2.15 – Modifying Academic Units

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Chapter 2 | Institutional Organization and Affiliated Entities

Rule Administrator:

Last Updated: Not Available



ARP 4.68 - Course Curriculum Changes

Appendix – ARP 2.15-A – Academic Units (Procedures for Changes)

Revision History:

2017 Recompilation, formerly Rule 6.05

A. Definition of Academic Unit

For the purpose of this rule, an academic unit is defined as a college, a department, an undergraduate major, a graduate degree program, or a library, whether these units are located on the main or a community college.


B. Reviews/Recommendations and Approvals Required

Any proposal to create, reorganize, relocate or eliminate an academic unit must be submitted for review and recommendation by the Faculty Senate, the Academic Deans Council, and the Chancellor to the Board of Regents for their consideration and action.


C. Initiation of Proposal to Create, Reorganize, Relocate or Eliminate an Academic Unit

Proposals to create, reorganize, relocate, or eliminate an academic unit formally originate with a bill submitted to the Faculty Senate.  The proposed legislation shall follow the procedure specified in Faculty Senate Constitution ARTICLE IX Propositions for Consideration of the Constitution of the Faculty Senate, except that no such proposal will be considered as emergency legislation.


D. Effective Date of Change

If approved, the creation of a department will be effective either January 1 or July 1 following the approval.


E. Procedure for Implementation

After approvals from the appropriate authorizing bodies are obtained (e., Faculty Senate, Academic Deans Council, etc.), the requesting department head/director must submit an Organization Change Request Form to the Office of Human Resource Services for processing.  The form must be submitted with all relevant documentation attached no later than November 30 (for January 1 effective date) and May 31 (for July 1 effective date).


F. Creation of New Colleges

The creation of a new college is a decision based on the weighing of a number of criteria, including those below.  An attitude of flexibility, reality, and organizational feasibility should be maintained in applying these criteria.  The structure of the entire university, if a new college is formed, is an important consideration.

  1. There should be a documented professional need for the college in the state and region.
    1. Rationale: This can be expressed through increasing student enrollment in programs that would be part of the new college, or an obvious need for professional graduates of the college as expressed by state and local groups who desire to hire these professions.
  2. The proposed college should be of a recognized profession or group of disciplines.
    1. Rationale: The new college should give a desirable added professional recognition and development in the area of the new college.
  3. At the outset, the new college shall have a minimum student enrollment of 250 with demonstrated ability to reach an enrollment of 500 within a 3- to 5-year period and a sufficient number of faculty to make it a viable administrative unit within the university.
    1. Rationale: After several development years, the quantity of faculty and students should be sufficient to lend themselves to a quality of organization, instruction, and service that will provide a viable thrust to the university.The quality and quantity of the faculty in the proposed college should be capable of maintaining with distinction an academic undergraduate and graduate program.
  4. The university must be willing to make the commitment to furnish financial support for an additional college.
    1. Rationale: This should include an adequate budget to provide for an expanding staff at the college level and funds for additional housing at a professional level.


G. Changing a Department or Group of Departments into a School

The proposed school should incorporate more than one area of specialization or should offer more than one degree (may include interdisciplinary cooperative efforts or more than one department).  The proposed school should be an administrative and support unit with undergraduates and graduate students and an established, nationally recognized teaching and research program.  The administrative head of a school may be called a chair, a head, or a director, but this person’s administrative level will be equal to that of a department head.  The legislation must contain a clearly stated and convincing justification for the name change, and must have support of the department and college faculty and administration.


H. New Academic Unit

There should be a documented academic/educational need for the academic unit, including but not limited to, an increasing student enrollment or significant employment opportunities for graduates in that field.  The new program(s) should be consistent with the mission of the university and the college in which it will be located.  There are sufficient faculty and resources to staff the program.


I. Relocation or Reorganizing an Academic Unit

Proposals to relocate a department must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The relocation will produce a more homogenous set of programs and departments in both colleges.
  2. The relocation will enhance the professional identity of the program or department involved
  3. The relocation will not cause undue hardship for other academic units.
  4. The faculty and administrators directly affected are in agreement.
  5. Such a change will better serve the university community, clients, and/or the mission of the university.
  6. Address the transfer of resources, courses taught, and the faculty rank and tenure (or years to tenure) of those individuals being transferred.
  7. If a unit is being relocated to another college, there should be significant support from the unit being transferred and the unit receiving the transferred personnel/resources.


J. Elimination of an Academic Unit

Proposals to eliminate an academic unit must meet the following criteria:

  1. A significant decline in enrollment, either as measured by number of majors or student credit hours.
  2. The resources are needed by programs or departments with much higher enrollment or student credit hour production.
  3. In evaluating a proposal to eliminate an academic unit, the unit’s contribution in the areas of teaching, research, and service shall be considered.


K. Undergraduate Program Changes

(See ARP 4.68 – Course Curriculum Changes) All undergraduate program changes, including those of associate degrees, will be reported by the appropriate college representative at the fall curriculum meeting of the Associate Deans Academic Council.  If applicable, adequate library resources and support services should be confirmed.