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Levels of Governance

Once proposals to create, revise, rename, reorganize, or eliminate programs and units have been approved by their home department(s) and college(s), the proposals are approved through a robust governance process. Engaging representatives from multiple levels of governance allows for a thorough review of the proposal, and assurance of compliance with educational policies. Brief descriptions of  governance levels appear below.

Graduate College Heading link

The Graduate College Executive Committee (GCEC) and/or Graduate College staff must review any proposals that impact graduate students.

UIC Senate Heading link


The UIC Senate is the body that approves educational policy at UIC.

  • The Senate’s website includes a list of committees, the meeting schedule for the academic year, and agenda items the Senate will consider at its next meeting.
  • Explore the UIC library of educational policies housed on the Policy on Policies website.

Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP)

The Senate Committee on Educational Policy makes recommendations to the full Senate on matters of educational policy.

  • View SCEP’s guidelines to determine if SCEP will take action on program or unit proposal, if it needs to be reported to SCEP for information, or if units can implement the item without SCEP approval or notification (with administrative approval of Academic Programs).
  • Browse through documents reviewed at SCEP meetings on their website.

Senate Committee on Research (SCR)

The Senate Committee on Research is charged with reviewing policies and proposals related to centers and institutes.

  • View proposals reviewed at recent SCR meetings.

University Senates Conference (USC) Heading link

Every action taken by the UIC Senate is reviewed by the University Senates Conference. The USC is a statutory body comprised of senators from all three universities in the University of Illinois System, who ensure that all of the appropriate officials or groups have been consulted before a Senate action is implemented and that policies are not duplicated across the universities in the System. Once the USC has reviewed the actions of the Senates and has determined that no further Senate jurisdiction is involved, then Academic Programs is cleared to forward items to the Board of Trustees.

University of Illinois Board of Trustees Heading link

The Board of Trustees (BOT) is the governing body for all three universities in the University of Illinois system. It operates according to the University of Illinois Statutes  and is accountable to the state legislature and the people of Illinois.

On the BOT website, meet the trustees, view their meeting schedule, and explore governance-related resources.

Academic Programs is responsible for submitting to the BOT those items, passed by the UIC Senate and classified by University Senates Conference, that require BOT action. Minor programmatic revisions that do not require BOT review and approval may be reported to the BOT for information.

Illinois Board of Higher Education Heading link

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) reviews and acts upon proposals to establish, rename, reorganize, or eliminate most academic programs; to set up off-campus degree sites; and to establish, rename, reorganize, or eliminate instructional units, centers, and institutes.

All proposals that require IBHE action, or are shared with the IBHE for information, are submitted to the IBHE by the University of Illinois System’s Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs through the BOT. Academic Programs forwards proposals to the U of I System once BOT approval has been confirmed.

  • View the Academic Affairs section of the IBHE website for more information review about the approval process.
  • Search the IBHE’s program inventory for information on academic degree programs at Illinois institutions of higher education.

Higher Learning Commission Heading link

Even beyond the levels of governance within the university and at the state level, the university may be required to provide the Higher Learning Commission with the opportunity to screen, and potentially review, certain proposals, consistent with HLC’s accreditation role. Most often HLC simply acknowledges the change being proposed, crediting the university with having officially notified HLC. However, it is possible that HLC will determine it needs to review a proposal, which may lead to a “substantive change” process. In this event, the Office of Academic Programs will work with the colleges and units involved to submit a substantive change application and comply with the overall process, as determined by HLC. In the context of UIC, common examples of proposals that may need to be reported to HLC include: new academic programs (including certificates); elimination or suspension of academic programs; a substantial increase or decrease in the number of credit hours being required for successful completion of an academic program; an aggregate change in content of 25% or more of a program’s curriculum; and a change in a program’s method of delivery.