Academic Requirements Outlines according to the current and to the preceding academic year’s catalogue are posted in LOCUS at a link navigated to from the portal-page after login. AROs amount to a static listing of the information the Academic Requirements Report (ARR) is programmed to look for in students’ course-records, tracking their satisfaction of Core and other requirements, including the major(s) and minor(s, if any) they have declared. AROs offer the most accessible way to check the programming in LOCUS of majors and minors. Please recall that students are subject to the requirements programmed for majors and minors as of the time they declare them in LOCUS: students who declared a given major/minor in different academic years may be subject to different requirements for it.
The Academic Requirements Report is the function in LOCUS that reads students’ course-records so as to track their satisfaction of Core and other requirements, including the major(s) and minor(s, if any) they have declared. Students may check their own ARRs in their Student Centers in LOCUS; their registered Advisers may run students’ ARRs at the Advisee Student Center in LOCUS. Please recall that students are subject to the requirements programmed for majors and minors as of the time they declare them in LOCUS: students who declared a given major/minor in different academic years may be subject to different requirements for it.
Academic Units in the College of Arts & Sciences are either departments or interdisciplinary programs formally so constituted: the term refers to the organizational structure framing faculty-members’ relationship to the academic enterprises in which they participate within the College. Both departments and interdisciplinary programs oversee major(s) and/or minor(s), and some departments oversee interdepartmental major(s)/minor(s) jointly. Sometimes it is convenient to refer to the overseeing entities by an inclusive term.
An active course may be scheduled, and appears in all displays of the Course Catalog in LOCUS. An inactive course is not available for scheduling; inactive courses do not appear in Browse Catalog displays. Registration & Records inactivates a course either by making its “status” Inactive rather than Active, or by un-checking its “allow course to be scheduled” box, or both. The Academic Council has authorized requests to inactivate unused courses to be directed to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, for administrative action and reporting into Academic Council minutes: these requests do not require action by the Council.
In the context of the CAS Academic Council’s collective oversight by faculty of curricular matters in the College, the term application may refer to a curricular request or to the standardized form on which the application is submitted for the Council’s review. A group of applications submitted together under a single Unique ID is called an application-package. The main types of curricular change requested in the College have evolved as application-types (1) New Major/Minor, (2) Change in Major/Minor, (3) New Course, (4) Course Change, (5) Permanent Tag and Inclusion in an Interdisciplinary Major/Minor, (6) Permanent Cross-Listing and Inclusion in a Departmental Major/Minor. Additionally, the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform is used for Temporary Tag/Cross-List Requests, crediting a specific class-section of a course not otherwise included in the applicant academic unit’s major/minor, on a semester-specific basis; these requests are reviewed and approved by the Dean’s Office, not by the Academic Council.
Complete, accurate records make it possible to reconstruct intentions and understandings in force at the time curricular changes (among other things) were made, so that any problems arising later can be unpicked and corrected: the archival function of the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform, preserving the records of curricular review, is of vital lasting value to the College.
DocFinity is a web-based Enterprise Content Management System. The CAS-AC DocFinity Platform uses DocFinity to regularize and centralize the documentation with which the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, through the College’s representative Academic Council, oversees curricular change in the College. Consistent formatting of all the information necessary to evaluate curricular requests, advise on them constructively, pass them on for approvals needed beyond the College, and process them so they will operate smoothly as intended after they have been approved, facilitates efficient review, collaboration, and accuracy. Centralized, complete records clarify reviews and facilitate any problem-solving that may become needed later. The CAS-AC DocFinity Platform, containing as it does the complete documentation of the College’s review of curricular proposals, also serves as an archive of curricular approvals.
lass Component is the term used by Registration & Records to refer to different scheduling-units for different instructional modalities, under a single Course Number. At Loyola currently, many labs associated with lecture-courses are coded as separate, co-requisite courses: for example, our fictional Department of Forestry might offer FRST 121L, Arboriculture Lab, along with FRST 121 Arboriculture. But it would alternatively be possible to set up FRST 121 Arboriculture with both Lecture and Laboratory components, and require all registrants in a given LEC section also to register for one LAB section associated with it. Currently at Loyola most discussion-sections (component-code DIS) are set up this way. Adding a new class component to an existing course is considered a Course Change requiring approval by the Academic Council.
