Curriculum Procedures Handbook
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Programs: General Information
The Maricopa County Community College District offers a variety of academic and occupational degrees and certificates to meet the needs and goals of its students and of the Maricopa community. In general, academic degrees and certificates are designed to support the student’s educational pursuits, while occupational degrees and certificates are designed to prepare the student to assume a desired position in the workforce. This differentiation is not absolute, however; occupational degrees increasingly support the student’s transfer to baccalaureate institutions for further study, and academic degrees increasingly serve the student’s ultimate career goals.
Academic Programs
The Maricopa County Community College District offers four types of academic awards: Associate Degrees in four academic areas which include six special focuses plus one general degree; Arizona General Education Curriculum certificates in three general academic areas; and a variety of Academic Certificates with specific academic focuses. Development of New Associate Degrees: In Fall 2008, the MCCCD District Curriculum Committee recommended, and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost accepted, a moratorium on the development of new associate degree types. Majors or programs of study that are not fully supported by degrees in the statewide transfer system can be supported by advising guides to provide students guidance regarding course selection. Advising guides are appropriate when the needs of transfer students cannot be met through existing statewide transfer degrees.  District-wide advising guides are used to advise students intending to transfer into content-specific majors or interest areas. The Curriculum Development Facilitators (CDFs) at the colleges can assist in the development of advising guides. Advising Guide templates and an explanation of the process of developing advising guides are available on the Center for Curriculum and Transfer Articulation (CCTA) website under “Curriculum Resources.”

Updates/Maintenance: The maintenance of all MCCCD Associate Degrees and all AGEC certificates follows a specified process that is different from the processes supporting occupational programs. The District Curriculum Committee is the agent responsible for modifications to these degrees.  Individuals or groups wishing to propose modifications to these degrees present their proposals to DCC. Modifications must comply with state-wide requirements. Updates to the Associate in Arts Elementary Education (AAEE), the Associate in Arts Fine Arts (AA FA), and the Associate degrees in Business (ABus GR and ABus SR) require the participation of the appropriate Instructional Councils. The Instructional Councils review the programs and submit recommendations for change to the District Curriculum Committee.

CCTA provides the most current information on MCCCD academic programs based on action taken by the MCCCD Governing Board. Current and historical versions of academic programs may be accessed on the CCTA home page via the following link:

Questions regarding degrees and requirements should be addressed to the  Director of the Center for Curriculum and Transfer Articulation.
Occupational Programs
The Maricopa County Community College District offers a variety of degrees and certificates designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in occupational and paraprofessional fields. The development and maintenance of these awards is guided by the college Occupational Administrators and always involves collaboration with industry and professional advisors from the community.

Program Award Types:  MCCCD occupational awards include:

The introduction of a new award type for occupational programs is not encouraged, and would require discussions with the MCCCD Director of Curriculum and Transfer Articulation or designee very early in the planning stage to determine feasibility of introducing a new award type.

Program Availability: Programs are offered according to three types of availability:

Coordination of the development and maintenance of shared and district-wide programs is the responsibility of the primary college. The primary college is usually the college that brought the idea forward and initiated the New Occupational Program Early Alert. The primary college is responsible for coordinating and facilitating the advisory council meetings, disseminating meeting minutes, processing program proposals, etc.
Program availability is subject to change through the Occupational Program Modification Process.

Creating a New Occupational Program Developments in the workforce and changes in student occupational interests frequently result in the need to create a new occupational program. Development of new programs follows a well-defined process that includes analysis of workforce needs, promotes collaboration among colleges, and avoids duplication of programs.

Program Development: Faculty planning to develop a new occupational program work closely with the Occupational Administrator of their college. The first step is an analysis of the need for the program under consideration, including workforce demand, potential wages or salaries, and competing programs at other institutions, and of the ability of the college to support the program, including availability of well-qualified instructors, availability of funds for instructional needs, potential industry co-investment, etc. An advisory council of community experts in the occupational field is formed to assist the college in the needs analysis and in planning the new program. For a shared program, a multi campus or joint program advisory council is recommended whenever possible to represent and serve the needs and interest of all the colleges participating in the program.

Early Alert: If research indicates the viability of the new program, the Occupational Administrator of the initiating college provides formal notification to other Maricopa colleges, through the New Occupational Program Early Alert, of the intent to develop a new occupational program. The purpose of the Early Alert Process is to provide opportunities for sharing information, for collaborating on new programs, and for avoiding unnecessary duplication of programs. The Early Alert includes a general description of the prospective program, including any new subjects that may need to be created, and a rationale explaining the need for and benefits of the program. Other colleges may voice their concerns or their wish to share the new program by responding to the Occupational Administrator of the initiating college. Requests to share and/or concerns raised by other colleges are addressed through a specified process. NOP Early Alert Details If the Early Alert process results in approval from the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost to develop the program, the required program elements are developed.

A New Program Early Alert is not required for the addition of a new certificate to an existing AAS degree, or for the addition of a new degree by adding general education requirements to the program requirements of an existing certificate. The Occupational Program Modification process provides for the addition of the above types of certificate/degree.

