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Technical College Program Review and Approval :

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions



The Tennessee Board of Regents will provide the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology with the requirements for academic actions submitted in accordance with TBR Policy, which align with institutional accreditation standards. 


  • Academic action includes any programmatic planned or unplanned substantive change as prescribed by the Council on Occupational Education. 
  • Council on Occupational Education (COE) is the national accrediting agency for the technical colleges.
  • Establishment of a New Technical Program - a new technical program that differs from currently approved programs in the institution's program inventory.
  • Diploma- awarded to students who have demonstrated the competencies required for a program whose total program length is at least 900 clock hours.
  • Certificate- awarded to students who have demonstrated the competencies required for a program whose total program length is less than 900 clock hours.
  • Supplemental Certificate- are non-credit awards, typically related to a special industry or special courses that do not lead to a Diploma or Certificate
  • Curriculog- an online, interactive curriculum workflow system into which all technical college new programs and program modifications are cataloged.


  1. Introduction
    1. T.C.A. § 49-8-101 et seq. authorizing the establishment of the College System of Tennessee gives to the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) the power "to prescribe curricula and requirements for diplomas and degrees."
    2. Technical college curriculum groups led by designated curriculum chairs and program faculty determine course content or design and carry out curriculum revisions less extensive than those that the Board has reserved to itself or otherwise delegated.
    3. Institutions planning an academic action must submit an application through Curriculog and program development and implementation are contingent upon the academic action to include, but not limited to, new programs to the institution, new programs to the system, program modifications, and program duplication. 
    4. This policy addresses: 
      1. TCAT Program Proposals That Must Be Taken to the Board 
      2.  TCAT Program Proposals Approved by Board through Delegated Authority
      3.  Academic Proposals Requiring Only Notification to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  2.  Types of Procedures
    1. TCAT Program Proposals That Must Be Taken to the Board
      1. Beyond those delegated responsibilities, the Board reserves to itself the authority to review and approve all proposed actions pertaining to establishment of Diploma and Certificate programs. Establishment of a new technical program that differs in curriculum, delivery format and/or location designation from currently approved Diploma or Certificates in the institution's program inventory.
    2. TCAT Program Proposals Approved by Board through Delegated Authority
      1. Institutions shall request a program modification to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs through Curriculog , proposals related to the following:
        1. Establishment of Program Exit Points - A exit points may be established within an ongoing full-time program when the basic portion of the new option is the same as the ongoing program but with the addition of specialized units of instruction that result in an additional diploma level job title. Other examples include moving a program to an off-campus site, adding or deleting exit points, etc.
        2. Consolidation of Existing -technical programs – consolidation is when two or more programs are consolidated into one program to meet industry demands.  For example, the pipefitting program and the plumbing program is consolidated into the Pipefitting and Plumbing program.
        3. Inactivation of a technical program - inactivation of a program may be requested when enrollment and placement factors indicate the program operation is not presently needed but it is the opinion of institution personnel that reactivation will be needed within a three-year period of time.
        4. Termination of a career-technical program - termination of a program may be requested when enrollment and placement factors indicate the program is no longer needed in the institution's service area and it is the opinion of institution personnel that reactivation of the program is not expected in the foreseeable future.
        5. Duplicated programs offered in same location in different timeframe.
      2. Revision existing common program curriculum, should be submitted through the Exhibit 1 form.  The revision of existing common program curriculum does not apply to supplemental courses and special industry training.
    3. Academic Proposals Requiring Only Notification to Vice Chancellor
      1. Changes to existing academic programs not listed above, that require no new costs or minimal costs that the campus will fund through reallocation of existing resources or through sources such as grants and gifts, may be approved through an established process by the institution.
      2. The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs must be informed of such changes prior to implementation.
      3. Such action includes, but is not limited to, establishment of new credentials/exit points and changes such as the modification of the title of a program that does not affect another technical college program curriculum.
      4. Dual credit and dual enrollment agreements in compliance with TBR Policy
