Skip to:

Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this guideline is to reflect the commitment of the TBR System and its institutions to enhance students’ access to and success in higher education.

  • Learning support in this guideline is defined within the body of the policy
  1. Introduction
    1. Students should be ready for college level courses, but some students require additional support to be successful. Through co-requisite delivery of learning support and college level courses, students have an enhanced opportunity to succeed. ( Learning support in this guideline is defined as academic support needed by a student to be successful in college level general education courses and/or to meet minimum reading, writing, and mathematic competencies as required by faculty in programs that do not require general education courses in reading, writing and/or mathematics. The purpose is to enhance academic success in college level courses and increase the likelihood of program completion that will prepare students for career success in their chosen field of study.
  2. Assessment
    1. All students, regardless of age, who do not present valid ACT, SAT, or other assessment scores [hot link to website to be added] approved by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, e.g., SAILS or TN Ready, will be placed into the appropriate co-requisite learning support course(s) or interventions for reading, writing, and/or mathematics, as required by the academic program.
    2. If these scores are available, but fail to demonstrate college readiness based upon the table below or documented evidence to the contrary, the student will be placed into the appropriate co-requisite learning support course(s) or interventions for reading, writing, and/or mathematics, as required by the academic program.
      1.  ACT* ***SAT** ***
        Writing 18Critical Reading  490
        Reading   19Critical Reading  500
        Mathematics19Math                   500

        * It should be noted that the 2010 ACT College Readiness Standards were revised to reflect the following minimum scores to be evaluated as "college ready". Writing - 18; Reading - 21; Mathematics - 22. The above scores are for purpose of placement.
        ** SAT concorded cut scores are based upon 2016 Revised SAT scores

        *** Students with a subject score that is equal to or greater than the listed cut score will be exempt from Learning Support and placed into college level courses.

    3. ​Academic programs that do not require specific college level courses, i.e., in math, English, or reading intensive courses used for placement, may have faculty-prescribed learning support competencies established as prerequisites/co-requisites specific to the degree program or certificate if deemed necessary for workforce readiness in the field of study.
    4. Institutions will provide, or may require, assessment to allow students to challenge placement into co-requisite learning support if they have not met established criteria.
      1. The challenge assessment will be an approved nationally normed standardized assessment that will be identified in the institution’s Catalog and/or Student Handbook.
      2. In addition to this assessment, the institution may choose to require a writing sample for placement related to success in ENGL 1010.
    5. Degree Seeking: First-Time and Transfer Students
      1. Scores used for initial assessment must have been earned within 5 years prior to the first day of class for the student’s entering term.
      2. Students entering without l assessment scores or transferable college-level English composition credit will be placed into co-requisite writing learning support with the option of challenge testing.
      3. Students entering without assessment scores or transferable college-level credit from a reading intensive general education course will be placed into co-requisite reading learning support with the option of challenge testing. The designation of the reading intensive course will be made by the receiving institution.
      4. Students entering without assessment scores or transferable college-level mathematics credit will be placed into co-requisite mathematics learning support with the option of challenge testing.
    6. Special Students: Non-Degree Seeking / Certificate Programs
      1. Certificate seeking students entering without transferable college-level English composition credit will be subject to the same placement criteria prior to enrollment in college-level English or in any course with English composition as a prerequisite.
      2. Certificate seeking students entering without transferable college-level credit from a reading intensive general education course will be subject to the same placement criteria in reading. The designation of the reading intensive course will be made by the receiving institution.
      3. Certificate seeking students without transferable college-level mathematics credit will be subject to the same placement criteria prior to enrollment in college-level mathematics or in any course with mathematics as a prerequisite.
      4. Students who change to degree-seeking status will be assessed under guidelines for degree seeking students.
      5. For students desiring to take one or more courses for personal or professional development, the institution will establish a policy to address the need for assessment.
  3. Parameters
    1. Organizational Structure
      1. The president of each institution will determine the organizational structure and coordination of learning support services for the institution.
      2. Each institution will establish criteria for the selection of learning support faculty consistent with professional disciplinary standards and SACSCOC accreditation standards.
      3. Institutional policies will apply to faculty and staff whose primary role is learning support.
    2. Learning Support Framework
      1. Institutions will develop a co-requisite plan for reading, writing, and math as referenced by the Fundamental Features of Co-Requisites Remediation document.
        1. (Note: The Fundamental Features of Co-Requisites Remediation document and Learning Support Competencies for reading, writing, and mathematics are available by request from the designated Learning Support Director/Coordinator at each institution and are available on the TBR website.(
      2. Only learning support at the high school level as defined by Tennessee Department of Education qualifies for federal financial aid. (Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1, Chapter 1 – Student Eligibility 2016-2017)
      3. If a student matriculates, the institution must include strategies to address learning support for those students with ACT subject scores of 12 or below (or other approved concorded scores, such as SAT, PSAT, etc.).
      4. Unless noted as an exception (see next item), learning support will be provided through co-requisite delivery with college level courses that have been approved by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
      5. As an exception, stand-alone learning support may be provided only on a limited basis to support non-degree seeking students whose program does not require college-level math, and/or English 1010, and/or reading intensive courses, but the program requirements established by the faculty do include successful demonstration of Learning Support Competencies.
      6. Faculty who teach the college-level courses that are linked with learning support must be involved in the development of the learning support delivery plan.
      7. The learning support must address the learning outcomes and competencies ( determined to be appropriate for college readiness, and must be aligned with the competencies required in the linked general education college-level course to facilitate successful completion of the core course.
      8. Students must attain the appropriate mastery level of learning competencies during their initial semesters of enrollment. Students requiring learning support in multiple areas must address at least one subject area per term until all competencies are completed.
      9. When placement requires remediation in more than one subject area, Learning Support Competencies may require more than one semester of work, but should be completed within the first 30 semester credit hours. In this case, it may be appropriate to address literacy requirements first.
      10. The delivery of learning support must be based on proven methods of integrating technology and learner-centered pedagogy and must address the desired learning competencies.
      11. While four year public institutions cannot offer learning support for credit (Complete College TN Act of 2010 (CCTA), community colleges may provide learning support for credit or provide non-credit interventions for learning support. With Board approval, learning support lab fees may be established in lieu of tuition.
      12. Academic programs or certificates that do not require a college-level mathematics course may require mathematics learning support competencies as prerequisites/co-requisites specific to the degree program or certificate.
      13. Credit hours assigned to pre-college level learning support should be kept to a minimum, not to exceed 9 semester credit hours in total for all three subject areas.
      14. “Learning Strategies” will not be offered as a required learning support course for less than college-level credit. Institutions will determine the delivery of appropriate “learning strategies” at their individual institutions. While these skills should be incorporated across the curriculum, learning strategies should be addressed in the first-year experience college success course.
      15. With regard to the students receiving VA benefits, each institution will ensure that learning support is provided in compliance with the eligibility provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (38 CFR Ch. 1 s 21.4200 et seq.), including requirements for class attendance.
    3. Student Records
      1. Students will demonstrate mastery of the defined Learning Support competencies at a level comparable to a passing grade.
      2. Successful completion of a student’s learning support competencies will be recorded on the student’s academic record with or without the assignment of standard grades.
      3. Students may not audit any portion of their learning support plans.
      4. Student progress and completion of learning support competencies will be notated in Banner and posted to the academic record.
    4. Student Transfers
      1. Student learning support information will be provided upon request. When a transcript is requested, the institution must send placement and enrollment status reports for transferring students that includes student record of progress and completion of learning support competencies.
      2. Regardless of the strategies and activities used to provide learning support, once mastery learning has been documented by the institution, all TBR institutions must accept that documentation.
      3. If mastery learning for required competencies has not been documented as satisfied, the receiving institution will default to co-requisite learning support. The institution may provide the opportunity for challenge testing.
  4. Accountability - Evaluation of the learning support services is as continuous improvement process. The institution will monitor TBR established benchmarks and annual performance indicators to demonstrate progress of students who are placed in learning support.
    1. Measures of Success
      1. Success will be measured by student completion of learning support, enrollment and success in college entry-level courses for which students have received learning support, fall to fall retention, graduation rates, and time to graduation.
      2. Additional data measures may be established and reported by the institution to document and evaluate efforts to increase student access.
      3. Appropriate data tracking must be established to track the progress of any student with an ACT subject score of 12 or below who is enrolled at the institution.
      4. All TBR institutions will form partnerships with the high school districts’ Local Education Agency (LEA) in order to develop early intervention systems, provide learning support for at-risk students identified through assessments taken prior to the senior year of high school, including ACT, SAT, PSAT, etc. 

