Definition of Sanctionable Units and Recommendations and
Guidelines for Campus Facilitation of Progress to the Degree
AS-2646-04/AA - March 11-12, 2004
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State
University (CSU) accept the definition:
Sanctionable Units: units in excess of 20% over the student's
current degree/credential program including all CSU eligible units transferred
and all CSU baccalaureate-level units attempted and excluding units accumulated
prior to completion of the summer immediately following high school
; and be it, further
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU urge, rather than
using the above definition of sanctionable units as a means to penalize CSU
students or campuses, that the Task Force on Excess Units recommend and the CSU
Board of Trustees approve campus review and action in the following areas to
facilitate students in their progress to graduation:
- Each campus will conduct a careful survey of possible impediments to the
progress to the degree.
- Each campus will review its advising procedures with the goal of creating
improved and mandatory advising that is the best fit for the campus's own
calendar and particular mix of majors.
- Each program that offers a degree or credential will review its plans for
advising majors and for scheduling required courses and stipulated electives.
- Each campus academic senate should review campus policies on repeating
courses, changing majors, and registration to ensure those policies encourage
students to graduate in a timely fashion; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU recommend the
following guidelines for campuses to use for adapting or developing campus
- Require a timely declaration of major. In general, require that
students declare a major after completing 25% of their total program (e.g.,
30 semester units for a 120 semester-unit program, 45 quarter units for a
180 quarter-unit program) and before completing 40% (i.e., 48 semester
units, 72 quarter units) in the example above.
- Require students to develop a personal graduation plan based on the
declared major. Students should work with a faculty advisor in their major
to develop a personal graduation plan permitting timely completion of the
degree. If the personal graduation plan is not completed by the time the
student completes 75% of the program, there should be a hold placed on
registration until the plan is completed and approved by the appropriate
- Perform a degree audit in the semester or quarter when a student reaches
75% of the program and inform the student and the student's advisor of
- Implement an automated degree audit system as soon as possible.
- Put in place requirements such that when a student reaches 100% of the
units needed for the degree program and does not graduate there are
specified and progressively more stringent procedures that the student must
follow until, at an appropriate point, the student is disenrolled for
failing to make adequate progress toward the declared degree objective.
- Campuses should provide adequate funding for both major and
- Departmental plans and schedules:
- Each program should regularly review and, as necessary, revise its
"academic road map" to ensure a clear and expeditious path to degree.
- Each program should offer, as resources allow, required courses and
stipulated electives regularly and on a predictable, published schedule.
- For higher-unit sequential degree programs, the program faculty should
develop alternative plans to assist students who take courses out of sequence.
- Campuses should develop policies that discourage late changes in major.
- Campuses should develop policies that discourage excessive course
- Campuses should, to provide access to courses for the greatest number
of students, develop policies that discourage registration for more than a
full load of courses.
- Campuses should give careful consideration to the role of "gateway"
courses and inform students that inability to make the required grade in
the courses indicates a different degree program choice.
- Develop financial aid policy to encourage students to take
degree-appropriate units and finish their programs expeditiously.
RATIONALE: The proposed definition was developed by
the Academic Affairs Committee in response to a request for a definition from
the Task Force on Excess Units. Application of the definition would provide a
basis for penalizing campuses for allowing students to take units well beyond
those required for a baccalaureate degree program and/or to penalize students
for those units. During a time of budget pressures combined with increased
demand for access to the CSU, it may not be unreasonable to assert that at some
point beyond the units necessary to complete a degree program, units may be
deemed excessive. The definition of sanctionable units is a curricular matter
and should be determined by the faculty.
The most effective action toward facilitating progress to the degree, however,
is for each campus to build on the plans developed in response to Facilitating
Student Success in Achieving the Baccalaureate Degree (2002). Only by
identifying the relevant issues will the campus be able to move most effectively
to resolve those issues. Results of campus surveys of impediments are likely
to vary; while Facilitating Student Success identifies some possibilities, it
is unlikely that one size fits all. Further, each program that offers a
baccalaureate degree should review the material in the report and adopt or
adapt those best suited for its own situation.
APPROVED - May 6-7, 2004