The institution’s curriculum is directly related and appropriate to the mission and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates, or degrees awarded.

Compliance Judgment:  In compliance


East Carolina University’s (hereafter, ECU or the institution) curriculum reflects the institution's mission as a public doctoral university committed to meeting the educational needs of North Carolina. ECU offers baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional fields, including medicine and dentistry.  The curriculum reflects the “New Century Opportunities” and “Strategic Directions” stated in ECU's Strategic Action Plan 2010-2011, by providing qualified students with access to programs afforded by a major research university and by preparing tomorrow’s leaders through civic engagement, community service, and meaningful leadership experiences.

East Carolina University has a combination of baccalaureate, graduate and professional programs that are housed in Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Allied Health Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the College of Health and Human Performance, the College of Human Ecology, the College of Nursing, the College of Technology and Computer Science, and the Brody School of Medicine, as well as the School of Dental Medicine, which enrolled its first students in fall 2011.  The East Carolina University’s Academic Program Inventory is closely aligned with the university’s mission and strategic directions.  The List of academic programs can be found in the undergraduate catalog, and in the graduate catalog.

The curriculum development process at East Carolina University involves numerous faculty committee and administrative reviews, which ensure that the curricula, diplomas, certificates and degrees awarded by the university are directly related to the mission of their respective department or college and with the mission of the entire institution.  East Carolina University is, therefore, in compliance with Federal Requirement 4.2.

Organizational Approach

Program Planning, Approval, and Review

The University of North Carolina Policy Manual provides policies and procedures that guide its constituent universities in the area of program and curriculum development.  These include:

Board of Governors Policy on Academic Program Planning (UNC Policy Manual 400.1)

Regulations on Long-Range Planning, 2006-2011 (UNC Policy Manual 400.2.1.1[R])

Guidelines for Academic Program Development (UNC Policy Manual 400.1.1.1[G])

These three documents provide the boundaries within which East Carolina University faculty work to develop curricula that are appropriate to the mission of its educational programs (diplomas, certificates, and degrees).

As stated in the ECU Faculty Manual, “curriculum and program development are a faculty responsibility.”  The approval for new courses involves departmental, school, college, university curriculum committees and graduate curriculum committees. These faculty committees ensure proposed curricula are aligned with the mission of their respective department, college, and the university.  Printed booklets and web information are available describing the procedure for proposing new undergraduate and graduate courses and programs in accordance with the guidelines stated in the Faculty Manual (Part VI, Section VII).  The curriculum and program approval processes for undergraduate and graduate programs follow similar procedures. At both baccalaureate and graduate levels, curriculum/degree requirements are consistent with standard practices in the respective disciplines and with distinct levels of rigor. University Curriculum Committee (undergraduate) decisions subsequently must be approved by the ECU Faculty Senate; Graduate Curriculum Committee decisions are approved by the Graduate Council. Minutes of the University Curriculum Committee (undergraduate) are located on the Faculty Senate website.  Minutes of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, which are located on the Graduate School website, indicate strong emphasis on accountability and academic rigor appropriate to graduate education. 

Foundations Curriculum courses (formerly general education courses) are approved by the Foundations Curriculum and Instructional Effectiveness Committee.  The Educational Policies and Planning Committee (EPPC) is involved in approving all new certificates, minors, concentrations, and degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The final on-campus steps in the process require that new curricula are reviewed by the Faculty Senate, the Academic Council, and the Chancellor.

In addition, all new degree programs must be developed as part of the UNC Long Range Planning process. This process is designed to ensure that each constituent institution in the University of North Carolina system offers academic programs relevant to that institution’s particular purpose and goals.  Following on-campus reviews, new degree programs and the curricula which constitute them receive scrutiny at the larger system level.  New degrees can only be approved by the UNC Board of Governors after additional levels of review (UNC-GA disciplinary review panels, the UNC Graduate Council, and the UNC Committee on Educational Planning, Policies and Programs).

In fall 2008, in order to enhance the quality of procedures for the ongoing review of ECU’s curriculum, ECU approved new Guidelines for Unit Academic Program Review for all undergraduate and graduate programs.  These guidelines were revised in 2010 and 2011, as Procedures for Unit Academic Program Review.  As stated in these procedures, “Quality enhancement is an integral component of all ECU programs and is an expected outcome of program review.”  These reviews constitute “an ongoing process that contributes to refining ECU’s directions and program priorities, which then shape resource allocations and other administrative decisions.”

