Course Proposal: Obsolete Course Policy Process (Discontinuation of Obsolete Courses)

An annual review of course offering activity will be conducted by the Office of the Registrar (RO) and the Office of Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR). The procedural steps of this review are outlined below and subject to change as the process is put into effect. This is not the policy document. For the Obsolete Course Policy, see the KB: https://kb.wisc.edu/apir/98032

  1. The review cycle starts in September. The RO identifies courses that have not been offered in eight years with enrollment, inactivates courses that departments planned to offer that either were not scheduled or did not have enrollment, and inactivates any waiver courses that did not have enrollment within the allotted time. The list of courses not offered with enrollment in the last eight years is sent to APIR.
  2. In October after the release of the schedule of classes for spring, APIR notifies school/college partners of the policy and includes the obsolete courses list; and submits course discontinuation proposals.
  3. October-February: Subject approvers receive emails indicating there is a course they need to either approve, schedule, or request a waiver. If a waiver is requested, the department will need to complete an obsolete course waiver request/course change proposal and get school/college approval by the deadline.
  4. March: The UCC reviews obsolete course waivers. Any course not approved for a waiver, not scheduled, or incomplete proposal will be discontinued effective for the current spring term. This will create red-boxed items in the program proposals.
  5. August/September: If a course planned to be scheduled and was assigned the CACT ‘O’ value effective the prior fall term but  did not have enrollment during the current calendar year, the course is discontinued without any additional opportunities to retain the course. If a course was approved for a waiver and had the CACT ‘A’ value effective the prior fall term but did not have enrollment during the current calendar year, the course is discontinued.

1.Course Identification

Each September, the RO will produce a list of all courses that have not been taught on campus (i.e., offered with enrollment) in at least eight years. Included will be courses that were created at least eight years ago but were never taught as well as courses that have only been used for study abroad or transfer equivalency. The Obsolete Course Policy can be found in the APIR KnowledgeBase: https://kb.wisc.edu/apir/98032. 

  • The obsolete course list produced by the RO will include the last term taught (offered with enrollment on campus) and last term used (including taught, transfer, or study abroad). 
  • The course list is determined by finding the term eight years from the current (fall) term. 

Using the example of Fall 2020: 1212-80=1132. 

  • All courses that do not have a term with UW-Madison enrollment less than 1132 are included in the list of obsolete courses. 
  • The query to produce the list is run on the 10th day of classes, in part to determine the enrollment of the previous year’s obsolete course list (if scheduled or approved for the waiver extension). 
  • The list of courses not taught in the last 8 years will be submitted to APIR no later than October 1. 

In the weeds:

  1. The query used will be sorted into two buckets: 1.) courses that have not been taught in 8 years; 2.) the previous year’s obsolete courses flagged as “will be offered,” and courses that were approved for an extension (“Policy exemption granted”). See the Student Information System (SIS) attribute table below for more information regarding the attributes/values designated for the obsolete course policy process.
    1. The courses that have not been taught in 8 years are sent to APIR for the upcoming obsolete course policy review.
    2. The courses in the second bucket will be discontinued administratively by the RO. Courses with the CACT ‘O’ or CACT ‘A’ attribute/value with an effective date of fall the previous year (e.g., Fall 2020 for the list produced in Sept 2021) that did not have enrollment in the previous three terms (including the current fall term, the previous summer term, and the previous spring term), will be inactivated. Stated another way, these courses need to be offered with enrollment in any of the terms of the current calendar year (e.g., Spring 2021, Summer 2021, or Fall 2021 for the list produced in Sept 2021.) The current fall term (e.g., Fall 2021) will be the effective date of inactivation and the course will be assigned the CACT ‘OI’ attribute value indicating it was intended to be offered, but did not have enrollment. The RO will also create a Lumen deactivation proposal with an effective date of the current term.
In mid-October, APIR will send a memo and the list of obsolete courses to the school/college curriculum coordinators, with encouragement to notify their departments of the policy and process.
The memo includes the following:
  1. The UAPC approved Obsolete Course Policy.
  2. The list of obsolete courses offered by a subject listing in their school/college.
  3. The requirements and deadlines for scheduling a course included on the list within the next year if the department wishes to continue the offering.
  4. How to request a waiver if the course is to be offered within the next two years.
  5. Timeline of key dates and deadlines for the obsolete course process.
3. Discontinuation Process
After the Spring Schedule of Classes is released in October, APIR will submit course discontinuation proposals for courses identified through the obsolete course process. Courses will have a discontinuation term of the spring term (see below for example). Each proposal will have standard language noting the reason for discontinuation as obsolete, the last term taught, and the last term used (offered with enrollment, or used in a study abroad or transfer equivalency). Department chairs and any additional subject approvers will receive an e-mail from the Lumen Courses system notifying them a proposal has been started and needs approval; the notification is the same as all other course proposal approval requests. When a course is cross-listed, the subject listed first alphabetically will be selected.
Standard Lumen Courses Proposal Language:
This course is being deactivated per the Obsolete Course Policy. The course has not had enrollment within the last eight years and is slated to be inactivated. If the department plans to offer the course in the next year or would like an obsolete course waiver for an additional year of scheduling, email lumen@provost.wisc.edu. Include the subject, catalog number, which request you are seeking, and when you intend to offer the course. Waiver requests will receive instructions via email for the obsolete course waiver proposal. If the course can be deactivated, please approve to advance to the next step of workflow. For more information, please read the KnowledgeBase document: https://kb.wisc.edu/apir/98032.
Last offered with enrollment: [insert last term taught with enrollment]
Example:
In Fall 2020 (term 1212), proposals will be discontinued effective Spring 2021 (term 1214).

