Academic Structure - Overview

Policy regarding the university's academic structure, including a visual overview and link to the Tableau visualization

Policy

Academic Structure

Policy Number

UW-1052

Responsible Office

Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research

Type

University Policy

Rationale/​Purpose

This policy is a codified source for information about the academic structure which:

  • Clarifies how academic divisions (school/colleges) are related to academic units (departments and department-like units), and how academic units are related to academic programs and subject listings.
  • Defines how elements of the academic structure are related to budgetary units.
  • Provides common definitions for data systems that consume the academic structure.
  • Ensures consistency in data and reports.

Policy

The academic structure and its elements are the building blocks for an academic institution; it is a representation of academic divisions (school/colleges) as the umbrella organization responsible for academic units (departments and department-like units) which, in turn, are the home of tenured faculty, academic programs (degrees, certificates, minors, named options) and subject listings (courses). The faculty and staff are responsible for carrying out the duties of the academic unit. Faculty ensure compliance of policies and procedures via shared governance bodies. Each component of the academic structure has a foundation in policies of the UW System Board of Regents, UW-Madison Faculty Policy and Procedures, and accreditation bodies. The official academic structure is maintained in the Student Information System (SIS) and is accessed electronically through the data extracts from the data warehouse. The SIS stores codes that uniquely identify the elements of the academic structure. Codes may have attributes associated with them that further describe their place and role in the academic structure.

  1. All elements that comprise the academic structure must be approved through faculty governance including the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee, the University Academic Planning Council, University Curriculum Committee, and the UW Board of Regents as applicable.
  2. The provost or provost’s designee is the sole authority to communicate the completed governance actions to the Registrar’s Office for entry into the specified systems.
  3. The Student Information System (SIS) is the system of record for the academic structure. All other data systems that consume this information acquire it through an integration with the Student Information System, or from an integration with the Curricular and Academic Data Store (CAOS) or the data warehouse, both of which receive data directly from the SIS.
  4. The academic structure defines the relationships between academic programs (degrees, enrollments) and academic units (chair, faculty, instructors, staff, budgets, expenditures) and subject listings (course enrollments, student credit hours) for budget and financial purposes via the UDDS associated with the academic unit.

Related UW–Madison Documents, Web Pages, or Other Resources

External References

Approval Authority

Vice Provost for Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research

Policy Manager

Vice Provost for Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research

Contact

Associate Director, Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research -- Michelle Young, MEYOUNG@WISC.EDU, (608) 262-2143

Effective Date

09-01-2017
Source: View policy UW-1052 in the UW-Madison Policy Library

Procedures

The academic structure and its elements are the building blocks for an academic institution, from the institution itself down to degrees. Components of the structure include such things as academic careers, academic departments, plans and subplans, subjects, etc.

The academic structure is a representation of academic actions approved through governance and should be used as the single source of truth for approved governance actions. Each component of the academic structure has a foundation in policies from the UW System Board of Regents, UW-Madison Faculty Policy and Procedures, and accreditation bodies. The official academic structure is maintained in the Student Information System (SIS) and is accessed electronically through the data extracts from the InfoAccess data warehouse.

Responsibility for maintaining the academic structure in the single source of truth is shared by Data, Academic Planning and Institutional Research (DAPIR) and the Office of the Registrar.

Having a single, codified source for information about the academic structure:

  • Makes it clear how schools and colleges are related to departments, how departments are related to academic plans and subplans, and how departments are related to curricular subjects.
  • Defines how elements of the academic structure are related to budgetary units.
  • Enables the electronic connection between data systems that consume the academic structure and saves the time and resources that would be needed to maintain separate systems.
  • Ensures consistency in reporting about the academic structure by maintaining a single source of attributes of departments, plans, subplans, and curricular subjects.

Following are policy considerations related to the academic structure:

  • All entries in the academic structure must be approved through faculty governance steps (department/academic unit; school/college; campus level Graduate Faculty Executive Committee and University Academic Planning Council; Board of Regents or subsequent steps if required).
  • The provost or provost’s designee (currently the vice provost/director of Data, Academic Planning and Institutional Research [DAPIR]) is the sole authority to communicate the completed governance actions to the Registrar’s Office for entry into the specified SIS tables/fields. Currently that communication is via formal memo; the when fully implemented the digital curriculum/program management system will become the vehicle for communication.
  • The Student Information System (SIS) is the system of record for the academic structure data, and any information technology or data system that requires this information for operation will consume it from SIS, or from an immediately downstream source---either CAOS or InfoAccess.
  • The academic structure defines the official linkage between academic programs (degrees, enrollments) and courses (course enrollments, student credit hours) and academic units (“responsible adult”/chair, faculty, instructors, staff, budgets, expenditures).
  • Any system or record that requires a list of any of the components of the academic structure, or a link between programs and units is required to use the academic structure as the sole, official record.  

Following is a visual overview of the university's academic structure:

Visual Overview of UW-Madison's Academic Structure

Tableau Visualization of the Academic Structure

UW-Madison's academic structure is captured and detailed in a Tableau visualization titled UW-Madison's Academic Structure. This visualization includes curricular subjects and academic plans and subplans with information about the school/college and departments that are responsible for them. It can be filtered to the school/college and department levels.



Keywordsstructure   Doc ID108336
OwnerKaren M.GroupAcademic Planning
Created2021-01-13 14:53:03Updated2024-06-26 12:58:53
SitesAcademic Planning
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