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Academic Programs:
Guidelines for Development and Approval of New Academic Programs


Academic initiatives such as new programs that are consonant with St. Bonaventure University's mission and strategic direction are encouraged and expected. New academic programs and substantive changes in current programs require approval of the faculty and chair (s) of the involved department(s); departmental & school curriculum committees, where applicable; Dean(s); the Provost & VP for Academic Affairs; Faculty Senate; President; and, in some cases the New York State Education Department before advertising and implementation. These “Guidelines for Developing and Seeking Approval of New Academic Programs” specify the process to be followed in the development and review of academic program proposals.

Step One: Idea Generation

Ideas for new academic programs may come from many sources. They might be the outcome of faculty ideas, student or community requests, strategic planning processes, advances in a discipline or successes at other institutions.

Step Two: Idea Screening

The number of new academic programs that could be developed may well exceed available resources for their successful development and implementation. Even good programming ideas often surpass the resources available or could be inconsistent with the strategic direction of the University. Thus, various ideas for new programs must first be reviewed and prioritized. The general questions that should be applied in reviewing possible new programs should include the following:

Answers to these questions, as well as other relevant information, should be provided in a preproposal document. This document need not be long, but should provide enough information for a meaningful evaluation of the potential for the proposed program prior to the development of a full program proposal.

The applicable Dean(s) will present the pre-proposal document for review by and input from the Provost’s Council and the President’s Cabinet prior to the development of a full program proposal.

Step Three: Development of a Full New Program Proposal

The requirement for a complete new program proposal will be determined by each Dean in conjunction with the Provost, and in accordance with Faculty Senate guidelines. New program proposals are composed of several discrete but related pieces: a) program description including fit with university mission and strategic direction, curriculum, and intended student learning outcomes; b) market demand analysis; c) financial analysis; d) evaluation of impact on existing programs; e) plan for outcomes assessment; and f) catalog descriptions and syllabi for all proposed new courses.

A. Executive Summary – not to exceed three pages

The Executive Summary should provide an overview of the items described below.

B. Program Description

A program description should include the following elements:

C. Market Demand Analysis

A section on market analysis should normally be included in all new program proposals. The market demand analysis section should document the steps that have been taken to judge the extent of student demand for the proposed program. For example: have surveys or focus groups been conducted with the relevant target market of students? Do demographic and occupational trends support the proposed program? What has the demand experience been at comparable institutions offering similar programs? (Include the specifics of such data if it has been gathered.) Because of the variety of possible new programs, it is impossible to specify a precise market research regimen that would apply to all possible programs and/or majors. Educational target markets of opportunity obviously differ. Some new programs will have substantial synergy with existing programs while other proposals will require stand alone offerings. In any event, it is important that all new program proposals cover at least the following basic market-related information:

Again, the degree of detail necessary to justify a particular program will vary depending upon the resource demands and innovative nature of the proposed program. Extensions of existing programs might require minimal market analysis. Custom market research may be done in select situations to better document the need and to analyze the competition, but it is not always required. In other cases, published secondary information may be sufficient to justify serving the market. However, all new program proposals will require a dedicated section that addresses demand expectations in some formal manner and answers the basic questions listed above. More rigorous evidence is required for programs with higher resource demands. The Dean(s) of the applicable School(s) should consult with the Vice President for University Relations and Director of Institutional Research to coordinate preparation of the Market Demand Analysis.

D. Financial Analysis

All new program proposals should include a financial analysis section. The following financial goals, at a minimum, are desired in any new program:

The following should be provided in the financial analysis section;

1. Budget and Justifications

See Appendix B for a detailed review of the categories of items that comprise Revenues, Expenses, Capital Expenses, and Start-up Costs. A budget projection worksheet must be completed; see Appendix C. A detailed justification of each item must accompany the budget projection worksheet.

2. Resource Needs

New programs will have additional impacts on current resources. Please include in the budget all associated costs with budget additions such as:


E. Impact on Existing Programs

Every new program proposal must address how the new program will affect enrollment in existing programs, offering of current courses (including Clare College and other service courses, as applicable), etc.

F. Learning Outcomes Assessment and Program Effectiveness Evaluation

The new program proposal should include a formal outcomes assessment section. Components of this section should include: student outcome/performance indicators; the direct and indirect methods of measurement of student outcomes; the structured process by which regular assessment of student outcomes will be conducted, analyzed, and shared; and, how evaluation information will regularly be used to make program changes. Therefore, all new program proposals should specify not only target enrollment levels and expected budgetary support requirements, but also the proposed educational outcomes to be developed through the program and the plan for their assessment. These items will serve as the criteria by which the success of the program will be later evaluated. They should be developed at the department or school level and will be used as general expectations against which to compare initial (three to five year) program performance. Obviously, the specific educational outcomes sought will be program and departmental specific.

G. Catalog Descriptions and Syllabi for all Proposed New Courses

Catalog descriptions and syllabi for all new courses to be included as part of the proposed new program should accompany the program proposal. The proposal should also include a listing of all course requirements for the program, and an example 4-year program of studies for undergraduate major programs.


