Responsibilities of Academic Program Coordinators

Distance Education (DE) at Appalachian State is the unit that is charged with partnering with academic departments to deliver degree or certificate programs in which the students are not present on campus. The programs delivered by DE are conducted at any of a number of approved sites across the region and online, and they span from undergraduate to doctoral degrees.

Broadly speaking, Distance Education’s responsibilities are to provide those logistical and functional services that are not available to off-campus programs otherwise, including program and site approvals by GA and SACSCOC, development and execution of a recruiting plan (in conjunction with program faculty), student support not provided by campus, and other related functions.

Program coordinators, then, are departmental representatives-- or liaison to DE-- who are responsible for all academic decisions, including academic advising, course scheduling, instructor recruitment and assignment, and other related functions. While programs and departments may use different titles for this individual (Program Director, Advisor, etc.), for the sake of simplicity in this document we will reference Program Coordinators (PCs).

Below are responsibilities and Best practices for PCs:

  • Identify, as early as possible, proposed new off-campus programs (including degrees, certificates, and add-on teacher licensures), locations, or delivery mode changes, and engage DE in a planning meeting for assistance in completing the appropriate approvals.

  • As appropriate, review the information provided on this website pertaining to planning, determining the start date/semester for the program/cohort, and the required approval/authorization procedures.

  • Liaise with campus support units and representatives from other departments or colleges that are expected to contribute courses to the program, both in the planning and operating phases.

  • Collaborate with Distance Education staff to develop and execute marketing and recruiting plans for the program, including production of promotional testimonials, etc. Best Practice when an event or activity includes prospective students is to have a member of the faculty in that activity.

  • As requested, provide two-year course schedules and headcount estimates.

  • Ensure that all faculty who will teach in the program, especially those from outside the home department, understand that all required courses must be taught in the way and within the time frame as approved by SACS and/or GA. SACS is very clear that the program delivery must be described accurately in all promotional materials so that applicants can make informed decisions about whether they can meet “seat time” (any synchronous meeting, whether it be at a site or on the web)  and other requirements. The PC is responsible for working with DE staff to manage any deviations from approved protocols.

  • Ensure that textbook orders for all program classes are submitted to the ASU Bookstore as required by law and university policies and procedures.

  • Keep Distance Education staff informed of any information relative to pre-applicants and applicants who communicate directly with the academic department, thus enabling Distance Education to track and manage contact with prospective applicants.

  • When appropriate, indicate to Distance Education staff both the minimum number of admissions required to go forward with a cohort and the maximum number of students to be accepted into a particular cohort. ASU policy sets minimum enrollment numbers and provides for exceptions when warranted.

  • Inform Distance Education staff as soon as possible of the decision to cancel or delay a cohort start due to insufficient applications. When appropriate, PCs should work with DE staff to inform applicants of the decision and any options that might be available to them.

  • In the case of undergraduate cohorts, explore with Distance Education staff options for offering any lower-division (cognate/foundation) degree program course(s) required for which a large majority of the students admitted to the cohort have a deficiency. UNC schools are not allowed to offer lower-division courses through DE unless it is not otherwise available (online through other regionally accredited institutions, community college on-ground or online, etc.).

  • Working with Distance Education staff, review and approve requests by campus or other students to be added to existing cohorts or to enroll in existing DE classes. Students not admitted to distance education cohorts are not permitted to enroll in cohort classes without the consent (via the electronic registration request forms) of the Program Coordinator.  The form for students seeking registration in a Distance Ed. class is available at:  

  • Provide, or arrange for, academic advising of all program students. DE staff are neither qualified nor approved to perform this function.

  • Set the schedule of courses for the cohort as described in the SACS Prospectus (approval document) and subsequently ensure that it is followed.

  • Serve as the initial contact with faculty assigned to off-campus courses, ensuring that instructors assigned to teach the courses as scheduled for all cohorts in the program are aware of the assignment and agree to review and abide by the Faculty Handbook.

  • Ensure that chairpersons of all of the “contributing” academic departments from which off-campus courses will be delivered for the cohort are made aware well before the schedule-building process for the semester begins of the need to staff upcoming courses and to meet deadlines for completing the Distance Education Course Request Form that triggers Banner course set-ups and room requests to off-campus sites.

  • Assume responsibility for ensuring that the web-based Course Request Form is completed by the assigned faculty member and submitted, by the stated deadline, to the Office of Distance Education to guarantee that room requests to off-campus sites are possible as early as possible and to enable Banner course set-ups by the deadline.

  • Inform faculty assigned to teach off-campus courses (at the time the assignment is made) about the Distance Learning Library Services. The Program Coordinator will ensure that the library resources orientation is incorporated into a class session during the first or second term of the cohort (The Academic Program Coordinator and/or the faculty member of the course will contact Kelly McCallilster at, Coordinator of the Distance Learning Library Services, to arrange the library resources orientation whether it be delivered onsite or via an online guide.)

  • Ensure that any changes to the Academic Coordinator List are communicated to Distance Education, via the web-based update form as soon as possible.

  • Best Practice is to have no more than 5 cohorts assigned to an individual Program Coordinator.

  • Manage any student issues related to code of conduct and academic integrity.


Mailing Address:
ASU Box 32054

Physical Address:
2nd Floor, University Hall
400 University Hall Drive
Boone, NC 28608

Phone: 828-262-3113
Toll-Free: 800-355-4084
Fax: 828-265-8673

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