TITLE 19. EDUCATION

PART 1. TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION COORDINATING BOARD

CHAPTER 5. RULES APPLYING TO PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, HEALTH-RELATED INSTITUTIONS, AND/OR SELECTED PUBLIC COLLEGES OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN TEXAS

SUBCHAPTER C. APPROVAL OF NEW ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AT PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, HEALTH-RELATED INSTITUTIONS, AND REVIEW OF EXISTING DEGREE PROGRAMS

19 TAC §§5.41 - 5.43, 5.45, 5.46, 5.48, 5.50 - 5.52, 5.54

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Coordinating Board) proposes amendments to §§5.41 - 5.43, 5.45, 5.46, 5.48, 5.50 - 5.52, 5.54, concerning Approval of New Academic Programs at Public Universities, Health-Related Institutions, and Review of Existing Degree Programs. The proposed amendments update the criteria for the approval of new degree and certificate programs to better reflect the priorities of the state strategic plan for higher education, streamline the review of existing graduate programs, and delete an outdated section of criteria regarding the approval of baccalaureate programs at selected community colleges.

Dr. Rex C. Peebles, Assistant Commissioner for Academic Quality and Workforce, has determined that for each year of the first five years the sections are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

Dr. Peebles has also determined that for each year of the first five years the sections are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of administering the sections will be improved alignment between the criteria of new program proposals and the review of such proposals and existing programs. There is no effect on small businesses. There are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the sections as proposed. There is no impact on local employment.

Government Growth Impact Statement

(1) the rules will not create or eliminate a government program;

(2) implementation of the rules will not require the creation or elimination of employee positions;

(3) implementation of the rules will not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency;

(4) the rules will not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency;

(5) the rules will not create a new rule;

(6) the rules will not limit an existing rule; and

(7) the rules will not change the number of individuals subject to the rule.

Comments on the proposed amendments may be submitted to Rex C. Peebles, Assistant Commissioner, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, Texas 78711 or via email at AQWComments@THECB.state.tx.us. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following publication of the proposal in the Texas Register.

The amendments are proposed under the Texas Education Code, §61.0512, which provides the Coordinating Board with the authority to approve new certificate and degree programs at public institutions of higher education.

The amendments affect Texas Education Code, §61.0512.

§5.41.Purpose.

The purpose of this subchapter is to describe the criteria and approval processes for degree and certificate programs. Criteria in §5.45 of this title (relating to Criteria for New Baccalaureate and Master's Degree Programs) apply to [selected] public colleges, universities, and health-related institutions.

§5.42.Authority.

Texas Education Code, §61.0512 provides that no new [department, school,] degree program, or certificate program may be added at any public institution of higher education except with specific prior approval of the Board. Texas Education Code, §130.302 and §130.312 [§130.0012] applies to public junior colleges.

§5.43.Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) Academic administrative unit--A department, college, school, or other unit at a university or health-related institution, which has administrative authority over degree or certificate programs.

(2) Board--The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

(3) Certificate Program--Any grouping of subject-matter courses which, when satisfactorily completed by a student, shall entitle him or her to a certificate or documentary evidence, other than a degree, of completion of a post-secondary course of study at a university or health-related institution.

(4) Commissioner--The Commissioner of Higher Education.

(5) Compelling Academic Reason--A justification for an undergraduate degree program consisting of more than 120 semester credit hours. Acceptable justifications are programmatic accreditation requirements, statutory requirements, and requirements for licensure/certification of graduates.

(6) Degree program--Any grouping of subject matter courses which, when satisfactorily completed by a student, shall entitle him or her to a degree from a public university or health-related institution.

(7) Doctoral Graduation Rate--The Doctoral Graduation Rate is the percent of students in an entering fall cohort for a specific degree program who graduate within 10 years. Doctoral graduation rates do not include students who received a master's degree.

(8) Faculty publications--Discipline-related refereed publications, books or book chapters, juried creative or performance accomplishments, and notices of discoveries filed and patents issued.

(9) Faculty teaching load--Total number of semester credit hours taught per academic year by faculty divided by the number of faculty.

(10) Graduate-level certificate program--A certificate program at a university or health-related institution that consists primarily of graduate-level courses.

(11) Graduate placement--The number and percent of graduates employed or engaged in further education or training, those still seeking employment, and unknown.

(12) Lower-division degree or certificate program--A degree or certificate program offered at a university or health-related institution that consists of lower-division courses and is equivalent to a program offered at a community or technical college.

(13) Master's Graduation Rate--The Master's Graduation Rate is the percent of students in an entering fall and spring cohort for a specific degree program who graduate within 5 years.

(14) New Doctoral Degree Program--A doctoral degree program that has been approved by the Coordinating Board for a period of less than five years.

[(15) Selected Public Colleges--Those public colleges authorized to offer baccalaureate degrees in Texas.]

(15) [(16)] Student time-to-degree--The average of the number of semesters taken by program graduates from the time of enrollment in the program until graduation.

(16) [(17)] Upper-division certificate program--A certificate program at a university or health-related institution that consists primarily of upper-division undergraduate courses.

§5.45.Criteria for New Baccalaureate and Master's Degree Programs.

Requests for new baccalaureate and master's degree programs must provide information and documentation demonstrating that the proposed degree programs meet all of the following criteria:

(1) Role and mission. The proposed program must be within the existing role and mission of the institution as indicated by its Program Inventory [table of programs] or the Board must make the determination that the program is appropriate for the mission of the institution.

(2) Unnecessary duplication. The proposed program must not unnecessarily duplicate an [a] existing program at another institution serving the same regional population. The offering of basic liberal arts and sciences courses and degree programs in public senior institutions is not considered unnecessary duplication. A proposed program to be offered through distance education must demonstrate that there is unmet workforce need and student demand for the program that cannot be met by existing online programs offered by Texas public institutions.

