Courses - Student Group Guidelines for Requisites
The following guidelines are associated with student groups that are classified as being used either at the catalog- or section-level. Catalog-level requisites detail and enforce the academic preparation students need to be successful in a course, where section-level requisites enable enrollment management. As a part of this academic preparation, requisites should be curated from existing UW-Madison courses, placement exam equivalencies, and/or departmental exam equivalencies that equate to the level of learning required to be successful in any given course. Student groups may only be used in catalog-level or section-level requisites when they meet the guidelines below.
Catalog-level requisites indicate the academic preparation necessary to be successful in a course. Typically, this includes existing UW-Madison courses, placement exam scores, and/or student level, but in a few limited instances student groups may be used. Student groups set at the catalog-level mean any student added to the specific group included in the requisite will be able to enroll in any section of the course. Student groups approved to be used at the catalog-level may not be used for any purpose other than the original, approved intention and are reviewed every five (5) years.
Student Groups approved for use at the Catalog Level
Student groups approved for use and explicitly stated in a course requisite were reviewed by a small working group that assessed:
- What is the academic preparation associated with this subset of students?
- Is enrollment manageable if the student group did not exist (versus individual permissioning)?
- How many courses is this student group associated with?
- How are students vetted for inclusion in the student group? Are they able to be identified in another way?
- Who manages this group, ensuring that the student group is accurate and utilized only for the purpose intended?
In some cases, academic preparation exists but may not be enforceable in the Student Information System. Students generally are vetted by application or other pointed purpose and put in a student group allowing an easier enrollment experience. For example, students in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program apply, are accepted, and then enroll in INTER-LS 210. This program admits approximately 180 students and students enroll in the course twice, using a requisite of “Member of Undergraduate Research Scholars program” allows any student in the group to enroll in a course that would otherwise need to be managed by consent of instructor.
Appropriate examples of these student groups used in a requisite:
- Member of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)
- Member of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program
If a department or program would like to have a student group created for use in catalog-level requisites, see Roles and Responsibilities for more information.
See the list of existing, approved catalog-level student groups.
Student Groups not published in the public facing requisite
All catalog-level requisites must be clearly stated so the reader knows the expectations for enrollment, including student groups. In limited cases it is acceptable to not mention the student group in the requisite text when doing so is redundant.
The student groups may be used in catalog-level requisites for large service courses where academic preparation exists but may not have been posted to a student’s record yet (transfer credit, AP/IB/CLEP scores, placement exam scores). A large service course is one with a large number of sections and/or enrolls hundreds of students (CHEM 103/104, MATH 211 or MATH 221). In these instances, the student enrollment experience may be negatively impacted by requiring individual, section-based permissions. To improve the student experience and to minimize the administrative workload, student groups are used at the catalog-level allowing students who have the academic preparation to enroll in any section of the course that fits their schedule. In this situation the student group is not mentioned in the requisite language because the student group is being used as a temporary proxy for the stated required preparation.
The following rationales were determined appropriate for utilizing student groups in requisites, but not published, primarily to enroll in courses at SOAR where they have the academic preparation (met the requisite), but it is not yet on their student record.
- Transfer courses: a student may have taken an equivalent course at a different institution and the transfer credit has not yet posted.
- Advanced placement exams: a student may have taken an advanced placement exam and the score has not posted to their record, but they have proof of their score. (AP, IB, CLEP)
- UW-System or departmental placement exam: these may be taken during SOAR and while the resulting score is known, it is not yet in SIS.
- Departmental credit by exam: the student has taken a departmental credit by exam and achieved a score that grants credit for a UW-Madison course, but this has not yet been posted.
- Other experience: a student may have other academic preparation that indicates they are qualified to enroll in a course. The department investigates to ensure they have the background required through course work that is not transcripted (special students or graduate/professional students) or is not possible to post a transfer equivalency (student took courses at multiple institutions that add up to a course at UW-Madison).
Student groups may not be added to behind the scenes in a requisite to allow permissioning of students, in a way that bypasses other tools (departmental credit by exam, placement exams) created to provide transparent ways of determining that a student is “otherwise qualified.” When utilizing credit by exam or placement exam as a method for enrollment, requisites can be evaluated ensuring that they are appropriately reflecting academic preparation for a course. See the Policy on Department Placement exams for more information.
Instances where a student group may be used in a requisite at the catalog-level when it does not need to be in the public facing requisite are extremely limited and must be approved by Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR).
With the exception of course-level permissions for large service courses detailed above, enrollment-control requisites using student groups should be at the section level. Whereas catalog requisites focus on academic preparation and require academic-governance oversight, section-level requisites serve operational and programmatic needs and do not require University Curriculum Committee approval. For example, at the start of enrollment a department may apply a section-level requisite to limit a popular upper-level undergraduate course to declared majors to ensure that these students can make timely degree progress and may be changed during the enrollment process if the instructor wants to open enrollment. In some cases, these enrollment controls cannot be accomplished with existing SIS values and a student group may be appropriate.
Student groups utilized in section-level enrollment management do not need to be approved by APIR. Any student group utilized at the section-level needs to be flagged as useable (not all student groups may be used in requisites/enrollment management).
Consult with your school/college contact if you feel a student group approved for use at the section level should be applied at the catalog-level. The school/college contact will then consult with APIR [firstname.lastname@example.org].
If a department would like to create a student group for use in catalog-level requisites, they should first consult with their school/college curriculum contact. The school/college curriculum contact will consult with Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) to see if creating a student group fits the criteria and is allowable by policy. If the student group meets an acceptable use, the department should then follow the typical procedures for changing a course requisite, which is to submit a course change proposal. With the first course proposal that involves the new proposed student group, the proposer should also include the following information:
- What is the purpose of the group/why is a student group needed?
- Which students qualify to be added in the student group?
- Who manages the student group?
Once the UCC approves the course proposal, the Course Specialist will add the student group to the existing requisite (following traditional course governance). If a department contacts the RO to create a student group to be utilized in a catalog requisite, the RO will direct the department to the appropriate school/college contact.