Proposal Submission Guidelines

CAA Proposal Submission Guidelines

The Council on Academic Affairs provides the following suggested guidelines to individuals and units interested in submitting proposals for consideration. These guidelines were developed by members of the Council on Academic Affairs with experience in reviewing a wide range of proposals. The guidelines are meant to facilitate the review of proposals and minimize the need for revision.

These guidelines are intended to provide a general sense of topics and formats appropriate for most proposals.  They are NOT a comprehensive guide or replacement for the Academic Organization and Curriculum Handbook. The Council on Academic Affairs strongly urges those developing proposals to review the appropriate sections of the manual prior to submitting them to the Council.

Cover Letter or Memo

The letter or memo should be addressed to:

Vice Provost W. Randy Smith
Council on Academic Affairs
Office of Academic Affairs
203 Bricker Hall
190 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210

  • The letter should indicate the academic unit originating the proposal and contain one or two paragraphs briefly describing any action requested of the Council on Academic Affairs.
  • Attachments should be listed and identified.
  • Interested parties from the originating unit should be copied.


Proposals should contain the following:

  • An executive summary or introductory paragraph describing the action to be initiated;
  • A section with background information detailing the rationale and describing the events, history, and/or relevant actions that initiated the proposal and the steps taken in its development;
  • Comparative data from other institutions with similar programs if available;
  • Specific actions and any corollary issues (positive and negative) that will arise from implementation:  issues frequently addressed include but are not limited to the following:
    • How will the proposal affect specific groups/constituencies (faculty, graduate/undergraduate students, staff, alumni, accrediting organizations, etc)?
    • What programmatic changes will take place internally?
    • How will the proposal affect students, faculty, and staff outside the proposing unit?
    • Does the content of the proposal overlap in scope or substance with the interests of other units?  If so, the concurrence of those units must be sought;
  • An overview of which committees at the department, college, and university level have reviewed and approved the proposal;
    • NOTE:  If this proposal is for distance delivery (with 50% or more of program activities occurring online) please contact the Office of Distance Education and eLearning at for assistance completing your proposal.
  • A description of the forms and outcomes of interactions with faculty, students, accrediting agencies, alumni, professional organizations, and other interested parties including minutes from meetings, faculty vote results, survey results, letters of support, etc. which offer valuable insight into the nature of the consultative process;
  • Some indication of the adequacy and availability of resources including but not limited to fiscal impact statements, commitments of funding from any sources, and memoranda of understanding between collaborating units; and
  • Any additional supporting documents referred to in the proposal (meeting minutes, memos, and letters of concurrence) and any forms required for processing the proposal (course forms, concurrence forms, etc).


The proposal must be submitted electronically as a single file in PDF format. For more precise information on preparing the proposal, visit the link below.

Academic Organization and Curriculum Handbook

Procedure and Timeline

From the drafting of a proposal to its final approval often takes a substantial amount of time.  This is determined to some extent by how quickly a proposal moves through the appropriate department and college channels.  Once a proposal reaches the Council on Academic Affairs, it has had a significant amount of college and department level review but minimal university level review.  It is the charge of the Council on Academic Affairs to review and approve or deny all proposals.

Timelines at the university level are determined by a number of factors, including the nature of a proposal’s content, whether or not the proposal includes all necessary sections and documentation, and work load of each of the university-wide committees and offices that it must pass through.

The Council on Academic Affairs meets and reviews proposals during the autumn and spring semesters and occasionally during the summer months.  The Council is composed of faculty and graduate, professional, and undergraduate students, all of whom serve in addition to their regular responsibilities.  See  Faculty Rule 3335-5-481 Council on Academic Affairs (pdf).

Once a proposal reaches the Council on Academic Affairs, it is reviewed by the Vice Provost and the Chair of the Council.  It is then assigned to a subcommittee of the Council for a more detailed review.

There are four subcommittees that review proposals.  Each subcommittee is composed of a chair and at least three voting members of the Council.  Occasionally a proposer is asked to appear at a subcommittee meeting to discuss their proposal.  The subcommittee is a partner in the approval process and can facilitate the movement of a proposal through the system by anticipating questions and problems that may result in proposal denial.  Therefore, it often provides the proposer the opportunity to address any issues that may arise during the subcommittee’s discussion.

After review, the subcommittee reviewing the proposal will make its recommendations to the Council as a whole.  The proposal will be added to a Council of Academic Affairs agenda and the proposer will be asked to appear to present the proposal.


The most successful proposals are well thought through and include all the required documents.

Occasionally questions are raised and additional documents are requested.  A speedy reply to questions and requests will enhance the ability of the subcommittee to make a recommendation.



Katie Reed