Over the past two years, ECU has undergone a university-wide critical review of the relationship of its academic programs and organization to the mission of the university.  This review involved two phases: 

Phase I:  At the request of the chancellor in February 2011, the Educational Planning and Policies Committee (EPPC) of the Faculty Senate developed a general framework to guide program review. The framework consisted of three basic aspects: (1) centrality of the program to the university’s mission, (2) program productivity, and (3) program quality, along with nearly 100 specific indicator variables. In addition to providing an initial empirical framework for prioritization, the EPPC also considered the possibility for greater administrative efficiency through academic reorganization. The committee presented the Framework and a Reorganization Option to the Faculty Senate and to the campus in April 2011.

Phase IIThe Program Prioritization Committee (PPC) was appointed by the chancellor in April 2011, with very broad structural representation, including six faculty members. The PPC's purposes were (1) to refine the EPPC's prioritization framework by considering important feedback from the campus community and (2) to develop an inclusive and transparent prioritization process as the campus moved forward in reimagining ECU.

The PPC developed several scenarios and encouraged campus-wide conversation as the committee assessed the academic effectiveness and financial efficiencies associated with varied reorganization options. Because academic programs are the heart of the university and provide its building blocks, program prioritization was the first order of PPC business. A report, entitled Phase I and II Recommendations - Program Prioritization Committee, and a review of all academic programs was presented to the chancellor in April 2012.

Distance Education Programs

Consistent with SACS-COC policy on distance and correspondence education, East Carolina University offers several graduate and undergraduate programs at off-campus sites.  One unique example is the Wells Fargo Partnership East program, an East Carolina University College of Education degree completion partnership with North Carolina community colleges. Students graduate from ECU with a four-year degree in elementary education, special education, or middle grades education by completing the first two years of the program at any one of ECU’s partnering community colleges. Students then take ECU courses online and/or through face-to-face instruction in the evenings at one of the four consortia hub sites. This degree completion partnership is designed specifically for students who transition to ECU from a North Carolina community college.

Considered the leader in online education in the University of North Carolina system, ECU also offers a number of entirely online degree programs.  The requirements for these online degree programs are identical in curricula to programs delivered on campus.  All ECU degree programs are approved by the UNC Board of Governors; a subsequent plan or request to provide instruction via distance or online methods represents a difference in delivery mode only. Additional documentation is available in the narrative for ComprehensiveStandard3.12.1.

In summary, ECU is in compliance with Federal Regulation 4.2 and has policies and procedures in place that verify that the institution’s curriculum is directly related and appropriate to the mission and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates, or degrees awarded. 



Reference Title


Board of Governors Policy on Academic Program Planning (UNC Policy Manual, 400.1)

UNC Policy Manual 400.1

Comprehensive Standard 3.12.1


East Carolina University’s Academic Program Inventory


ECU’s Strategic Action Plan 2010-2011


Educational Policies and Planning Committee


Faculty Manual (Part VI, Section VII)

Part V - Curriculum Development

Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate

Foundations Curriculum and Instructional Effectiveness Committee

foundationscurriculum committee

Graduate Catalog

grcat academic programs

Graduate Council

4.2 Graduate Council

Graduate Curriculum Committee

graduate curriculum

Guidelines for Academic Program Development (UNC Policy Manual 400.1.1.1[G])

The UNC Policy Manual 400.1.1.1G

Guidelines for Unit Academic Program Review


Institution’s Mission

ECU Mission Statement

List of Academic Programs

Academic Programs - 1

Procedures for Unit Academic Program Review

Academic Program Review Guidelines

Program Prioritization Committee (PPC)


Phase I and II Recommendations – Program Prioritization Committee


Regulations on Long-Range Planning, 2006-2011 (UNC Policy Manual 400.2.1.1[R])

UNC Policy Manual 400.2.1.1R

UNC Long-Range Planning Process

UNC Policy Manual 400.2

Undergraduate Catalog

ugcat acadmic programs

University Curriculum Committee


Wells Fargo Partnership East

Wells Fargo Partnership East Homepage