Academic Plan Approval FAQ

What is the difference between a proposal and PCAS?

The terms "proposal" and "PCAS" are often used interchangeably. In some ways, they are the same. They both contain important details about the program that is being created or changed. The main distinctions, however, are as follows:

  • Proposals are the development of and argument for the new or changed program. These are the documents created and circulated at the departmental and collegiate level, which provide the historical record of the early stages of the process. The content of these proposals is largely determined by what departments and colleges require for their internal review proceses.
  • Various components of proposals are entered into the Program and Curricular Approval System, or PCAS, the online tool for tracking academic programs at the institutional level. PCAS serves as the official university record and ensures that all program requirements are clearly articulated. Content from PCAS is published in the catalogs used by students and advisors.

What are you looking for when you review proposals and PCAS entries?

There are various points of emphasis at each stage in the process. For example:

  • Colleagues in Graduate and Undergraduate Education pay close attention to admission and degree requirements, compliance with university policy, and other factors specifically related to the academic success of students.
  • Review by the Academic Health Center and the Office of the Provost focus on things like need and demand, efficiency and effectiveness, support and resources, mission, collaboration, and program duplication.

What needs to go before the Board of Regents?

New and major changes to existing programs need to be approved by the Provost and then the Board of Regents. These include but are not limited to:

  • new degree programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • discontinued programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • name changes to programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • online and distance delivery of new or existing programs;
  • collaborations with other national or international institutions of higher education;
  • anything deemed significant by the Office of the Provost.

Which proposals/changes/activities get posted for public review?

Anything that goes to the Regents will be available for public comment.

What content actually gets posted for public review?

A draft of the consent agenda listing all of the proposals/changes/activities for the upcoming docket. Additionally we will list:

  • contact information for the faculty member responsible for the posted content
  • the contact information for the collegiate curriculum committee or similar governing body

How does the public review feedback process work?

Questions or concerns should be directed as follows:

  • Initial questions or concerns about a proposal should be directed to the faculty or collegiate staff member responsible for the proposal.
  • Questions or concerns not resolved via this direct communication should be directed to Emily Ronning in the Office of the Provost at ronn0044@umn.edu or 612-626-8031.
  • Faculty members responsible for the proposals who are concerned about any of the questions raised during the public review period are encouraged to contact Emily Ronning in the Office of the Provost at ronn0044@umn.edu or 612-626-8031.

More Information

The development and revision of programs is a significant and time-consuming process. Please contact Emily Ronning (612-626-8031 or ronn0044@umn.edu) for assistance at any stage.