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Guidelines for Developing Collaborative Doctoral Programs

The Coordinating Board shall determine whether a doctoral-degree-granting institution is prepared to implement a program in collaboration with another institution or add an additional program. The following is a list of the different types of collaborative arrangements, the roles and responsibilities associated with each type, and the approval process for each. These Guidelines are not intended to suggest a required sequence of events or stages in the development of a collaborative doctoral program. Institutions with adequate resources and having identified an unmet need may request any type of collaborative program at any time.

There are two types of collaborative degree programs: (1) cooperative and (2) joint. In a cooperative doctoral program, only one institution has degree-granting authority. There are several types of joint doctoral programs: (a) a partnership between institutions, one of which has independent degree-granting authority, while the other is limited to joint degree-granting authority, (b) a partnership between/among institutions, all of which have independent degree-granting authority, and (c) partnership between/among institutions with joint degree-granting authority. 

1. Cooperative Doctoral Program

PRIMARY PURPOSE: To meet an identified unmet need in a particular region and to increase the capacity of the degree-granting institution (DGI) through an arrangement with the cooperating institution (CI). Also serves to expand the faculty resources of the program to include a group of faculty with demonstrated scholarly achievement at the CI.

Sole responsibility of the program rests with the degree-granting institution. The DGI has full responsibility for maintaining the quality of the program, including but not limited to, the admission and advisement of students, selecting CI courses to be used in the program, assuring adequate library resources and equipment, selecting CI faculty to deliver instruction, monitoring internships, supervising graduate assistants, and supervising student research, including the dissertation.

Other Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Doctoral-level courses may be offered by the DGI on the CI’s campus.
  2. The CI may offer courses previously approved for existing programs: e.g., master's level courses in education, business, social sciences, or other disciplines.
  3. A CI faculty member may teach DGI doctoral-level courses if the DGI, through its regular process, approves the faculty member to be a graduate faculty member of the DGI.
  4. The chair and a majority of the members of each dissertation committee must be DGI faculty. CI faculty may serve as co-chair with a DGI faculty member.
  5. Students may satisfy residency requirements on either campus.
  6. Degrees must be awarded by and in the name of the DGI, with notation of cooperative administration.

Approval Process

  1. No change in the Table of Programs (TOP) of the CI is required.
  2. Requires notification of the cooperative arrangement to the Coordinating Board and certification of adherence to standards. The DGI must certify that it has adequate resources to initiate the cooperative program. The DGI must also certify its ability to extend its resources to meet the need and the ability of the cooperating institution to support the program.
  3. No Coordinating Board approval is necessary if 50 percent or less of the instruction in the doctoral program will be offered off-campus face-to-face or via distance technology.
  4. If more than 50 percent of the instruction in the doctoral program will be offered off campus face-to-face or via distance technology, the DGI must submit a Distance Doctoral Degree Program Request.
  5. Initial approval of off-campus and distance doctoral programs is granted by the Coordinating Board at one of its quarterly meetings. The addition of new sites to an existing off-campus or distance doctoral program may be granted at the staff level and do not require Coordinating Board approval unless the cost would exceed $2 million.

2. Joint Doctoral Programs

A. Joint Doctoral Program Between Degree-Granting Institution and New Institution

PRIMARY PURPOSE: To meet an identified unmet need in a particular region and to prepare a CI with faculty who have demonstrated scholarly achievement for independent program status at some point in the future.

Primary responsibility of the program rests with the institution that has an established program (primary institution). The CI, as appropriate, may participate in processes such as the admission and advisement of students, selecting CI courses to be used in the program, assuring adequate library resources and equipment, selecting CI faculty to deliver instruction, monitoring internships, supervising graduate assistants, and co-supervising student research.

Other Roles and Responsibilities

  1. A CI faculty member may teach doctoral-level courses in the major or in a relevant elective discipline if the primary institution, through its regular process, approves the faculty member to be a graduate faculty member of the primary institution.
  2. The chair and a majority of the members of each dissertation committee must be primary-institution faculty. CI faculty may serve as co-chair with a primary-institution faculty member.
  3. Degree must be designated as "Joint Degree" by the primary institution and CI. (Both institutions’ names and seals must appear on the diploma.)

Approval Process

  1. Requires change in the TOP of the CI. The CI must submit a preliminary authority request to update the TOP for a joint doctoral program. Approval is based on evidence of growing need in the CI service region, promise of continued quality, and development of expanded faculty and resource commitments.
  2. Preliminary authority approval is granted by the Commissioner.
  3. If change in TOP is granted, a footnote will indicate authority for a joint doctoral program only with the primary institution.
  4. Following preliminary authority approval, a program proposal must be submitted by the collaborating institutions. The primary institution must demonstrate adequate resources to initiate and sustain the program. The CI must demonstrate the availability of at least a core set of resources needed to support the doctoral program including, but not limited to, library resources, sufficient faculty, and adequate laboratories if applicable. A site visit with external consultants to evaluate the proposed program shall be conducted by Coordinating Board staff.
  5. Joint degree program approval is granted by the Board at one of its quarterly meetings.
  6. If the CI wishes to gain independent degree-granting authority at some time in the future, the institution must submit a full degree program proposal simultaneously with a request to remove the footnote to allow final expansion of the TOP. The degree program proposal shall be reviewed by staff in the standard manner and a site visit with external consultants shall be conducted.

B. Joint Doctoral Program Between/Among Institutions with Joint Degree-Granting Authority

PRIMARY PURPOSE: To meet an identified unmet need in a particular region and/or to pool resources from all participating institutions to offer a high-quality doctoral program.

All participating institutions have equal responsibility for the program. The specific contribution of the institutions will depend on the resources that each institution has available.

Other Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Faculty from participating institutions share the teaching of doctoral-level courses in the major or in a relevant elective discipline.
  2. The chair and members of each dissertation committee are formed based on student research interests and faculty expertise.
  3. Degree must be designated as "Joint Degree" by all participating institutions. (All institutions’ names and seals must appear on the diploma.)

Approval Process

  1. The collaborating institutions must submit a preliminary authority request to update the TOP for a joint doctoral program. Approval is based on evidence of growing need in the collaborating institutions’ service region, promise of continued quality, and development of expanded faculty and resource commitments.
  2. Preliminary authority approval is granted by the Commissioner.
  3. If change in TOP is granted, a footnote will indicate authority for a joint doctoral program with the collaborating institutions.
  4. Following preliminary authority approval, a program proposal must be submitted by the collaborating institutions. The collaborating institutions must collectively demonstrate adequate resources to initiate and sustain a joint doctoral program. A site visit to one or more campuses to evaluate the proposed program shall be conducted by CB staff and external consultants.
  5. Joint degree program approval is granted by the Board at one of its quarterly meetings.
  6. If one of the institutions wishes to gain independent degree-granting authority at some time in the future, the institution must submit a full degree program proposal simultaneously with a request to remove the footnote to allow final expansion of the TOP. The degree program proposal shall be reviewed by staff in the standard manner and a site visit with external consultants shall be conducted.

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