  • To see who a subject approver for a particular subject is, see the data viz [INSERT link to data viz showing users per role]
  • To see which courses are slated for the obsolete course inactivation, see the data viz [INSERT link to data viz showing courses in obsolete course process]
4. Approval, Scheduling, or Requesting a Waiver

Approving an obsolete course for discontinuation: 

If the department agrees the course should be discontinued, someone in the subject approver role will need to approve the course discontinuation in Lumen. To approve the course discontinuation follow the link provided in the email, use the Lumen Courses dataviz, Lumen Obsolete Course dataviz [INSERT dataviz link], or navigate to the Approve Pages site (selecting the appropriate subject from the dropdown) and approve the course out of their workflow step. If a course is at a cross-listed step (CrosslistedSubjs), the approval can only be done by clicking on the link in the email sent for approval OR by navigating to the https://next-guide.wisc.edu/courseadmin/ page and searching for the course by [subject] + [catalog number] or course key (found at the very bottom of the course form – see this kb for more on how to find course keys: https://kb.wisc.edu/lumen/89210). See the following kb for more information on approving courses: https://kb.wisc.edu/lumen/78922

  • The workflow for approval of courses that are discontinued through the obsolete course process is shorter than the standard workflow: department > cross-listed departments (if applicable) > Office of the Registrar (PeopleSoft step).
  • The expectation is that subject owners for a cross-listed course will communicate with each other if there is any interest in scheduling the course or submitting a waiver request.
  • Programs that use the discontinued course will be notified with a distinct email from Lumen indicating that they need to remove the course from their curriculum. Emails from Lumen are automatically generated and replies to this email address are not monitored.

Scheduling:

If a course on the obsolete list will be offered in the following Spring, Summer, or Fall, it may be removed from the list and retained as an active course, as long as there is enrollment. If you plan to schedule the course within the next three terms (Spring, Summer, or Fall), email lumen@provost.wisc.edu. Include the subject, catalog number, and a statement that you would like to schedule the course, and which term you will offer the course. Requests to schedule a course must be received by the first UCC meeting in March. Any requests after the first UCC meeting will not be allowed.

  • The course proposal for discontinuation will be shredded by APIR and the RO will add the course attribute CACT value ‘O’ (effective fall of the current academic year; e.g., Fall 2020 for the 2020-2021 academic year) to flag the course. The CACT ‘O’ is an indicator in the Student Information System (SIS) that the course is intended to be offered within the next three terms. See the SIS attribute table definitions below.

In the weeds:

  1. For the first year of the new process, the maintenance of the requests will be tracked via a google spreadsheet (shared between APIR/RO). Once an email is received, APIR will log the request and shred the course proposal returning it to a proposal ‘at rest.’ The RO will add a new row in SIS effective dated the fall term of the current academic year. Note, there may be adjustments based on any activity/course changes. In the future, a form may be developed to make this process more streamlined.
  • If the course is not offered with enrollment in the spring term by the March UCC deadline for waiver requests and there are no additional notifications to APIR to schedule the course for spring or fall, the course will be inactivated by the RO effective the current spring. The RO will also add the CACT ‘I’ value. If a course is inactivated, clean up may need to occur in programs that utilize the discontinued courses, which ensures that the June 1 Guide is the most accurate version of the curriculum effective fall of the following year.
  • If a course was slated for the obsolete course process and was scheduled for summer or fall but did not have enrollment by the 10th day of class in September, the RO will inactivate and archive the course effective the current fall term without additional opportunities to retain it. A discontinuation proposal will be submitted by the RO through Lumen Courses with standard language. The RO will also add the CACT ‘OI’ value.