Approved at Presidents Meeting August 17, 2010 (Revised former guideline A-100, Basic/Developmental Studies Program (DSP) Operational Guidelines); Presidents meeting February 14, 2012. Revisions approved at Presidents Meeting November 8, 2016.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges

The purpose of this guideline is to establish the operational guidelines for the Development and Operation of Off-Campus International Educational Programs by institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Introduction
    1. Each institution that participates in any international educational program shall adopt policies and procedures consistent with the good practice standards as established through the Forum on Education Abroad, recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as the Standards Development Organization for Education Abroad.
    2. Best practices
      1. The TBR is committed to having our institutions identify and adopt relevant good practices which can assist our institutions in enhancing and improving their education abroad activities and processes including:
        1. undertake reasonable steps to be informed of and comply with applicable laws both at home and in the host country;
        2. avoid arrangements which might violate those laws or accepted business practices of the U.S. or host country;
        3. establish and maintain reasonably safe and non-discriminatory, work, study and living conditions for employees and students;
        4. communicate clearly with students the anticipated environmental conditions of the location abroad;
        5. make available current policies, procedures and job descriptions;
        6. exercise due diligence in cost control and adopting clear and reasonable billing procedures for participants;
        7. establish transparent protocols for data collected;
        8. maintain sufficient financial resources to meet obligations and exigencies for unanticipated obligations;
        9. enforce research including human subject research protocols and those of the host country in accordance with standards outlined by the Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health;
        10. engage in continuous improvement;
        11. emphasize academic integrity within the international education experience;
        12. manage all provider arrangements for oversight and evaluation; and
        13. follow the established US Import/Export Guidelines.
  2. Types of Programs & Program Documentation
    1. Courses for academic credit, hosted abroad, should provide academic learning opportunities appropriate to the mission of the program and that align to courses in a student’s area of study or which meet general education requirements.
    2. Institutions may opt to have their students engage in any of the following types of education abroad:
      1. Institutional or campus administered programs led by institutional faculty including course-embedded study abroad, service–learning, or internships.
        1. Service-learning abroad or community-engaged learning combines structured participation in a community–based project to achieve specified learning outcomes as part of the study abroad program.
        2. Service learning is not the equivalent of civic engagement.
        3. Determination of service learning activities should be mindful of the culture and politics of the location in which the program in offered.
      2. Programs where the institution maintains a central office or facility in another country which is staffed by a resident director and is under close supervision and the TBR institution which awards credit.
      3. International branch campuses.
      4. Reciprocal exchange programs which are bilateral or multilateral exchanges.
        1. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a document signifying the mutual interest in the development of collaborative educational activities related to instruction, research, and extension between units at cooperating institutions. No financial or legal obligations are incurred with an MOU. It is often the preliminary step to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
        2. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is a contract between units at cooperating institutions to develop collaborative activities related to instruction, research, and/or extension and thus, establishes the parameters for student exchanges between two institutions.
        3. All collaborations involving either a memorandum of agreement through which a TBR institution agrees to work with a non-TBR institution, whether domestic or international, must be vetted through the General Counsel’s Office either on the individual campus or through the TBR System Office.
      5. Direct enrollment in institutions outside the United States.
      6. Consortia sponsored programs including programs sponsored through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS).
      7. Programs sponsored by American universities and colleges overseas.
      8. Hybrid or mixed programs which combine two or more of the program types to a significant degree, or
    3. Programs contracted with a third party vendor or independent program provider.
      1. Institutions should use the services of third party or independent program providers, which offer education abroad program services to students from multiple institutions within and outside of the TBR, with caution.
      2. Institutions maintain liability for the welfare of students enrolled in their institutions while they are engaged in study abroad provided through a third party program provider.
    4. All institutions including the TnCIS must establish guidelines for operation of international programs.
      1. Institutions engaged in any international activities which are not coordinated through the TnCIS must establish international policies or guidelines for the individual institution and submit them annually to the TBR Office of Academic Affairs.
      2. Institutions may adopt the policies and procedures embraced through TnCIS as a whole, if the institution engages solely in TnCIS study abroad programs.
      3. All policies and procedures established by institutions must be vetted through the appropriate institutional channels including the TBR Office of General Counsel, as applicable.
      4. The TnCIS protocols and guidelines must be vetted through the TBR Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs or designee as well as the TBR General Counsel.
  3. Defining Roles within Study Abroad Programs
    1. Individuals approved for participation in, and travel with international programs sponsored by TBR institutions including the TnCIS programs consist of the following categories:
      1. Participants
        1. Individual institutions should establish guidelines to determine the required preparation necessary for a student to participate in the desired international experience (e.g., GPA, tenure in academic program, academic preparedness, and contributions to the program of study). The TnCIS will employ institutional guidelines and notify individual institutions if they are not in compliance with the guidelines.
        2. In keeping with best practices, only individuals enrolled in a TBR institution may participate in study abroad programs.
        3. Students enrolled in TBR institutions must be registered at their home institutions in order to participate in international study courses if the course is sponsored by their home institution or by another institution within the TBR system.
        4. Individuals who are students at non-TBR institutions or are not students at any institution of higher education must enroll in a TBR institution under “Non-Degree” or “Continuing Education” or “Transient” or “Transfer” student status for the duration of the international education experience. Enrolling in one of these classifications requires that these individuals meet all qualifications, prerequisites, and requirements for selection as a participant in an international education program, participate in all orientation meetings, and pay all tuition and fees to the sponsoring TBR institution.
        5. Students from non-TBR schools who elect to participate in TBR institution-sponsored international education programs as fulltime transfer students are responsible for transferring credit back to their home institutions.
      2. Program Directors and Group Leaders
        1. These are TBR employees who administratively lead and/or teach international education experiences, including individuals outside the institution and those employed at another higher education institution outside the TBR system, who serve in the role of Program Director or Group Leader. Program directors and group leaders, including faculty directing and teaching in the TnCIS programs, must have their role defined and documented by the unit sponsoring the program. This documentation must be on file with the TBR Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
        2. Program directors serve as institutional representatives and as such must maintain current certification as a Study Abroad Leader though the TBR Office of Academic Affairs, the individual institutional training, or the TnCIS study abroad training programs. Individual faculty are responsible for providing documentation of qualifications at the time of application to offer a study abroad program at individual institutions or through the TnCIS.
        3. All program directors of institutionally sponsored trips must create a campus appropriate training structure and implement institutional assessment guidelines for the completion of such training prior to faculty leading a trip.
        4. Faculty compensation for international educational programs is not subject to Policy No. 5:02:04:10 Faculty Compensation During Summer Session and Inter-session. Faculty teaching for the TnCIS  must submit their academic credentials to Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC) and be appointed as an adjunct faculty member at PSCC.
      3. Faculty Instructors
        1. Faculty who are teaching the international course, but may not be the designated program director, must have their role defined and documented by the unit sponsoring the program.
      4. Accompanying Spouses and Minors
        1. In cases where a program director or faculty instructor will be traveling abroad for an extended period of time (more than 30 days), it is left to the discretion of the home institution as to whether to allow spouses and minors to travel with the employee.
        2. Spouses and minor children, if allowed to participate, cannot impair the operation or administration of the program, or otherwise infringe on the participants, or incorporate any of their expenses into the program budget.
        3. Spouses and minor children, if allowed to participate, must complete an Assumption of Risk form for the program, consortia (if relevant) and TBR institutions prior to departure.
  4. Safety and Welfare
    1. Faculty and staff directing and teaching in study abroad programs should be trained in the liabilities of the responsibilities accompanying their role when not on U.S. soil.
    2. Institutions should have operational policies and procedures in place for faculty leading international education experiences to refer to as needed which include:
      1. Health and safety, insurance, payments of health care expenses when abroad, contact information for medical assistance in the area(s) in which the program is in operation;
      2. Crisis management and response;
      3. Disciplinary actions ranging from reporting to expulsion; and
      4. Student appeals.
    3. In case of medical emergency, program directors should take reasonable action on behalf of the student participant.
    4. Crisis Response Plans
      1. All institutions that direct study abroad programs should have a detailed critical response protocol in place to address emergencies.
        1. Institutions offering campus based international educational experiences, as well as the TnCIS based programs, must ensure that all program directors, faculty and students receive clear training on how any crisis is to be handled.
      2. Institutions must establish a clear, written reporting chain with identified contact person(s) on the campus to which all incidents and potential actions to take within a crisis situation is reported.
        1. All incidents should be reported at the earliest possible time.
        2. Program directors for international study courses should have clear guidelines with relevant contact information for airlines, insurance and medical personnel in the event of a crisis including the need to evacuate.
      3. A copy of the institution’s crisis response plan should be on file with the Office of Academic Affairs by April 1 of each year.
      4. Institutions are expected to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act).
        1. Each institution must develop a policy for compliance with the Clery Act regarding all international programs.
        2. At a minimum, each institutional policy must require that each program designate an individual responsible for complying with the Clery Act.
