Review of Certificate Programs for Academic Credit Proposed by Universities | KCTCS

Administrative Policies

Kentucky Community and Technical College System Review of Certificate Programs for Academic Credit Proposed by Universities

Policy Number: 4.11.2

Current Effective Date: 06/05/2014

Original Effective Date: 02/08/2000

Revision Dates: 12/12/2013, 06/05/2014

Revision Number: 2

Revision Summary:

Responsible Official: Chancellor


The ability of institutions to meet the educational needs of the workplace necessitates the development of instructional modules that respond to those needs. Increasingly, completion of viable instructional curricula less than two years in length is demanded. House Bill 1 not only recognizes the importance of these curricula, it emphasizes the need to coordinate offerings among the institutions of the postsecondary education community by assigning review responsibility to KCTCS. This review will assure the coordination of programs and services needed by local communities. Accordingly, this document presents criteria for the review of university programs below the associate degree level. These criteria are compatible with those to be used for the approval of instructional programs at the same level within KCTCS. Features and Characteristics of Certificate Programs

  • Organized program of study consisting of courses designed to meet a defined set of competencies.

  • Qualifies students to take external licensure, vendor-based, or skill standards examinations in the field. If standardized external exams are not available in the field of study, the program prepares students at skill levels expected of employees in an occupation found in the local economy.

  • Be relevant to the requirements of a diploma or associate in applied science degree in the same or a related field of study.

  • May contain general education courses emphasizing the skills identified in the SCANS report that are critical to entry-level workforce success for persons prepared at the certificate level, and associated with the associate degree program.

    The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) identified three foundation skills and five competencies necessary for success in the workplace:
    • Foundation Skills
      • Basic Skills – reading, writing, computing, listening, and speaking;
      • Thinking Skills – creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, knowing how to learn, seeing things in the mind’s eye, and reasoning;
      • Personal Qualities – individual responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity/honesty.
    • Competencies
      • Resources – allocating time, money, materials, space and staff;
      • Interpersonal Skills – working on teams, teaching others, serving customers, leading, negotiating, and working well with people from culturally diverse backgrounds;
      • Information – acquiring and evaluating data, organizing and maintaining files, interpreting and communicating, and using computers to process information;
      • Systems – understanding social, organizational, and technological systems, monitoring and correcting performance, and designing or improving systems;
      • Technology – selecting equipment and tools, applying technology to specific tasks, and maintaining and troubleshooting technologies. Certificate Identification

The primary purpose and features of certificate programs of study are to provide marketable skills. Given the numerous ways that the term “certificate” is used among postsecondary education institutions and by other agencies, this program of study should have a unique, readily identifiable label. Program Length

Certificate programs containing the features and characteristics outlined above should generally range from 12 credit hours to 30 credit hours in length. Proposals for programs with fewer than 12 credit hours or more than 30 credit hours should include a compelling rationale for either a shorter or longer program. Program Records and Data Reporting

CPE and all Kentucky institutions use the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) taxonomy titles and numbering to organize and describe educational programs. This coding system is used to report program data to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. CIP codes will be assigned to each certificate program in consultation with CPE to assure consistent program identification across the state. To foster long-term cooperation across the state, all university certificate programs reviewed by KCTCS will be maintained in a certificate program data base. Approval and Evaluation Processes

Faculty at the proposing university develop Certificates using the same processes as for any other new program. Approval proceeds according to the university’s program approval process with approval by the Board of Regents or Trustees following the KCTCS review process. A more detailed submission and review process is outlined below. Once approved, Certificate programs are subject to the same evaluation and review processes as any other academic program.

Submission Process:
  • The Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of the proposing institution will submit a proposal for a new certificate program to KCTCS at least 60 days prior to course registration. A copy will also be sent to the CPE staff for their information.
  • There will be a 30-day review period following receipt of the proposal for KCTCS to respond with support or opposition.
  • If KCTCS opposes the program, the CPE staff will review the matter and decide how best to resolve it. A final resolution will normally occur within 45 days of the original submission of the proposal.
  • If KCTCS does not oppose the proposal within the 30-day period, KCTCS will notify the proposing institution and CPE staff that the proposing institution may complete its internal development and approval process.
Submission Categories

Certificates may be derived from existing associate degree programs, developed in conjunction with a new associate degree program, or developed independent of any other program.

  • Submission Category A
    • Certificates not associated with an associate degree program
    • Certificates associated with an associate degree program which was implemented more than two years ago and which has not undergone a program review in the past two years
      • Category A – Documentation
        • Local or regional demand for a program of study of this length
        • Curriculum, including number of credit hours and identification of new courses
        • Program competencies
        • External licensing or certifying entity
        • Relationship to new or existing associate degree program; requests for stand-alone certificates must include compelling justification
        • Collaboration with other institutions in the community (either KCTCS or other universities) in developing and delivering the curriculum
        • Anticipated enrollment and completions for next three yearsProjected implementation date
        • Resources – faculty, learning resources, facilities, equipment

  • Submission Category B
    • Certificates associated with an associate degree program implemented within the past two years
    • Certificates associated with a diploma or associate degree program that has had a program review within the past two years
      • Category B – Documentation
        • Local or regional demand for a program of study of this length
        • Curriculum, including number of credit hours and identification of new courses
        • Program competencies
        • External licensing or certifying entity, if different from associate degree
        • Projected implementation date