|(a) The Commissioner may approve proposals from the public universities and health-related institutions for new baccalaureate or master's degree programs and academic administrative change requests, and, in very limited circumstances, new doctoral programs, on behalf of the Board in accordance with the procedures and criteria specified in this section. (b) To be approved by the Commissioner, a proposal for a new degree program must include certification in writing from the Board of Regents of a proposing institution, in a form prescribed by the Commissioner, that the following criteria have been met: (1) The proposed degree program is within the Table of Programs previously approved by the Board for the requesting institution. (2) The curriculum, faculty, resources, support services, and other components of a proposed degree program are comparable to those of high quality programs in the same or similar disciplines offered by other institutions. (3) Clinical or in-service placements, if applicable, have been identified in sufficient number and breadth to support the proposed program. (4) The program is designed to be consistent with the standards of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and with the standards of other applicable accrediting agencies; and is in compliance with appropriate licensing authority requirements. (5) The institution has provided credible evidence of long-term student interest and job-market needs for graduates; or, if proposed by a university, the program is appropriate for the development of a well-rounded array of basic baccalaureate degree programs at the institution where the principal faculty and other resources are already in place to support other approved programs and/or the general core curriculum requirements for all undergraduate students. (6) The program would not be unnecessarily duplicative of existing programs at other institutions. (7) Implementation and operation of the program would not be dependent on future Special Item funding. (8) New costs to the institution over the first five years after implementation of the program would not exceed $2,000,000. (c) In addition to the requirements listed in subsection (a) and (b) of this section, a new doctoral program may only be approved by the Commissioner if: (1) the institution already offers a doctoral program or programs in a closely related disciplinary area, (2) those existing doctoral programs are productive and offered at a high level of quality, (3) the core faculty for the proposed program are already active and productive faculty in an existing doctoral program at the institution, (4) no other university or health-related institution objects to the program during the 30-day comment period during which the request is posted on the web, and (5) there is a very strong link between the program and workforce needs or the economic development of the state. (d) A proposal for a new degree program or administrative change must include a statement from the institution's chief executive officer certifying adequate financing and explaining the sources of funding to support the first five years of operation of the program or administrative change. (e) If a proposal meets the criteria specified in this section, the Commissioner may either approve it or forward it to the Board for consideration at an appropriate quarterly meeting. (f) If a proposal does not meet the criteria specified in this section, the Commissioner may deny approval or forward it to the Board for consideration at an appropriate quarterly meeting. Institutions may appeal the decision to deny approval to the Board. (g) If a proposed program is the subject of an unresolved grievance or dispute between institutions, the Commissioner must forward it to the Board for consideration at an appropriate quarterly meeting. (h) At the beginning of each month, the Commissioner shall make available to the public universities, health-related institutions, community/technical colleges, and Independent Colleges of Texas, Inc. a list of all pending proposals for new degree programs and administrative changes. If an institution wishes to provide the Commissioner information supporting a concern it has about the approval of a pending proposal for a new degree program at another institution, it must do so within one month of the initial listing of the proposal, and it must also forward the information to the proposing institution. (i) The authority given to the Commissioner to approve proposals from public universities and health-related institutions for new degree programs (and other related duties given under this section) may be delegated by the Commissioner to the Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Research. (j) Each quarter, the Commissioner shall send a list of his approvals and disapprovals under this section to Board members. A list of the approvals and disapprovals shall also be attached to the minutes of the next quarterly Board meeting.