It is possible to schedule sections of two (or more) different courses to meet jointly in a given term, as a Combined Section. One or more of the class-sections may be open to enrollment by students while the other(s) may be non-enrollment sections. Combined Sections are used to offer coursework to students working on the same material at different levels, with differentiated bases of assessment (for example, FRST 345/445 Fire Ecology and Restoration, for upper-level undergraduates and beginning graduate students: in this example both sections should allow students to register according to their own Student Group so as to receive the correct credit), and to offer cross-listed classes under both Course Numbers simultaneously (for example, FRST 375/PPOL 375, Natural Resource Policy, cross-listed between the Department of Forestry and the School of Public Policy; provided the courses are cross-credited appropriately in students’ majors and minors, either or both sections might serve as enrollment sections).
- Course Inventory Forms must be part of every application submitted to Academic Council that will ultimately involve new or changed course-programming in LOCUS, because the CI Form tells Registration & Records what to code. R&R controls what information is requested on the CI Form. They post a blank form among the Education Record Forms at the Online Forms & Help tab in LOCUS: download and save with a filename identifying the course in question (e.g., FRST121-CIForm.pdf), fill it out, and upload and index it as a supporting document in your application package.
- CI Forms requesting changes in coding of existing courses should supply the course-identifying information at the head of the form, School, effective date, and full information about the course’s use in majors and minors [items 2, 3, 4, and 23], but then only the specific elements to be changed, with a note in the Comments box that all other course-attributes should remain as-is.
Course Numbers identify specific courses in the Course Catalogue, e.g., FRST 121, course-title Arboriculture, in the fictional Department of Forestry. When a form asks for a Course Number separately from the Subject Area Code, the two elements are distinguished. LOCUS uses alphabetical Subject Area Codes, typically 4 letters but occasionally 3 letters. The numerical Course Numbers typically use 3 digits, which may be extended by a fourth, alphabetical character (e.g., FRST 121L, Arboriculture Lab).
The term cross-listing is used for several related ideas that may be useful to distinguish by their operation in LOCUS:
- If courses are coded as equivalent, students who have completed a class under one Course Number will be blocked from registering for the equivalent course under the other Course Number, because LOCUS will read the enrollment-request as an unauthorized repeat of the class. Equivalency of courses is sometimes referred to as cross-listing.
- If one of a pair (or more) of equivalent courses is specifically required by a given major or minor, or included in a requirement-option list, students in that major or minor who take the equivalent course under the other Course Number will receive credit for it as if they had taken the listed course. But if a course would be picked up by a major or minor as an elective, that is, by wildcard programming only, any equivalent courses must be explicitly coded into the Academic Requirements Report as alternatives to the wildcard in the Electives list, in order to ensure that the equivalencies are correctly cross-credited. Cross-crediting commonly motivates cross-listing of courses in different Subject Areas.
- When equivalent courses are scheduled as a Combined Section, so that both Course Numbers appear in the Class Schedule (whether or not both are offered as enrollment sections), their joint appearance in the Class Schedule is often referred to as cross-listing; some people also refer to non-equivalent classes being offered in a Combined Section as being cross-listed, but this usage is less happy.
- LOCUS preserves records of cross-listed courses in Subject Area Codes of Interdisciplinary Programs, but since tagging began to be used to identify courses serving interdisciplinary majors and minors, most of these courses have ceased to serve a practical purpose: they may be inactivated.
It is advantageous to cross-list courses in departmental Subject Area Codes when members of the faculty of either department can be expected to teach substantially the same class to students pursuing major(s) or minor(s) in either academic field (thus for example, our fictional Department of Forestry cross-lists FRST 134, Peaches, with FZZZ 134, Peaches, in the Department of Things with Fuzz). Typically the section of the course in the Subject Area of the home-department of the faculty member teaching the course is used as the enrollment section. Provided the equivalency of the cross-listed courses is correctly cross-credited in the applicable major(s)/minor(s), all students will receive the appropriate credit, whether or not the other cross-listed/equivalent course also appears in the Class Schedule in a Combined Section. (It is perfectly possible to include non-departmental courses in departmental majors and minors without cross-listing: the Department of Forestry requires its majors to take FZZZ 201, Bees, from the Department of Things with Fuzz, but never teaches an equivalent course).
Most members of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences hold appointments in an academic department; a few hold joint appointments between different departments. The term thus refers to an organizational structure of the College by its academic focus. DocFinity uses the term department to refer to any subdivision of a business, so that not only academic departments but also interdisciplinary programs, the University Libraries, and the Dean’s Office are sometimes referred to as departments in the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform.
