Office of the President

Guidelines for Discontinuing Programs; Supercedes EM 01-014

Executive Memorandum 15-005 April 29, 2015

From: Rollin C. Richmond, Acting President

Subject: Guidelines for the Discontinuation of Programs; Supercedes EM 01-014



This policy governs discontinuation of all academic and educational programs. For the purposes of this policy, the word program pertains to all graduate degrees, baccalaureate degrees, options within a degree, minor programs, and certificate programs.


This document outlines the information and processes related to program discontinuance including the role of the Academic Senate in this process. The Academic Senate’s primary role in the review of proposals for the discontinuation of programs is to provide the Provost with a carefully considered recommendation based on, among other things, a detailed assessment of the rationale and evidence provided for program discontinuation.

Although this document identifies many of the issues deemed essential for a thorough, open, and complete discussion and debate, those involved in pursuing program discontinuation should recognize that it would be inappropriate to judge all programs by the same standards or specify the range of information necessary to make a considered recommendation in each particular case.

Therefore, the Academic Senate may 1) consider issues not specifically listed in this document and 2) recognize that some issues listed in this document may not be pertinent to a specific case. The goal is to help the Academic Senate reach an informed recommendation based on the evidence provided.

The decision to discontinue a program may occur because a suspension plan for improving it failed or because there is evidence that the program is not viable and must be discontinued as per EM 13-057 Guidelines for Suspending Programs. Suspended enrollment should not be a justification for discontinuing a program.


Discontinuation of an academic program requires review by the Academic Senate and may require approval from the CSU Chancellor's Office. The Academic Senate will submit its recommendation to the Provost who has been designated by the President to render final decision in regard to matters of program continuance.

The Provost will request approval from the Chancellor's Office for the campus action if the program being discontinued is an undergraduate or graduate degree program. Discontinued options do not normally require Chancellor's Office approval, but the Chancellor's Office will be notified. Minor and certificate discontinuations require campus approval only.

If a degree program is discontinued, students in the major at that time will be allowed to complete it. Should courses required in the discontinued major be eliminated, appropriate faculty in the program and familiar with the program’s curriculum will identify substitute courses and help students to complete the necessary work to obtain the degree. These faculty members must demonstrate a good faith effort to find alternate coursework that meets the learning outcomes of the program and recently eliminated courses.

Notice that the program has been discontinued will be sent to students, advisers, units, and agencies involved in advising or providing information regarding programs on this campus.


A proposal to discontinue a program shall consist of a rationale (see content guidelines below) accompanied by consultation with the students, departments, and colleges affected. A proposal to discontinue may be initiated by a department, college, or by the Provost's Office. Appropriate units within the department and college will review the proposal.

The proposal to discontinue a program, accompanied by the rationale and evidence of consultation, shall be submitted to EPPC and, pending a vote in this body, to the Academic Senate for review and recommendation. Graduate programs will be referred to the Graduate Council before being forwarded to EPPC. Faculty in the affected department(s) may be consulted by EPPC, the Senate and, in the case of graduate programs, by the Graduate Council.

The issues and data enumerated in this document are merely indicators, and any one issue or datum may be appropriate to the assessment of quality in one program and inappropriate in another.

The proposal rationale shall include, but is not limited to, the following:

Description and History of the Program:

  • Provide a brief description of the program including:
    • When it was approved and/or how long has it been in place at CSU, Chico
    • History of the program, including its status as a major, option, minor, credential, or certificate,
    • Relation to other programs, including General Education, and
    • Status as a professional or pre-professional program.
  • Describe the relationship of the program to the University’s Strategic Plan, College Strategic Plan, Academic Plan and other statements of mission, goals and values.
  • Who was it designed to serve (describe the student need)? What are the societal needs? (E.g., cultural, technological, economic, artistic, scientific). Are similar programs available elsewhere in the CSU?

Indicate areas of concern, with reference to the above history, as it pertains to the proposed discontinuation.

  • What is the status of the program now? Why should it be discontinued?
  • Was the program suspended or considered for suspension?
  • What efforts have been made to sustain or improve the program? If there have been no efforts, please explain why efforts have not been made to improve the program (including suspension for purposes of re-evaluation [EM 13-057]).
  • How many students does the program serve? What are recent trends in enrollment? What is the external demand for the program from an employment perspective?
  • What are the shortcomings of the program that have led to the proposal to discontinue? (What criteria were used to gather data on the program? How was the data assessed? Has the program been through a five year review? If not, why not? If so, what were the results of the last review?)
  • Describe current staffing levels, FTES and other information relevant to program performance.
  • Describe the financial status of the program. Provide evidence of the relative expense or revenue of the program compared to similar programs.
  • Provide additional evidence to support the discontinuation proposal. (If possible, reference original EM of approval so readers can go to that evidence.)

Describe the consultation process and procedures:

  • Evidence of consultation with faculty, administrators, students, and related stakeholders in the collaborative preparation of the plan, assessment, and timeline. Evidence may include but is not limited to dates, times, minutes, and vote counts from meetings, lists of attendees, correspondence, etc.


Executive Memorandum 13-057 Guidelines for Suspending Programs

Program Suspension/Discontinuation/Dissolution, AS-2596-03/FA - January 23-24, 2003 (PDF)

Policies on Academic Program Discontinuation, Chancellor’s Office code: AAP 91-14 (PDF)

Guidelines for Chancellor’s Office Review of Academic Degree Program Discontinuation Proposals, Educational Programs & Resources (EP&R) 80-45

Discontinuance of an Academic Program, EP&R 79-10



For the purpose of this document the following definitions will apply:

The word suspension means temporary suspension of new enrollment and admissions to a program while an improvement plan for the program is being completed.

The word discontinuation means the elimination of a program.

Please direct questions about this policy to Curriculum Services.