The Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Programs (OVPAP), established in July of 2014, is responsible for:
- Overseeing the University's academic programs
- Monitoring of educational partnerships with US and foreign universities and organizations
- Managing University accreditation
- Advancing interdisciplinary programs within schools and departments in the University
- Administering Presidential Teaching Awards for faculty and graduate student instructors
- Facilitating interschool fellowships for graduate students
Overseeing the University’s academic programs
There are several levels of oversight and review for new educational programs (i.e. Bachelor's, Master's, doctoral degrees, and certificates), both within the University and by external agencies. OVPAP is responsible for ensuring that all new programs, and changes to programs, go through the proper approval processes, are properly registered with New York State, and meet all standards and requirements of accreditors and federal and state agencies.
Monitoring of educational partnerships with US and foreign universities and organizations
Students at Columbia have a wide range of opportunities to further their studies in the US and globally through a variety of joint programs, exchanges, and study abroad options. Formal agreements are essential to foster these educational relationships between Columbia and other institutions. OVPAP provides guidance and consultation on creating such agreements, and must approve all such agreements prior to their signing by the Provost.
Managing University accreditation
Quality assurance in the United States is conducted through accreditation by non-governmental regional accrediting bodies. Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Columbia's ten-year reaccreditation review will occur in 2015-2016. As part of this effort, the university is conducting a self-study review on the topic of the globalization of a Columbia education, an opportunity to explore a core part of Columbia's mission. Re-accreditation further involves a major review of documents and evidence to demonstrate compliance with MSCHE's "Standards of Excellence."
Advancing interdisciplinary programs within schools and departments in the University
There has been tremendous growth and interest in interdisciplinary educational and research efforts across the University. However, logistical challenges can hinder the progress and success of these initiatives. The Office of Academic Programs works closely with schools, departments, centers, and institutes to reduce barriers and facilitate greater participation in cross-school, cross-boundary academic programs.
Administering Presidential Teaching Awards for faculty and graduate students
The Presidential Teaching Awards honor the best of Columbia’s teachers. There are two award categories: one for faculty and one for graduate student instructors (teaching assistants). Each year, nominations are solicited from the Columbia community and winners are recommended to the President by the awards committee. Winners are announced in advance of commencement celebrations in May.
Facilitating interschool fellowships for graduate students
In 2014-2015, as part of its developing role in interdisciplinary activities across the university, OVPAP began to facilitate two interschool fellowships. These are the Lemann Foundation Interschool Fellowship and the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowship. The Lemann Fellowship seeks to advance positive social change in Brazil by providing financial assistance to graduate students who demonstrate a commitment to addressing crucial development challenges facing Brazil (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/fellowships/lemann.html). The Liebmann Fellowships provide funding for graduate study in any recognized field of study in the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences, or for independent research or study projects (https://www.college.columbia.edu/students/fellowships/catalog/liebmann-fund-fellowships).