All documents in the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform, both eForms and uploaded documents, have a Diary associated with them in the platform: open the Diary by clicking the View Diary icon in the menu-bar. Approval-routines generate diary entries recording who granted the approval and when: these records are associated with the Summary Memo. It is also possible to enter Diary Entries directly, by clicking the Add icon in the menu-bar for the opened Diary, writing in the new window that then opens, and clicking the Save icon. Council members (especially but not only members of the Curriculum Committee) will assist submitters and maintain a helpful paper-trail by noting corrections, queries, and recommendations in the Diary of a document, then sending the submitter an e-mail message noting which documents want attention. Having coherent Diaries for each document saves duplication of requests to the submitters. Submitters should edit eForms in DocFinity, or revise other documents outside DocFinity and use the Replace icon in the menu-bar to upload the revised document in the place of the original, with the original Diary still attached. Please then add to the Diary a new Entry recording the update, so that reviewers will know earlier comments have been addressed (the Comment that appears during the Replace routine does not appear to get recorded in the Diary, so it must be done separately).
The date on which curricular changes programmed in LOCUS become effective, is their effective date. Normally, specific effective dates precede the term for which the changes are targeted, so that changes approved for the Fall semester actually go live during the preceding summer. Curricular changes that will necessitate new or changed programming in a major/minor must be approved by Academic Council no later than the December meeting of one academic year, in order to be on-track for effectiveness the following Fall term. New or changed course programming must be approved by Academic Council no later than the February meeting of one academic year, in order to be on-track for effectiveness the following Fall term, or no later than the March meeting of one academic year, in order to be on-track for effectiveness in the Spring term of the following academic year.
Students are subject to the requirements of major(s)/minor(s) they declare, as in force at the date they declare the major(s)/minor(s) in LOCUS.
As of Fall 2017, the Summary Memo is the only eForm in the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform. eForms reside in the platform and must be edited there. The Summary Memo needs to be an eForm so it can interactively generate a Unique ID for the application package and manage the routing of the package to stakeholders so that all parties concerned in the applications can sign off and keep the records centralized.
LOCUS’s programming-structures for Academic Requirements Reports, and therefore the timetable Academic Council’s curricular approvals must meet, mean that the term elective should be restricted to courses included in a major/minor by wildcard programming, e.g., FRST 3##, any 300-level course in the Subject Area Code for Forestry. Since ARRs cannot read tags (a tag indicates that a course is included in an interdisciplinary major/minor, but tags function only in Class Search), most interdisciplinary and interdepartmental majors/minors must be programmed with requirement-option lists. Optional courses not included in students’ declared major(s)/minor(s) as specifically required courses, requirement-options, or electives earn credit as hours toward graduation, but not in the major(s)/minor(s).
When two (or more) sections of different courses are scheduled to meet jointly in a given term as a Combined Section, one or more may be open to enrollment by students while the other(s) may be non-enrollment sections. If the courses of the Combined Section serve different Student Groups (for example, graduate and undergraduate sections working on the same material at different levels, with differentiated bases of assessment), allowing students to register in the course appropriate to their own Student Group ensures they receive the correct credit. But if equivalent courses are cross-credited appropriately in students’ majors and minors, all students would receive appropriate credit and a Combined Section could make the class more visible to both constituencies, even if only the section in the Subject Area of the instructor’s home department served as the enrollment section.
If courses are coded as equivalent, students who have completed a class under one Course Number will be blocked from registering for the equivalent course under the other Course Number, because LOCUS will read the enrollment-request as an unauthorized repeat of the class. If one of a pair (or more) of equivalent courses is specifically required by a given major or minor, or included in a requirement-option list, students in that major or minor who take the equivalent course under the other Course Number will receive credit for it as if they had taken the listed course. But if a course would be picked up by a major or minor as an elective, that is, by wildcard programming only, any equivalent courses must be explicitly coded into the Academic Requirements Report as alternatives to the wildcard in the Electives list, in order to ensure that the equivalencies are correctly cross-credited.
Before-and-After Major/Minor Grids lay out the current structure and proposed changes in a given major or minor in a clearly legible, comprehensive graphic form. They enable reviewers to understand how individual elements fit together in students’ studies, and thus to contextualize curricular requests. One grid is required for every major and for every minor that will be affected by the curricular changes being considered in an application package; please consolidate grids so that only one grid per major or per minor involved in the application-package is submitted, each accounting for all changes in which it is concerned.