(3) Faculty resources.

(A) Faculty resources must be adequate to provide high program quality. With few exceptions, the master's degree should be the minimum educational attainment for faculty teaching in baccalaureate programs. In most disciplines, the doctorate should be the minimum educational attainment for faculty teaching in graduate programs. Faculty should meet the qualitative and quantitative criteria of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the appropriate accrediting body[, if a professional program]. There should be sufficient numbers of qualified faculty dedicated to a new program. This number shall vary depending on the discipline, the nature of the program, and the anticipated number of students; however, there must be at least one full time equivalent faculty already in place in order for the program to begin enrolling students.

(B) In evaluating faculty resources for proposed degree programs, the Board shall consider only those degrees held by faculty that were issued by:

(i) United States institutions accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the Board or,

(ii) institutions located outside the United States that have demonstrated that their degrees are equivalent to degrees issued from an institution in the United States accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the Board. The procedures for establishing that equivalency shall be consistent with the guidelines of the National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Education Credentials, or its successor.

(4) Library and IT resources. Library and information technology resources must be adequate for the proposed program and meet the standards of the appropriate accrediting agencies.

(5) Facilities, equipment, and clinical placements. Facilities and clinical placements must be adequate to initiate the program. Adequate classroom and laboratory space, equipment, and office space should be available for the proposed program. Arrangements for any essential clinical placements should be made before program approval.

(6) Curriculum design. The curriculum should be up-to-date and consistent with current educational theory. Professional programs and those resulting in licensure must be designed to meet the standards of appropriate regulatory bodies. Student time-to-degree must be considered in the curricular structure and policy of the proposed program, including but not limited to policies for transfer of credit, course credit by examination, credit for professional experience, placing out of courses, and any alternative learning strategies, such as competency-based education, that may increase efficiency in student progress in the proposed program.

(7) Program administration. Administration of the proposed program should not be unduly cumbersome or costly. Ideally, the proposed program should fit into the current administrative structure of the institution. If administrative changes are required, they should be consonant with the organization of the institution as a whole and should necessitate a minimum of additional expense in terms of personnel and office space.

(8) Workforce need. There should be a demonstrated or well-documented need for the program in terms of meeting present and future workforce needs of the state and nation. There should be a ready job market for graduates of the program, or alternatively, it should produce students for master's or doctoral-level programs in fields in which there is a demonstrated need for professionals.

(9) Critical mass of students. In addition to a demonstrated workforce need, a critical mass of qualified students must be available to enter the proposed program and there must be evidence that the program is likely to have sufficient enrollments to support the program into the future. The size of an institution, the characteristics of its existing student body, and enrollments in existing programs should be taken into account when determining whether a critical mass of students shall be available for a proposed new program.

(10) Adequate financing. There should be adequate financing available to initiate the proposed program without reducing funds for existing programs or weakening them in any way. After the start-up period, the program must be able to generate sufficient semester credit hours under funding formulas and student tuition and fees to pay faculty salaries, departmental operating costs, and instructional administration costs for the program. Five years should be sufficient time for the program to meet these costs through semester credit hour production. If the state funding formulas and student tuition and fees are not meeting these costs for the program after five years, the institution and the Board should review the program with a view to discontinuance.

(11) Marketable Skills. There must be a list of the marketable skills associated with the proposed program in keeping with the state strategic plan, 60x30TX, and a plan for how students will be informed of the marketable skills.

(12) Strong Related Programs. There must be high-quality programs in other related and supporting disciplines at the bachelor's and master's levels, as evidenced by enrollments, numbers of graduates, and completion rates in those related and supporting programs, as appropriate.

§5.46.Criteria for New Doctoral Programs.

Requests for new doctoral programs must provide information and documentation demonstrating that the proposed programs meet all of the following criteria:

(1) Design of the Program. A doctoral-level program is designed to prepare a graduate student for a lifetime of teaching, creative activity, research, or other professional activity. The administration and the faculty of institutions initiating doctoral-level programs should exhibit an understanding of and commitment to the long tradition of excellence associated with the awarding of the traditional research doctorate degrees and of the various doctoral-level professional degrees.

(2) Freedom of Inquiry and Expression. Doctoral programs must be characterized by complete freedom of inquiry and expression.

(3) Programs at the Undergraduate and Master's Levels. Doctoral programs, in most instances, should be undergirded by quality programs in a wide number of disciplines at the undergraduate and master's levels. Quality programs in other related and supporting doctoral areas must also be available.

(4) Need for the Program. There should be a demonstrated and well-documented need for doctoral level [doctorally] prepared professionals in the discipline of the proposed program both in Texas and in the nation. It is the responsibility of the institution requesting a doctoral program to demonstrate that such a need exists, preferably through an analysis of national data showing the number of doctoral degrees [PhDs] being produced annually in the area and comparing that to the numbers of professional job openings for doctoral degrees [PhDs] in the discipline [in question] as indicated by sources such as the main professional journal(s) of the discipline. The institution must also provide data on [regarding] the enrollments, number of graduates, and capacity to accept additional students of other similar doctoral programs in Texas, demonstrating that current production levels of graduates are insufficient to meet projected workforce needs. The institution should also provide evidence of student demand for a doctoral program in the discipline, such as potential student survey results and [or] documentation that qualified students are not gaining admission to existing programs in Texas.

(5) Faculty Resources.

