Freezing the University Catalog and Graduate College Handbook During Workday Student Implementation


Date:         October 25, 2022

To:             Provost’s Council 
                  Academic Department Chairs

From:        Jonathan Wickert                 
                  Senior Vice President and Provost

Subject:    Freezing the University Catalog and Graduate College Handbook During Workday Student Implementation

Workday Student is the single largest information technology deployment in Iowa State University’s history. With first-use of some functions by students, faculty, and staff in 2023, Workday Student will intersect virtually every aspect of students’ academic careers, from admissions and financial aid to degree audits and tuition assessments.

This modernization of our educational infrastructure is essential for many reasons. Adding to its complexity, we will need to work in both the new Workday, and the legacy (AccessPlus, for example), systems during the 2023-2024 academic year and into the first part of the 2024-2025 academic year. And some activities, such as degree audits and graduate program of study committees, will require manual intervention and processing during this period.

University Catalog and Graduate College Handbook to be frozen through AY2024-2025

The University Catalog and Graduate College Handbook include critical documentation of academic policies, courses, degree requirements, and programs of study. To transition from one technology system to the next, the University Catalog and Graduate College Handbook must be stable and uniquely defined at a point in time, so that content can be accurately and systemically incorporated, tested, verified, and moved to the future system.

The editing cycle for the 2023-24 University Catalog ends on December 1, 2022, followed by a proofing period and publication on February 1, 2023. At that time, both the Catalog and Graduate College Handbook will be “frozen” through the 2024-2025 academic year:

  • No new programs – including majors, minors, certificates, secondary majors, and program focuses (such as specializations, options, and pathways) – will be added during this period. The need for this step is driven by the complexity of integrating and testing degree audits and academic plans for new programs even while the new system is being built and launched.
  • Similarly, no changes to existing programs will occur (such as changing academic requirements, merging programs of study via master’s or doctoral co-majors, changing program of study names), with the exception of requests to terminate programs.
  • Generally speaking, no changes will be made to academic policies during the stabilization period. In rare cases where such changes are institutionally critical and timely, an exception may be granted as described below.

This action will best enable the Workday Student academic affairs, technology, and administrative teams to convert more than 50 million rows of student data, as well as prepare for the matriculation, orientation, and tuition assessment of new students in the summer of 2024. Supporting the implementation teams in this manner will enable them to focus effort, and in turn, help prevent delays and errors from occurring.

Limited course edits will be available

Although it will not be possible to change course credits or course numbers during the freeze period, description edits and other changes to existing courses may proceed during AY2024-2025. In addition, please note that no new experimental courses may be introduced.

The transition from 3-digit to 4-digit course numbering will occur as individual course data are moved into the Workday Student Information System in June 2023.

Full capability for course editing will resume with the AY2025-26 catalog cycle.

Provision for exceptions

Like any renovation project, this freeze will be inconvenient but temporary. Exceptions may be granted in a limited number of extraordinary cases. Changes will require the endorsement of the cognizant college dean, and my personal approval, which will consider institutional benefit, timeliness, cost, and implementation burden.

New course and program development should continue during transition

Colleges and departments should continue to develop new programs based on student and employer demand through the established university and Board of Regents process, with a view to launch those programs in Fall 2025. Likewise, I encourage you to continue developing innovative courses, for both existing programs and degrees that will be added to the Fall 2025 catalog.

Summary of key milestones

  • December 1, 2022: Editing cycle ends for the 2023-24 University Catalog
  • January 15, 2023: Proofing ends
  • February 1, 2023: 2023-24 University Catalog published
  • June 2023: Transition from 3- to 4-digit course numbering begins for the 2024-25 catalog, which will be the first to use the new number series
  • June 2023: Both Workday Student and legacy systems in use
  • February-June 2024: Course editing window for the 2025-2026 catalog
  • Fall 2024: Transition to Workday Student substantially completed
  • AY2025-2026: Full capacity for University Catalog editing resumes