Procedure Name:
Curriculum Course/Program Termination
Dr. Susan Paris
Vice President/Chief Academic Officer, Academics and Guided Career Pathways

Curriculum Development, Assessment, and Compliance


Effective Date:
October 26, 2018
Next Review Date:
1D SBCCC 400.6; 2A SBCCC 400.13; 
SACSCOC Good Practices – Closing a Program, Site, Branch, or Institution;
34 CFR 602.24 (c)



Durham Technical Community College (Durham Tech) shall terminate a curriculum course or program of study (program) when there has been no enrollment for two (2) consecutive years, or if the College has not offered the program or has not had enrollment in the program within two (2) years of the date the program was approved by the State Board of Community Colleges (SBCC). Departments may also choose to terminate a curriculum course or program of study (program) for other reasons, such as content-based changes, a curriculum redesign, or in response to industry needs, for example. 

The following procedure provides guiding principles for the termination of individual courses within a program (content revision) and termination of an associate degree, diploma, or certificate.

Teach-Out Plans

A teach-out plan is a written plan developed by an institution that provides for the equitable treatment of students if an institution, or an institutional location that provides fifty (50) percent of at least one (1) program, ceases to operate before all students have completed their program of study, and may include a teach-out agreement between institutions. In such cases and in accord with 34 CFR 602.24 (c), the institution is required to submit the teach-out plan to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) for approval prior to its implementation.

The institution may include a teach-out agreement as part of its teach-out plan. A teach-out agreement is a written agreement between institutions that provides for the equitable treatment of students and a reasonable opportunity for students to complete their program of study if an institution, or an institutional location that provides fifty (50) percent of at least one (1) program offered, ceases to operate before all enrolled students have completed their program of study. If an institution includes a teach-out agreement as part of its teach-out plan, the agreement should be submitted to SACSCOC for approval prior to its implementation.

Durham Tech implements teach-out plans when the College terminates individual course(s) within a program or terminates a program entirely, necessitating the “teaching out” of courses and credentials for currently enrolled students (new students are not admitted to a terminated program). The Program Management Committee manages the process of terminations, with final approval coming from the chief academic officer. The College must report degree program terminations to external regulatory agencies, including the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), SACSCOC, and the Department of Education (DOE). Procedural steps for program terminations and content revisions may be found in the “Program Revision Process” section of the Instructional Services Resource Guide (available via the Employees shared folder).

Student Learning and Instructional Services should be notified of proposed terminations as soon as possible. Individual course or credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) terminations and teach-out plans must go through the Program Management Committee for review. The Program Management Committee will make recommendations to the chief academic officer for final approval. Termination of associate degree programs must also have the approval of the President and the Board of Trustees.

The goal of any teach-out plan is to protect the interests of students and faculty, provide minimal disruption to students, and satisfy the requirements established by the College with SACSCOC. Teach-out plans will vary depending on the length of the program and the remaining courses required of students in the program. Teach-out plans should provide ample opportunity for students to take the courses being phased out; however, the College is under no obligation to ensure a program, diploma, or certificate can be completed after a reasonable teach-out plan. Programs should plan to offer the affected courses on a more frequent schedule in order to ensure students have the opportunity to take the affected courses. 

A teach-out plan should include and/or address the following:

  • A clear timeline that provides for equitable treatment of students to ensure they can complete the program for which they enrolled prior to the decision to terminate. While it is more difficult to determine the number of students seeking a diploma or certificate with accuracy, every effort should be made to ensure students are notified prior to the subsequent semester’s registration period and at least thirty (30) calendar days in advance. The timeline should include the length of time courses will be offered and substitute courses for continuously enrolled students who do not graduate within the timeline. Students who have not maintained continuous enrollment will be required to declare a new program of study. Please consult the Admissions policy for more information;
  • Number of students currently enrolled;
  • Direction on prompt student notification and advising for affected students, ensuring students have ample opportunity to take the courses being terminated;
  • Regular reports each semester to department chairs, deans, and the vice president of Student Learning and Instructional Services to provide monitoring of the teach-out activities; and
  • Notification to Student Information and Records of the termination and teach-out plan.

Copies of teach-out plans should remain on file in the office of Student Learning and Instructional Services. When a program is discontinued, its associated certificate, diploma, or degree will be removed from College resources, including the website, admissions materials, Colleague, and College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC). Further, admissions outreach for the fall semester typically begins in the fall of the previous year; therefore, all curriculum review must go through the Program Management Committee and final approvals need to be obtained by the summer semester of the year preceding the discontinuation of the degree program. 


Continuous Enrollment – Students are considered continuously enrolled at the College if they register for and attend courses (including prerequisites) creditable toward a degree, diploma, or certificate. The student must attend credit coursework in a following semester after the initial enrollment semester (attendance is required in the following fall or spring semester or following spring or fall semester). 

Program of Study – The actual course content of a credential within the NC Community College System’s curriculum standard framework