In the weeds:

  1. At the time the Fall Schedule of Classes is released in March, the RO will run a query looking for courses that are:
    1. On the obsolete course list with enrollment for spring. These courses should not be inactivated. If the department requested to schedule the course, the CACT ‘O’ value will be on the course. This value may remain.
    2. On the obsolete course list and scheduled for summer or fall. These courses should remain active with the CACT attribute of ‘O’ (effective fall of the current academic year). The verification of enrollment will happen in September. It’s possible a department did not communicate their intent to schedule an obsolete course, and this serves as a double check to ensure these courses do not erroneously become inactive due to miscommunication.
    3. In workflow limbo. These courses, if not scheduled, will need their discontinuation proposals shredded (depending on the current state) and new discontinuation proposals will need to be submitted. APIR and RO will work together in March related to this process.

Standard Lumen Courses Text for Courses Scheduled that Did Not Have Enrollment:

This course is being deactivated per the obsolete course proposal policy. The course was either not scheduled, or did not have enrollment within the allotted timeframe. For more information, please read the KnowledgeBase document: https://kb.wisc.edu/apir/98032.
Last offered with enrollment: [insert last term taught with enrollment]

Examples: 

  1. If a course identified through the obsolete course process in Fall 2020 (term 1212) is offered with enrollment in Spring (term 1214) by the first UCC meeting in March 2021, the course will not be discontinued and the eight-year clock will restart.
  2. If a course identified through the obsolete course process in Fall 2020 (term 1212) is scheduled for Summer or Fall 2021 (terms 1216 or 1222) by the time the Fall Schedule of Classes is released, the discontinuation proposal will be shredded. The course must have/or had enrollment by the 10th day of class of the term in Fall 2021 (term 1222) to retain the course. If not, the RO will create a discontinuation proposal effective Fall 2021 (term 1222) and will discontinue the course.

Requesting a Waiver: 

If the department will not be offering the course in the immediate Spring, Summer, or Fall terms but intends to teach the class within two years, it must: 

  1. Request a course waiver and submit an obsolete course change waiver proposal. Email lumen@provost.wisc.edu, include the subject, catalog number, and that you are requesting a waiver. APIR will shred the discontinuation proposal, initiate a course change proposal by editing and saving the course, flag it as an obsolete course waiver, and provide more information on next steps for approval.
  2. Complete the course change proposal, i.e. obsolete course waiver request. There are additional questions on the form relating to the course not being taught in eight years that need to be addressed.
  3. Ensure the course has an up-to-date title, description, requisite, learning outcomes, and syllabus, along with any additional required elements of the proposal.
  4. Submit the course proposal.

A waiver is reviewed and must be approved by the department, school/college, and the University Curriculum Committee (UCC). If approved, the department must offer the course with enrollment to retain the course. The waiver (course proposal) will be approved, and the RO will add the CACT ‘A’ value to the course with an effective date of the following fall term (e.g., Fall 2021 if approved in Spring 2021). The UCC reviews the waiver requests at the first UCC meeting in March.

  • If a course is not taught with enrollment within the two-year window (starting the term in which the course was initially identified through the obsolete course policy), the course will be inactivated without additional notification. The two-year window includes the year in which the process kicks off (see below for an example).
  1. The course specialist in the RO will run a query in September looking for courses with the CACT ‘A’ attribute/value. The CACT ‘A’ is an indicator in SIS that the course has been approved for a course waiver and must be offered within the two-year window to be retained. See the SIS attribute table definitions below.

In the weeds:

  1. If there was enrollment, the eight-year clock starts over, the course is retained, and subsequently will not show up on the report.
  2. If the course was not offered with enrollment, the course will be inactivated and archived by the RO effective the Fall term in which the query is run before submitting the list to APIR. The RO will create a discontinuation proposal, enter standard language in the rationale, select the current Fall term, and admin save. This will route the course directly to the PeopleSoft step of workflow. Then the course will be bridged, and then needs to be archived in Lumen (if appropriate based on course usage in student records).