Step Four: Full Program Proposal Approval Sequence

A. The completed “Course Program Acceptance Form” should be included as the cover sheet accompanying all new program proposals (see Appendix D). As described above, the proposal should include a description of the proposed program, a dedicated section addressing market demand, a projected five year budget following the financial plan model, impact assessment on current programs, and an outcomes assessment section that articulates educational goals and assessment plan.

B. The proposal review and approval requirements are as follows:

  1. Completed program proposals are forwarded by the chair(s) of the originating department(s) to the applicable Dean(s) for review and recommendation. The program proposal should indicate consultation of the by the faculty in the originating department(s), and departmental/school curriculum committees, as applicable.

  2. After review and recommendation, the applicable Dean(s) forward the program proposal to the Registrar.

  3. The Registrar will review the proposed numbers and titles of all new courses.

  4. The proposal is reviewed by the Provost for completeness. Once determined complete, financial analysis and enrollment reviews are conducted as required. The Provost will review for congruence with University strategic plans and consult with other members of administration as required.

  5. After review and recommendation by the Provost, program proposals are submitted to the Faculty Senate (undergraduate) or Graduate Council (graduate) for review and recommendation.

  6. After the formulation and articulation of a recommendation by the Faculty Senate or Graduate Council, the program proposal is forwarded to the President for a final recommendation.

  7. New program proposals that are approved by the President are forwarded to the New York State Education Department, as appropriate, for approval prior to program marketing and implementation.


Step Five: On-Going Evaluation After Program Implementation

All academic programs will be subject to evaluation on an on-going basis in accordance with established policies and procedures.


Appendix A

As appropriate to the specifics of a particular program proposal, personnel from the following offices may provide valuable input during the development of proposals:


Appendix B



  1. Net Tuition Revenue: An estimate of the Net Tuition Revenue including a description of the revenue assumptions basis should be made using the following information:

    • Enrollment Projections: estimate the number of NEW full-time and continuing students (taking more than 12 credit hours per semester); for all Graduate students, and part-time undergraduate students, estimate total number of credit hours.

    • Tuition Revenue: If existing tuition rates are being proposed, calculate the tuition revenue by multiplying the estimated number of students/credits times the appropriate current year tuition rate (please contact the Bursar if additional rate information is needed). For each successive fiscal year projection use the appropriate tuition with the designated increase.

    • Unfunded and funded Tuition Discount: unfunded discounts are all non-endowed, unrestricted scholarships, grants, stipends, and assistantships. For estimates of discount for Undergraduate and Graduate students, contact the Director of Financial Aid.

  2. Contributions: estimate the total expected gift revenues and identify the source.

  3. Grants: estimate the total expected grants revenue and identify the source.

  4. Other Income: estimate the total expected revenue and identify the source.



  1. Faculty Salaries: Please provide an estimate of full-time faculty salaries. Attach documentation listing the number of faculty, rank and status (tenure, non-tenure).

  2. Contract Administrator Salaries: Please provide an estimate of full-time contract administrator salaries. Attach documentation listing the number of administrators and titles.

  3. Hourly Support Staff: Please provide an estimate of full-time support staff salaries. Attach documentation listing the number of support staff and classification.

  4. Part-time personnel: Please provide an estimate of part-time personnel, including faculty, administrators, support staff, student and graduate assistants. Attach documentation listing the number of employees and classification.

  5. Fringe Benefits: Estimate fringe benefits using designated rates for all full-time personnel and part-time personnel. Current benefit rates are obtainable from Human Resources.

  6. Direct Expenses: Estimate all expenses including library resources, office and other supplies, advertising, promotion, travel, postage, etc. Provide explanation of the basis for all estimates.



Occupancy and other indirect expenses will be determined by Office of Finance and Administration.

Include only direct expenses in program financial projections.



1. Capital Equipment: Capital equipment, furniture, or fixtures is defined as any individual item costing $1,000 or more and having a useful life of at least one year.

2. Construction Renovation: A remodeling or renovation project is determined to be a capital project if it improves on the “status quo” of the facility, adds to the life of the facility, and costs over $25,000. The following remodeling and renovation costs are not capital costs but rather treated as direct expenses: painting, travel related to the project, fixtures and furniture with a unit cost of less than $1,000, carpeting under $25,000 and minor renovations under $25,000 in total. Contact the Associate Vice President for Facilities for assistance with developing renovation/construction cost estimates.

3. Information Technology: Costs associated with new computer hardware or software systems include equipment purchases, administrative systems purchases, outside consulting and related costs. Contact the Executive Director of Technology Services for assistance with technology cost estimates and/or equipment specifications.



Start-up Expenses: estimate the one-time costs associated with the implementation of a new program, major, academic initiative, etc. Examples of one-time costs may include: promotion and advertising costs (television, print, radio, etc.), publications, brochures, applications, miscellaneous (signs, etc.). Contact the Vice President for University Relations for assistance in estimating incremental initial marketing and promotional costs.


Appendix C - Five Year Financial Projections Worksheet

Appendix D - New Program Approval Form

See separate New Academic Programs Forms attachment for Appendix C and D.







Approved by the Faculty Senate on May 25, 2012; Approved by Sr. Margaret Carney on May 29, 2012