Section II - Administration

II D 2

General - Substantive Change

To state the College's substantive change policy and procedure

To ensure that the College maintains compliance with its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), RCC provides written notification of substantive changes at the College in accordance with SACSCOC policies and timetables.  Reporting and seeking approval of substantive changes is part of the ongoing compliance with SACSCOC and the responsibility of the SACSCOC Liaison.  The Office of Institutional Effectiveness reviews and updates this policy, as needed, based on updates to SACSCOC’s Substantive Change Policy and Procedures.

Types of changes covered by this policy include, but are not limited to:

  • Adding a program that is a significant departure from the existing programs, or method of delivery, from those offered when the institution was last evaluated.
  • Adding a new off-campus instructional site/additional location including branch campus.
  • Relocating an institution or an off-campus instructional site of an institution (including a branch campus).
  • Closing an institution, a program, a method of delivery, an off-campus instructional site, or a program at an off-campus instructional site.
The following process ensures the integrity of RCC’s educational programs and its accreditation. This process applies to all units of the institution with responsibilities for curriculum programs and collaborative academic arrangements.  Academic arrangements include educational programs, consortia agreements, affiliations, articulation agreements, and agreements involving dual or joint academic awards (certificates, diplomas, degrees, or transcripts).
  1. Before offering a new program, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) in conjunction with Associate Deans and Dean of Curriculum Programs vet the need.
  2. A committee of subject matter experts is formed to develop the curriculum and prepare the proposal. The Substantive Change Form for Curriculum Review Committee is completed and included in the packet for committee review.
  3. The proposed curriculum changes go before the Curriculum Review Committee for revisions and fine-tuning. As part of this review the Substantive Change Evaluation Rubric is used to determine if the change is substantive in nature, and what SACSCOC reporting procedures need to be followed.
  4. Recommendations are sent to the RCC Board of Trustees Instructional/Student Services Sub-Committee for approval.
  5. Approval is sent to the RCC Board of Trustees Full Board as a consent agenda item to be approved by the full board.
  6. After RCC Board of Trustee approval, the changes are sent to the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges for state approval. This is the point that the SACSCOC Liaison communicates to SACSCOC according to the SACSCOC substantive change guidelines found at
  7. For any program/agreement requiring SACSCOC approval, all advertising and materials for the program including information on websites or academic catalogs must include the following statement: Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  8. After the institution is notified of formal SACSCOC approval, the SACSCOC Liaison will notify the proposing unit, admissions, and Senior Leadership, and any other interested parties. The pending approval statement may be removed from all materials.


Adopted: 05/17/2012

Revised: 06/17/2019