(A) There must be a strong core of doctoral faculty, [at least four,] holding the doctor of philosophy degree or its equivalent from a variety of graduate schools of recognized reputation. Professors and associate professors must be mature persons who have achieved national or regional professional recognition. All core faculty must be currently engaged in productive research, and preferably have published the results of such research in the main professional journals of their discipline. They should come from a variety of academic backgrounds and have complementary areas of specialization within their field. Some should have experience directing doctoral dissertations. Collectively, the core of doctoral faculty should guarantee a high quality doctoral program with the potential to attain national prominence. The core faculty members should already be in the employ of the institution. If an institution is required to hire additional faculty prior to opening the proposed program and enrolling students, the institution will provide documentation on a schedule determined by the Coordinating Board of the faculty hires through submission of a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, and a list of courses to be taught. Proposed recruitment of such faculty shall not meet this criterion. No authorized doctoral program shall be initiated until qualified faculty are active members of the department through which the program is offered.

(B) In evaluating faculty resources for proposed degree programs, the Board shall consider only those degrees held by the faculty that were issued by:

(i) United States institutions accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the Board; or

(ii) institutions located outside the United States that have demonstrated that their degrees are equivalent to degrees issued from an institution in the United States accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the Board. The procedures for establishing that equivalency shall be consistent with the guidelines of the National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Education Credentials, or its successor.

(6) Teaching Loads of Faculty. Teaching loads of faculty in the doctoral program should not exceed two or three courses per term, and it must be recognized that some of these shall be advanced courses and seminars with low enrollments. Adequate funds should be available for attendance and participation in professional meetings and for travel and research necessary for continuing professional development.

(7) Critical Mass of Superior Students. Admission standards, student recruitment plans, and enrollment expectations must guarantee a critical mass of superior students. The program must not result in such a high ratio of doctoral students to faculty as to make individual guidance prohibitive.

(8) On-Campus Residency Expectations.

(A) Institutions which offer doctoral degrees must provide through each doctoral program:

(i) significant, sustained, and regular interaction between faculty and students and among students themselves;

(ii) opportunities to access and engage in depth a wide variety of educational resources related to the degree program and associated fields;

(iii) opportunities for significant exchange of knowledge with the academic community;

(iv) opportunities to broaden educational and cultural perspectives; and

(v) opportunities to mentor and evaluate students in depth.

(B) Institutions are traditionally expected to meet these provisions through substantial on-campus residency requirements. Proposals to meet them in other, non-traditional ways (e.g., to enable distant delivery of a doctoral program) must provide persuasive and thorough documentation as to how each provision would be met and evaluated for the particular program and its students. Delivery of doctoral programs through distance education and/or off-campus instruction requires prior approval of the Board as specified in §4.261(3) of this title (relating to Standards and Criteria for Distance Education Programs).

(9) Adequate Financial Assistance for Doctoral Students. There should be adequate financial assistance for doctoral students so as to assure that most of them can be engaged in full-time study. Initially, funds for financial assistance to the doctoral students usually [must] come from institutional sources. As the program develops and achieves distinction, it increasingly shall attract support from government, industry, foundations, and other sources.

(10) Carefully Planned Program [of Study]. The proposed program [There] should be a carefully planned and systematic program with [of study and] a degree plan which is clear, comprehensive, and generally uniform but which permits sufficient flexibility to meet the legitimate professional interests and special needs of doctoral-level degree students [candidates]. There should be a logical sequence [of stages] by which degree requirements shall be fulfilled. Consideration must also be given to alternative methods of determining mastery of program content, such as competency-based education, prior learning assessment, and other options for reducing student time to degree. The proposed degree plan should require both specialization and breadth of education, with rules for the distribution of study to achieve both, including interdisciplinary programs if indicated. The plan should include a research dissertation or equivalent requirements to be judged by the doctoral faculty on the basis of quality rather than length.

(11) External Learning Experiences. There must be a plan for providing external learning experiences for students, such as internships, clerkships, or clinical experiences, in disciplines that require them. The plan should include provisions for increasing the number of opportunities for such experiences if the number of students in existing programs equals or exceeds the available number of opportunities in Texas.

(12) Support Staff. There should be an adequate number of support staff to provide sufficient services for both existing programs and any proposed increases in students and faculty that would result from the implementation of the proposed program.

(13) Physical Facilities. There should be an adequate physical plant for the program. An adequate plant would include reasonably located office space for the faculty, teaching assistants, and administrative and technical support staff; seminar rooms; laboratories, computer and electronic resources; and other appropriate facilities.

(14) Library and IT Resources. Library and information technology resources must be adequate for the proposed program and meet the standards of the appropriate accrediting agencies. [There should be an adequate library for the proposed program.] Library resources should be strong [not only] in the proposed doctoral program field and [but also] in related and supporting fields.

(15) Costs and Funding. The institution should have a budgetary plan for the proposed program that clearly delineates the anticipated costs and the sources of funding. Costs for new personnel and physical resources should be adequate and reasonable, existing programs should not be negatively affected by the reallocation of funds, state funding income should be calculated correctly, and total revenues should exceed total costs by the fifth year of projected program operation.

(16) Program Evaluation Standards. The proposed program [Proposed programs] should meet the standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the accrediting standards and doctoral program criteria of appropriate professional groups and organizations, such as the Council of Graduate Schools [in the United States], the Modern Language Association, the American Historical Association, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or other bodies relevant to the particular discipline. Out-of-state consultants shall be used by the institution and the Board to assist in evaluating the quality of a proposed doctoral level program. The institution submitting the proposal is responsible for reimbursing the Coordinating Board for the costs associated with the external review by out-of-state consultants.

(17) Strategic Plan. The proposed program [Proposed programs] should build on existing strengths at the institution as indicated by its Program Inventory, should fit into the institution's strategic plan, and should align with the state's [state] strategic plan.

