Substantive Change Committee

Substantive Change

The substantive change process is designed to ensure the consistency of quality across all institutional operations, on and off-campus and through distance education. The concern for quality has grown as off-campus programs have crossed regional and international boundaries, technology-mediated learning has flourished, and more institutions are beginning to offer both professional and research doctorates.

In 1994 and then again in 2008, the Higher Education Reauthorization Acts led to a significant number of regulations concerning substantive change, and the U.S. Department of Education began requiring federally mandated site visits to off-campus programs and authentication of students enrolled in distance education programs.

Under both Commission policy and federal law, certain substantive changes are required to have prior approval. The procedures defined in the Substantive Change Manual provide guidelines for institutions to demonstrate compliance with these regulations, as well as other WSCUC requirements.


The Substantive Change Committee meets in panels via conference call to review the substantive change proposals of WSCUC institutions.

The Committee also meets annually to orient new members and discuss trends and policy matters relating to substantive change.

Committee Roster 

The Committee is comprised of individuals with particular expertise in assessment, finance, graduate, undergraduate and general education, international programs, and distance education as well as a variety of discipline areas. Doctoral proposals are reviewed by members of the Committee with particular expertise in doctoral education and disciplines.

Documents and Policies

For more information regarding substantive change, access to documents, policies and samples, including the Substantive Change Manual, application for review and other forms please visit the document library: 


The Substantive Change Committee is a Peer Review Committee.