Program Proposal: Vested Interest, Supporting Information, and Approval
An important aspect of the program proposal process is to gather comments and documentation of concurrence (i.e., agreement or consent) from the faculty and staff in other programs who might have an interest in the program being proposed. This outside interest might be due to the potential for overlap (e.g., courses, students, etc.) or a likely call on mutual resources. Data, Academic Planning and Institutional Research (DAPIR) uses the terms “vested interest” and “interested parties” for individuals/programs in this relationship with the proposed program.
The Lumen Programs proposal form features one section in which interested parties can be identified, and two other sections in which comment, support, or concurrence for the proposal can be noted by interested parties. Following are important notes on these sections of the form:
There is a table on the proposal form into which proposers list the departments, schools, and/or colleges that have a vested interest in the proposal. The available drop-down list includes all departments and schools/colleges. (Note: While the table header reads Departments, the drop-down list does include all departments, schools, and colleges.) This section of the form looks like this:
Following are some important considerations for completing the vested interest table:
- Proposers should carefully consider which departments/schools/colleges to include. The expectation is that each entity listed will provide its comment, support, or concurrence. The proposer should be sure to include departments/schools/colleges that are viewed to have substantial overlap with the proposed program, which might include:
- A related field of study or similar curricular content,
- A similar name,
- Likely appeal to students in the existing program, and/or
- Course offerings that will be used in the proposed program
- It is important to list each department/school/college that will have a high level of interest in the proposal (i.e., 1:1–4 above). An omission of a key campus unit will likely result in a delay at a later step as that unit’s comment is secured.
- It is important to list the department for any of the above situations (1:1–4). If there are a number of departments that likely have a lower-level of interest (i.e., needing more of an FYI than a true need-to-know), the proposer should just list the relevant school/college (rather than a large number of departments within the school/college). The school/college-level approver can then assess the extent of interest among the relevant departments and comment from the school/college level.
- If a department is listed as having a vested interest, its corresponding school/college should also be listed. If the proposer is unsure of a department’s academic home, refer to the Academic Structure data visualization, and specifically the Departments tab.
- Each department/school/college listed in the vested interest section will receive an automated email notification when the proposal is submitted into Lumen workflow. This automatically generated email prompts the reviewer (i.e., interested party) to use the Add Comment function in the Lumen form to indicate their acknowledgement and support/concurrence with the proposal.
- While the proposal form and its workflow provide notice of program development via the notification emails to interested parties, this automated communication is in no way a substitute for a more substantive discussion about the proposal. Proposers are strongly encouraged to reach out to those with a vested interest to discuss the proposal in advance of the automated notification email being generated. Typically, this more personal communication streamlines the support/concurrence process by providing a venue for discussion and revealing any concerns sooner rather than later.
- Proposers are advised to reach out directly to the relevant department chair(s) and/or school/college reviewer prior to the proposal entering workflow.
- The comments added are captured and visible in the Reviewer Comments section at the bottom of the form. They are viewable by all who review the proposal and are considered by both Data, Academic Planning and Institutional Research (DAPIR) and University Academic Planning Council (UAPC) as the proposal progresses.
- The use of the Add Comment function is designed to eliminate the need for formal letters or memos of support. Because the comments are visible in the form, subsequent reviewers (e.g., school/college approvers, the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee [GFEC], UAPC) can see the evidence of support within the form and do not have to open additional documents.
The Supporting Information section provides an alternative or additional space for the proposer to include notice of other department/school/college support for the proposal. This section of the form looks like this:
Following are some important considerations regarding the Supporting Information section:
- The proposer should list each department/school/college included in the above vested interest table in the table in the Supporting Information section.
- If the proposer has already reached out and received confirmation of support/concurrence (e.g., by discussion, email, or letter/memo), this can be noted in the Supporting Information table. Proposers should provide as much detail as possible, including the name(s) of individuals, and the substance of the conversation. If the support was received via email, it is fine to cut/paste that communication into the table.
- If the proposer expects that the department/school/college will indicate its support/concurrence of the proposal using the Add Comment functionality in the Lumen form, the proposer should indicate as such in the Comment by Contact Person column in the table. An entry such as the following will suffice:
- [Name of proposer] reached out to [Name of department contact] in the Department of ___ to discuss the proposal. It is expected that the [Name of department contact] will indicate support/concurrence with the proposal using the Add Comment functionality as the proposal moves through Lumen workflow.
- Once a proposal moves beyond the department and/or school/college stage of the workflow, it is not possible for the Supporting Information table to be edited (without the proposal being rolled back). That is why individuals at the department/school/college stages are encouraged to make notations as indicated in #3 above and advance the proposal into workflow, as opposed to holding the proposal as those comments are solicited.
- Part of the anticipated benefit of the Lumen workflow is to eliminate the need for formal letters or memos of support. Such documents can still be uploaded into the form, but it is strongly encouraged that departments/schools/colleges use the above-referenced Add Comment functionality in the form to indicate support within the automated workflow process. In that way, subsequent reviewers (e.g., school/college approvers, GFEC, UAPC) can see the evidence of support within the form and do not have to open additional documents.
- A proposal can continue through workflow even if a department/school/college that is identified as having a vested interest does not comment. The goal is that all interested parties do comment with their support/concurrence and the proposer is encouraged to solicit that comment outside of the Lumen workflow process if needed. But ultimately the Lumen workflow provides interested parties with the opportunity to consider a proposal’s impact on their program(s) and the lack of comment is generally viewed as tacit support and will not obstruct a proposal moving forward.
The Approvals section is a required and important component of the proposal process. There are fields for department, school/college, GFEC (if needed), and UAPC to enter governance approval details. Ultimately entering an approval indicates that the governance process necessary for that step has been completed. Review the Program Proposal: Approvals KB document for additional details on the Approvals section.