(18) Marketable Skills. There must be a list of the marketable skills associated with the proposed program in keeping with the state strategic plan, 60x30TX, and a plan for how students will be informed of the marketable skills.

(19) [(18)] First Doctoral Program. When an institution has not previously offered doctoral level work, notification to the executive secretary of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, [Southern Association of Colleges and Schools,] is required at least one year in advance of program implementation.

§5.48.Criteria for Certificate Programs at Universities and Health-Related Institutions.

(a) Universities and health-related institutions are encouraged to develop upper-division and graduate certificate programs of less than degree length to meet the needs of students and the workforce. These rules are intended to provide a streamlined process for approval of those programs.

(b) Certificate programs for which no academic credit is granted are exempt from the provisions of this section.

(c) Certificate programs for which academic credit is granted at universities and health-related institutions must meet the following criteria:

(1) They must meet identified workforce needs or provide the student with skills and/or knowledge that shall be useful for their lives or careers.

(2) They must be consistent with the standards of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

(3) They must meet the standards of all relevant state agencies or licensing bodies which have oversight over the certificate program or graduate.

(4) Adequate financing must be available to cover all new costs to the institution five years after the implementation of the program.

(d) The following certificate programs do not require Board approval or notification:

(1) certificate programs for which no collegiate academic credit is given,

(2) certificate programs in areas and at levels authorized by the Program Inventory [table of programs] of the institution with curricula of the following length:

(A) at the undergraduate level of 20 semester credit hours or less,

(B) at the graduate and professional level of 15 semester credit hours or less.

(e) The following certificate programs require Board approval and shall be approved if the following conditions are met:

(1) the proposed certificate is an upper-level undergraduate certificate of 21 - 36 hours in a disciplinary area [areas] where the institution already offers an undergraduate degree program.

(2) the proposed certificate is a graduate-level and professional certificate of 16 - 29 semester credit hours in disciplinary areas where the institution already offers a graduate program at the same level as the certificate.

(f) Lower-division certificate programs.

(1) One and two-year, post-secondary career technical/workforce education programs should be delivered primarily by community, state, and technical colleges. These institutions are uniquely suited by virtue of their specialized mission, local governance, and student support services to provide such opportunities in an efficient and economical manner. For that reason, new lower-division career technical/workforce certificate programs shall not generally be approved at public universities and health-related institutions.

(2) Universities and health-related institutions should not develop certificate programs at the upper or graduate level that are equivalent to lower-division certificate programs offered at community, state, and technical colleges.

§5.50.Approvals by the Commissioner.

(a) The Commissioner may approve proposals from the public universities and health-related institutions for new baccalaureate or master's degree programs and, in very limited circumstances, new doctoral programs, on behalf of the Board in accordance with the procedures and criteria specified in this section.

(b) To be approved by the Commissioner, a proposal for a new degree program must include certification in writing from the Board of Regents of a proposing institution, in a form prescribed by the Commissioner, that the following criteria have been met:

(1) The curriculum, faculty, resources, support services, and other components of a proposed degree program are comparable to those of high quality programs in the same or similar disciplines offered by other institutions.

(2) Clinical or in-service placements, if applicable, have been identified in sufficient number and breadth to support the proposed program.

(3) The program is designed to be consistent with the standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges [of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools], and with the standards of other applicable accrediting agencies; and is in compliance with appropriate licensing authority requirements.

(4) The institution has provided credible evidence of long-term student interest and job-market needs for graduates; or, if proposed by a university, the program is appropriate for the development of a well-rounded array of basic baccalaureate degree programs at the institution where the principal faculty and other resources are already in place to support other approved programs and/or the general core curriculum requirements for all undergraduate students.

(5) The program would not be unnecessarily duplicative of existing programs at other institutions.

(6) Implementation and operation of the program would not be dependent on future Special Item funding.

(7) New costs to the institution over the first five years after implementation of the program would not exceed $2,000,000.

(c) In addition to the requirements listed in subsection (a) and (b) of this section, a new doctoral program may only be approved by the Commissioner if:

(1) the institution already offers a doctoral program or programs in a closely related disciplinary area,

(2) those existing doctoral programs are productive and offered at a high level of quality,

(3) the core faculty for the proposed program are already active and productive faculty in an existing doctoral program at the institution,

(4) the institution has notified Texas public institutions that offer the proposed program or a related program and resolved any objections; and

(5) there is a very strong link between the program and workforce needs or the economic development of the state.

(d) A proposal for a new degree program must include a statement from the institution's chief executive officer certifying adequate financing and explaining the sources of funding to support the first five years of operation of the program.

(e) If a proposal meets the criteria specified in this section, the Commissioner may either approve it or forward it to the Board for consideration at an appropriate quarterly meeting.

(f) If a proposal does not meet the criteria specified in this section, the Commissioner may deny approval or forward it to the Board for consideration at an appropriate quarterly meeting. Institutions may appeal the decision to deny approval to the Board.

(g) If a proposed program is the subject of an unresolved grievance or dispute between institutions, the Commissioner must forward it to the Board for consideration at an appropriate quarterly meeting.

(h) The Commissioner shall make available to the public universities, health-related institutions, community/technical colleges, and Independent Colleges of Texas, Inc. a list of all pending proposals for new degree programs. If an institution wishes to provide the Commissioner information supporting a concern it has about the approval of a pending proposal for a new degree program at another institution, it must do so within 14 days of the initial listing of the proposal, and it must also forward the information to the proposing institution.

(i) The authority given to the Commissioner to approve proposals from public universities and health-related institutions for new degree programs (and other related duties given under this section) may be delegated by the Commissioner to the Assistant Commissioner for Academic Quality and Workforce [Workforce, Academic Affairs and Research].

