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Federal Requirement 4.4

Federal Requirement 4.4

Federal Requirement 4.4

Program length is appropriate for each of the institution's educational programs.


_X_ Compliance                     ___ Non-Compliance

Narrative
McNeese State University is in compliance with Federal Requirement 4.4.

The Louisiana Board of Regents and the University of Louisiana System specify required program length for all academic awards and provide appropriate exceptions to these limits for programs with professional accreditation requirements. Louisiana Board of Regents Academic Affairs Policy 2.15 specifies definitions of Undergraduate Degrees and Undergraduate/Graduate Certificates, and the University of Louisiana System defines the requirements for associate degrees; baccalaureate degrees; master's degrees; and, specialist degrees.

Requirements for Degrees
The University demonstrates that program length is appropriate for each of its degrees offered. All associate degree programs are required to have at least 60 semester hours, all bachelor degree programs are required to have at least 120 semester hours, and all master's degree programs are required to have at least 30 semester hours. The 2012-13 Academic Catalog identifies all curriculum, and credit hour specifications are found on pages associated with specific curricula (this is updated for the forthcoming 2013-14 and contained on one page listing all degrees). In accordance with the Grad Act of 2010, which requires all associate degree programs at 4-year institutions be eliminated by 2014 (with approved exceptions), McNeese is in the process of reducing its number of associate degrees, which currently stand at 5 (2 AS, 1 AA, 1 AGS, and 1 AA).

Each degree program adheres to the standard number of semester hours required by the Louisiana Board of Regents (BOR), except for a small number of programs which have been approved by the University of Louisiana System to exceed the standard number. BOR policy (BOR Academic Affairs Policy 2.15) stipulates the standard undergraduate curricular requirements as follows and delegates approval for exceptions to the credit hour limit to the UL System All exceptions are approved by UL System staff and do not appear in official board minutes (see sample email).

  • Associate degrees. The standard number of credits required for the Associate Degree will be 60. Two of the five associate degrees currently offered at McNeese (AA in Paralegal Studies, AGS in General Studies) meet the BOR standard number of hours for the degree. Three associate degree programs exceed the standard number as follows: AS in Computer Information Technology (64 credit hours), AS in Engineering Technology (64 - 67 credit hours), and ASN in Nursing (72 credit hours). These exceptions have been approved by the University of Louisiana System.
  • Baccalaureate degrees. The standard number of credits required for baccalaureate degrees is 120. All but three baccalaureate degree programs meet the BOR standard number of hours for the degree of 120. The three exceptions, all of which exceed the standard number of hours, are as follows: BS in Engineering (128 credit hours), BS in Engineering Technology (124 credit hours), and BM in Music with a concentration in music education (132 credit hours). These exceptions have been approved by the University of Louisiana System.
  • Graduate degrees. The minimum requirement for a Master's degree is 30 hours. Graduate programs at McNeese range from 30 - 66 hours (60 for MFA, 66 for Eds., which assumes 30 hours for the MA).

Certificate Programs
McNeese offers a number of certificate programs that range from a minimum of 12 hours to 33 (for add-on teacher certification programs). Certificates programs defined by the Board of Regents (Academic Affairs Policy 2.15), and McNeese offers Post-baccalaureate, Graduate, and Post-Master's Certificates according to these guidelines and internal policies applied by University Curriculum Committee (for PBCs) and the Graduate Council (for GC and PMCs: Policy and Application).
 
Program Review
Program review is conducted at various levels, both internal and external to the University. Externally, professional accrediting agencies, learned societies, and other agencies approve or certify many of McNeese's programs (see Institutional Summary). Professional accrediting agencies have established rigorous criteria which place University programs on a national level competitively with other programs.
 
At McNeese State University, the University Curriculum Committee is charged with reviewing undergraduate programs and the Graduate Council is charged with reviewing graduate programs. The program coordinators and department heads who are responsible for the programs initiate new programs and/or program changes. The review continues to the academic college, and, if approved by the dean of the college, new programs and/or program changes are sent to either the University Curriculum Committee or to the Graduate Council.
 
New programs and/or changes approved by the Curriculum Committee or the Graduate Council are forwarded to the Academic Advisory Council for discussion and review. Once approved by the Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs and the President, the programs are forwarded to the University of Louisiana System and then to the Board of Regents for review and final approval (Evaluation and Review of Curricular Offerings Policy).


Supporting Documentation
BOR Statewide General Education Requirements AA 2.16 (Part 1)
BOR Statewide General Education Requirements AA 2.16 (Part 2)