Undergraduate Education at Penn State Penn State University Penn State University Office of Undergraduate Education Printer friendly version of the Undergraduate Education at Penn State mark.
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Glossary of Terms

Academic closure involves completely closing a major or minor from the university's curricular offerings, most often due to low enrollment or resource concerns. A program that is closed is no longer available at any Penn State campus location.

Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education (ACUE) is the principal administrative advisory agency to the President, Executive Vice President and Provost, Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education, and the academic deans of the colleges, Outreach, and the University Libraries on administrative matters that impact undergraduate education across the University. This includes consultation pertaining to University Faculty Senate legislation. In support of the University's undergraduate education goals and objectives, ACUE is responsible for developing implementation guidelines and criteria for student and academic policies that are legislated by the University Faculty Senate. Within the framework of Senate and University policies, ACUE formulates the formal implementation that guides the offering, delivery, and assessment of academic programs and learning opportunities, the admission and enrollment of undergraduate students, and other related matters (Additional information: /acue.html).

Academic review and approval is conducted by the faculty through the University Faculty Senate. Academic review ensures adherence to the University's standards of academic quality and curricular integrity.

Academic units are colleges or campuses that have authority to deliver degree programs.

Administrative review and approval is conducted by the Office of the Provost. Administrative review ensures consideration and fulfillment of the broader University mission, enrollment management, local needs, and resource availability and use, as well as overall academic quality and curricular integrity.

Curricular integrity reflects fidelity to the approved curriculum and cohesiveness in program delivery.

Discontinuing a program or option (P-3) involves no longer offering a major, minor or option at one campus location, primarily due to low enrollments or resource concerns. The program or option may still be available at other campuses.

It is important to distinguish between academic closure (P-4), which refers to procedures by which degree programs are dropped, and department phase-out, the procedures by which academic departments are discontinued. When proposing the phase-out of a department, reference should be made to the "Faculty Senate Guidelines for Review of the Establishment, Reorganization, or Discontinuation of Academic Organizational Units" (http://senate.psu.edu/curriculum_resources/guide/reviewacadunits.html).

It is necessary to complete separate proposals, and to receive separate approvals, to close a program and a department in which it resides. A department may be phased out without discontinuing programs, which may be moved to alternative departments or colleges. The P procedures do not pertain to departmental phase-out.

Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs shall review, evaluate, and approve or reject all course and curriculum proposals including proposals to limit program enrollment submitted by the various departments, colleges, and other appropriate units of the University that have not received delegation of responsibility in this area from the Senate. With regard to program enrollment limitations, restrictions proposed for academic reasons are subject to approval or rejection while restrictions proposed for resource restraints are subject only to consultative review.

The Committee shall study the existing courses and curricula of the University with reference to the needs of students and opportunities for service to the Commonwealth and make recommendations for changes where appropriate. It shall develop criteria for evaluating courses and curricula and recommend procedures for handling courses and curriculum proposals.

It shall have oversight of the General Education Subcommittee, the Writing Subcommittee, the Retention and Transfer Subcommittee, the Bachelors of Arts Subcommittee, and the United Stated and International Cultures Subcommittee. It shall make recommendations to Senate Council on the establishment, reorganization, or discontinuation of organizational units pursuant to Council duties specified in Article II, Section1 (d) of the Bylaws. It shall maintain such liaison with University administration and faculty as may be necessary for the implementation of these procedures.

Shared program agreements: Shared programs may include partnerships and extended programs. Partnerships are of two kinds:

(1) Joint partnerships or consortia, in which, in addition to the original sponsoring college, one or more additional colleges are also awarded authority to offer the existing program. Graduates in these programs belong to and are certified for graduation by the college in which they are enrolled.

Programs may arise on occasion that support hybrid administrative and delivery structures. The organizational structure of the Commonwealth Campuses and the University College, University Park, new technology developments in course delivery, and the University's commitment to viewing Penn State as one university also enable a consortium of Penn State colleges and/or campuses to integrate faculty, administrative, fiscal, and physical resources to deliver a single academic program. Consortium degree authorization and delivery is based upon the sum of consortium resources across members, rather than the presence of all necessary elements within a single campus or academic unit.

(2) Hand-off agreements, in which the authority to offer an academic program is transferred from one college to another. Here, an original sponsoring college withdraws its academic authority for a program and another college or group of colleges is awarded authority in its place.

(3) Extended degree programs: Based upon extraordinary circumstances, such as specialized licensing and/or accreditation requirements, a single college may offer its programs by extending their availability to additional campuses. In this arrangement, only the "extending" college has the authority to award the program degree, although the degree may be delivered at multiple campuses. A college must submit a P-3 proposal to the Office of Undergraduate Education that includes endorsement from both the extending college and the unit(s) at which the extended degree will be offered.

Extended programs have an initial probationary period and regular program reviews as detailed in the P-3 policy.

Prospectus (ACUE Prospectus) is the initial step of the university administrative and academic approval process. The prospectus is an initial consultation opportunity that informs the development of the proposal. It must be submitted by the academic unit's associate dean to the Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education.

Video Learning Network: The advent and adoption of technology such as Video Learning Network (VLN) enables campuses to deliver residential education courses and degree programs to locations well beyond the originating classroom location. VLN type courses are distinguished from other distance learning systems in that enrolled students meet in VLN equipped classrooms, often in the company of other students, rather than accessing a course individually and asynchronously on a personal computer or platform.

Revised: 11/5/13
Revised: 11/24/14