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New Academic Initiatives Policy

New Academic Initiatives Policy

Goddard College welcomes and encourages proposals for new academic initiatives. To this end the College’s Board of Trustees approved the following New Academic Initiative Policy. For the purposes of this policy, a new academic initiative is defined as any project which has a significant impact on the philosophical, programmatic, administrative and/or budgetary elements of the College. Examples of initiatives which must be evaluated through this process include, but are not limited to: new academic programs, new sites for existing academic programs, new residencies, new conferences or institutes, and significant academic collaborations with other institutions. This includes all initiatives which require approval from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), any governmental body, and/or the College’s Board of Trustees in accordance with the Board’s by-laws. All such proposals must follow the comprehensive New Academic Initiative Procedures, a set of operational procedures developed under the guidance of the president with the assistance of the executive vice president (chief academic officer) and members of the College community, and subject to amendment under their guidance as deemed appropriate and necessary. The New Academic Initiative Policy which follows, upon which the New Academic Initiative Procedures rest, was approved by action of the Board of Trustees, on September 12, 2009.

New Academic Initiative Policy

“Any new academic initiative which is proposed for adoption by Goddard College will be evaluated and approved on the basis of its fit with the College’s mission, financial soundness, academic quality, and ability to be carried out by the College. Each new initiative will be subjected to appropriately identified assessment procedures. These procedures take into account a proposal’s complexity, potential benefits and costs, and impact across all areas of the College. The procedures also identify where the authority to grant final approval lies, taking into account institutional, legal and regulatory requirements which are set by the Goddard College Board of Trustees, an outside academic accrediting body, or governmental agency.”

Process Overview

Goddard College encourages new academic proposals from a broad range of sources, internal and external. The New Academic Initiatives process is meant to support better proposal development and result in well informed and timely decisions regarding the wise allocation of the College’s limited resources. The following conditions are important for all proposals: All proposals must fit the mission of the College, including its expressed interest in progressive education methodology, social justice, and diversity.

Projects should also be informed by the College’s interest in academic experimentation, academic vitality, and institutional revitalization.

The proposal must present a thorough assessment of its effect on the College’s operations and include suggestions for the ways changes or accommodations can be accomplished.

All completed proposals will be assessed side-by-side during designated bi-annual review periods by the Innovations and New Initiatives Workgroup (INIW). Positively assessed proposals are forwarded to the President, who will make a final determination and send on to the Board of Trustees as appropriate. Due to the sequential nature of this process, preparations should be started well before the assessment period in which sponsors hope to have proposals assessed. How much before is dependent on the complexity of the proposal and is best assessed by the sponsors. Under unusual circumstances, an extra-ordinary review may take place outside the two established bi-annual reviews.

To emerge as an implemented New Academic Initiative, a proposal must follow the stages in this document. The first two stages are the minimum required for a proposal’s approval prior to implementation; some proposals will need to advance through stages three and four before they are fully approved for implementation. In broad form, detailed later in this document, these stages are:

  1. Concept Proposal Review: This is meant to be early in the process and done in a timely manner. This stage serves to properly direct sponsors of new initiatives and reduce the possibility of energy being spent doing the wrong things and/or on proposals that do not fit with the Goddard College’s mission and planning priorities.
  2. Comprehensive Proposal Review: This stage is both time and resource intensive. Its objective is to allow the College to make the best possible decisions for its energy and resources. A proposal at this stage is assessed during the bi-annual review process so that it can move forward in a timely fashion and be included in the overall planning of the College.
  3. Board of Trustees Review: After a proposal has made it through the first two stages, it may require Board of Trustees review and/or approval. Not all proposals need to be approved by the Board, but those which lead to significant changes in the College’s academic program delivery will.
  4. Outside Academic and/or Governmental Agency Approval: Significant academic changes and changes in delivery sites usually require these levels of approval. The need for this approval will be indentified early in the proposal process, so the implications can be incorporated into the full planning cycle.

As an engaged and collaborative organization, many of the people named in the procedures will provide information and consultation on developing proposals. Input and feedback from administrators, staff members, and INIW members in the preparation of proposals should be construed as consultative and not in any way suggest support for, or favoritism toward, an academic initiative.