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Process Overview

CPE and WKU Program Approval Process



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.

The following steps will walk you through the WKU curricular process and the CPE new program aproval process required for developing and approving a new program (excluding certificate programs). See the note below concerning certificate programs. 

Step One: If desired, schedule a meeting with the Office of the Provost to discuss the program approval process. Email provost@wku.edu or call 745-8985 to schedule a time to discuss your new program. 

Step Two: Faculty in the academic unit develop and approve the new program proposal. For new majors, the CPE Pre-Proposal form is required. 

Step Two Helpful Hints:

CPE approval is required for all new undergraduate and graduate major programs. Certificates do not require CPE approval; however, information on certificates must be submitted to CPE after the new certificate program is submitted through the WKU curricular process. To view the CPE policy on New Academic Programs, visit CPE Academic Program Approval: New Academic Program Policy.

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 on-line delivery should notify the provost's office.

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

Step Three: The department or school approves the new program proposal. Note that the Dean should approve any new program prior to its advancement from the department or school.

Step Four: The proponent should submit the CPE Notification of Intent / Program Summary. This form should route through the college dean's office, and then to Rheanna Plemons (rheanna.plemons@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. This allows for inter-institutional discussion of a proposed program, before the public posting in the CPE database. 

Step Four Helpful Hints

Save the Market and Demand information from Step Two to help complete the program summary information.

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: 

Ky Center for Education & Workforce Statistics

Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11th edition

Career One Stop

Teacher Ed in KY (EPSB site)

Discipline specific data from professional association

Students & alumni survey data

Departments should consult with deans to access the Gray Associates database that will provide market demand and employment information. Contact Tonya.Johnson@wku.edu to receive login information and schedule a time to research the database.

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

Step Six: CPE Pre-Proposal, consisting of narrative, curriculum, and budget sections, is posted by the provost's office for 30-day review by KY public institutions of higher education. The pre-proposal must be posted within six months after Notification of Intent approval by the CPE.  Failure to submit the pre-proposal within six months means the process must start over per CPE guidelines. A user guide is available here: user guide. An example is available here: example. During the pre-proposal phase, other KY public institions  may post comments and questions. Comment(s) from other institutions that require a response are forwarded to the academic progra, and coordinated through the Provost's Office.

Step Six Helpful Hints

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 will provide guidance. Consult with Dr. Molly Kerby for additional assistance. To review the statewide requirements from Program Review click here. (APR Self-Study Template and CPE Program Review Users Guide). 

Cost and Funding section: Develop information in an excel spreadsheet, and once confirmed with Department Head, Dean, and Provost office the information will be added to CPE pre-proposal format. You can update the template located here. Explain each entry in the narrative/justification box provided. After the spreadsheet has been reviewed by the college budget manager, it can be forwarded to Dr. LaDonna Hunton for review. 

Step Seven: Follow the guidelines for proposing new programs through the 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. 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). The proposal goes to EPSB after the PEC and before CPE.

Step Eleven: The CPE Full-Proposal must be submitted to CPE for approval. The Full Proposal must be posted by the Provost's Office at least 6 months after approval of the pre-proposal by the CPE. A user guide for this is available here. An example is available here.

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 five years to implement. Failure to implement within five years means the department will have to restart the approval process. CPE's public calendar is available at http://cpe.ky.gov/aboutus/cpemeetings.html.



Currently, CPE does not require notification of intents, pre-proposals or full-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.

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.

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 (8 credit hours at Graduate level, and 16 at undergraduate), Title IV funding is available. Justification must be provided in the form of “Intent to Offer” information required for Title IV funding.

All certificate proposals should include a certificate budget spreadsheet. The spreadsheet should be reviewed by the college budget coordinator and submitted to Dr. LaDonna Hunton for review.





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 Last Modified 7/13/20