(j) Each quarter, the Commissioner shall send a list of his approvals and disapprovals under this section to Board members. A list of the approvals and disapprovals shall also be attached to the minutes of the next quarterly Board meeting.

§5.51.Publishing of Doctoral Program Data.

Each public university and health-related institution with one or more doctoral programs on its program inventory shall collect and publish information on its website regarding the "[18] Characteristics of Texas Public Doctoral Programs [Education]" as approved by the Board, on a schedule determined by the Commissioner. Each institution must develop and implement a plan for using the [18] Characteristics of Texas Public Doctoral Programs for ongoing evaluation and quality improvement of each doctoral program.

§5.52.Review of Existing Degree Programs.

(a) In accordance with the requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, each public institution of higher education shall have a process to review the quality and effectiveness of existing degree programs and for continuous improvement.

(b) The Coordinating Board staff shall develop a process for conducting a periodic audit of the quality, productivity, and effectiveness of existing bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs at public institutions of higher education and health-related institutions.

(c) Each public university and health-related institution shall review all doctoral programs at least once every ten [seven] years.

(1) On a schedule to be determined by the Commissioner, institutions shall submit a schedule of review for all doctoral programs to the Assistant Commissioner of Academic Quality and Workforce [Workforce, Academic Affairs and Research].

(2) Institutions shall begin each review of a doctoral program with a rigorous self-study.

(3) As part of the required review process, institutions shall use at least two external reviewers with subject-matter expertise who are employed by institutions of higher education outside of Texas.

(4) External reviewers must be provided with the materials and products of the self-study and must be brought to the campus for an on-site review.

(5) External reviewers must be part of a program that is nationally recognized for excellence in the discipline.

(6) External reviewers must affirm that they have no conflict of interest related to the program under review.

(7) Closely-related programs, defined as sharing the same 4-digit Classification of Instructional Programs code, may be reviewed in a consolidated manner at the discretion of the institution.

(8) Institutions shall review master's and doctoral programs in the same discipline simultaneously, using the same self-study materials and reviewers. Institutions may also, at their discretion, review bachelor's programs in the same discipline as master's and doctoral programs simultaneously.

(9) Criteria for the review of doctoral programs must include, but are not limited to:

(A) The [18] Characteristics of Texas Public Doctoral Programs;

(B) Student retention rates;

(C) Student enrollment;

(D) Graduate licensure rates (if applicable);

(E) Alignment of program with stated program and institutional goals and purposes;

(F) Program curriculum and duration in comparison to peer programs;

(G) Program facilities and equipment;

(H) Program finance and resources;

(I) Program administration; and

(J) Faculty Qualifications.

(10) Institutions shall submit a report on the outcomes of each review, including the evaluation of the external reviewers and actions the institution has taken or will take to improve the program, and shall deliver these reports to the Academic Quality and Workforce [Workforce, Academic Affairs and Research] Division no later than 180 days after the reviewers have submitted their findings to the institution.

(11) Institutions may submit reviews of graduate programs performed for reasons of programmatic licensure or accreditation in satisfaction of the review and reporting requirements in this subsection.

(d) Each public university and health-related institution shall review all stand-alone master's programs at least once every ten [seven] years.

(1) On a schedule to be determined by the Commissioner, institutions shall submit a schedule of review for all master's programs to the Assistant Commissioner of Academic Quality and Workforce [Workforce, Academic Affairs and Research].

(2) Institutions shall begin each review of a master's program with a rigorous self-study.

(3) As part of the required review process, institutions shall use at least one external reviewer with subject-matter expertise who is employed by an institution of higher education outside of Texas.

(4) External reviewers shall be provided with the materials and products of the self-study. External reviewers may be brought to the campus for an on-site review or may be asked to conduct a remote desk review.

(5) External reviewers must be part of a program that is nationally recognized for excellence in the discipline.

(6) External reviewers must affirm that they have no conflict of interest related to the program under review.

(7) Closely-related programs, defined as sharing the same 4-digit Classification of Instructional Programs code, may be reviewed in a consolidated manner at the discretion of the institution.

(8) Master's programs in the same 6-digit Classification of Instructional Programs code as doctoral programs shall be reviewed simultaneously with their related doctoral programs.

(9) Criteria for the review of master's programs must include, but are not limited to:

(A) Faculty qualifications;

(B) Faculty publications;

(C) Faculty external grants;

(D) Faculty teaching load;

(E) Faculty/student ratio;

(F) Student demographics;

(G) Student time-to-degree;

(H) Student publication and awards;

(I) Student retention rates;

(J) Student graduation rates;

(K) Student enrollment;

(L) Graduate licensure rates (if applicable);

(M) Graduate placement (i.e. employment or further education/training);

(N) Number of degrees conferred annually;

(O) Alignment of program with stated program and institutional goals and purposes;

(P) Program curriculum and duration in comparison to peer programs;

(Q) Program facilities and equipment;

(R) Program finance and resources; and

(S) Program administration.

(10) Institutions shall submit a report of the outcomes of each review, including the evaluation of the external reviewer(s) and actions the institution has taken or will take to improve the program, and shall deliver these reports to the Academic Quality and Workforce [Workforce, Academic Affairs and Research] Division no later than 180 days after the reviewer(s) have submitted their findings to the institution.

(11) Institutions may submit reviews of graduate programs performed for reasons of programmatic licensure or accreditation in satisfaction of the review and reporting requirements in this subsection.

(e) The Coordinating Board shall review all reports submitted for master's and doctoral programs and shall conduct analysis as necessary to ensure high quality. Institutions may be required to take additional actions to improve their programs as a result of Coordinating Board review.

