Program Approval

The Program Approval Process is the set of required steps that must be taken for new programs to become active or existing programs to be revised, renewed or deactivated.  The approval process generally takes an average of about 5 months to complete once a program has been submitted to the system office for pre-approval. The following are outlines of the basic process steps for Transfer Academic Programs, CTE Programs, BAS and BSN Programs.

Transfer Academic Program Approval Form and Checklist Program Approval Request Submission Form

Program Approval Steps Transfer Academic Programs

Please note that these steps are not necessarily chronological as many of these things will happen simultaneously

  1. Download the Transfer Academic Program Approval Form and Checklist
  2. Internal College Approval Processes
    • Obtain College Curriculum Committee approval
  3. New Course Approval Process
    • Submit Courses for approval to State Faculty Curriculum Committee for review and approval
    • Once approved, VP Council approval also required
  4. Governance Approval from SBCCOE
    • NOTE: This authority has been delegated to Landon Pirius, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
    • Submit Program Approval Form for signature to Landon.Pirius@cccs.edu
  5. Final CCCS Approval
  6. HLC Approval or Notification
    • College submits Program to Higher Learning Commission for review and approval
    • NOTE: If the program is at the main campus and is not going to change course delivery and there are no substantive changes, an email notification to the liaison may be all that is needed.
  7. DOE Approval
    • College submits program to Department of Education for review and approval
  8. CDHE Role and Mission Review
    • CCCS staff sends to CDHE
  9. CCCS Internal Processing
    • CCCS Catalog, Curriculum, and Schedule Manager processing
    • CCCS Finance Office is notified
    • CCCS IT processes
  10. DHE Data Collection
    • CCCS will notify CDHE to add to SURDS

BAS Pre-Approval Signature Form and Checklist Program Approval Request Submission Form

Program Approval Steps for BAS Programs

This process is governed by Board Policy (BP) 9-30, Approval of Academic Programs; C.R.S. 23-60-201; C.R.S. 23-60-211; and C.R.S. 23-1-133

Please note that these steps are not necessarily chronological as many of these things will happen simultaneously

Board Policy SP 9-30b

  1. Required Pre-Approvals:
  2. Internal College Approval Processes
    • Obtain College Curriculum Committee approval
  3. New Course Approval Process
    • Submit Courses for approval to State Faculty Curriculum Committee for review and approval
    • VP Council, approval required
    • Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, approval required
  4. CCCS System Office Review and Approval
    • Landon Pirius, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
    • Mark Superka, Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance
    • Key Assessments to be attached to the application for System Office and SBCCOE approval:
      • Assessment to ensure program is cost-effective for students, the Community College System, and the state
      • Workforce Demand Assessment
      • Student Demand Assessment
      • Assessment of accreditation and licensing requirements
      • The program’s projected budget, including estimated revenues and expenses associated with the program
      • The program’s projected facility and equipment costs, including estimated licensing, and maintenance costs, if applicable
      • The effect of the proposed program on existing programs in terms of finances, enrollment, and staffing
      • Faculty and staffing needs analysis
      • Analysis of student support services, including library resources
      • Other assessments, as appropriate
  5. SBCCOE Approval 
    • Program must be submitted as a Board agenda item for review and approval
    • Materials need to be made screen reader accessible and must be submitted to the Chancellor’s Executive Assistant by the deadline, 2 weeks prior to the Board meeting
    • Agenda item will be presented to the Board by College President, VPAA and CCCS Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
    • Once approved by SBCCOE, Complete the Online Program Approval Request Submission Form
      • Program will then move to CCCS Catalog, Curriculum, and Schedule Manager for processing
  6. CCHE Notice
    • CCCS staff will notify CDHE and CCHE upon approval of the State Board.
  7. HLC Approval or Notification
    • College submits Program to Higher Learning Commission for review and approval
      • NOTE: If the program is at the main campus and is not going to change course delivery and there are no substantive changes, an email notification to the liaison may be all that is needed.
  8. DOE Approval
    • College submits Program to Department of Education for review and approval
  9. Department of Veterans Administration Approval 
    • College submits Program to Department of Veterans Administration for review and approval
  10. CCCS Internal Processing
    • CCCS Catalog, Curriculum, and Schedule Manager processing
    • CCCS Finance Office is notified
    • CCCS IT processes
  11. DHE Data Collection
    • CCCS will notify CDHE to add to SURDS

BSN Pre-Approval Signature Form and Checklist Program Approval Request Submission Form

Program Approval Steps for BSN Programs

Please note that these steps are not necessarily chronological as many of these things will happen simultaneously

