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Office for Institutional Effectiveness

Academic Approvals

Program Approval and Assessment

Approval of New Programs, Changes in Curriculum and Academic Organization

For new programs, planning proposals must be approved by both the Board of Trustees and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education’s (CHE) Advisory Committee of Academic Programs (ACAP). After approval, full proposals must then be approved by CHE's Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing (CAAL) and CHE’s Board of Commissioners as well as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Changes in delivery site, program discontinuations, new departments, department mergers or discontinuations, and new centers or institutes must also be approved by the Board of Trustees. 

Flowchart of Academic Approvals

Academic Program Assessment

Assessment of the quality of degree programs is included as part of Clemson’s overall program assessment process annual reports on student learning outcomes and program quality.  Program Review occurs at the department or unit level, and are conducted on a five-year cycle and culminate in “closing the loop” by using assessment results and data (both qualitative and quantitative) to improve curricula and programs. In addition, CHE evaluates degree completion by major annually, requiring a five-year average degree completion rate of five graduates for undergraduate programs (minimum enrollment of 12.5 students), three for masters (minimum enrollment of six students) and two for doctoral programs (minimum enrollment of 4.5 students).

As part of our participation in the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) and Student Achievement Measure (SAM), sponsored by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), the University is committed to demonstrating that a Clemson degree adds value.  The ETS Proficiency Profile, NSSE, GRE, specialty field tests, licensing, e-Portfolio, and other forms of assessment are used as a means of collecting feedback on student learning and engagement.  We also use focus groups, exit interviews, and alumni surveys to seek more qualitative information from students and graduates.  We engage in specialty accreditation processes as well as SACSCOC five-year and ten-year reviews, and CHE productivity reviews to ensure continuous improvement of our degree programs. 

Since 2011 the Education Testing Service (ETS) Proficiency Profile has been administered to all entering freshmen; and in 2016, all graduating seniors will also be tested to measure critical thinking, writing, reading and mathematical abilities.

Center and Institute Assessment

Centers and institutes are evaluated annually through the development of a planning document and assessment report.  In addition, all centers and institutes undergo a comprehensive fifth-year review. Research enters and institutes are to be self-sustaining within a three-year period. Educational centers and institutes that offer courses and support department or university curricula should have substantial external funding, but are not required to be entirely self-supporting.

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