Changing the Name of Your L&S Academic Program or Department

Changes to the names of academic programs and departments fall under the purview of the L&S Academic Planning Council. Such changes require various levels of governance approval (including the University Academic Planning Council and a formal reading to the university Faculty Senate). To ensure that this process goes smoothly, we encourage consultation with stakeholders (students, alumni), as well as with departments, schools and colleges that may be affected by the name change.

Academic Program Name Changes

As research progresses and scholarly fields evolve, it is not unusual to find that the approved name of an academic program no longer aligns with the program as it currently exists. Program names can be updated using relatively simple procedures that ensure appropriate oversight via faculty governance, and that administrative areas and processes affected by the changes are informed and aligned with the new name. The process follows guidelines for changing program names set by the University Academic Planning Council, and are submitted for review using the Lumen Programs system. The Lumen Program system guides users through a series of questions about the program to ensure that all factors associated with a requested change have been considered by the faculty. (For example, changes in program name should be discussed with students and/or alumni, might require revision of program learning outcomes and/or updating of the assessment plan and program requirements, and likely will require an update to the Guide entry.)

Following approval by the department or program, the proposal is submitted to the Dean. It is then shared more widely with L&S Departments and then it is presented (along with any comments and testimonials of support), to the L&S Academic Planning Council for college-level approval. Once approved by the L&S APC, the request is forwarded to the University APC. Because implementation of changes to program names is delayed until a future Fall term, with first publication aligned with the Guide edition for that term, proposals to change program names should be submitted no later than the end of the prior Fall term.

It is important to know that changing the name of an academic program (e.g., the major or certificate program) does not also change the name of the administrative unit housing the program; nor does it change any associated subject listings. Each of these actions is a distinct action that must explicitly be requested and approved.

Department/Unit Name Changes

Just as the names of academic programs may need to keep pace with trends in research and scholarship, so, too, may names of departments.  Though less frequent than changes to program names, changes to department or unit names follow procedures similar to those described above.  The process begins with preparation of a Lumen Structures proposal. The request takes the form of a memorandum explaining the request, the rationale for making the change, the process for consultation with stakeholders, and the faculty vote approving the changes. This memo is attached to the Lumen Structures form. As with other name changes, the UAPC expects consultation with constituents and across units during the process. Proposals are submitted to the Dean prior to consideration by the L&S Academic Planning Council for college-level approval. When approved by the L&S APC, the Dean forwards the request to the Provost, who will present it to the University Academic Planning Council. The Secretary of the Faculty and University Committee are informed following UAPC approval.

Changes to department/unit names affect a variety of business processes, so they are usually implemented in alignment with fiscal year operations. Changes intended for implementation the following year should generally be submitted for college level approval no later than November 15, to ensure all governance approval.

Changes to department names do not change the names of academic programs or subject listings housed within them. If such changes are desired, that must be explicitly discussed in the proposal, and additional program change requests submitted.

Changes to department names that reflect a substantial reorganization of the unit fall under other FP&P 5.01; see the L&S APC L&S APC Policy on Creating, Restructuring, or Discontinuing Departments, Programs, and Department-like Units . Substantial restructuring of academic units usually requires consideration by the Faculty Senate. Units being reorganized should be in close contact with their academic associate dean.

Changing the Name of a Subject Listing

Changes to subject listings (formerly known as "timetable departments") must be requested explicitly by a unit - as noted above, when departments and programs are renamed, that does not also change the name of an associated subject listing. 

Requests to change or move a subject listing are submitted using Lumen Structures.  The formal memorandum will explain the request, provide a rationale for making the change and summarize the process for consultation with stakeholders (e.g., departments with shared courses).  It should also convey formally the faculty vote approving the changes.  This memo is attached to the Lumen Structures form. 

The request follows an approval pathway similar to that of changing the name of an academic program, moving from the department/program level to the college Academic Planning Council, to the Provost and University APC. As with other such requests, it is important to confer with other units (e.g., programs that draw heavily on the listing, similarly named or partner programs, cross-listing partners). The L&S APC will circulate the request within the college and across campus for comment prior to submission to the UAPC.

Note that due to the long lead time required to prepare the schedule of courses, changes to subject listings require considerable advance planning and implementation may be delayed until the scheduling cycle begins for a future Fall term.

Contact Associate Dean Elaine Klein with further questions: (608) 265-8484 or 

See Also:

Keywords:Naming Majors Curriculum APC department name change uw-madison l&s name change steps on how to change department or academic program name   Doc ID:20052
Owner:Elaine K.Group:L&S KB
Created:2011-08-29 14:49 CDTUpdated:2019-12-23 13:46 CDT
Sites:L&S KB
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