Nebraska Revised Statute 85-1414

Chapter 85 Section 1414

85-1414.

Programs; capital construction projects; review; commission, public institutions, and governing boards; duties.

(1) Pursuant to the authority granted in Article VII, section 14, of the Constitution of Nebraska and the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education Act, the commission shall establish an ongoing process to review, monitor, and approve or disapprove the new and existing programs of public institutions and proposed capital construction projects which utilize tax funds designated by the Legislature in order to provide compliance and consistency with the comprehensive statewide plan and to prevent unnecessary duplication. When complying with requests for information during the review, monitoring, and approval process, public institutions may comply pursuant to section 85-1417.

(2)(a) Governing boards shall submit to the commission all proposals for any new program after the governing board has approved the program and prior to implementation of the program. Except for programs submitted for conditional approval by the commission pursuant to subdivision (b) of this subsection, the commission shall have ninety days from the date the program was submitted to take action to approve or disapprove a program or it shall stand approved. The commission shall establish a waiver process for specific, short-term job training programs and short-term public service programs as defined by the commission. New programs submitted for review may be approved or disapproved in whole or in part and with or without recommended modifications based on criteria established pursuant to subsection (7) of this section.

(b) After approval of the program by the governing board, the governing board may submit a proposal for a program which is not authorized by the role and mission provisions of sections 85-917 to 85-966 to the commission for conditional approval. Within one hundred twenty days from its receipt of the proposal, the commission shall report electronically to the Legislature its recommendation in support for or opposition to the amendments to the role and mission statutes that would be necessary for the commission to approve the program and for the institution to offer the program. The time period for submission of the report may be extended for up to an additional ninety days by resolution of the commission which shall show good cause why the extent of review required for this particular proposal necessitates an extension of time to complete the review. Such extension shall be filed electronically with the chairperson of the Education Committee of the Legislature prior to the expiration of the initial one hundred twenty days. The report shall contain supporting rationale for the commission's position, such additional comments as the commission deems appropriate and, in the event the commission supports the amendments to the role and mission statutes, the commission's specific recommendation as to the form of such amendments. If the report indicates support for the necessary amendments to the role and mission statutes, the report shall also constitute the commission's conditional approval of the program, unless the report specifically indicates disapproval of the program. If the necessary amendments to the role and mission statutes supported by the commission in its report to the Legislature are subsequently enacted by the Legislature, the program shall stand approved. Nothing in this section for conditional approval shall be construed to affect the commission's future consideration of such proposal or approval or disapproval of any programs affected by the proposal.

(3) Following approval of a new program, such program shall be added to the schedule of existing programs to be reviewed by the commission. Following consultation with the governing board, new programs approved by the commission may also be required to meet, within a reasonable time as stipulated by the commission, minimum performance standards established by the commission pursuant to its rules and regulations. If a program fails to meet minimum performance standards, the commission shall review the program and may continue or withdraw its approval for the program.

(4) Existing programs shall be reviewed by the commission pursuant to a program review process established by the commission in consultation with the governing boards or their designated representatives which, to the extent possible while still allowing for timely review by the commission, shall coincide with institutional review and accreditation cycles. In reviewing existing programs, the commission may make use of nonconfidential information and conclusions provided by accreditation processes supplied to the commission by the institutions. All programs in existence prior to January 1, 1992, shall be considered approved until the approval is confirmed or withdrawn by the commission pursuant to the program review process conducted by the commission.

(5) Existing programs which do not meet criteria established by the commission pursuant to subsection (7) of this section shall be targeted for indepth review by the public institutions and their governing boards. In performing such indepth review, institutions may make use of information and conclusions provided by accreditation and other established and ongoing academic review processes rather than providing for a separate review process. Programs continued by the governing boards shall be further monitored by the governing board which shall report the status and process of the monitoring to the commission. If the commission determines that a program does not merit continuation, it shall hold a public hearing, following thirty days' notice to the public institution, to consider if the program should be continued. Following the hearing, the commission shall take action to approve or disapprove continuance of the program.

(6) Existing programs disapproved for continuance by the commission shall be terminated by a public institution when all students in the program on the date of the decision of the commission to disapprove continuance of the program have had a reasonable opportunity, as determined by the governing board of the public institution, to complete the program. Existing public service programs disapproved for continuance by the commission shall be terminated at the end of the fiscal year in which the decision to disapprove is made.

(7) The commission shall establish criteria for the review, monitoring, and approval or disapproval of programs. The governing boards of the public institutions shall be responsible for assuring the quality and effectiveness of programs offered by their institutions. The commission's criteria shall be designed to (a) meet educational needs and (b) assure efficiency and avoid unnecessary duplication. Criteria shall include:

(i) Centrality to the role and mission of the public institution;

(ii) Consistency with the comprehensive statewide plan;

(iii) Evidence of need and demand; and

(iv) Adequacy of resources to support proposed new programs.

The criteria shall not infringe on the prerogative of the governing boards to make decisions on the quality of staff and the design of curriculum.

(8) The commission shall develop specific criteria for review, monitoring, and approval or disapproval of participation by any public institution in proposed or existing education centers in addition to the criteria specified in this section. Participation by a public institution in an education center shall also be approved by the governing board of such public institution. The commission shall develop policies and procedures for conducting and approving off-campus programming in an education center.

(9) Each public institution shall submit its most recent institutional facilities plan to the commission subject to commission guidelines for the format and content of such plans. The commission shall (a) review each institutional facilities plan to ensure (i) consistency with the comprehensive statewide plan, statewide facilities plan, and institutional role and mission assignments and (ii) identification of unnecessary duplication of facilities and (b) make a written report of its review to the governing board of the public institution within ninety days after receipt of the institutional facilities plan. The commission may, in accordance with the coordination function of the commission pursuant to section 85-1403, recommend modifications to the institutional facilities plans and may require submission of periodic updates of the institutional facilities plans.

(10) Governing boards shall submit all proposed capital construction projects which utilize tax funds designated by the Legislature to the commission for review and approval or disapproval. The commission shall, in accordance with the coordination function of the commission pursuant to section 85-1403, review, monitor, and approve or disapprove each such capital construction project to provide compliance and consistency with the statewide facilities plan and the comprehensive statewide plan and to prevent unnecessary duplication of capital facilities. The commission may disapprove a project only on the basis of a finding by the commission that the project (a) does not comply or is inconsistent with one or more provisions of the statewide facilities plan or other relevant provisions of the comprehensive statewide plan or (b) will result in unnecessary duplication of capital facilities.

(11) In fulfilling its program and project approval activities prescribed in this section, the commission shall, in accordance with the coordination function of the commission pursuant to section 85-1403, recognize educational activities among all segments of postsecondary education and take into account the educational programs, facilities, and other resources of both public and independent and private postsecondary educational institutions.

(12) Any program which is authorized by action of the Legislature or a governing board and which is not in existence prior to January 1, 1992, shall not become operative unless and until such program has been approved by the commission pursuant to this section.