The institution offers degree programs that embody a coherent course of study that is compatible with its stated mission and is based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education.

Compliance Judgment:  In compliance

Narrative

East Carolina University (hereafter, ECU or the institution) offers degree programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and first professional levels as listed in its Academic Program Inventory and as authorized by the University of North Carolina.   All degree programs are consistent with the institution’s mission statement and its strategic plan, ECU Tomorrow: a Vision for Leadership and Service. The undergraduate catalog and the graduate catalog list degree programs offered, courses required in each program offered, course descriptions, and course prerequisites.

The University of North Carolina authorizes constituent universities to offer a degree program only after careful internal and external review including the Request for Inclusion, Request for Authorization to Plan, and Request for Authorization to Establish.  The UNC planning documents specifically request evidence and discussion of similar programs at institutions of higher education in the state and nation.  In addition, and as required by the University of North Carolina system, East Carolina University uses the U.S. Department of Education Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) taxonomy for its degree programs, further ensuring that ECU’s degree programs embody a coherent course of study in fields appropriate to higher education.

The Undergraduate Curriculum and Program Development Guide and Graduate Curriculum and Program Development Guide identify required information and processes in degree planning to ensure the development of a coherent course of study based on fields of study appropriate to higher education.   Faculty program planners complete proposal forms which attest to the coherence and sequencing of new curriculum, insuring increasing complexity and linkages both inside and outside the discipline. The alignment of degree proposals with ECU’s mission is evaluated at several stages of on-campus review, including assessment by the Academic Program Development Collaborative Team, which is the first to review the Assessing Readiness to Offer New Degree Programs document, and the Educational Policies and Planning Committee of ECU’s Faculty Senate. 

Alignment of Degree Programs with University Mission and Purpose

East Carolina University’s general education, termed the Foundations Curriculum is described in the Undergraduate Catalog:

[The Liberal Arts Foundation Curriculum] [p]rovide[s] students with the fundamental knowledge and abilities essential to their living worthwhile lives both private and public…This foundation and its integration with specialized learning in the students’ majors enable students to live broadly informed, responsible, worthwhile lives. From the public perspective, this integration is essential to good citizenship in an increasingly global yet culturally diverse and conflicted world.

 

Integrating a sound foundations curriculum with specialized content of the degree area is central to all degree planning and review at ECU.  Careful review at the planning stages as outlined above and at review stages, as described below, ensure coherence in sequencing, increasing complexity, and linkage between and among program components.

 

Program Review

An ECU-wide organizational framework for program review has been developed and has been consistently implemented by the Office of the Provost.  The Procedures for Unit Academic Program Review outline the steps in this process which include attention to the coherence of the program and its ongoing relevance to the mission of the institution.  

Unit academic program review consists of a self-study conducted by each program, followed by a review by a committee comprised of academicians from both within and outside the university.  The outcomes for program reviews have been the identification of program strengths and weaknesses with a determination of overall program quality and specific recommendations for improvement. Peer review has been an effective way to maintain and improve program quality as ECU has sought to respond to the recommendations for improvement as suggested by the Review Committee.  In addition, periodic review is used as a basis for effective allocation of resources by using the program quality metrics as indicated by the review.  Twenty-five departments/schools have been reviewed since spring 2009.  Reports of all program reviews are tracked on the Academic Program Review SharePoint Site: Accredited Programs, and are presented here as documentation of both compatibility and coherence of ECU’s degree programs.

Note: All unit programs participate in the review process, although it is recognized that some programs and/or academic units at East Carolina University hold specialized external accreditation reviews that include a review of both undergraduate and graduate programs. In these instances, the accreditation self-study substitutes for the required self-study of the Unit Academic Program Review.

Accreditation Reviews
A majority of the university's professional academic programs are accredited by national and international specialized professional associations that review those programs for coherence.  The List of Accredited Programs is attached. The periodic self-study for accreditation requires that faculty members compare their existing programs with standards established for the discipline. Those reports require that the programs demonstrate appropriate sequencing and integration of content. Academic programs that are accredited by specialized professional associations are archived on the Academic Program Review SharePoint Site: Accredited Programs.

