Clarification of L&S Literature Breadth DARS Encoding

Completed Actions

On 17 September 2019 Academic Information Management (AIM) requested that the L&S Curriculum Committee (L&SCC) affirm that the Curriculum of 2007 (BABS07) requires all L&S undergraduates subject to BA or BS Breadth requirements to complete 6 credits of Literature. This request was administratively approved by Professor Susan Ridgely, chair of L&SCC, on 22 October 2019.

L&SCC delegated authority to AIM to implement necessary technical adjustments to Literature Breadth requirement in DARS, and to correct any conflicting statements in the Guide to support this affirmation. AIM coordinated with the Office of the Registrar to implement this adjustment on 22 October 2019.

L&SCC delegated the authority to Undergraduate Academic Deans’ Services to make exceptions for students who originally matriculated under the Curriculum of 1971 (CURRIC71), but continue their studies under BABS07.


AIM identified an outdated provision for an automatic exception to the 6 credits of Literature required of students pursuing the College’s BA and BS degree programs. This automatic exception permitted students to meet the full Literature requirement with either GERMAN 284 or SPANISH 282, completed for 5 credits. These courses were last offered in 5-credit form in Fall 2005 and Spring 1990, respectively; both have since been discontinued. AIM confirmed that no currently-enrolled students have credit for either course in its 5-credit offering.

This provision emerged following the adoption of the Curriculum of 1971. It was first effective, exclusively for GERMAN 284, in the 1974–1975 academic year. SPANISH 282 was first included in this provision in the 1982–1983 academic year. The 1983 L&S Policy Book documents a detailed procedure by which academic deans would take an action to indicate a student had met the Literature Breadth requirement with either of the approved courses. This automatic exception was encoded in DARS by Assistant Dean Bill Miller during the initial encoding of the Curriculum of 1971 Humanities Breadth requirement prior to Fall 1994. All CURRIC71 Breadth requirements and associated provisions were carried forward in the Curriculum of 2007 (BABS07).

Data Sources & Student Sample

AIM consulted the following references to trace the origin of this exception:

  • Guide is the official academic catalog of UW-Madison. It includes a list of all active courses within each subject listing in the UW-Madison course array.
  • The L&S Announcement of Courses was a component of the Bulletin of The University of Wisconsin, and previously served as the academic catalog for the College. AIM consulted the Announcement of Courses for information regarding the official announcement of the Curriculum of 1971’s requirements, initial documentation of exceptions for the courses toward the Literature requirement, and additional relevant details.
  • The Student Information System (SIS) maintains catalog data on all courses currently or previously in the University’s course array. AIM consulted the course catalog records in SIS to determine the dates the relevant courses were inactivated and most recently offered; these dates were independently confirmed by staff in the Office of the Registrar.

To determine whether any current L&S degree-seeking students rely on these courses to meet requirements, AIM queried course history data for all students enrolled in either the Summer 2019 or Fall 2019 terms.

Summary of Findings

Neither GERMAN 284 nor SPANISH 282 appeared in the Fall 2019 version of the Guide. L&SCC has a course discontinuation proposal on file for GERMAN 284. SIS indicates GERMAN 284 (Course ID 008728) was made inactive effective 25 December 2017. No course discontinuation proposal for SPANISH 282 is on file with the L&SCC. SIS indicates SPANISH 282 (Course ID 018261) was made inactive effective 17 May 2010.

Of currently-enrolled, degree-seeking L&S students, six had credit for GERMAN 284, earned in either the Fall 2016 or Fall 2017 terms. Records in SIS indicated GERMAN 284 was last offered for 5 credits in Fall 2005. The total units allowed for GERMAN 284 was increased from 5 to 6 credits effective 25 August 2008; this change obviated the need for the longstanding alternative Literature requirement provision for this course. A batch analysis of these six students’ declared degree programs and majors indicated DARS was correctly applying 6 credits of GERMAN 284 toward the Literature requirement for all six students. SPANISH 282 was last offered in Spring 1990; no current L&S student had credit for this course.

Technical Adjustment Proposal

A modification to DARS encoding was necessary to ensure that students do not incorrectly earn credit for the entire Literature Breadth requirement if these course numbers reenter the course array. AIM proposed instructing DARS encoders in the Office of the Registrar to make a technical adjustment to the DARS encoding of the Literature component of the BABS07 Humanities Breadth requirement. Given that the final offerings of both GERMAN 284 and SPANISH 282 in their 5 credit form predated the adoption of BABS07, AIM proposed removing the CURRIC71 automatic exception to the Literature requirement from the BABS07 DARS encoding.

Responsible Parties

For additional information about this matter, please contact Assistant Dean Mike Pflieger or Wyl Schuth.