Standard Lumen Courses Waiver Text for Approved and Not Offered Courses: 

This course is being deactivated per the obsolete course proposal policy. The course was approved for a waiver and did not have enrollment within the two-year window. For more information, please read the knowledgebase document: https://kb.wisc.edu/apir/98032.
Last offered with enrollment: [insert last term taught with enrollment]

Example: 

If a course identified as being obsolete in Fall 2020 (term 1212) is approved for an obsolete course waiver at the first March UCC meeting (in term 1214), the waiver will extend the available time to schedule an additional year from Fall 2021 (1222), which allows the additional two years from the eight-year obsolete identification. If the course is not offered during the calendar year 2022 (terms 1224, 1226, 1232), the course will be discontinued without additional opportunities to retain the course in Fall 2022 (term 1232).

- Identification (year eight), year of waiver request (year nine), additional year from waiver request approval (year ten).

No Response: 

If there is no response by the deadline, APIR will administratively approve the discontinuation proposals for all obsolete courses and the RO will update SIS.

No response is determined by:

  1. A course still in workflow that hasn’t been approved by the department or cross-listed departments by the March UCC deadline meeting.
  2. A waiver has not been completed and reviewed by the UCC by the March deadline. Note: this deadline means that a waiver must be approved by the associated school/college(s) no later than the end of February.
  3. An obsolete course discontinuation proposal is ‘rolled back’ out of workflow. If a course proposal is rolled out of workflow (to the proposer) by the department approver, cross-listed subject(s), or school/college approver, APIR will re-submit the proposal to workflow and approve it(i.e., this is not a way to ask a question, request a waiver etc.).

Note: If a course in any of the previous scenarios has been offered with enrollment, the course proposal will be ‘shredded,’ or removed (putting the course back on the shelf as an active course). The eight-year clock will restart.

Coming soon!

6. SIS CACT Attribute Value Meaning

The values in this table are historical and are not being revised due to a revamp of the process.

Course Attribute

Course Attribute Value

Description

Formal Description

Effective Date Notes

CACT

A

Policy exemption granted

Obsolete Course Policy exemption appeal granted

Added with an effective date for the following fall term. 

Example: If waiver approved March 2020, course change effective date will be Fall 2020.

CACT
AI
Course was not offered after appeal
Course inactivated as was not offered after approved appeal
Added with an effective date of the current term (same as deactivation term).

Example: If course had approved waiver effective Fall 2020 and was not offered nor had enrollment, the course will be inactivated for Fall 2021.

CACT

E

Course exempted from policy

Obsolete Course Policy exempts course inactivation

 

CACT

I

Course inactivated per policy

Course inactivated per Obsolete Course Policy

Added with an effective date of the current term (same as deactivation term). 

Example: If discontinuation proposal is approved Fall 2020, course will be discontinued effective Fall 2020.

CACT

O

Course will be offered

Course will be offered in next three terms

Added with an effective date for the fall of the current academic year. 

Example: If identified through the policy in Fall 2020 and course is planned to be offered in Spring, Summer, or Fall 2021, a new row in SIS will be added with an effective date of Fall 2020.

CACT

OI

Course was not offered

Course inactivated as was not offered as planned

Added with an effective date of the current term (same as deactivation term). 

Example: If course identified through the obsolete course policy process in Fall 2020 and was not offered nor had enrollment, the course will be inactivated for Fall 2021.


7. Course Number Reuse Policy and the Obsolete Course Process.

A course that is inactive and has not been used (i.e., taught or transfer/study abroad equivalency) for eight years is eligible for its number to be reused on a proposal for a new course. As part of the obsolete course process, courses that have not been used for eight years are discontinued and archived in Lumen Courses, which makes the course number available for reuse. Note: not all courses discontinued through the obsolete course process will have a number that may immediately be reused due to use as a transfer or study abroad equivalency within the past eight years.

For more information, see the Course Number Policy KB: https://kb.wisc.edu/apir/98032

For more information on how to find archived courses, see the Lumen Courses: Archiving Courses KB: https://kb.wisc.edu/lumen/104224

See Also:




Keywords:Obsolete, OCP, Discontinued, discontinue, waiver   Doc ID:96337
Owner:Melissa S.Group: Lumen and Guide
Created:2019-12-02 17:08 CDTUpdated:2021-01-13 14:40 CDT
Sites: Lumen and Guide
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