§5.54.Noncompliance with Conditions of Approval for New Doctoral Degree Programs.

(a) A new doctoral degree program that fails to satisfy all contingencies and conditions of approval by the end of the first five years following program implementation shall be notified in writing of said failure by the Board staff. Within sixty (60) days of receipt of notification, the program shall:

(1) provide to the Board staff a written report containing the institution's findings as to why all conditions of approval were not met;

(2) submit a written plan describing how the program will fulfill all unsatisfied conditions of approval within one year; and

(3) at the end of the one-year period provide a report to the Board staff on whether or not all unsatisfied conditions of approval have been fulfilled.

(b) A new doctoral degree program that fails to satisfy all remaining conditions of approval during the one-year period referenced in subsection (a)(2) of this section shall be required to show cause why the program should not be closed.

(c) Program Closure. If it is determined that a new doctoral degree program is in jeopardy of noncompliance with the conditions of its approval, Coordinating Board staff may notify the institution in writing with a recommendation. If the institution where the program is located wishes to close the program, the institution shall:

(1) give appropriate notification to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges;

(2) cease to admit new students to the program and provide Board staff with the names, dates of admission, and projected graduation dates of all students currently enrolled in the program;

(3) teach-out students currently enrolled in the program over a period of time not to exceed one and one-half times the normal program length. The Commissioner may extend the duration of the teach-out period if the institution presents compelling evidence that an extension is appropriate and necessary;

(4) ensure that all courses necessary to complete the program are offered on a timely basis;

(5) close the program when the last student enrolled in the program has graduated or the teach-out period has lapsed; and

(6) notify the Coordinating Board when the program is finally closed.

(d) If the institution chooses not to follow the recommendation, Coordinating Board staff may send the recommendation to the governing board of the institution. If the governing board does not accept the recommendation to eliminate the program, then the university system or, where a system does not exist, the institution must identify the programs recommended for closure by the Coordinating Board on the next legislative appropriations request submitted by the system or institution.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 22, 2018.

TRD-201800202

Bill Franz

General Counsel

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 4, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 427-6104


19 TAC §5.56

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Coordinating Board) proposes the repeal of §5.56 concerning approval of baccalaureate degree programs for selected community colleges. The proposed repeal deletes an outdated section of criteria regarding the approval of baccalaureate programs at selected community colleges.

Dr. Rex C. Peebles, Assistant Commissioner for Academic Quality and Workforce, has determined that for each year of the first five years the section is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

Dr. Peebles has also determined that for each year of the first five years the section is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of administering the section will be improved alignment between the criteria of new program proposals and the review of such proposals and existing programs. There is no effect on small businesses. There are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the section as proposed. There is no impact on local employment.

Comments on the repeal may be submitted to Rex C. Peebles, Assistant Commissioner, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, Texas 78711 or via email at AQWComments@THECB.state.tx.us. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following publication of the proposal in the Texas Register.

Government Growth Impact Statement

(1) the rules will not create or eliminate a government program;

(2) implementation of the rules will not require the creation or elimination of employee positions;

(3) implementation of the rules will not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency;

(4) the rules will not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency;

(5) the rules will not create a new rule;

(6) the rules will not limit an existing rule; and

(7) the rules will not change the number of individuals subject to the rule.

The repeal is proposed under the Texas Education Code, §61.0512, which provides the Coordinating Board with the authority to approve new certificate and degree programs at public institutions of higher education.

The repeal affects Texas Education Code, §61.0512.

§5.56.Approval of Baccalaureate Degree Programs for Selected Community Colleges.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 22, 2018.

TRD-201800203

Bill Franz

General Counsel

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 4, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 427-6104


PART 2. TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY

CHAPTER 152. COMMISSIONER'S RULES CONCERNING EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS

19 TAC §152.1001

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) proposes new §152.1001, concerning examination requirements. The proposed new section would implement the requirements of the Texas Education Code (TEC), §21.052(a-1), for the commissioner to adopt rules establishing exceptions to the examination requirements prescribed by TEC, §21.052(a)(3), for an educator from outside the state to obtain a certificate in Texas.

SB 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, changed TEC, §21.052, to permit the commissioner of education to adopt rules establishing exceptions to the examination requirements prescribed by TEC, §21.052(a)(3), for an educator from outside the state to obtain a certificate in this state.

Proposed new 19 TAC §152.1001, Exceptions to Examination Requirements for Individuals Certified Outside the State, would outline the requirements that individuals certified outside the state must follow for consideration of an exception to the state-mandated examination requirements for certification. Commissioner authority to exempt individuals already certified in other states from Texas examination requirements supports the mobility of teachers transferring from state to state; reduces the burden of repetitive testing on educators that completed an educator preparation program, including student teaching or a teaching practicum; acknowledges demonstration of content knowledge and skills in their original state of licensure through successful completion of state-mandated examinations; and recognizes and respects the professionalism of the credential issued by the other state department of education or country of licensure.

Following is a description of the proposed new 19 TAC §152.1001, Exceptions to Examination Requirements for Individuals Certified Outside the State.

Subsection (a), General provisions.

Language is proposed to clarify the new authority provided by SB 1839 to permit the commissioner of education to establish exceptions to examination requirements for individuals certified outside the state.

Subsection (b), Definitions.

Language is proposed to provide definitions for the following five key terms: standard certificate, professional class, Texas review of credentials, examination, and teacher service record. These terms are related to the Texas review of credentials process required of individuals certified outside the state. Establishing these key terms into rule clarifies the purpose and role of the processes and procedures already established for educators certified outside the state as related to their qualifications to be considered for an exception to the examination requirements for issuance of a Texas certificate.

