Changing the Name of L&S Academic Programs, Majors, Named Options, Departments, and Centers
Requests to formally change the names of academic programs (degrees, majors, options), departments, and units fall under the purview of the L&S Academic Planning Council. Upon college-level approval, these are referred to campus-level governance as well. To ensure that approval processes go smoothly, we encourage early consultation with stakeholders (students, alumni), as well as with departments, schools and colleges that may be affected by the name change. Contact L&S Academic Planning experts for guidance.
Content Expert: Associate Dean Elaine M. Klein (elaine.klein<at>wisc.edu)
Academic Program Name ChangesAs research progresses and scholarly fields evolve, the approved name of academic programs may no longer align 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.
- A justification or rationale for the change. This justification should be student-centered, and may include information about disciplinary norms, market, or employment expectations.
- Evidence of efforts to notify and consult with current students, alumni, and other stakeholders. The form allows correspondence to be attached to the proposal to document stakeholder support. Consultation outside the department/program is also important if the proposed name or area of study relates to the academic or scholarly interests of another department, school or college.
- Proposed plans for implementation of a "turn-key" change (usually in the following academic year, time permitting).
- Revisions to program requirements, learning outcomes, and assessment procedures related to the new name.
Finally, changes to program names do not affect the name of the administrative unit housing the program or any associated subject listings. Each of these actions must be requested and approved though separate proposal processes.
Department/Unit Name Changes
- explanation of the request
- rationale for making the change (this should include discussion of the benefit to students, scholarly and disciplinary norms, market/professional considerations, peer comparisons, etc.)
- process for consultation with stakeholders (this should include current faculty and staff, current and former students, alumni boards, etc.)
- faculty vote approving the proposed change
Changes to department/unit names affect a variety of business processes and publications, so they are usually implemented in alignment with fiscal year operations. Changes intended for implementation the following year should be submitted to the college 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, they must be requested through additional proposals, usually submitted following approval of the department name change.
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, and are best made in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Teaching & Learning Administration.
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.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.