        3. For programs managed by a third party or a foreign institution, where the TBR institution has control of the property, the TBR institution should designate an official to collect any crime reports.
    5. Student Rights
      1. Study Abroad programs are expected to comply with the American Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act when possible and the policy for addressing requests for accommodations should be included in the institution’s international education policy.
        1. Issues related to accessibility should be resolved after a student is accepted into an international educational experience, but before the student departs on the trip.
        2. Appropriate institutional offices including those responsible for international programs and disability services should be contacted to assist in the determination of reasonable accommodation.
      2. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
        1. Generally, institutions and their respective faculty members must have written  permission from a student in order to release information from a student’s educational record or personally identifiable information.
          1. FERPA consent includes the type of record to be disclosed, to whom the record will be released and the student’s signature.
          2. When a student turns 18 years old or enrolls in an institution of higher education at any age the rights under the FERPA transfer from the parents to the student with some exceptions which include: when a student is claimed by either parents as parent as a dependent for tax purposes; for school officials with legitimate educational interest, and; appropriate officials in the case of health and safety emergencies.
    6. Conduct and Discipline Issues
      1. Every TBR Institution engaged in a study abroad or international education program must develop a policy for addressing complaints of discrimination and harassment arising during the course of a program. Policies must be consistent with TBR Policies 3:01:00:00, 3:02:00:00, and 3:03:00:00.
        1. Faculty and staff involved in study abroad activities who receive complaints of harassment whether student-to-student, staff-to-student, student-to-staff or any other individuals for which harassment is alleged during an international education experience, must report the incident to the institution immediately.
        2. The procedure set out must provide for due process for any student accused of misconduct.
      2. Students from other institutions who participate in international study programs at any TBR institution regardless of their classification must adhere to the sponsoring institution’s student conduct rules and regulations and all rules of the international program in which they are enrolled.
      3. The Tennessee Board of Regents institutions do not tolerate harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age (as applicable), status as a covered veteran, genetic information, and any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law.
      4. Institutions have the right to take disciplinary action including expulsion of students during an international educational experience using the same guidelines and processes of action and appeal as those in place on the home campus.
      5. Due Process
        1. Campuses must establish minimum due process procedures for students who are participating in international study courses.
        2. Campus due process must be enacted consistent with TBR Policy No. 3:02:00:01, General Regulations on Student Conduct & Disciplinary Sanctions.
        3. Due process procedures must be clearly outlined in international study course materials and provided to students in pre-trip trainings.
    7. Institutional Authority
      1. International study courses have the authority to establish more stringent guidelines than those set either by the TBR or individual institutional policies regarding student conduct which might be disruptive to the program or individual participants. These may include guidelines regarding the use and abuse of drugs, alcohol, engaging in behaviors which may be culturally inappropriate in the host country, or actions that may put the student or others at risk. Students should be advised that standards of personal conduct differ from those in the United States and what is expected in a host country.
  5. Recruitment, Admission, Orientation, Participation, Program Evaluation and Re-entry
    1. TBR Office of Academic Affairs will publish on the system office website, links to international education programs offered by individual TBR institutions.
      1. All institutions and the TnCIS are responsible for notifying the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs of all international education courses regardless of the direction of the course or program to be offered at the time when schedules are confirmed.
    2. Institutions are responsible for establishing program recruitment/advising materials and/or advising which accurately represent the program and include selection criteria based on appropriate academic standards, cultural and educational objectives, estimated cost, financial aid, health insurance requirements, services provided, vaccinations, visa responsibilities and legal proceedings. Students should be informed of these issues at the time of admission.
    3. Financial Aid
      1. Due to the complexity of offering classes or programs internationally, institutions are responsible for developing appropriate implementation timelines which allow for the student to apply for financial aid.
      2. Students who are receiving financial aid are not allowed to change from credit to audit once funds have been disbursed.
    4. Orientation and Participation
      1. Individual institutions may, at their discretion, require students, faculty or staff to provide signed documentation of having received pre-travel advice and counseling, as well as relevant vaccinations, anti-malarial prophylaxis, and other medical interventions consistent with appropriate medical practice.
      2. Institutions may restrict participation in an international program for participants, program directors and group leaders, and faculty instructors determined to be at excessive medical risk.
      3. All students and faculty, whether program directors or instructional faculty, are required to have documentable medical insurance with covered medical treatment outside of U.S. borders  at a minimum of $100,000 per accident or sickness  as well as evacuation and repatriation insurance combined minimum of $50,000  in order to participate in study abroad. Institutions are encouraged to purchase group insurance to cover evacuation and repatriation on behalf of students and faculty.  (Currently, the TnCIS purchases group insurance on behalf of students and faculty engaging in TnCIS programs.)
    5. Evaluations
      1. All participants and international program leaders are expected to complete program evaluation forms to gather data on the effectiveness of recruitment, admissions, pre-departure orientation, the educational and personal value of program components while abroad, re-entry, and recommendations for continuation or termination of the trip in the future.
      2. For programs operated by the TnCIS, the TnCIS will summarize the results of the evaluations and forward a summary to all campuses with enrolled students in order for facilitate data-based decision-making on each campus.
      3. For all non-TnCIS international engagements, institutions must conduct their own evaluations for inclusion in campus planning of internationalization activities.
  6. Financial Management
    1. Financial procedures for international educational programs
      1. Each institution is responsible for the charging of tuition and fees, receipt of student payments, administering financial aid, registration and reporting of grades in the same manner as domestic programs.
      2. Institutions should not charge Maintenance Fee for students enrolled in TnCIS study abroad programs.
    2. Institutions must make appropriate arrangements to use existing accounting and reporting procedures (if available) for all international travel by program directors or group leaders to cover expenses abroad. Through the use of an institutional credit card, advanced money or other means, expenses abroad related to housing, food, excursions and incidental expenses as outlined in the international education program contract should be arranged for in advance.
    3. Viability of International Educational Programs
      1. International education activities at all TBR institutions as well as the TnCIS are expected to be financially self-sustaining over time and to be accountable to good financial management practices.
      2. Individual Institutions shall establish an evaluation for individual courses and for all international education programs to determine the continued academic value and financial viability of each program annually.
    4. International Fee Usage
      1. Recognizing the need for flexibility while maintaining accountability, the TBR has established the optional assessment of an international fee to be paid by each student enrolled in the institutions.
      2. Individual institutions have authority to allocate funds to activities in support of globalization efforts for the campus, including international professional development of the faculty.
        1. Salaries for faculty not engaged in directly providing international programs or courses are not acceptable.
        2. Institutions should use a portion of the revenue generated through the internationalization fee for study abroad scholarships.
      3. Individual institutions are responsible for establishing an infrastructure to determine the allocation of the international fees collected from students to promote internationalization at the home institution. The infrastructure should include student representation or input received from the entire study body.
    5. Faculty Compensation
      1. Salaries for faculty engaged in directing or teaching study abroad courses receives remuneration from their home institutions.
        1. Faculty compensation of summer session and inter-session international educational programs whether campus-based or operated through the TnCIS are not subject to Policy 5:02:04:10 Faculty Compensation During Summer Session and Inter-sessions.
        2. Faculty teaching or directing study abroad courses on behalf of the TnCIS must submit an Adjunct Faculty Contract and a travel authorization form at their home institution, which will be forwarded to the TnCIS Office by the home institution.
        3. For non-PSCC faculty, the TnCIS will process the contact through the PSCC Accounting Office, which will issue a Dual Services Agreement to the faculty member’s home institutions along with a purchase order.
        4. Institutions will invoice PSCC for the services to receive reimbursement for paying the faculty members directly for their service.
      2. Faculty are expected to follow through on the agreed upon international study course and adhere to all institutional policies once abroad. In the event that a faculty member cancels their participation in the trip or is directed to return from a trip due to failure to follow institutional policies, the faculty member will be charged for any travel costs assumed by the institution in advance of the trip or the faculty member will be held responsible for costs associated with their return home.
  7. Use of Technology Abroad
    1. The TBR requires that its institutions fully comply with federal regulations that control the conditions under which certain information, technologies and commodities can be exported to a foreign country, person, or entity, including U.S. citizens in a foreign country.
      1. Institutions are responsible for implementing export control procedures to determine whether an activity is covered under export control regulations, whether the  U.S. Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) 22 CFR §120-130,  U. S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration regulations (EAR) 15 CFR § 734-774 or the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) 31 CFR §500-599.
      2. All faculty, staff, or students involved in international travel including study abroad, restricted research, international collaborations, or foreign exchanges that risk export or violation of the regulations must comply with the provisions of any license (or other governmental approval), policy, procedure, or campus based Technology Control Plan (TCP) as required by ITAR.  Before traveling internationally, faculty/staff/students should determine whether any item, device, component, or document is covered by ITAR and/or requires a license or other government approval/agreement for export or import as defined in those regulations. Where unsure, faculty/staff/students should consult with their general counsel’s office or institutional research office.
      3. Institutions are responsible for determining if self-disclosure of any violations, real or perceived, of the expert control regulations or TCP occurs during the courses of the sponsored activity to the federal agency is required.


