How do we get the word out about courses? Are there other tools to help with enrollment management?

Suggestions for how to advertise courses and manage enrollment.

Update Course Information

Advisors tell us that students seek information about courses when they prepare to register. They ask friends and family, look for courses that seem interesting and topical. So we need to provide information to them to help them know what they're in for.

Students can search for courses based on subject listing, as well as by L&S and/or General Education Requirements the courses meet - so it's useful to be sure courses have been reviewed and approved to meet various requirements. Criteria for General Education courses can be found on the General Education website, and expectations about learning outcomes associated with L&S Breadth can be found in the document entitled What is the most appropriate breadth designation for a course my department is proposing? . For approval to add or change designations, submit a proposal to the Course Proposal System.

The most basic information about courses comes in the form of subject listing, course title, and catalog description: this information is reviewed and approved through the course approval process, and though it can take some time to obtain approval for these changes, it is well worth the time taken to ensure that course titles and descriptions are accurate and clear. For example, it's best to avoid jargon and advanced terminology to describe an introductory level course.

Instructor Provided Content

Instructors may use the Faculty Center to provide more information about their course. Students and advisors find this information in the "Instructor Provided Content" area of the Course Guide, where it is linked as a small red star. Many faculty and staff post current syllabi as well as more colloquial descriptions of the course, to provide more details than may be available in the formal description provided in the Course Guide. It is important that instructors do not contradict the official course information (catalog description, title, level, breadth designation, General Education designation), since that information is used to audit student transcripts to determine progress toward completion of program requirements.

Advertise New Courses

Several mechanisms exist for publicizing courses.  Some are as simple as putting up flyers around your department or in places frequently visited by students likely to be interested in the topic.  Departments can obtain e-mail circulation lists of declared majors. For instructors teaching introductory courses or survey courses, it may also be worth adding an "if you want to learn more about this topic" note to the course syllabus, or making an announcement in class. It can be useful to reach out to colleagues who can make recommendations, too - and by doing so, provide some context for recommendations. For example, students who are studying a particular historical period or geographical region may be interested to learn about the literature or art of that era or area, too.

Reach Out to Other Advisors

Another popular tool for getting the word out is an email list server, ADVISOR-LINK, which connects many advisors and other interested parties across campus. This is an effective vehicle for circulating information about new courses, courses with unanticipated additional space, etc. to advisers for their use in working with students.

To sign up for ADVISOR-LINK:

Complete the online subscription form at


Using the account to which you would like messages sent, write an e-mail to
Keep the subject line blank.
The message should say:  subscribe advisor-link yourfirstname yourlastname
(insert your first and last names where indicated)
If successful, you will receive a message verifying that you have been added to the list.

Use Enrollment Management Tools to Monitor Enrollment and Understand "The Big Picture"

The UW-Madison Query Library contains a number of queries pertaining to enrollment that provide data of use in enrollment management.  These include queries for course enrollments, close-outs, low-enrollment courses, and course rosters.  Questions about the Query Library may be directed to Kathy Luker (kathy.luker at

Keywords:ADVISOR-LINK, Query Library   Doc ID:21689
Owner:Elaine K.Group:College of Letters & Science
Created:2011-12-12 10:23 CSTUpdated:2015-12-07 12:05 CST
Sites:College of Letters & Science
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