State licensure requirements for some professions (nursing, education, social work, engineering, business, marriage and family therapy, restorative therapies, etc.) have established curriculum mandates, which provide content guidelines in the respective degree areas.  ECU students from these discipline areas have a successful pass rate annually on licensure examinations in these areas.

Post-Approval Review Process
Since the 2005-2006 academic year, ECU’s Office of Academic Program Planning and Development has obtained information from recently approved academic programs about faculty resources, student enrollment, available resources, program content/curriculum, academic unit collaboration, program evaluation, and program alignment with the university’s mission.  This review process occurs twice a year for the first two years of new degree programs.

The goals of the post-approval review process are to: 

North Carolina Legislative Review

 

Annual reports of the post-approval review process (since 2006) can be found on the Post Approval Survey Reports Sharepoint Site. The post-approval annual reports were further refined in 2008.  In 2008, executive summaries, which succinctly identify “problems” for new programs and what program coordinators see as possible solutions, were added as part of the annual reports. The post- approval process meets the spirit of support and quality enhancement while also addressing the mandate of the UNC Academic Degree Productivity Review, which requests information about new programs in years 3 and 5 of their implementation.

Regular reviews of programs also are required by the North Carolina General Assembly.  Chapter 407, Section 1 of Senate Bill 393, 1993 Session Laws (GPAC/UNC Review Plan) requires UNC system constituent institutions (of which ECU is one) to regularly evaluate degree programs and to provide biennial reports about low producing programs to the North Carolina legislature. 

Program Prioritization Study

From 2010-2012, East Carolina University also engaged in a process of program prioritization to review the program content, compatibility with the institutional mission, and outcomes of all degree programs.   The work of the Program Prioritization Committee, included goals, self-studies from each program, white papers, timelines, and recommendations. The Program Prioritization Committee Self-Studies and productivity data are available online. Through all of these processes, the university ensures that it offers degree programs that are appropriate to higher education and are consistent with ECU’s stated mission.


Documentation

Reference Title

Location

Academic Program Development Collaborative Team

Academic Program Development Collaborative Team

Academic Program Inventory

API_14May2012

Academic Program Review SharePoint Site

Academic Program Review Sharepoint Site

Academic Program Review SharePoint Site: Accredited Programs

External Accreditation Review

Assessing Readiness to Offer New Degree Programs

Assessing-Readiness-Faculty-10-17-08

Chapter 407, Section 1of Senate Bill 393, 1993 Session Laws

S393v4

ECU Tomorrow:  A Vision for Leadership and Service

2.7.2 ECU Tomorrow_ Our Strategic Directions

Educational Policies and Planning Committee

Educational Poliicies and Planning Committee

Foundations Curriculum

2.7.2 Foundations Curriculum

Graduate Catalog

grcat academic programs

Graduate Curriculum and Program Development Guide

graduate curric and pgrm development guide

Licensure Examinations

2.7.2 KPI Student Acheivement

List of Accredited Programs

Accreditation Cycle 7-24-12

Mission Statement

ECU Mission Statement

Post Approval Survey SharePoint Site

Post Approval Survey Reports

Procedures for Unit Academic Program Review

UNIT-ACADEMIC-PROGRAM-REVIEW-6-10-2

Program Prioritization Committee

2.7.2 PPC

Program Prioritization Committee Self-Studies

Self Study Documents

Request for Authorization to Establish

RAE400_1_1_5[G]

Request for Authorization to Plan

Request for Authorization to Plan 400.1.1.3G

Request for Inclusion

2012-17 Request-for-Inclusion-Form

UNC Academic Degree Productivity Review

S393v4

Undergraduate Catalog

ugcat acadmic programs

Undergraduate Curriculum and Program Development Guide

undergraduate program development guide

U.S. Department of Education Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP)

CIP user site