Board Policy SP 9-30b

  1. Required Pre-Approvals:
  2. Required Notices:
    • At least 90 days prior to requesting SBCCOE approval, the College must provide notice to the CCHE and all state public and non-public institutions of higher education.
  3. Internal College Approval Processes
    • Obtain College Curriculum Committee approval
  4. New Course Approval Process
    • Submit Courses for approval to State Faculty Curriculum Committee for review and approval
    • Once approved, VP Council approval also required
  5. CCCS System Office Review
    • Landon Pirius, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
    • Mark Superka, Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance
  6. Governance Approval from SBCCOE
    • Program must be submitted as a Board agenda item for review and approval
    • Materials need to be made screen reader accessible and must be submitted to Mary Reeves by the deadline, 2 weeks prior to the Board meeting
    • Agenda item will be presented to the Board by College President, VPAA and CCCS Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
    • Once approved by SBCCOE, Complete the Online Program Approval Request Submission Form
      • Program will then move to CCCS Catalog, Curriculum, and Schedule Manager for processing
  7. GE Council and Academic Council Review
    • CCCS Staff will send to CDHE for review
  8. HLC Approval or Notification
    • College submits Program to Higher Learning Commission for review and approval
      • NOTE: If the program is at the main campus and is not going to change course delivery and there are no substantive changes, an email notification to the liaison may be all that is needed.
  9. DOE Approval
    • College submits Program to Department of Education for review and approval
  10. CCCS Internal Processing
    • CCCS Catalog, Curriculum, and Schedule Manager processing
    • CCCS Finance Office is notified
    • CCCS IT processes
  11. DHE Data Collection
    • CCCS will notify CDHE to add to SURDS

CTE Standards and Program Approval Colorado CTE Gateway

Program Approval describes a necessary process for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to receive federal Perkins funding. It ensures that all programs meet the standards set by the accrediting body for each program. Once approved, CTE programs send annual data on student academic success and job placement success. These numbers help determine continued funding to keep programs innovative and up to date.


Program Pre-Approval Steps for CTE Programs

College Internal Pre-Approval Considerations

Making the Business Case:
  • Is there a need for this program?
    Program should fit with needs of the community. Local labor market information should be reviewed prior to submitting for approval.
  • Does it make sense for the community?
    Hold a community stakeholder meeting. Get a sense for how much training is needed and to what level.
  • What competencies are needed? What level of credential?
    Meet with subject matter experts to determine overall program outcomes and competencies. Certificates and awards students will earn through the program should reflect industry employment standards for entry-level and advancement along the career pathway. Some programs may also require accreditation from a third-party accrediting body to meet industry or licensure standards.
Course Availability:
  • What courses are required for the program?
    Look at CCNS to ensure there are courses in place that will fit their needs for the proposed program. Consider up front what courses you need to have in the program. Review existing programs at other colleges to see examples of program components. Any new courses required for programs should be proposed though the College Curriculum and State Faculty Curriculum Committee processes.
Market Saturation and Competition Issues:
  • Is this program or a similar program available at nearby colleges?
    College should take into considerations similar programs (either existing or under development) at nearby community college institutions and weigh this against market demand. VP of Academic Affairs should present program discussion of proposed new programs at VP Council. Program development should take a pro-active and student-centered approach to ensure that students have equitable access and that programs are diverse and inclusive.
Instructor Capacity:
  • What are the staffing needs of the program?
    Once you have built the business case and you know the program should move forward, put together a program advisory committee for program design to know what your staffing needs are going to be. Faculty should be hired near final approval time.


Program Approval Process Steps for CTE Programs (Certificates and AAS)

      1. Internal College Approval Processes
        • Obtain College Curriculum Committee approval
      2. New Course Approval Process
        • Submit Courses for approval to State Faculty Curriculum Committee for review and approval
        • Once approved, VP Council approval also required
      3. Submit to State CTE Program Director for approval
      4. DOE Financial Aid Review (Labor Market Information)
        • College Financial Aid Directors submit to DOE directly
        • CCCS Financial Aid is notified
      5. CCCS Review and Approval
        • Submit to Sarah Heath, Associate Vice Chancellor for Career and Technical Education
      6. HLC Approval or Notification
        • College submits Program to Higher Learning Commission for review and approval
          • NOTE: If the program is at the main campus and is not going to change course delivery and there are no substantive changes, an email notification to the liaison may be all that is needed.
          • NOTE: HLC looks more at process for compliance and auditing purposes rather than for program need.
      7. Governance Approval from SBCCOE
        • NOTE: This authority has been delegated to Sarah Heath, Associate Vice Chancellor for Career and Technical Education
      8. CCCS Internal Processing
        • CCCS Catalog, Curriculum, and Schedule Manager processing
        • CCCS Finance Office is notified
        • CCCS IT processes
      9. DHE Data Collection
        • CCCS will notify CDHE to add to SURDS