The Designation of Colleges and the Characteristics and Changes of Departments, Schools, and Programs (CURRENT)

Reference Number: S17-190
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Presidential Approval Date: 
Tuesday, February 14, 2017



Key Words: Departments, Schools, Programs



Curriculum Review & Approval Committee


Responsible Unit

Office responsible for inquiries, implementation, and evaluation








  • Characteristics of Departments and Schools and Programs
  • Name Changes






  • original


Table of Contents

A.  Characteristics of a Department/School

B.  Characteristics of a Program

C.  Name Changes to a Department, School, or Program





All academic programs will be organized into a set of colleges. A dean, who reports to the Provost/Vice-president for Academic Affairs, will lead each college. Colleges may be comprised of departments and schools. A college dean may establish organizational subunits within a college, appropriately named to enhance administration, collaboration, or other desired benefits. Such subunits do not accrue financial or other entitlements except as specifically provided by the dean.


A. Characteristics of a Department/School


  1. Departments and schools are considered equivalent units for purposes of university policies and the collective bargaining agreement
  2. A department/school is part of a college. Neither of these two organizational units may include other departments/schools as subunits
  3. A department/school offers a major, minor, and/or credential, and may offer a certificate.
  4. A department/school has faculty with tenure rights and normally has a minimum staffing of four (4.0), full-time equivalent faculty.
  5. A department/school elects a peer review committee that recommends hiring faculty members and performs evaluation functions for re-appointment, retention, tenure, and promotion of faculty. In order to fulfill its personnel functions, there must be enough faculty in the department/school and/or cognate disciplines to serve on the required committees.
  6. Whether called a chair or a director, the head of a department/school is selected according to the University Policy for Selection of Department Chairs (currently #F11-145) and reports to the dean of a college.
  7. Considerations that will normally apply in designation a unit a school include professional accreditation, licensing, or certification requirements for graduates, size of the unit and common practice in higher education of administratively referring to the discipline as a school.


B. Characteristics of a Program


  1. A program offers a major, minor, credential, and/or certificate
  2. A program may be a stand-alone unit within a college or may be a subunit of a department/school. Such programs do not accrue financial or other entitlements except as a specifically provided by the department/school chair/director or the college dean.


B. Name Changes to a Department, School, or Program


A request for a name change originates with the relevant faculty and, as appropriate, follows relevant Academic Senate guidelines as found in “Academic Senate Principles Regarding Academic Reorganization”


Typical request may stem from:

  1. Two departments/schools or programs wishing to merge
  2. One department/school or program seeking a new name
  3. An existing department/school or program seeking a new name

a. Faculty members draft a request that must include a rationale for the name change. Following faculty approval, the request is forwarded to the college dean.

b. Provide a mechanism for campus-wide feedback of the proposed name change for a minimum of two weeks

c. The college dean reviews the request and consults with appropriate units within the University. The dean also notifies the Academic Affairs Council to determine any possible conflicts. At this stage, every attempt should be made to resolve all conflicts. If conflicts cannot be resolved at this point, they should be explained in the dean’s request to the Provost

d. The dean forwards the request to the Provost with a recommendation.

e. The Provost consults with the Academic Affairs Council regarding the request.

f. If approved by the Provost or designee, the change take effect at the start of the next academic year.

g. The change is sent to the Academic Senate as an information item.

Policy Document: S17-190_new