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Administration and Operations Manual

1.26 Teach Out Policy

Last Revised: May 16, 2014
Refer Questions To: Office of the Provost

Scope

This policy applies to administration and faculty in all programs of Gallaudet University.

Policy

The decision to close a degree or certificate program requires substantial planning and careful consultation with all those affected.  Every effort should be made to inform everyone affected as fully as possible about the conditions leading to a decision of such importance, and all available information should be shared.  As the immediate interests of current students and faculty are most directly affected, their present and future prospects require sensitive and timely attention and involvement.  The university teach-out policy aims to protect the interests of students and faculty and to satisfy the requirements established for the university by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) during this process

In accordance with Federal regulations, the University is required to submit a teach-out plan to MSCHE for approval if any of the following occurs:

  1. The institution notifies the Commission that it intends to cease operation entirely.
  2. The Commission terminates accreditation or the candidacy of an institution.
  3. The USDE notifies the Commission that it has initiated an emergency action against an institution or an action to limit, suspend, or terminate an institution participating in any Title IV, Higher Education Act program
  4. A State Licensing or authorizing agency notifies the Commission that an institutions license or legal authorization to provide an educational program has been or will be revoked

More specifically, if the University decides to close an educational program, or the entire institution, one of the following options must be followed:

  1. Execute a Teach-Out Plan.  The teach-out option occurs when the institution "teaches-out" currently enrolled students; no longer permanently admits students to programs; and terminates the educational program or the operations of an institution.
  2. Develop and implement a Teach-Out Agreement. The teach-out agreement option occurs when the institution enters into a contract with another institution or organization to teach out the educational programs or program.

Both teach-out plans and teach-out agreements must include the following information:

  1. Dates of termination and closure;
  2. An explanation of how affected parties (students, faculty, staff) will be informed of the impending closure;
  3. An explanation of how students will be helped to complete their program of study with minimal disruption or additional expense;
  4. How faculty and staff will be redeployed or helped to find new employment; and
  5. If closing an institution: signed copies of teach-out agreements with other institutions, if any; and arrangement for the storing of student records, disposition of final financial resources and other assets.

The teach-out plan should make appropriate distinctions between undergraduate and graduate students as well as between prospective and currently enrolled students.  The teach-out period and teach-out plan will vary by academic department and/or program and must be determined and approved in advance at all required levels, as specified under Responsibilities below.

Approved by: Gallaudet University Board of Trustees

Definitions

  1. Degree Program. A degree program is an organized curriculum leading to a degree in an area of study recognized as an academic discipline by the higher education community, as demonstrated by assignment of a Classification in Instructional Programs (CIP) code by the National Center for Educational Statistics or as demonstrated by the existence of similar degree programs at other colleges and universities.
  2. Certificate Program.  A certificate program is a coherent course of study leading to the awarding of a credential.  A college credit certificate is not intended as a degree, but as a supplement to a student's specific educational goals or professional career preparation. Completion of a college credit certificate generally is related to a specific field, and usually associated with a limited set of occupations.
  3. Educational Program. A degree program or college credit certificate program.
  4. Date of program termination. The date on which the educational program is closed permanently to admission
  5. Date of program closure. The date on which the last student in teach-out has completed the educational program
  6. Notification. A letter from an institution's chief executive officer, or his/her designated representative, to the MSCHE President summarizing a proposed change, providing the intended implementation date.  The policy and procedures for reporting and review of institutional substantive change are outlined in the document Substantive Change: Institutional Closure or Institutional Status Requiring a Teach-out Plan.
  7. MSCHE Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO).  The individual at the institution who is responsible for ensuring the timely submission of annual institutional profiles and other reports as requested by the Commission in the years between accreditation.  With the Chief Academic Officer the Accreditation Liaison Officer is responsible for the accuracy of all information submitted to the Commission and for ensuring ongoing compliance with Commission standards, policies, and procedures beyond reaffirmation.  During the Reaffirmation Cycle, the Liaison serves on the MSCHE Self-Study Team and oversees all staffing aspects of the Reaffirmation process.
  8. Teach-Out Plan.  The written plan and subsequent process by which the University provides institutional and academic support services to students enrolled in an educational program that has been discontinued.  The teach-out process often extends well beyond the termination date (the date on which the site or program is closed permanently to admissions) to allow time for enrolled students to complete their program in a reasonable amount of time.  The plan must provide for the equitable treatment of students in an institution.
  9. Teach-Out Agreement.  A written agreement between accredited institutions that provides for the equitable treatment of students if one of those institutions stops offering an educational program before all students enrolled in that program complete the program.

Procedures

Responsiblities

The Dean (and relevant Department Chair) whose scope of authority involves an educational program being considered for termination shall inform and involve affected faculty and staff at the earliest possible stage of consideration.  Once the decision to pursue closure of an educational program has been made, the Dean shall forward a proposal to the Provost. The proposal should be developed with the involvement of faculty and students as possible and should outline the:

  1. Nature of the program,
  2. Reason for termination,
  3. Number of students currently enrolled,
  4. Progression statistics of students in the program,
  5. Resources used to offer the program,
  6. Financial savings, if any, realized from the termination,
  7. Explanation of how any students enrolled in the program will be helped to complete their program,
  8. Assessment of whether any faculty will be adversely affected by termination, and
  9. Explanation of how affected individuals will be informed of the planned termination.  