T.C.A. § 49-8-203; All State and Federal statutes, codes, Acts, rules and regulations referenced in this procedure.


Presidents Meeting February 17, 2009; Revised at Presidents Meeting August 18, 2015.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, System Office

The purpose of this guideline is to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of creators, and distributors of distance education/telecourse materials in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, including ownership of copyright on distance education materials created by TBR faculty and employees. Guidance for faculty and institutions in copyrighting original works and legal use of the works of others is found in the Copyright Primer available from the Office of the General Counsel.

  • Distance Education
    • As defined in TBR Policy 2:05:00:00, distance education occurs:
      • Where there is a physical separation of the teacher and the learner and when communication and instruction take place through, or are supported by, any technological means such as telephone, radio, television, computers, satellite delivery, interactive video, or any combination of present and future telecommunication technology.
      • The TBR Distance Education Committee has defined "distance education" to include: correspondence courses, videotapes, audio tapes, two way video and audio, computer-based media, and the emerging technology of the Internet.
  • Copyright
    • Under Federal law, copyright applies to any "original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression." (17 U.S.C. § 102(a)).
    • Generally, the owner of a copyright has the exclusive rights to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies by sale or other transfer of ownership, and to publicly display or perform the work. (17 U.S.C. § 106).
  • Work Made For Hire
    • An employer owns the copyright to a work of authorship when the work was created by an employee within the scope of his/her employment.
    • Some kinds of work can also be owned by the institution as a work made for hire if it is specially ordered or commissioned under a written contract signed by the two (or more) parties. (17 U.S.C. § 101, § 201 (b)).
  • Fair Use
    • The Copyright Act provides for some exceptions to the exclusive rights of the copyright owners.
      • One of these exceptions permits fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as teaching, scholarship, or research. (17 U.S.C. § 107).
      • The four factors to be considered in determining fair use are:
        • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
        • The nature of the copyrighted work;
        • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
        • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
  • Joint Work
    • A work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole. (17 U.S.C. §101).
  • Collective Work
    • Work such as a periodical issue, anthology, or encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole. (17 U.S.C. § 101).
  • Compilation
    • A work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.
    • The term "compilation" includes collective works. (17 U.S.C. § 101).
  1. Ownership of Copyrightable Materials
    1. General Policy
      1. TBR Policy 5:01:06:00 on Patents and Copyright provides the overall guidance for ownership of copyrightable materials. The institution has an interest in the copyrightable materials if:
        1. The institution sponsors the project; or
        2. There is significant use of the institution's facilities, services, or equipment in the creation of the work; or
        3. the project is sponsored through the institution by agencies or persons outside the institution. (The contract terms of externally sponsored projects will control ownership of work done pursuant to the contract or grant.)
      2. Policy 5:01:06:00 gives ownership to faculty of their "scholarly and creative works."
        1. Under this Policy, a faculty member or other institutional employee also retains title to the copyrightable work if the work was developed solely through individual work on personal time.
      3. Policy 5:01:06:00 defines "significant use" of institutional resources as cost to the institution in the amount of $1,000 or more (In constant 1982 dollars). This equates to about $1,650 in 1999.
        1. Use of office personal computer alone is not considered a significant use of college resources.
        2. This guideline provides more specific policies about copyright ownership in the context of distance education.
    2. Scholarly Works
      1. The TBR wishes to encourage scholarly works. Therefore, the TBR will not assert an interest in scholarly works and creations related to the faculty member's professional field. These include:
        1. faculty authored textbooks
        2. scholarly writing
        3. art works
        4. musical compositions
        5. dramatic and non-dramatic literary works
      2. Distance education, telecourse, and/or multimedia materials that are in the nature of scholarly works created by faculty under the same circumstances that would lead faculty to create more traditional scholarly works will be treated as scholarly.
      3. Scholarly work in this context would include course materials created by the faculty when the factors listed in II C and D, below, are not applicable.
      4. If the institution wants to use such a work and/or share in its commercialization, the institution should secure the desired rights in a contract with the faculty member.
    3. Student Work
      1. This policy does not apply to undergraduate or graduate students in the absence of an employment or other contract.
      2. Generally, ownership of student works is controlled by copyright law.
    4. Works for Hire
      1. It is very important to have a written agreement assigning responsibility and rights at the beginning of a project.
    5. Scope of Employment
      1. The institution/school will have sole ownership of intellectual property created by its non-faculty employees within the scope of employment.
        1. For example, if an institution employs a non-faculty person to design a computer program or to develop a promotional video, the copyright to the program or video belongs to the institution.
      2. The institution should ensure that the job description for each relevant non-faculty position includes the creation of or the assistance with the creation of distance education materials.
        1. The institution should also be certain to add to the TBR form employment contract, either on initial hire or with contract renewal, language which specifies that such works are made in the scope of employment. (Exhibit 1)
        2. In cases where there is a new assignment to the employee, an agreement in writing signed by both the employee and an institutional representative is strongly urged. (Exhibit 1 may be utilized.)
      3. Distance education materials created by faculty members will be solely owned by the institution where:
        1. The faculty is required to create the materials for a specific class or department by written institution or department policy e.g. (Common core course requirement);
        2. The faculty member is given release time to create the materials; or
        3. The faculty member is employed to create specific intellectual property/distance education materials.
      4. In all cases, the institution and the faculty member should sign a "Work for Hire Acknowledgment Form" (Exhibit 1)
    6. Commissioned Work
      1. Under the Copyright laws, (17 U.S.C. § 101, § 201) a work specially ordered or commissioned is owned by the institution if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by both parties that the work will be considered a work for hire.
      2. A form "Commissioned Work for Hire' is attached as "Exhibit 2."
      3. Commissioned work is limited by the Copyright law to contribution to a collective work, part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, a translation, a supplementary work, a compilation, an instructional text, a test, answer material to a test, or an atlas. (17 USC § 101, "Work For Hire" definition).
    7. Joint Ownership
      1. Works may be created through the joint efforts of two or more faculty members or of faculty and non-faculty employees working in the scope of their employment or working under contract to provide services.
      2. Anyone who contributes the kind of expression protected by the copyright law is a joint author if the contribution is intended to be part of an integrated whole.
      3. The institution will be the sole owner if all the work is done as work for hire.
      4. The institution and the faculty member may be joint owners of the final product if a faculty member works independently but incorporates work done as work for hire by institution employees and/or contractors.
      5. It is VERY IMPORTANT at the beginning of the project to state the contributors' intentions in a written contract signed by all contributors.
      6. The General Counsel's office should be consulted to assist in contract drafting.
    8. Revision Rights
      1. A faculty member should normally retain the right to update, edit or otherwise revise electronically developed course materials that become out of date, or, in certain circumstances, should place a time limit upon the use of electronically developed course materials that are particularly time sensitive, regardless of who owns copyright in the electronically developed course materials.
      2. These rights and limitations may be negotiated in advance of the creation of the electronically developed course materials and may be reduced to writing.
      3. Absent a written agreement, each faculty member will have the right and obligation to revise work on an annual basis in order to maintain academic standards.
      4. If a faculty member does choose to revise the work and such revision is done in a satisfactory manner, the faculty member retains the rights to full royalties as discussed below for another year.
      5. If the institution believes a revision is necessary and no revision is made or if the revision made, in the institution's opinion, does not maintain academic standards, the institution may refuse to market the product, or the institution may employ another person to update the work and charge the entire cost of the revision against any royalties paid to the original author.
    9. Royalties
      1. Royalty division should generally reflect the relative contributions of the parties.
      2. In accordance with TBR policy, faculty members shall receive all royalties that may accrue from the commercialization of electronically published course materials they create on their own initiative.
      3. On the other hand, the institution retains all royalties that may accrue from the commercialization of electronically published course materials created by faculty members pursuant to contract or as a work for hire, including electronically published course created as a condition of employment.
      4. Copyright law permits joint owners to pursue commercialization either jointly or separately, with accounting. Other circumstances may require review on a case-by-case basis (such as the creation of electronically developed course materials initiated by a faculty member but using substantial institution facilities.)
      5. In instances of joint ownership between faculty members where the institution also retains rights to royalties, the faculty members shall determine by written document the division of royalties.
      6. Absent a written document of division of royalties, the faculty members shall divide their share pro rata based on participation.




