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Process Overview

New Program Approval Process


 New Academic Program Approval Step by Step Process

New Certificates

Budget Spreadsheets

Step by Step Process

There are three approval processes to be considered.  The first is the WKU Curriculum Process using Courseleaf through the academic curriculum committees finishing with the WKU Board of Regents.  The second is the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy that requires new program approval if the proposed program contains 25% or more new content not previously offered. The third is CPE approval. The Council on Postsecondary Education has statutory authority to approve new academic programs at state colleges and universities. KRS 164.020 (15) empowers the Council to define and approve the offering of all postsecondary education technical, associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and professional degree, certificate, or diploma programs in the public postsecondary education institutions.

CPE approval is required for all new undergraduate and graduate major programs. Certificates (that are not considered substantive change through SACSCOC) do not require the full CPE review process; however, information on certificates must be submitted to CPE after the new certificate program is submitted through the WKU curricular process for automatic CPE approval. To view the CPE policy on New Academic Programs (revised in 2020), visit the CPE Academic Program Approval website: New Academic Program Policy.

The following steps will walk you through the WKU curricular process, SACSCOC Substantive Change if necessary, and the CPE new program approval process required for developing and approving a new program. See the section below concerning new certificate programs. 

Step One: (Recommended) Schedule a meeting with the Office of the Provost to discuss the program approval process. Email beth.laves@wku.edu or call 270-745-8985 to schedule a time to discuss your new program. 

Step Two: The proponent/department should submit the CPE Notification of Intent / Program Summary. This form should route through the college dean's office, and then to the Provost's Office for Provost review (Beth Laves; beth.laves@wku.edu). The KY CCAOs (Council of Chief Academic Officers) will review and identify any issues or questions. Once questions are resolved (typically within one month), the NOI is approved. 

Step Two Helpful Hints

Save the Market and Demand information to help complete the CPE proposal and WKU curricular proposal.

Refer to the IPEDS CIP Code website for help identifying the best CIP code. Consult the Office of the Provost for assistance in selecting the appropriate CIP code.

To find data to support market demand, visit: 

Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook

Ky Center for Education & Workforce Statistics

KY Chamber, “Kentucky’s Economic Recovery,” March 2022

Bridging the Talent Gap Interactive website

Career One Stop

Teacher Ed in KY (EPSB site)

Discipline specific data from professional association

Students & alumni survey data

Step Three: WKU Process - Faculty in the academic unit develop and approve the new program proposal using WKU's curricular workflow. Concurrently with the WKU process, you should also be completing steps for the CPE Process - For new majors or graduate programs, the CPE Proposal form is required. 

The form requires assessment information, a budget spreadsheet, and market/student demand information. In addition, a spreadsheet of all courses must be submitted along with the terms in which the courses will be offered. This form is not submitted to CPE until the Board of Regents Academic Affairs Committee approves the program. Therefore, if revisions are required as curriculum revisions are made or as budget discussions change, the department has an opportunity to revise the form prior to submission to CPE.

If the new program contains 25% or more new content not previously offered, a new program approval prospectus for SACSCOC is required. Go to the SACSCOC Substantive Change section of the Program Development site in the left tab.

Step Three Helpful Hints:

Per KRS 164.296, programs at the sub-associate degree level (i.e. consisting entirely of lower division courses) require KCTCS BOR approval before CPE posting.

Programs with an online delivery should notify the provost's office. Effective Spring 2021, SACSCOC requires a notification when program modality changes.

It is important to ensure adequate resources are available to support the program (library, faculty, etc.), and the need/demand is justified. The need/demand information is critical for Step Four

Use WKU's Strategic Plan and the KY statewide postsecondary education strategic agenda to support objectives.

Assessment: Make sure you have an assessment plan. The Assurance of Student Learning website provides guidance along with a template. It's recommended to complete the template to submit to CPE along with your proposal. Consult with Dr. Molly Kerby for additional assistance. To review the statewide requirements from Program Review check the Program Review site

Cost and Funding section: Develop budget information in the excel spreadsheet available at the bottom of this page. Once confirmed with the Department Chair/School Director, Dean, and Provost's Office, the information will be included in the CPE proposal. Explain each entry in the narrative/justification box provided. After the spreadsheet has been reviewed by the college budget manager and associate/assistant Dean, it must be forwarded to Ms. Jessica Gilland for review. Allow one week for a complete review. If you are creating a certificate, see the bottom of this page for the certificate budget template.

CPE Proposal Checklist with Links:

Step Four: The department or school approves the new program proposal through Courseleaf.  The CPE proposal is uploaded as part of the Courseleaf process. 

Step Five: Dean's Review. The proposal for a new program (certificates, new undergraduate majors, or graduate programs) must be approved by the dean before advancing to the college curriculum committee. 

 Step Six: College Curriculum Committee. If program leads to initial or advanced teacher certification, it should also be approved by the Professional Education Council (PEC) after the College Curriculum Committee.

 Step Seven: The appropriate University Curriculum Committee will review and approve the new program: Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) or Graduate Council.

Step Eight: After approval from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) or Graduate Council, the proposal will proceed to the Faculty Senate.

Step Nine: After approval from the Faculty Senate, the Provost must approve new programs including the budget and assessment plan.

Step Ten: After approval from the Provost, the WKU Board of Regents must approve the program. The Academic Affairs Committee must review new programs prior to Board Approval. A calendar of meeting dates is available on the Board of Regents' website.

Additional Step (PEC Only): If the program leads to initial or advanced teacher certification the proposal is approved by the KY Education Professional Standards board (EPSB).  Departments must submit the EPSB approval notification to the Office of the Provost for uploading in the CPE program inventory. 

Step Eleven: The CPE Proposal (submitted with the WKU curricular proposal) must be submitted to CPE for approval. 

CPE's Academic and Strategic Initiatives (ASI) Committee must approve the full-proposal prior to CPE Board Approval. Proposals are due three weeks prior to the ASI Committee. Once approved by the CPE Board, the department has three years to implement the new program. Failure to implement within three years means the department will have to restart the approval process. CPE's public calendar is available at http://cpe.ky.gov/aboutus/meetings.html.




New certificates using new courses with new content will likely constitute a Substantive Change and require SACSCOC and CPE approval. To be approved by CPE, the proponent must complete all of the above steps.  See the SACSCOC page for more information on the SACSCOC process. In addition, new certificates offering courses at a different level than previously offered may require SACSCOC approval.

Currently, CPE does not require notification of intents or proposals on certificate programs, unless the certificate is considered substantive change through SACSCOC. When certificate programs are approved through the WKU curricular process, they must be entered into the CPE program inventory and receive automatic CPE approval.

Certificates are a series of courses related to a specific topic or skill, with a primary purpose of providing marketable, entry-level skills. If the certificate prepares students for employment in a recognized occupation (ties to a CIP code), and is at least a certain number of credit hours (12 credit hours at Graduate level, and 12 at undergraduate), Title IV funding is available. Contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance if you have questions concerning Title IV funding. More information can be found in the Graduate Catalog and the Undergraduate Catalog.

All certificate proposals should include a certificate budget spreadsheet (see template below). The spreadsheet should be reviewed by the college budget coordinator and submitted to Ms. Jessica Gilland for review.

Budget Spreadsheets

Program Budget Spreadsheet

Certificate Budget Spreadsheet

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 11/21/22