The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG or UNC Greensboro) will maintain compliance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ (SACSCOC) Substantive Change Policy and Procedures document. The SACSCOC policy mandates 1) reporting of and approval for certain modifications or expansions to the nature or scope of accredited institutions, and 2) that accredited institutions maintain an institutional-specific policy that describes how the institution will remain in compliance with the SACSCOC policy.


The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Substantive Change Compliance Policy applies broadly to the institution, including each academic unit, department, or other organizational structure within the University to whom the situations outlined below apply.


Institutional Accreditation Liaison:  SACSCOC requires that each institution accredited by the agency have an Institutional Accreditation Liaison.  This individual acts as the single contact person to represent the institution to SACSCOC and for the agency to communicate with regarding agency policies and procedures.  This person is intended to be fully informed  of  current  accreditation  issues  and  requirements  and how those requirements are applied at the institution.  

Substantive change: A substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.  It can relate to governance of the institution, physical locations of the campus or program, or educational program additions, deletions or changes.  Substantive changes often originate in US Department of Education policies.


All substantive changes made at UNCG will seek the proper approvals through institutional processes as well as those required at the UNC System.  All substantive changes will be submitted to SACSCOC following required timelines for implementation.  No substantive change requiring SACSCOC approval shall be implemented until a letter of approval has been received from the SACSCOC. Prior to receipt of the letter of approval, any reference to the change, including advertising, will include wording that the initiative is “pending SACSCOC approval.” Any substantive change that requires SACSCOC approval and is implemented without such must be immediately reported to the Institutional Accreditation Liaison.  

Substantive Change

The Commission on Colleges specifically defines Substantive Change as “a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.  Under federal regulations, substantive changes include

  • Any change in the established mission or objectives of the institution
  • Any change in legal status, form of control, or ownership of the institution
  • The addition of courses or programs that represent a significant departure, either in content or method of delivery, from those that were offered when the institution was last evaluated
  • A new academic program that requires 50% or more credits of new courses
  • The addition of courses or programs of study at a degree or credential level different from that which is included in the institution’s current accreditation or reaffirmation.
  • A change from clock hours to credit hours
  • A substantial increase in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for successful completion of a program
  • The establishment of an additional location geographically apart from the main campus at which the institution offers at least 50% of an educational program
  • The establishment of a branch campus
  • Closing a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution
  • Re-opening a program, off-campus site, branch campus or institution that was closed less than 5 years ago
  • Entering into a cooperative academic arrangement that includes only the initiation of a dual or joint academic program with another institution
  • Implementing a competency-based education program
  • Acquiring another institution or a program or location of another institution
  • Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out program for a closed institution
  • Entering into a contract by which an entity not eligible for Title IV funding offers 25% or more of one or more of the accredited institution’s programs

The SACSCOC Board of Trustees has approved additional substantive changes that require notification and, in some cases, approval prior to implementation. 1

5.Roles and Responsibilities

The Chancellor has the overall responsibility for UNCG’s compliance with SACSCOC policies and appoints an Accreditation Liaison for UNCG.

The Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Academic Deans will be familiar and will comply with SACSCOC’s policy on substantive changes and UNCG’s Substantive Change Compliance Policy.  They or their representatives will inform and consult with UNCG’s Accreditation Liaison regarding potential substantive changes.

Academic unit leadership (associate deans/heads/chairs) will be familiar and comply with UNCG’s Substantive Change Compliance Policy.  They will ensure that faculty involved with initiating changes are aware of this policy and that a Substantive Change Checklist is submitted to UNCG’s Accreditation Liaison for all changes stipulated on the checklist, and any others changes for which the determination of whether they are or are not substantive is in question.

UNCG’s Accreditation Liaison serves as the contact person between SACSCOC and UNC Greensboro, and is responsible for assisting the campus in complying with SACSCOC’s policy on substantive changes by:

  • Identifying which changes are considered to be substantive changes 
  • Reviewing all curriculum committee proposals for substantive changes
  • Coordinating reporting activities to SACSCOC in a timely manner for all substantive changes  
  • Ensuring that applicable UNCG and UNC General Administration policies and procedures have been followed
  • Maintaining records pertaining to substantive changes 
  • Providing periodic training to academic departments and units
  • Communicating any changes to SACSCOC policy on substantive changes to appropriate academic leadership

6.Compliance and Enforcement

Responsibility for enforcement of this policy resides with the Chancellor.  Failure to comply with SACSCOC policy may put the institution’s accreditation in jeopardy.

7.Related Policies

The UNC Policy Manual Policy on Academic Program Planning 400.1 and 400.1.1[R]


The current SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison for UNCG is:

Dr. Jodi Pettazzoni

Associate Vice Provost and Director of Assessment

(336) 334-5535

[email protected]


Revision Date Revision Summary
11/30/2012 Revised and approved
11/28/2017 Revised and approved
11/01/2021 Revised and approved
03/18/2022 Reviewed and non-substantive revision made: updated link to SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy and Procedures

- Substantive Change. Retrieved 06/24/2024. Official version at https://policy.uncg.edu/university_policies/substantive-change/. Copyright © 2024 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.