T.C.A. § 49-8-203; All Federal and State statutes, codes, rules and regulations referenced in this procedure.


November 3, 1999 TBR Presidents' Meeting.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges

The purpose of this guideline is to establish the operational guidelines for the assignments of titles at the two-year institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Introduction
    1. The following are provided as a guideline in the assignments of titles at the two-year institutions governed by the State Board of Regents. Justified exceptions may be submitted by the president for prior approval by the Chancellor.
  2. Authority and Scope of Title Responsibilities
    1. Department Head (Chairman)
      1. Supervises five or more faculty members with significant discretion in the utilization of the department's human and financial resources.
      2. Administers a unit with its own budget.
      3. Has significant authority in personnel decisions - e.g., hiring, termination, promotions, and tenure.
      4. Person holding the position is assigned a reduced teaching load or receives a salary supplement.
    2. Assistant Dean
      1. Supervises two or more separate units with administrators having the authority and scope of responsibilities specified under Department Head; or
      2. Serves in a significant staff capacity to the Dean of Academic Affairs (Instruction/College).
      3. Person holding the position is assigned a reduced teaching load or receives a salary supplement.
    3. Associate Dean
      1. Supervises two or more separate units with administrators having the authority and scope of responsibilities specified under Department Head.
      2. The breadth of responsibilities are to be greater than for an Assistant Dean, and the Associate Dean will have the authority to act for the Dean of Academic Affairs (Instruction/College) in a broad range of areas, or-is second in authority to the Dean of Academic Affairs (Instruction/College) and acts as an executive officer for the Dean.
      3. Person holding the position is assigned a reduced teaching load and receives a salary supplement.


T.C.A. § 49-8-203


December 6, 1978 TBR staff memorandum. Revised July 1, 1984

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges

The following guideline supplements the provisions of the Tennessee Board of Regents General Personnel Policy (5:01:00:00). That policy stipulates that - within the overall work load provision - "a full teaching load...shall be fifteen (15) credit hours or the equivalent per term for undergraduate courses, twelve (12) credit hours or the equivalent per term for graduate courses, or one hundred and fifty (150) non-credit contact hours (two hundred and twenty-five [225] in semester institutions) or the equivalent per term." It further stipulates that "all equivalent teaching load activities shall be subject to prior review and approval by the president or designee. This guideline clarifies procedures by which a president may approve assignment of a faculty member to a non-instructional assignment on a 50% basis for a full academic year or on a 100% basis for a term and may develop a special institutional program for that purpose.

  1. General Statement
    1. Allocation of faculty time to various functions (e.g., instruction, advisement, administration, research, etc.) falls within the responsibility of the president at each institution to develop a master staffing plan.
    2. Allocations of non-instructional assigned time should reflect the mission, goals, and need of the institution.
  2. Non-instructional Assigned Time
    1. The designating of alternative professional assignments - i.e., assignments deemed equivalent to all or part of the faculty member's teaching load and approved as a work assignment standing in lieu of it - requires prior review and concurrence by the president or designee.
    2. If the president approves an alternative professional assignment (which may include a non-instructional assignment on a 50% basis for a full academic year or on a 100% basis for a term), the faculty member is authorized to pursue that professional assignment in lieu of an instructional assignment without jeopardy to their personnel status.
    3. Regardless of the nature of the approved assignment, the faculty member must remain on the payroll of the home institution and retain a condition of employment which continues all benefits for which they have qualified as a full-time faculty member.
  3. Criteria for Non-instructional Assigned Time
    1. Authority for assignment of non-instructional assigned time resides with the president, and - within the parameters of Board policy and approved institutional missions - it provides appropriate discretion. Cumulative distribution by function (e.g., instruction, advisement, research, administration) of faculty time at each institution is monitored annually by Board staff.
      1. Institutions may - within fiscal and other personnel constraints - approve a fixed number of non-instructional faculty assignments to special programs (e.g., research assignments, instructional innovation assignment, etc.) which are described in faculty handbooks or personnel manuals. If such programs are contemplated, they must be brought to the attention of Board staff prior to publication in handbooks.


