Article IX. Approving, Reviewing and Sunsetting Programs

Section 9.01 Application of Rationale for Awarding Student Semester Credit

Policy history: Application of Rationale for Awarding Student Semester Credit.

City Colleges of Chicago defines credit hour in accordance with applicable federal, state, and regional accreditation standards and regulations1. The basic measure shall be adjusted proportionately to translate the credit hour value to all academic calendars and modalities of instructional delivery.


Federal definition of credit hour, U.S. Dept. of Education - 34 CFR 600.2 (11/1/2010). Higher Learning Commission, Policy Number FDCR.A.10.020 available at

CCC defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that as an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. One contact hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work (e.g., reading assignments, practice activities, collaborative team projects, practice tests, self-assessments, and computer-based learning activities) each week for approximately sixteen weeks for one semester hour of credit, which pertains to all instruction modalities including: face-to-face, hybrid, online-live, and/or online; or
  2. At least the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  3. The equivalent amount of work as required in this definition for other academic activities as established by the college, including laboratory work, internships, directed studies, practicums, studio/performance work, and other work leading to the award of credit hours.
    1. Definition for Awarding Student Credit
      The definition for awarding student credit is as follows:
      Category Semester Credit Hours Minimum Number of Contact Hour(s)1 Per Week
      Lecture/Discussion/Demonstration/Seminar 1 1
      Laboratory or Studio 1 22
      Clinical Practicum 1 22
      Independent Projects 1 3
      Cooperative Work Experience full-time (20 hours or more) 1 10
      Cooperative Work Experience part-time 1 5
      Field Trips 1 5
      Open Laboratory Experience 0 1
      Dependent upon external accrediting agency requirements.

      Based on an approximately 16-week term; other term lengths should be pro-rated accordingly.


      It is possible to increase the number of contact hours per credit hour when justified by the type of instruction necessary to meet the learning outcomes and/or for specific programmatic accreditation/licensure.

      • Laboratory or Studio – Up to 3:1
      • Clinical Practicum – Up to 4:1

Notes: One Contact Hour = 800 minutes (average of 50 minutes/week for 16 week session)

Section 9.02 Course and/or Program Approval

Policy history: Course and/or Program Approval.
Procedures: Course and/or Program Approval – Procedures.

Curriculum must address the requirements set forth by external governmental and accrediting agencies and the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustee policies. Accordingly, curriculum development shall be structured through a development, review and recommendation of a collaborative process known, effective August, 2014, as the Proposed Academic Curriculum Changes process (PACC), which replaces the former twelve-step curriculum review process known as Proposed Academic Changes process (PAC).

This structured process, which shall be collaboratively implemented and conducted by faculty, district and college administrators, will provide a clearly defined development, revision, and recommendation process for all credit (Program Classification System Codes 1.1, 1.2, and 1.4) courses and programs offered by any of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC).

The PACC process shall:

  • Promote and ensure collaboration among administrators and faculty;

  • Designate a tenured, faculty member to facilitate (curriculum facilitator) curriculum initiatives for each college and the district;

  • Distinguish curriculum development and curriculum review;

  • Increase understanding of required compliance with outside agencies and governing bodies;

  • Provide a curriculum development framework that supports the goals and expectations of external agencies and accrediting bodies;

  • Assure that new and revised courses and programs support the mission and goals of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC);

  • Provide a web-based solution to store, manage, and track changes to courses and programs.

Substantial changes to the PACC process, (e.g., curriculum development rubrics for courses and programs) will be a collaborative process with the mutual agreement of faculty, district and college administrators.

Section 9.03 Program Review

Policy history: Program Review.
Procedures: Program Review – Procedures.

The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) provides administrative support, guidance, and training for the annual Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) Five-Year Program Review reporting and submission process for the seven colleges within Community College District 508. CCC’s compliance with the schedule of reviews mandated by ICCB guarantees that each of the seven colleges is actively engaged in a systematic, college-wide program review process for evaluating, per ICCB:

  • Career & Technical Education Programs

  • Academic Disciplines

  • Cross-Disciplinary Instruction

  • Student & Academic Support Services

  • Other Program Actions

In accordance with ICCB regulations, at least once within a five-year cycle, each instructional program, student service, and academic support function is evaluated. CCC will provide access to the most current ICCB Five-Year Program Review Schedule and the ICCB Five Year Review Grid.

Section 9.04 Program Inactivation

Renamed: formerly Sunsetting Programs.
Policy history:
Program Inactivation.
Procedures: Program Inactivation – Procedures.

CCC periodically reviews its academic programs, courses, and services to ensure:

  • Relevance (labor market, transfer, community need, CCC mission)

  • Fit with CCC capabilities (feasibility, cost, enrollment, facilities and equipment, staffing)

  • Excellence in the delivery of instruction and services (curriculum quality, accreditation)

  • Student Outcomes - pathways to careers or transfer to 4-year institutions

Such reviews, which may be off-cycle from ICCB Program Reviews but which nonetheless should be structured similarly, shall be collaboratively implemented and conducted by faculty, district and college administrators, and external stakeholders in order to provide a clearly defined recommendation regarding continuation or discontinuation. Shared governance for determining discontinuation will additionally utilize the Proposed Academic Curriculum Change (PACC) process to ensure transparency and rigor of review. In such cases where discontinuation, either inactivation or withdrawal, is the final determination, CCC will work with external governmental and accrediting agencies to discontinue the program and to provide a pathway to completion for students currently pursuing such programs.

Section 9.05 Cooperative Sub-Contractual Arrangements with Outside Agencies

Policy history: Cooperative Sub-Contractual Arrangements with Outside Agencies.

The principle of open enrollment must be maintained in all cooperative or sub-contractual instructional arrangements with outside agencies, public or private. The only legal basis for restricting enrollment, according to the Illinois Public Community College Act, are space limitations, relevant course pre-requisites, and program admissions requirements. This policy does not preclude off-campus courses or courses offered at the request of a particular public or private agency as long as reasonable provisions for the entry of any City Colleges of Chicago student are maintained.

College credit for courses offered in a cooperative or sub-contractual arrangement may be allowed only if:

  1. Courses are approved by the Illinois Community College Board.

  2. Courses are listed in the City Colleges of Chicago catalogs and City Colleges of Chicago Course Master Files or are eligible for listing.