The Dean should be available to brief the Provost, and, in the case of the institution closing, the MSCHE Accreditation Liaison Officer of the pending decision.  The Provost will work with the Dean to develop and coordinate presentations on the proposal to the President's Cabinet and the University Board of Trustees.

The Dean and Chair shall work to develop a teach-out plan (See Appendix A, "Teach-Out Academic Plan"), and implement the notification elements of the plan for students and faculty.  Appendix B provides a general summary used to brief faculty and students as "Sample Student and Faculty General Communication Summary." Both current and prospective students should be notified as soon as practicable (See Appendix C and D for sample letters).  The Dean is responsible for on-going monitoring and reporting on implementation of the teach-out plan.  A monitoring report should be used to provide periodic reports to the Provost on the status of the teach-out.  The monitoring report shall also be used to advise students of their progress in the teach-out. (See Appendix E, "Sample Program Monitoring Report.")

The Faculty Welfare Committee of the Senate shall review the initial proposal to terminate an educational program forwarded by a relevant Dean.  The Faculty Welfare Committee will determine whether any faculty will be adversely affected by termination, and act to implement provisions in the University Faculty Guidelines.  The Faculty Welfare Committee shall notify the Provost and help facilitate the Provost's presentation on the change to the President's Cabinet and the University Board of Trustees.

The Provost will insure the proposal for termination is brought forward for discussion by the President's Cabinet.  The Provost will develop and coordinate the presentation on the proposal to the University Board of Trustees and work with the relevant Dean to insure all affected parties are notified on pending decision.  The affected parties must include the faculty, students, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Studies, the Dean of Education, Business, and Human Services, the Registrar, the Office of Admissions, and the Office of Institutional Research.  Once the President's Cabinet and the University Board of Trustees have approved termination of the program, the Provost will be updated periodically by the relevant Dean on the notification and approval process, and will receive periodic updates the relevant Dean on the implementation of the teach-out plan.  

Affected Groups

  1. Prospective undergraduate students with active applications awaiting admission decisions to a degree program should be immediately advised to seek alternative majors by the appropriate unit, generally the academic department or program  Prospective students should be given as much time as practicable to seek alternative majors.  The academic department or program also should immediately suspend admission of new students.
  2. Currently enrolled undergraduate students who have fewer than 60 credit hours in a terminated degree program, after consideration of their circumstances and potential impacts of University actions on such students, should be immediately suspended from declaring a major in a terminated upper division program and be required to select a different major.  Departmental faculty or staff should advise such students regarding appropriate options.
  3. Currently enrolled undergraduate students in a degree program at the upper division level who have 60 or more credit hours applicable to the major in their program of study should be given a high priority in University efforts to enable them to complete their degree programs.  An academic plan should be developed for each student that enables him/her to complete the curricular program requirements within the teach-out period. The teach-out period, typically, will continue for no more than two academic years following the date on which the notice of termination is given to students.  Programs, on a case-by-case basis, will determine the necessary length of a teach-out program.  Students who do not make adequate progress on their academic plan for teach-out will be advised into another major.  If a course required for the degree is not offered in the teach-out period, students may make arrangements, with the department's consent, to take the course at another institution and transfer the credit, or to arrange with the department to complete the requirements in some other academically appropriate fashion.  Students are required to have ongoing contact with their academic advisor during the teach-out period to ensure that their academic plans are current and consistent with the projected course offering.
  4. Prospective graduate students are those who have active applications awaiting admission decisions to an affected degree program.  As soon as the decision to terminate is made, the appropriate unit, generally an academic department or program, should immediately suspend admission of new students and advise students who have already been offered admission that they must complete the degree program within a teach-out period.  The graduate degree must be completed within the teach-out period.  Such students must meet the minimum credit hour requirements for the degree.
  5. Graduate students currently enrolled in a terminated degree program should be given an opportunity to complete their degree programs.  Departments and programs should work with such students to develop a strategy for completion within the teach-out period.  Programs should be as flexible as possible in facilitating and allowing currently enrolled graduate students to complete their degree program.  Such students must meet the minimum credit hour requirements for the degree.
  6. Undergraduate and graduate students previously admitted into a terminated educational or degree program who are not currently enrolled shall have their requests for readmission made on a case-by-case basis.  At a minimum, the decision to readmit shall consider the ability of the department or program to offer needed courses within the teach-out period, and the student's previous performance within the terminated educational program.
  7. Undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in a terminated certificate program should be given an opportunity to complete their certificate.  Departments and programs should work with such students to develop a strategy for completion within the teach-out period.  Students should expect to take a sufficient number of courses each semester, including summers, to enable them to complete all requirements within the teach-out period.  The teach-out period will continue for no more than two academic years following the date of which notice of termination is given to students.  The teach-out period will vary by certificate program and must be determined by the department and college with approval of the Provost. The certificate must be completed within the teach-out period.  Such students must meet the minimum credit hour requirements for the certificate.
  8. Faculty should be involved in and informed of plans to terminate a degree or certificate program at the earliest possible stage of consideration.  Faculty shall be informed of any potential layoff considerations covered by the University Faculty Guidelines at the earliest possible stage of consideration and be kept apprised of recommendations forwarded to the University Board of Trustees regarding plans to terminate a degree program or certificate program.

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