Subsection (c), Minimum requirements.

Language is proposed in subsection (c)(1)(A) - (F) that identifies the six proposed requirements candidates must meet to be considered for an exception to the required examinations for issuance of a Texas certificate. TEA has determined that the required degree, completion of a state-approved educator program or program for licensure in another country, successful completion of examinations required for issuance of the standard certificate in the other state or country, one year of required experience serving as a classroom teacher, and two years of required experience serving in a role other than classroom teacher when the applicant does not also hold a classroom teaching certificate would ensure that individuals certified outside the state have sufficient training and experience qualifying them to teach Texas students. TEA has also determined that establishing these minimum requirements aligns certification candidates outside the state with the general requirements and level of preparation expected of in-state candidates for certification.

Language is proposed in subsection (c)(2) that clarifies that all applicants from outside the state that meet all the requirements specified in subsection (c)(1) must take the next step in the certification process by submitting the Texas online application and fee for a review of credentials and sending the required documents identified in subsection (c)(2)(A) for candidates certified in another state and the documents identified in subsection (c)(2)(B) for candidates licensed to teach in another country. All applicants for certification will be using the online application already established for issuance of Texas certification. To qualify for an exception from examination requirements in Texas, applicants must have taken and passed required examinations in their issuing state or country. An official score report confirming passing results on those required examinations must be submitted to TEA as part of the review process.

Subsection (d), Approval process.

Language is proposed in subsection (d)(1) - (5) that explains the process TEA will utilize to review and approve exceptions to examination requirements. This proposed process for the application, review, and approval of exceptions to examination requirements mirrors the steps already in place for the review of credentials for educators certified in other states and/or licensed to teach in other countries. By utilizing the online application for certification already in place and by aligning established procedures with requirements established in rule for educators certified in other states (19 TAC Chapter 230, Professional Educator Preparation and Certification, Subchapter H, Texas Educator Certificates Based on Certification and College Credentials from Other States), and educators certified in other countries (19 TAC Chapter 245, Certification of Educators from Other Countries), TEA anticipates applicants seeking an exception to examination requirements will complete the review process and obtain certification in a timely manner.

The proposed new section would have no procedural and reporting implications. The proposed new section would have no locally maintained paperwork requirements.

FISCAL NOTE. Martin Winchester, deputy commissioner for educator support, has determined that for the first five-year period the new section is in effect, there will be fiscal implications for state government as a result of enforcing or administering the new section. The state will no longer receive the $11 fee from each certification test administered to an individual certified outside the state and working to meet requirements for Texas certificate issuance. During the 2016 - 2017 test administration year, a total of 10,515 tests were administered to educators outside the state, generating an estimated year revenue of $115,665 ($11 per test administered) for TEA. Using the 2016 - 2017 test administration numbers as a baseline, TEA estimates the agency would lose at minimum a total of $115,665 in testing fees for the next five fiscal years (FY 2018 - FY 2023) with the adoption of the proposed rule. The TEA has determined that there are no fiscal implications to local government, including local school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, required to comply with the proposed rule action.

There is no effect on local economy for the first five years that the proposed new section is in effect; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022. The proposed new section does not impose a cost on regulated persons and, therefore, are not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045. The rule is being proposed to reduce the burden or responsibilities imposed on regulated persons and to decrease the persons' cost by compliance with the rule. The rule is necessary to implement SB 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT. The TEA has determined that the proposed new section does have a government growth impact pursuant to Texas Government Code, §2001.0221. The proposed rule would result in a decrease of fees paid to the agency and would expand an existing regulation relating to the requirements for individuals outside the state to obtain Texas certification.

SB 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, changed TEC, §21.052(a), Certification of Educators from Outside the State, to permit the commissioner of education to adopt rules establishing exceptions to the examination requirements prescribed in TEC, §21.052(a)(3), for a certified educator from outside the state to receive a Texas certificate. The agency currently received $11 of the $131 total registration fee for each test administered. During the 2016 - 2017 test administration year, a total of 10,515 tests were administered to educators outside the state, generating an estimated year revenue of $115,665 ($11 per test administered) for TEA. TEA estimates the agency would lose at minimum a total of $115,665 in testing fees per year for the next five fiscal years with the adoption of the proposed rule. While the fiscal note completed for this legislation stated this would not be a significant loss in fees paid to the state, there will be a decrease in revenue received for tests administered to individuals outside the state.

PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Mr. Winchester has determined that for each year of the first five years the new section is in effect the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the proposed new section would be clarifying the certification process for educators certified outside the state and others regarding the required examinations for Texas certificate issuance. Implementation of the proposed rule would accelerate the certification process for applicants moving to Texas and provide support to districts recruiting certified educators from other states moving to Texas for employment purposes. There are fiscal implications to persons who are required to comply with the proposed new section, as each individual approved for exemptions from examination requirements will save $131 for each test he or she would no longer be required to take for issuance of a Texas standard certificate. During the 2016 - 2017 test administration year, TEA completed credential reviews for a total of 5,224 individuals certified outside the state. If every individual would need a minimum of two tests to meet requirements for Texas certificate issuance, each educator pursuing certification in Texas would save a total of $262 in testing fees. TEA estimates a minimum total cost savings of $1,368,688 in test registration fees for individuals certified outside the state for the next five fiscal years (FY 2018 - FY 2023) with the adoption of the proposed rule.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, MICROBUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES. There is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, and rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. The public comment period on the proposal begins February 2, 2018, and ends March 5, 2018. Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez, Rulemaking, Texas Education Agency, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701. Comments may also be submitted electronically to rules@tea.texas.gov. A request for a public hearing on the proposal submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register on February 2, 2018.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The new section is proposed under Texas Education Code, §21.052(a-1), as added by Senate Bill (SB) 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which permits the commissioner to adopt rules establishing exceptions to the examination requirements prescribed by TEC, §21.052(a)(3), for an educator from outside the state to obtain a certificate in this state.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The new section implements Texas Education Code, §21.052(a-1), as added by Senate Bill (SB) 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

§152.1001.Exceptions to Examination Requirements for Individuals Certified Outside the State.