  3. Procedures
    1. Institutions wishing to effect changes that fall into any of the above categories will, therefore, comply with the following procedures.
      1. Regional notification of new programs must be sent through email to all community college presidents, chief academic officers, and presidents and vice-presidents of technical colleges.  The notifications must include:
        1. Title of the proposed program
        2. Anticipated date for submission to the Board for approval
        3. Location of program delivery
        4. Anticipated date of implementation
        5. Clock hours/program length
        6. Brief program description
      2. Approval Route of Academic Proposals
        1. Proposals for all new programs and other academic actions must be submitted through the TBR Curriculog system for review by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
        2. At the conclusion of the review, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will transmit the proposal along with the recommendation to the Tennessee Board of Regents.
      3. Schedule for the Submission and Approval of Proposals
        1. The Board will consider proposals at each of its quarterly meetings.
        2. Proposals must, however, be submitted by the date established by the Office of Academic Affairs at which Board consideration is desired in order to permit adequate review by the staff.
        3. The time required for this review will vary according to the nature of the proposal.
    2. Finally, the Board reserves the authority to review either directly or through the Chancellor all other actions affecting the technical college programs of its institutions.
    3. The Board shall receive from the Chancellor periodic reports on the status of technical college programs as well as on matters pertaining to student access and to quality.
    4. For this purpose, institutions shall provide to the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee the following and any other information specifically requested:
      1. Articulation Agreements: Articulation agreements between institutions or between distinct levels of programming (TBR Policy 2:01:00:03) at the same institution, if and when available;
      2. Accreditation Activities: Notice of scheduled self-studies, site visits, and other activities relative to institutional or programmatic accreditation and reaffirmation as well as a copy of the formal notice of accreditation or reaffirmation.
      3. Dual Enrollment agreements must be submitted through letter of notification and DocuSign.
  4. Criteria for Reviewing Technical College Program Proposals
    1. A summary of the major criteria used by the TBR staff in evaluation of technical college proposals is presented below.
      1. The proposed action is appropriate to the mission, role, and scope of the institution.
      2. Need for the proposed action is evident from the supporting data on student interest, employer demand, and societal needs. Need must also be reflected in the projected level of student enrollment and the anticipated number of graduates.
      3. The proposed action does not constitute unnecessary duplication of technical programs available at other public institutions within the region.  Partnerships or collaborations should be considered whenever needs might be met with greater efficiency.
      4. The proposed action should delineate a final award to be earned by the student.  This shall be a Diploma if the program length is greater than 900 clock hours.  This shall be a Certificate if the program length is less than 900 clock hours.  The Chancellor must approve any exceptions.
      5. The proposed action reflects appropriately innovative design and the best available pertinent knowledge.
      6. The proposal documents the institution's ability to implement the proposed action in terms of:
        1. fiscal resources,
        2. support resources,
        3. physical facilities, and
        4. qualified personnel.
      7. When the proposed action is supported in whole or in part by articulation with another institution or by affiliation with other agencies for the provision of clinical or internship experiences, such articulation or affiliation should be acknowledged in the program design and copies of the articulation or affiliation agreements should be appended to the proposal.
      8. The proposed action is consistent with the achievement of the institution's goals.
      9. The proposal includes information about the online delivery format (if applicable).
      10. Proposals pertaining to programs should include a description of procedures for regular evaluation of the programs and units, including evaluation of the program's enrollment and productivity.
      11. Proposals should include information related to accreditation, both COE and professional, and when applicable, provide a time frame for achieving the appropriate accreditation and approval certification from authorizing agencies.
  5. Sources of Specific Criteria
    1. Listed below are illustrative sources of specific criteria that serve as bases for staff decisions relative to technical college proposals.
      1. TBR Policy No., Principles for Articulation in Vocational/ Technical Education
      2. TBR Policy No., Admissions
      3. TBR Policy No., Academic Retention and Readmission at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology



March 17, 1989 State Board of Regents' Meeting; June 29, 2007 Quarterly Board Meeting;  Revision TBR Board Meeting September 19 & 20, 2019.

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