Program Elements: Program elements include a need statement, program description, program competencies, program requirements, and a course Pre-/Corequisites Flowchart. In developing the program elements, care must be taken to avoid hidden prerequisites. Advisory Committee Minutes and the New Occupational Program Early Alert are also part of the required documentation, although they are not included in the proposal. The initiating college is required to maintain a file of Advisory Committee minutes that support the curriculum proposals processed through the District Curriculum Committee; the New Occupational Program Early Alert is distributed by the initiating college and received by the MCCCD Center for Curriculum and Transfer Articulation prior to the development of the program.

Need Statement

Program Description

Program Competencies:

Program Requirements

Course Pre-/Corequisites Flowchart

Hidden Prerequisites

Occupational Program Modification As workforce needs evolve, it frequently becomes necessary to modify or expand occupational programs to maintain high quality instructional offerings. MCCCD Occupational Programs are modified through the Occupational Program Modification Process. Because the advice and guidance of industry and professional leaders are essential in maintaining effective occupational programs, the recommendations of program Advisory Councils are always part of any program modification.

Any element of a program can be modified, including the addition of one or more certificates to an existing AAS degree, the addition of one or more certificates to an existing certificate program, and the creation of an AAS degree by adding General Education Requirements to an existing certificate. These program-addition modifications are permitted  only when all courses in the proposed new program are currently included in the existing program that is being modified.

The Occupational Program Modification Process is not used to change the basic purpose of an existing program. If a planned change would serve a purpose that is different from the original purpose of the existing program, or would result in students developing knowledge and skills suitable for an occupation that is distinct from that served by the original program, although it may be related, a new occupational program must be created, following the New Occupational Program process, which includes the processing of an New Occupational Program Early Alert.

The development and processing of an occupational program modification is affected by the availability of the program. For college-specific programs, the college offering the program is responsible for any modifications made to it. The college curriculum committee follows its own process for approving proposed modifications, informs the appropriate instructional council(s), and submits the proposal to CCTA for processing.

For District-wide programs and shared programs, all the colleges offering the program are responsible for modifications made to it. Faculty representatives from each of the colleges participate in the development of the modifications, and the college curriculum committee of each college offering the program approves the proposal before it is submitted to CCTA. The primary college has the responsibility for the coordination of program modifications. All program modifications proposed for a shared or district-wide program should be forwarded by the college initiating the changes to the primary college and the sharing colleges for their review. The primary college has the responsibility to ensure that all sharing colleges’ concerns or questions related to the modification have been addressed before the proposal is submitted to CCTA by the initiating college. 

Because the role of the primary college is crucial in the program modification process, primary college status is identified and agreed to by the Occupational Administrators when the development of modifications begins. Primary college status can be changed by mutual agreement of the Occupational Administrators of the sharing colleges.

Once an occupational modification proposal has been submitted for placing on the DCC Online Agenda, the primary college initiating the program proposal alerts other appropriate college curriculum staff and CCTA on the day of the proposal submission deadline that a shared or district wide program modification proposal has been submitted to CCTA for inclusion on the next DCC on-line agenda as an Action Item. If any of the sharing colleges have not been included in the development of the program proposal, the college must communicate this omission to the primary college and to CCTA asking that the proposal be removed from agenda consideration until all sharing colleges have provided input on the proposal.

If one or more of the sharing colleges do not accept the modification(s) to a district-wide program or shared program and choose to maintain the program without modification, the modification results in two programs: the unmodified original program, shared by those colleges not accepting the modification(s), and a new program, incorporating the proposed modification(s), and shared by those colleges that accept the modification(s). If only one college chooses to offer either the unmodified, original program, or the new program, it becomes a college-specific program. The necessity or advantage to students of implementing a modified program as well as continuing the initial program without changes must be clear. This modification procedure is not to be used to bypass the New Occupational Program Early Alert process in creating a new program. This type of modification is subject to agreement of the Occupational Administrators Council before submission to CCTA.

A college can be added to or removed from a shared program through the official defined process MCCCD Program Sharing and further detailed in Modified CCL/AC Program Details  and in Modified AAS Program.

Occupational Program Deletion Changes in the workforce and in student occupational interests may at times result in the need to delete an occupational program. Through the Occupational Program Deletion process, shared and District-wide programs can be deleted entirely, or one college may end its participation in a program without affecting the availability of the program at other colleges.  Although occupational programs can be deleted at any time, the program last effective term and year is planned to allow students who may be in the process of completing the program requirements to do so.
Program deletions are sent to the appropriate instructional council(s) and placed on the District Curriculum Committee Online Agenda as information items, and are placed on the DCC General Agenda as action items.

Occupational Program Moratorium Colleges may decide, for a variety of reasons, to place a program, or a track within a program, on moratorium, allowing current students to complete the program, but not admitting any new students to the program. Although each college determines its own internal process for placing programs on moratorium, the decision usually includes the Occupational Administrator, the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the relevant Division Chair and may include others such as the program director, the program Advisory Council and the College Curriculum Committee.

The moratorium process is also used when one college decides to suspend its participation in a district-wide or shared program. This action does not affect the availability of the program at other colleges.

Moratorium requests are processed internally between the initiating college and CCTA and do not require placement on a DCC agenda.

The District does not limit the time for which a program may remain on moratorium status. A college may later decide to remove the moratorium status and reactivate the program or to delete the program.