UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: Academic Department/School: Establishment, Name Change, or Relocation

I. Executive Summary

This procedure provides the criteria and procedures necessary for establishing, renaming, or relocating an academic department or school at UNC Charlotte.  The establishment, renaming, or relocating of academic departments or schools is approved at the campus level.

II. Procedure Statement

Establishment of an Academic Department or School

An academic department is the basic organizational unit of the university that is designed to carry out the institutional mission of instruction, research, and community engagement within a single discipline or a focused group of disciplines. New departments may be established out of existing departments, from a combination of departments, from the reconfiguration of existing programs into single units, or to meet a need of the university for developing a program not presently being offered.

Proposals for the establishment of a new academic department must present evidence of student demand for enrollment and the need for an identifiable disciplinary home to support research or instruction.  In general, proposed academic departments should have at least 10 full time faculty members and should expect to offer one or more degree programs.  In the formation of a new academic department, consideration will be given to the availability of resources needed and the impact of the new academic department on existing academic departments. 

An academic school is an academic unit within an existing college that may be composed of one or more departments organized around a specific disciplinary focus.  A school is expected to support programs at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and to have a separate discipline-specific accreditation. In evaluating proposals for the formation of a school, consideration will be given to the size and scope of the research program, the complexity of the programs offered within the proposed school, the demand for enrollment, the need and availability of resources to support the school, and the impact of the school on other academic units. 

The Chancellor has the final authority to establish an academic department. The Board of Trustees has the final authority to establish an academic school.  

Name Change or Relocation of an Academic Department or School

Proposals to change the name of an academic department or school or to relocate an academic department or school are considered at the campus level through the Provost and Chancellor in consultation with the Faculty Council.  Proposals are expected to articulate a disciplinary and/or administrative need for the change. The Chancellor has the final authority to change the name of or reolcate an academic department. The Board of Trustees has the final authority to change the name of or relocate an academic school.  All name changes of an academic department or school are subject to the requirements outlined in University Policy 602.9, Naming Opportunities

Procedures

All requests to establish, rename, or relocate an academic department or school should follow the procedures below:

  1. The academic program/department/school sends a proposal endorsed by the Dean to the Provost.
  2. The Provost may seek outside review of the proposed academic department or school.
  3. The Provost consults with the Chancellor.
  4. The Provost writes the Faculty President requesting a consultation with the Faculty Executive Committee and Faculty Council as required in the Constitution of the Faculty.
  5. Faculty Executive Committee and Faculty Council vote on proposed establishment/name change/relocation of the academic department or school, including its inclusion in the academic department/school list in the Constitution of the Faculty.
  6. The Provost writes the Chancellor indicating that the consultation is complete.
    1. If the initial naming or name change request involves the naming of an academic department or school for any elected public official or any official of the State, the UNC System, or of the University while he/she is currently serving in his/her official capacity, the Chancellor places the request on the Board of Trustees agenda for consideration and approval.
    2. In all other cases, the Provost either recommends the establishment/name change/relocation to the Chancellor or denies the request.
    3. If the initial naming or name change is for an academic department, the Provost shall make that recommendation to the Chancellor for approval.
    4. If the initial naming or name change is for an academic school, the Chancellor shall make recommendation to the Board of Trustees for approval.
  7. Once the establishment/name change/relocation of the academic department or school is approved by the Chancellor (or the Board of Trustees, if required), then:
    1. Academic department/school initiates updates to campus systems, including:
      1. Verifying changes to the upcoming Catalog edition
      2. Applying updates to relevant websites
      3. Updating Banner:
        1. Sending an email to the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support to initiate Banner request (STVDEPT)
        2. Sending an email to th eBudget Office to initiate HR/FINANCE module changes
        3. Contacting the Office of the Registrar to verify appropriate changes have been made   
    2. The Director of Communications for Academic Affairs will coordinate with the respective college communicator to prepare an announcement to be made to campus, which will include the effective date of the name change.

III. Definitions

  • Academic Department/School – A unit within a college representing a discipline.  For example, the Department of English is in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the School of Nursing is in the College of Health and Human Services.
  • Chancellor – The chief executive officer of UNC Charlotte.  At some universities, this position is referred to as president. 
  • Provost – Reporting to the Chancellor, the Provost is the chief academic officer who oversees all academic affairs activities, including research and faculty.  The Deans of each College report to the Provost.

IV. Procedure Contact(s)

V. History

  • Revised:  July 12, 2016 [Updates made in accordance with University Policy 602.9, Naming Opportunities]
  • Revised:  September 8, 2021 [Clarified process for communicating changes and inclusion of Director of Communications role]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures, and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is this procedure referenced?
    The procedure is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website.
     
  • Do degree name changes automatically follow an academic department/school name change? 
    No.  Degrees are approved by the Board of Governors, and as such any degree name changes must be approved by the UNC System Office.  Requests to change the name or title of an existing degree program, accompanied by an explanation of the reason for the proposed change, is submitted to the UNC System Office (see UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: Degree Name Change).
     
  • Who may initiate the formation of a new academic department or school? 
    The initiative for creation of a new academic department or school may be taken by the academic department/school or program chair(s)/director(s) involved, by the cognizant dean(s), the Provost, or the Chancellor.