The mission of the Office of Academic Program Planning and Decision Support is:
- To provide leadership to and assist stakeholders through the academic program and course review and approval processes while supporting compliance with institutional policies and procedures.
- To direct academic program actions through applicable governing bodies by working with Academic Program Liaisons and managing curriculum approval flow through faculty governance, the Provost's and President's offices, the Board of Trustees, the SC Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
- To analyze data and national best practices to help faculty develop and deliver high quality academic programs and to recommend curricular innovation and strategic growth in existing or new programs aligned with university and state priorities and needs.
- To monitor program accreditation and external program reviews.
- To maintain compliance with state and federal regulations and guidelines, including those pertaining to State Authorization and Professional Licensure.
- To managing the administration of the Academic Common Market program.
High quality academic programs and courses are at the core of the University of South Carolina’s mission. The Office of Academic Program Planning and Decision Support coordinates the curriculum review and approval processes. Programs that lead to formal recognition including the awarding of all degrees must be reviewed and approved at appropriate levels of curriculum responsibility within the university, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). New courses, course terminations, and the revision of existing courses, including changes to the bulletin, delivery method, or other edits must be approved through faculty governance.
- The Academic Program Proposal System (APPS), administered by the Office, is used to propose new, modified, or terminated degree programs and courses.
- The Office provides detailed guidance for both program and course actions.
- The Office also oversees and provides guidance for the approval process for other academic actions including the creation, modification or termination of units and centers and institutes.
The Office analyzes institutional, state, and national data to make recommendations about existing and new academic programs aligned with university and state priorities. The Office provides data-driven insights, using dashboards, facts, policies, and metrics to inform and align academic programming goals to advance the strategic priorities of the University.
USC is committed to offering high quality academic programs. Programs eligible for programmatic accreditation are reviewed by the applicable accrediting body in accordance with that body’s standards and processes. For those programs not undergoing a professional program accreditation, external reviews must be conducted at least every seven years. Academic programs benefit from the assessment and advice of disciplinary peers about how the program aligns with other programs of its type and how well the program prepares students for success after graduation. The Office of Academic Program Planning and Decision Support maintains a schedule and documentation of programmatic accreditation and external program reviews.
The Office of Academic Program Planning and Decision Support ensures that programs comply with the SC Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and submits notifications or proposals as needed to maintain compliance. The Office also ensures compliance with state mandates such as the REACH Act and with federal regulations, such as those pertaining to State Authorization and Professional Licensure.
- REACH Act Compliance: The Office collects and reviews applicable syllabi each semester to ensure they meet the provisions of the REACH Act and then reports annually to CHE regarding USC’s compliance.
- State Authorization: The Office maintains records of authorization to offer distance education programs and experiential learning opportunities (internships, practica, clinicals, and fieldwork) in other states. The Office maintains institutional participation in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC SARA) and is authorized to enroll students in both Experiential Learning and Distributed Learning coursework in NC-SARA member states. As part of the membership requirement, the Office reports required data to NC SARA annually.
- Professional Licensure: The Office maintains and publishes information for interested students regarding professional licensure for graduates of applicable academic programs.
The Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) Academic Common Market (ACM) program is administered through the Office. This program enables students from specific states to pursue eligible academic programs at USC at a reduced tuition rate. The Office provides guidance to interested students about applying for ACM, advises students about maintaining ACM, maintains relationship with other participating states, monitors students in the ACM program and reviews and analyzes ACM data.