T.C.A. § 49-8-203


May 24, 1983 TBR presidents meeting. Revised July 1, 1984

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges, Universities

The purpose of this guideline is to establish the operational guidelines for the Teaching Quality Initiative Program (TQI) for teacher preparation programs at institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Assessment and Placement Procedures
    1. Competencies
      1. Tennessee Board of Regents teacher preparation programs will maintain as their core outcomes the teacher standards identified by the Teaching Quality Initiative.
      2. These characteristics will serve as the foundation for curriculum planning, assessment, and evaluation.
    2. Assessment
      1. Tennessee Board of Regents teacher preparation programs will culminate in formal, performance-based assessment of all teacher residents based on Teaching Quality Initiative teacher standards.
      2. Final performance-based assessments will be standardized across Tennessee Board of Regents programs and will be reliable, valid, fair and representative.
    3. Placement
      1. Placement of teacher residents will be managed collaboratively between relevant Institutions of Higher Education and Local Education Agencies.
      2. Teacher residents will be placed only in settings that conform to Teaching Quality Initiative placement standards, with evidence-based practices being the foundation for training and interaction with the mentor teachers.
    4. Recruitment and selection
      1. Formal, aggressive recruitment plans and activities will be implemented by each Institution of Higher Education and by the Tennessee Board of Regents to bring in teaching candidates of the highest quality.
  2. Program Elements and Design
    1. The Teaching Quality Initiative is an integral part of the institution’s mission and academic programs. TBR teacher education programs are founded on an authentic, competency-based model that emphasizes development of content expertise and active learning in school settings. TBR teacher education programs will include the following components.
      1. Competency-based Modular Structure
        1. Professional Education components will be offered primarily in an organized, sequential modular structure.
        2. Successful completion of modules will require demonstration of relevant competencies, evaluated through sound, rigorous performance-based assessments.
        3. Successful program completion will require demonstration of all required competencies, evaluated through sound, rigorous performance-based assessments.
      2. Close Partnerships with Public Schools.
        1. Colleges of Education will develop ongoing partnerships with Local Education Agencies.  School-university partnerships will require consistent, systematic collaboration and communication between Colleges of Education and Local Education Agencies.
        2. Formal mutually-beneficial agreements between the parties are necessary components of the partnership. Agreements outline procedures and delineate responsibilities of and benefits to both sides.
      3. Problem-based Learning
        1. Modules are organized and implemented in an active, participatory environment using a Problem-based Learning format.
        2. Problem-based Learning modules will be taught by faculty who model and use evidence-based best practices. Certified expert school teachers will collaborate with university faculty in teaching modules.
        3. Problem-based Learning activities will emphasize collaborative learning among candidates and will relate directly to real-world teaching and program outcomes.
        4. Problem-based Learning cases will focus on development of competencies and characteristics that comprise TQI teacher standards.
        5. Didactic presentations and classroom seat time will clearly augment and support Problem-based Learning activities.
      4. School-based Residency
        1. Professional education classes and student teaching are combined into a comprehensive teaching residency occurring primarily during the senior year, and will replace both of these more traditional teacher education components.
        2. Preparation for pedagogy will occur primarily in actual school settings, under collaborative supervision of university faculty and mentor teachers, and is structured around authentic problem-based experiences to attain learning outcomes.
        3. Residents work closely with mentor teachers as they merge theory and practice in a real world setting.
      5. Integration of Content Coursework and Professional Educational Component
        1. Professional education faculty, content faculty, and mentor teachers will collaborate to implement and model evidence-based best practices in content courses, pedagogy preparation, and applied experiences.
        2. Professional education faculty, content faculty, and mentor teachers will collaborate systematically concerning programmatic decision-making and evaluation of student status and progress.
  3. Faculty and Staff Selection and Development
    1. Faculty and Staff Selection
      1. University faculty and mentor teachers from Local Education Agencies collaboratively plan, implement, supervise, and evaluate experiences for residents.
      2. Residents will be placed only with university faculty and mentor teachers who have met all requirements of Teaching Quality Initiative mentor standards.
    2. Professional Development
      1. Systematic professional development and training of faculty and mentor teachers is essential to program success.
      2. Professional development will be based on Teaching Quality Initiative standards and will be scheduled and available to TQI faculty and staff.
  4. Program Evaluation and Research
    1. Program Evaluation
      1. The institution is responsible for maintaining an ongoing self-evaluation and for supplying all information required by the Teaching Quality Initiative Research and Evaluation Unit for program evaluation. Feedback from self-evaluations and system reviews will be used systematically for program improvement.
      2. Evaluation will be based on
        1. implementation of the Teaching Quality Initiative program guidelines;
        2. candidate outcomes related to program competencies, employment and persistence in the field, and Local Education Agencies’ satisfaction with performance; and
        3. impact on student outcomes.
      3. Program evaluation components and outcomes will be coordinated with National Council Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and state requirements.
    2. Research
      1. A Teaching Quality Initiative Research and Evaluation Unit will collect, analyze, and report data on teaching and professional preparation in education.  These reports will provide evidence-based guidance on effective teachers and teaching practices.
      2. The Research and Evaluation Unit will implement, coordinate, and study the system-wide performance assessment system for teacher education.
      3. The Research and Evaluation Unit will collaborate with other state and local education agencies to explore characteristics of effective teachers and teaching.
  5. Phase-In
    1. The Tennessee Board of Regents Office of Academic Affairs will initiate and coordinate an implementation plan for the system-level Teaching Quality Initiative.
    2. Each TBR teacher education unit will develop a campus-wide 4-year phase-in plan that will conform to the system-wide plan. Each plan will specify annual goals and benchmarks to establish a systematic planned progression implementing the key components of the Teaching Quality Initiative. Plans must be approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents Office of Academic Affairs.
    3. Phase-in plans will culminate in full program implementation of the Tennessee Board of Regents Teaching Quality Initiative each campus by fall 2013.
    4. Annual Progress Reports will be submitted to the Tennessee Board of Regents Office of Academic Affairs.

New Guideline Approved at Presidents Meeting May 12, 2009.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges

In accordance with action taken by the State Board of Regents at their December 8, 1978 regular meeting, the Board staff shall consider the criteria listed below in the evaluation of bureaus, centers, and institutes. These criteria were adopted on October 30, 1978 by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for this purpose.

  1. Introduction
    1. Each System community college shall address the criteria in developing proposals for Board consideration to establish new bureaus, centers, and institutes.
      1. Criteria
        1. An assessment of need.
        2. An analysis of the purpose of the entity identifying it as a research, public service, or instructional unit. Such units should be budgeted in such a way as to reflect their purpose. Units proposed as combinations of research, public service, or instruction should be described in detail sufficient to ascertain the primary purpose of the entity.
        3. A description of how the entity relates to an institution's role and scope.
        4. An identification of the campus discipline base from which the entity will operate and the faculty strengths upon which it will draw.
        5. A description of the activities of the unit indicating relationships to purpose.
        6. A statement regarding the anticipated duration of the unit.
        7. A projection of the costs and revenues associated with the operation of the bureau, center, or institute over the first five years and an indication of what state support, if any, may be required.
        8. An identification of any similar or related services already being offered by an institution or agency within the state.
        9. A description of procedures for regular evaluation of the unit.
    2. When proposed institutional bureaus, on-campus centers, and institutes are to be temporary in nature, their establishment will not require approval by the State Board of Regents or the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, provided that the temporary status is due to one or both of the following conditions:
      1. The anticipated duration of the unit is less than one calendar year; and/or
      2. The operation of the unit will be dependent upon external funding for all direct costs with no commitment for operation beyond the period during which such external funds are available.
    3. For the establishment of temporary units of the type described above, the Board of Regents will only require the institutions to inform the Chancellor in writing of the intent to establish the unit and, if contracts are involved, to follow the usual procedure for obtaining approval of the contract.


T.C.A. § 49-8-203


December 8, 1978 SBR meeting. Revised December 12, 1980 SBR meeting; Revised Presidents Meeting July 1,1984.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges

The purpose of this guideline is to establish the criteria and process for Interinstitutional relationships and off-campus offerings by institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Off-Campus Centers
    1. An off-campus instructional unit shall be considered an off-campus center (OCC) if it involves a significant continuing commitment of institutional resources as evidenced by faculty, staff, facilities, and equipment, and if it fulfills standards established for centers by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
      1. Each OCC's purpose shall be clearly defined in the institution's annual Role and Scope statement.
      2. Each OCC's degree and non-degree offerings must be consistent with the institution's Role and Scope statement. The non-degree offerings must comply with the guidelines as set forth in the Tennessee Higher Education Commission document, Guidelines for Awarding and Reporting CEU's. This document addresses the particular case when an institution may offer a non-degree program in an area in which it has no degree offering.
      3. Course and program delivery by joint institutional OCC's shall be determined by written agreement between participating institutions and approved by the Chancellor.
      4. A proposal for the establishment of a new OCC shall be forwarded to the Board for approval. Requirements for approval shall include:
        1. A "needs assessment" survey.
        2. Evidence of the OCC's ability to meet the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools standards.
        3. A five (5) year projected budget for continued operation.
      5. At five (5) year intervals, or upon request of the Board or Board staff, an evaluation of each OCC shall be made on the following bases:
        1. A current "needs assessment" survey.
        2. Demonstrated ability of the OCC to meet both institutional Role and Scope statements and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools standards.
        3. A five (5) year projected budget for continued operation.
  2. Off-Campus Degree and Non-Degree Offerings
    1. The president of each institution should designate a contact regarding off-campus offerings.
    2. Where thirty (30) mile territorial boundaries overlap, affected institutions will coordinate off-campus offerings of each, preferably a written agreement between the institutions should be consummated which covers the off-campus offerings of each institution.
    3. Prior to contracting (preliminary investigations and discussions may proceed on a unilateral basis) with client groups, an institution contemplating off-campus offerings within thirty (30) miles of another shall communicate its proposal in writing. The institution receiving the request shall respond in writing not later than thirty (30) days after receipt of the proposal letter. If the institution receiving the request does not wish to provide the service, it shall communicate same. If, however, the institution receiving the request rejects the proposal:
      1. The institution placing the request will not commence registration.
      2. The institution receiving the request must:
        1. Provide the course or program.
        2. Show just cause why the course should not be offered by either institution.
      3. In the event an accord cannot be reached by the representatives of each institution, the representatives should refer the matter to their presidents. If, ultimately, an agreement cannot be reached, the institutions shall refer the matter to the Board staff.
    4. Proposed contracts for regional or statewide delivery of courses and programs to business entities or special interest groups must be in accordance with Board policy.
    5. Off-campus courses and programs delivered by the media and which require initial and/or periodic group meetings are to be treated in accordance with paragraph II.D. of this guideline. If media delivery system does not necessitate group meetings, then formal communications are not required.
  3. Exceptions
    1. Exceptions to this guideline may be made upon recommendation of a president and approval by the Chancellor. 


