Guide publishes annually on June 1 for each upcoming academic year, which incorporates course and program data and non-governed content. The Lumen suite of tools feeds Guide content in support of the Single Source of Truth. The publication cycle was based on decisions made by the Lumen implementation teams (Catalog, Courses, Programs/Structures) and ACPRAC. While Guide looks like a website, it is a database aligned with the approved publication cycle and cannot be updated outside those dates.
Historically, the undergraduate and graduate catalogs published every two years (offset so a refreshed catalog published every year). Prior to the undergraduate and graduate catalogs, there were also catalogs distributed from individual schools/colleges. The format of these catalogs was first printed, and then published on a website maintained by University Communications. The infrequency of publication, lack of structured workflow for communication, and catalog being physically printed (out of date by the time of printing) or based on a website (could be updated at any time) resulted in an inaccurate catalog and no single authoritative publication that described academic programs and curricular requirements.
The Lumen suite allows:
- non-governed catalog content to be updated more frequently (annually).
- accurate program governed content reviewed/approved through formal governance to be updated on a predictable cycle.
- clear communication for implementation.
- transparency on all courses, programs, and the academic structure.
ACPRAC and the Guide Coordinator Core Implementation Team discussed publishing the Guide in March to align with the release of the fall Schedule of Classes. With a recognition that a March publication was impractical given the timelines for governance approval (many programs and program changes approved in late spring); the Guide Coordinators recommended a June 1 publication date. A June 1 publication date makes the Guide useful for summer Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR). Additionally, they approved the Guide Content Update Principles by Tab matrix (inclusive of the annual publication). The annual update cycle more seamlessly aligns with the University’s curricular change proposal and approval cycles and serves to reduce and eventually eliminate the need for mid-cycle updates. Finally, the Guide Coordinators requested that the matrix publication date be reassessed annually to determine if stakeholder needs continue to be met.
In order to allow time for final UW-Madison Guide edits and for the vendor to complete their processes for publication of a new (June publish) catalog, items on the April University Academic Planning Council (UAPC) meeting are the last to be incorporated into the June Guide publication. Academic programs approved in May, June, or September that are effective for fall need to be included in the current edition to reflect an accurate representation of the academic offerings for the current publication. The Guide Coordinators and ACPRAC approved the incorporation of academic programs approved in May, June, or September at the point of the October mid-cycle update.
Each program proposal should be inclusive of all changes proposed for the following year. As such, the proposal is kept ‘off the shelf’ (like a physical library book that can only be checked out by one person at a time) until closer to publication to maintain a concise annual record. This also minimizes the number or proposals for any given program for a single editing cycle. All program proposals are marked complete at the end of April, kicking off “Preview Days.” Preview Days allowed end users to review both non-governed and governed content in a single environment in a finalized format prior to publishing.
The Guide Coordinators recommended allowing optional promotional pages for new programs approved at the May and June UAPC meetings that are effective a term outside the current Guide edition to also be published in the October mid-cycle update.
Mid-cycle updates were introduced when Guide launched to refresh course data for the spring and summer terms. Curricular changes are allowable due to these changes or for critical errors made for the June (effective fall) publication.