the Newly Proposed found under Authorization Templates The proposing group must provide input/drafts of the Cost and Revenue Projections.
  3. Only then does the Department approve the "Authorization to Implement a Degree Proposal." The proposal must be complete at this point.
  4. UAAC or GC, as appropriate, reviews and recommends approval of "Authorization to Implement a Degree Proposal".
  5. Faculty Senate reviews and recommends approval of "Authorization to Implement a Degree Proposal", following a review of resource issues by its Planning and Budgetary Council. If they do not recommend approval, they provide feedback to the proposing unit and it is submitted for re-review.
  6. Senate ends a written action memo to the Chancellor for signature before "Authorization to Implement a Degree Proposal" goes forward to System.


The AVP of AFGP notifies the proposing institution Provost and Chancellor whether the System President has decided to forward the proposed program to the Board of Regents for approval.

The Board of regents decides whether or not to authorize the program. (Note: A department representative will need to attend the BOR meeting at which this proposal is reviewed.)

3. Degree Implementation Process Phase

The proposing institution Provost notifies the AVP of AFGP of:

  • The implementation year and term for the approved program, 
  • The academic year in which the first review of the Program will occur, and
  • HLC or other accrediting approval of the new program (if required). (If required, a copy of the accrediting letter is forwarded to APAEI.)


This approval is needed ONLY if an institution, not currently approved to offer an Associate Degree, intends to add such a degree to its array. This section outlines what the process is in such a case.