T.C.A. § 49-8-203; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools rules and regulations; Tennessee Higher Education guidelines.


February 10, 1978 TBR Presidents meeting; Presidents meeting July 1, 1984.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
Community Colleges

This guidelines’ primary purpose is to provide a common academic calendar among system community colleges in order to:

1. Facilitate student enrollment at more than one TBR College and in the collaborative programs offered by multiple institutions;

2. Enable institutions to share resources, including courses, faculty, and physical facilities;

3. Encourage and enable the formation of consortia among institutions;

4. Permit greater efficiency in system-wide information technology resources.


  1. Effective Fall Semester 2014
    1. Academic Calendar
      1. All TBR community colleges will offer fall and spring terms that follow the Academic Calendar Template included in this guideline. Institutions may offer terms of alternate length in addition to the 15-week fall and spring semesters, but should be mindful of calendar conflicts and federal financial aid requirements.
      2. Each semester, the 14th day of class must be identified as the last date a student can drop a class (withdraw) without a grade designation, including a “W,” appearing on the transcript. When providing alternate class formats, the institution is responsible for documenting equivalence in terms of student outcomes and competencies.
    2. Template
      1. Fall Semester, Full Term
        1. Week 1 of Fall Semester begins with the first day of class.
          1. Classes begin the fourth Monday in August.
          2. Labor Day Holiday (1st Monday in September)
          3. Fall break for community colleges must be scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of week 8.  TN eCampus will follow the schedule of the community colleges.
        2. Thanksgiving Break (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
          1. Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week may also be included if the fall break option described above is used. Wednesday is an extension of a break period where no classes will be held. (Administrative close days are not impacted.)
        3. Classes End
          1. Flexibility is provided at the end of the semester to allow institutions to address concerns with the number of class sessions, lab availability, etc.
          2. All grades must be submitted no later than the Monday of Week 17, except TN eCampus grades which will be delivered to the appropriate “home” institution no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday of Week 16.
          3. Each TBR institution must establish and publish an end-of-term schedule for the last day of class and final exams. Appropriate time for completion of end of course assignments and preparation for final exams must be included in the schedule.
          4. The institution assumes responsibility for communicating any variations in breaks or end of term schedules to students and faculty engaged in collaborative programs.
      2. Spring Semester, Full Term
        1. Week 1 of Spring Semester begins with the first day of class.
        2. Classes must begin on Tuesday after MLK holiday with the exception of when MLK is on the 21st of January, when classes will begin on the Monday before MLK holiday.
        3. Martin Luther King Holiday (3rd Monday in January)
        4. Spring break must take place beginning Monday of week 8 at all community colleges. TN eCampus will follow the schedule of the community colleges.
        5. Friday before Easter Holiday (may be used to provide additional flexibility)
          1. Institutions have the option of requesting an exception to the TBR Policy from the Chancellor in order to take the Good Friday Holiday on the Friday of spring vacation rather than the Friday prior to Easter. This provides an additional Friday for instruction.
      3. Classes End
        1. Flexibility is provided at the end of the semester to allow institutions to address concerns with the number of class sessions, lab availability, etc.
        2. All grades must be submitted no later than the Monday of Week 17, except TN eCampus grades which will be delivered to the appropriate “home” institution no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday of Week 16.
        3. Each TBR institution must establish and publish an end-of-term schedule for the last day of class and final exams. Appropriate time for completion of end of course assignments and preparation for final exams must be included in the schedule.
        4. The institution assumes responsibility for communicating any variations in breaks or end of term schedules to students and faculty engaged in collaborative programs.
    3. Registration
      1. The published registration schedule for each institution must designate specific registration deadlines for each phase of registration.  Late registration may be permitted through the seventh calendar day for regular fall and spring courses with late registration period proportionally adjusted for summer and alternate length courses.
    4. Exceptions
      1. Exceptions to the common calendar for specialized programs may be approved by the President, with notification to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
      2. Other exceptions to the calendar and registration guideline must be approved, in advance, by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. 


T.C.A. § 49-8-203


Presidents Meeting February 10, 1987; Presidents Meeting May 21, 2001; Presidents meeting August 13, 2002; Presidents meeting November 8, 2006. Presidents meeting November 7, 2012.

Policy Number: 
Policy/Guideline Area: 
Academic Guidelines
Applicable Divisions: 
TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office

The purpose of this guideline is to establish the criteria and process for submitting Letters of Notification, Letters of Application, Implementation Portfolios, new academic programs or units, and for modifications of existing academic programs, policies, or unit by institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