(a) General provisions. Texas Education Code (TEC), §21.052(a-1), permits the commissioner of education to adopt rules establishing exceptions to the examination requirements prescribed by TEC, §21.052(a)(3), for an educator from outside the state to obtain a certificate in Texas.

(b) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) Standard certificate--A type of certificate issued to an individual who has met all requirements for a given class of certification, as specified in §230.33 of this title (relating to Classes of Certificates).

(2) Professional class--A term that refers to certificates for duties other than classroom teacher (e.g., superintendent, principal, school counselor, school librarian, educational diagnostician, reading specialist, and master teacher).

(3) Texas review of credentials--An internal process completed by Texas Education Agency (TEA) to determine the certificate areas an applicant is eligible to pursue in Texas based on certificates issued by another state department of education or another country. Applicants must submit an online application for a review of credentials, application fee, and required documents specified in the application and on the TEA website, based on certificates issued in another state or country.

(4) Examination--A standardized test or assessment required by statute or State Board for Educator Certification rule that governs an individual's admission to an educator preparation program, certification as an educator, continuation as an educator, or advancement as an educator.

(5) Teacher service record--The basic document (form FIN-115) or a similar form completed in support of the number of years of professional service claimed for salary increment purposes and both the state's sick and personal leave program data for all personnel. It is the responsibility of the issuing school district or charter school to ensure that service records are true and correct and that all service recorded on the service record was performed.

(c) Minimum requirements.

(1) Applicants must meet the following general requirements for certification to be considered for an exception to the required examinations for issuance of state licensure:

(A) obtain a bachelor's degree from an institution of higher education that, at the time it conferred the degree, was accredited or otherwise approved by an accrediting organization recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board;

(B) complete a state-approved educator preparation program, including student teaching or a teaching practicum, in the state where the standard certificate was issued;

(C) pass the examinations required by the state department of education or country of licensure for issuance of the standard certificate;

(D) hold a standard certificate issued by the state department of education or country of licensure that is equivalent to a Texas standard classroom or professional class certificate;

(E) for an applicant certified as a classroom teacher, have one academic year of verifiable, full-time experience serving in the role and documented on a service record; and

(F) for an applicant certified in a professional class area only, have two academic years of verifiable, full-time experience serving in the role and documented on a service record.

(2) Applicants from outside the state that meet requirements specified in subsection (c)(1) of this section must apply online for a review of credentials by the TEA and submit the following documents prior to being considered for an exception to the examination requirements for state licensure.

(A) For candidates certified in another state, each applicant must submit the following:

(i) official transcript(s) showing degree(s) conferred and date(s);

(ii) official score report(s) for required examinations passed for issuance of the state certificate; and

(iii) copy of standard certificate(s) issued by the state department(s) of education that clearly indicates the subject area(s) and grade levels of certification.

(B) For candidates licensed to teach in another country, each applicant must submit the following, and all documentation must be written in the English language or must be accompanied by a translation in the English language from a foreign credential evaluation service recognized by the TEA or an accredited translation service:

(i) original detailed report or course-by-course evaluation for professional licensing of all college-level credits prepared by a foreign credential evaluation service recognized by the TEA. The evaluation must verify that the individual:

(I) holds, at a minimum, the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree issued by an accredited institution in the United States as specified in §245.1(b) of this title (relating to General Provisions), including the date that the degree was conferred; and

(II) has completed an educator preparation program, including a teaching practicum;

(ii) demonstration of English language proficiency as specified in §230.11(b)(5) of this title (relating to General Requirements);

(iii) letter of professional standing from the country that issued licensure to teach that confirms the educator certificate(s) or other credential(s) are currently in good standing and have not been revoked, suspended, or sanctioned for misconduct and are not pending disciplinary or adverse action;

(iv) official transcripts of any additional college credits and/or degrees earned in the United States;

(v) copies of any standard certificates issued by the country of licensure or another state department of education; and

(vi) official score report(s) for required examinations passed for issuance of the standard certificate in the country of licensure or another state.

(d) Approval process.

(1) TEA will review and verify all required documentation submitted as part of the Texas review of credentials. An individual who does not submit all required documents for the review at the time of the application will have one year from the original date of application to submit all required documents, or the individual will be required to reapply online and resubmit the application fee for a Texas review of credentials.

(2) Applicants certified in a professional class other than classroom teacher (e.g., principal, superintendent, school counselor, school librarian, educational diagnostician, and master teacher) are required to provide a completed teacher service record that verifies and documents two years of experience in the role aligned with the professional class certificate area.

(3) Once all required documentation has been submitted, reviewed, and verified to meet the Texas certification criteria, the applicant will be issued an exemption from state examination requirements by TEA in accordance with minimum requirements established by the commissioner of education as specified in this section.

(4) Upon completion of the Texas review of credentials, TEA will notify applicants of the Texas certificate areas for which they qualify and examination requirements from which they have been exempted (if applicable) and will specify final actions the applicants must complete to obtain their licensures in this state.

(5) If the required documentation does not meet the Texas certification requirements, the applicant will be denied exemption from the state examination requirements and will be required to successfully complete the applicable examination(s) for issuance of the Texas standard certificate(s).

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 22, 2018.

TRD-201800210

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 4, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-1497