  1. Developing Academic Program Modifications
    1. Academic programs currently approved for offering have a number of options to amend or reconstitute the approved program including the following using the 30 Review Process  per the THEC Policy A.1.0 New Academic Program: Approval Process and the THEC Policy A1.1: New and Modified Academic Programs: Evaluation Criteria:
      1. Name change for existing program
      2. Change of degree designation for an existing academic program or concentration per written recommendation of a disciplinary accreditation body or to more accurately represent the title to the workplace. Documentation must accompany the change request.
      3. Change of degree designation for an existing academic program or concentration when the change involves a significant curriculum shift in redefining the program’s purpose.
      4. Consolidation of existing academic programs.
      5. Consolidation of existing academic programs within the same discipline regardless of degree designation for purposes of performance funding calculations only.
      6. Conversion of an existing on-ground program to a fully online delivery format, with or without termination of existing program.
      7. Substantive curriculum modification (see )
      8. Establishment of an undergraduate certificate program or a graduate certificate program less than 24 SCH. Proposals for certificates of 24 SCH or more submit a Letter of Notification, the Letter of Application and Implementation Form, if approved for development. The University must notify the community college within the designated service area to ensure there is no unwarranted duplication of effort. The community college must notify the Tennessee College(s) of Applied Technology (TCAT) within the designated service area to ensure there is no unwarranted duplication of effort. The Tennessee College(s) of Applied Technology (TCAT) must notify the community college within the designated service area to ensure that there is no unwarranted duplication of effort. Documentation must be submitted with the Letter of Application to identify actions taken to address the issue of any unwarranted duplication of effort.
      9. Establishment of a new concentration or minor. Newly proposed concentrations should be in keeping with the goals and mission of the existing program and must share the same core courses as all other existing degree concentrations.
      10. Establish a free standing degree program from an existing concentration. Any existing concentration with a steady enrollment and graduation rate for a period of at least three years may request to be recognized as a freestanding degree if the establishment of the concentration as a degree does not compromise the remaining degree and does not require new faculty resources.
      11. Establishment of a new academic unit or reorganization resulting in a net gain of an academic unit (i.e., department, on-campus center, institute, bureau, division, school, or college). This action also requires approval by the THEC Executive Director.
      12. Establishment of an articulation agreement between institutions.
      13. Establishment of an Off-Campus Site/Off Campus Center. In keeping with the THEC Policies, the THEC Off-Campus Site /Center Approval Forms must be submitted for review. No announcements may be made regarding opening new site or center until the THEC approval is granted per THEC Policy 1.0.60B.
      14. Revision of any admission, retention, and/or graduation policy (general or program specific).
      15. Extension of an existing academic degree to be fully offered at an off-campus location.
      16. Termination, inactivation, or reactivation of a program.
      17. Curriculum modifications which increase or decrease total hours required for a degree.
    2. Requests for academic action (other than new degree programs) received by 15th of each month (except December) will typically be reviewed by the end of the month and summaries prepared for consideration by the Board through the 30-day review process. Approval by the Chancellor, through delegated authority, will be given at the end the 30- day review period unless objections are voiced by the Board.  Letters will be sent to the appropriate institution to authorize implementation of the proposed action. If the THEC approval is required, the letter will inform the institution of the approval by the TBR and an explanation that the proposed academic action will be sent to the THEC for its review.
    3. Requests for program, concentration and minor name changes should be submitted on the appropriate form and will be approved through delegated authority by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, or the Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges, as appropriate. Approval through the THEC is not required per THEC Policy A 1.1.10D.
  2. Developing New Academic Programs
    1. In order to propose a new academic program which is not covered under section I.A. of this Guideline and the THEC Policy A1.1 New Academic Programs and A1.0 New Academic Programs: Approval Process, four steps must occur: the Letter of Notification; the Letter of Application; the Implementation Portfolio; and the External Review.
      1. The Letter of Notification
        1. The Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges (in the case of community colleges), the TBR Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (for all universities), and the respective Assistant/Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges or Academic Affairs should be electronically notified in advance that a Letter of Notification will be forthcoming. The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs should be notified additionally of all community college letters of notification. The Letter of Notification is the documentation for the System of the initiation of the planning stage for the proposed program and must include the following:
          1. Title of the proposed program (and any concentrations);
          2. CIP and SOC codes for the overall program (and any proposed concentrations);
          3. Fit with Institutional Strategic Plan and Mission;
          4. Proposed implementation date;
          5. Proposed location(s) where the program will be offered;
          6. Explanation of the resources available to support the program;
          7. Anticipated new cost;
          8. Duplicate programs offered at other institutions serving the same region or population;
          9. List of all comparable or closely related programs, regardless of assigned CIP and SOC code;
          10. Anticipated submission date of the Implementation Portfolio, if approved for development.
        2. The Letter of Notification must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the anticipated date for the submission of the Letter of Application and Implementation Portfolio.
        3. Academic Affairs will notify the institution f another institution is currently engaged in development of a similar program in order to avoid duplication of effort and encourage collaboration.
      2. The Letter of Application
        1. A Letter of Application for any new academic degree program or certificate (24 SCH or more) program proposed precedes the establishment of any new academic program (See THEC policy A1:0 and A1:1). The requirement for a Letter of Application may be waived by the TBR Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges in cases where the proposed degree program fully duplicates an already existing community college program.  If a waiver is requested and granted, the institution will be notified that it may proceed with development of the Implementation Portfolio based on delegated authority from the THEC, however, the THEC Financial Projection form must be completed and approval documentation and through all campus committees prior to implementation.  Any required Letter of Application must be submitted electronically to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for all proposed university programs and the Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges for any proposed community college programs. The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs should be notified of any proposed community college’s letter of application. Current forms are available on the Academic Affairs website.
        2. The Letter of Application will include the following:
          1. A letter from the President stating his or her support for the development of the Letter of Application.
          2. All information initially submitted in the Letter of Notification.
          3. PDF of the signed COVER page.
          4. Completed Letter of Application Form located on the Academic Affairs website with special attention to the THEC Policy 1.120L components for a diversity plan and the THEC Policy 1.120I call for a future sustainability need/demand.
          5. THEC Financial Projections form. In keeping with the THEC Policy 1.1.20P, the benefit to the state should outweigh the cost of the program with detailed explanations of reallocation, grants, gifts and partnerships accompanying the Letter of Application.
          6. Copy of signature sheets from approval committees (e.g., Institutional Curriculum Committees, Faculty Senate, Graduate Council) verifying that the Letter of Application has cleared through all the appropriate campus approval committees prior to submission.
        3. The Letter of Application will be reviewed by the TBR and by the THEC staff.
        4. Forwarding the Letter of Application from the TBR to the THEC indicates the support of the TBR for the proposed academic program.
        5. The TBR and/or the THEC may take one of four actions in response to the Letter of Application. Based on THEC Policy A1.0, the Letter of Application may be awarded approval, disapproval, conditional approval or defer approval to develop an Implementation Portfolio. Conditional approval is awarded only to temporary programs with specified terminations dates.
      3. The Implementation Portfolio
        1. For University academic programs, an Implementation Portfolio for a new university academic program is electronically submitted after approval of the Letter of Application by the TBR and the THEC.  For new community college programs, the Implementation Portfolio is submitted upon approval from the Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges.
        2. The Implementation Portfolio (whether or not a Letter of Application is required) consists of:
          1. A completed Implementation Portfolio Form located on the Academic Affairs website.
          2. A copy of the THEC approval letter for Letter of Application development (universities) or the Vice Chancellor of Community Colleges approval letter for development based on the Letter of Notification or the Letter of Application, if required.
          3. The SACS-COC approval letter, if change of designation is required.
        3. The submission of an Implementation Portfolio should be carefully planned in order to assure timely review and approval by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges, when appropriate, prior to submission for Board approval -- and, as may be required, THEC review and authorization.
        4. The TBR and the THEC considers Implementation Portfolios for new university degree programs at each of its quarterly meetings. Community college Implementation Portfolios are approved by delegated authority to the TBR and forwarded to the THEC upon Board Approval.
      4. External Review
        1. All university programs (excluding certificate programs) submitted for development must undergo an external review. If an external review includes a site visit, the time necessary to arrange an external reviewer is generally 4-5 weeks. Upon completion of the visit, reviewers have 30 days to submit a report which is then submitted to the institution with an essential concerns for amendment identified by the TBR. Campuses have 30 calendar days to provide a written response to the Office of Academic Affairs and Community Colleges (if appropriate). Institutions may dispute or amend recommendations continuing along the approval path or determine to withdraw the proposed program for consideration.
        2. The external review for newly proposed undergraduate programs at the universities will consist of a paper review or a site visit by a disciplinary expert at the joint discretion of the TBR and the THEC.
        3. All graduate level programs will undergo a site visit.
        4. Community colleges must submit a report from their external advisory or industrial board or skills panel supporting all components of the proposed Implementation Portfolio. The external review report should be submitted at the time of the Implementation Portfolio with the exception of a graduate program or an undergraduate program which is determined to require a site visit. Those reports should be submitted following the submission of the Implementation Portfolio by the TBR staff upon completion and campus response to any recommendations prior to forwarding the final Implementation Portfolio to the THEC.
      5. Based upon the determination of the TBR and approval of the THEC (if required), the newly proposed program as supported by the external review will move forward in the approval process.
        1. Proposed Implementation Portfolios must be submitted to the appropriate Vice Chancellor with sufficient time to allow for the external review process to occur before the desired Board approval. The time required for the review will vary according to the number and nature of the portfolios already under review, external review consideration, and the other workload issues of the Academic Affairs staff and may determine whether or not the review of a particular portfolio is completed in time for submission to the Board at the desired time. Implementation Portfolios are generally reviewed on a first come basis. Should the review of an Implementation ​Portfolio not be completed in time for the next meeting of the Board, it will be carried over with priority the next subsequent meeting.
      6. Approved Letters of Application are valid for three academic years after which a new Letter of Application must be submitted if the program has not been approved for Implementation.
      7. All newly approved academic programs at universities and community colleges are subject to post approval review by the TBR and the THEC. Per the THEC Policy 1.1.30, pre- baccalaureate programs are subject to post approval monitoring for five years, baccalaureate and masters programs for five years and doctoral programs for seven years on an annual basis. 

TBR Meeting March 5, 1976. Revised December 12, 1980 TBR meeting; November 8, 1982, May 29, 1984, February 10, 1987, and February 14, 1989 Presidents Meeting, Presidents Meeting, February, 2003, Presidents Meeting, May 20, 2003, Presidents Meeting, February 7, 2006; Presidents Meeting, November 8, 2006; Presidents meeting, February 12, 2008, Presidents Meeting November 9, 2010; December 8, 2011; Revisions approved at Presidents Meeting, February 4, 2014; Presidents Meeting February 11, 2015.


Subscribe to RSS