The basic format of the grid tabulates
Individually required courses (i.e., all students must take each course)
Requirements with options (e.g., students must take 2 of 5 listed courses)
Elective courses (i.e., programmable by wild-card rules, rather than by identifying specific courses required or for students to choose among)
Proposed effective date
We recommend submitters consult the Academic Requirements Outlines posted in LOCUS so as to confirm that the current programming of the Academic Requirements Report for each major and for each minor involved corresponds to their understandings, give or take approved changes currently in processing for effectiveness at a later date. The Current Major/Minor column should show the structure of the major/minor as most recently approved. Please list specifically required courses and courses in requirement-option lists individually, and electives by their wildcard-programming rules. If the changes requested in the application package will not affect a given area of the grid, please mark “n/a” in that box of the Proposed Changes column.
- The concepts of home unit and second unit(s) pick up the organizationally neutral usage of academic unit to refer to either departments or interdisciplinary programs. The home unit is the academic unit originating an application package; second unit(s) are additional academic units with interest in one or more individual applications within the package. Second unit(s) may also be referred to as stakeholders in a curricular change.
- The department or interdisciplinary program that oversees the subject area of a given course number may also be referred to as the course’s home unit.
The indexing function in DocFinity allows submitters to attach metadata to a document in the platform, by which it becomes possible for the Search function to find the document. Because metadata recorded in the index, not information inside the document itself, are what the Search function can identify, it is urgent that all pertinent metadata be indexed completely and accurately.
Although most majors and minors in the College of Arts and Sciences are administered either by an academic department or by an interdisciplinary program, some are administered jointly by two academic units, without involving a separate administrative structure (e.g., the minor in Biostatistics, the major in Sociology and Anthropology). For the most part, formal procedures for curricular review of interdepartmental majors/minors follow the patterns of departmental majors/minors, except that both academic units sign off jointly to give authorization. Courses serving interdepartmental majors/minors are not typically identified in LOCUS by tags.
Interdisciplinary majors/minors are administered by interdisciplinary programs formally so constituted in the College of Arts and Sciences as administrative units. The authority in curricular matters of Directors of interdisciplinary programs is presumed to arise from the consent of the participating faculty, just as the authority of departmental Chairpersons for departmental and interdepartmental majors/minors is presumed to arise from departmental consent; nonetheless, while Directors authorize applications to add individual courses to interdisciplinary majors/minors by Permtag Applications, participating departments are expected to sign off as stakeholders on applications for structural changes to interdisciplinary majors/minors. Courses serving interdisciplinary majors/minors normally are identified in LOCUS by tags.
Interdisciplinary Programs are formally constituted as administrative units, by authority of the Provost and the President, in or across Schools within Loyola University Chicago. Two or more academic departments typically participate in the administration of an interdisciplinary program; interdisciplinary programs typically administer one or more interdisciplinary majors/minors.
LOCUS is the student information system used by Loyola University Chicago. Functions important for curricular purposes include the Course Catalog, Class Scheduling, and academic records including the programming of students’ Academic Requirement Reports.
Metadata in DocFinity’s index enable the Search function to find documents. Metadata can include, for example, the Unique IDs of specific application-packages, the application-types of specific requests, the academic units and individuals who submit applications, course numbers, and the date of the meeting at which the Academic Council approved an application – but only if this information is added to the index. Since different items of information may be salient when in future it becomes necessary to refer back to application-packages, it is helpful for submitters to index pertinent metadata as completely as possible when they are seeing their application packages through the curricular-review process.
Some paperwork distinguishes parent courses and child courses. The parent course of a pair (or more) of equivalent courses, was at some point considered at least logically prior to the child course(s), whether or not they were created at different times. Ordinarily the home unit of the parent course is anticipated to take the lead in updating it, although it is important that parallel applications be approved for child course(s) also so that they remain in line with the parent course. It is conceivable that the evolution of academic fields and the patterns of University hiring could occasionally cause a parent course and a child course to exchange status.
LOCUS uses Plan Codes to identify specific majors and minors. Plan Codes typically consist of 4 alphabetical characters, which may or may not correspond with a Subject Area Code administered by the same academic unit as the major/minor in question, plus a suffix indicating the degree: thus for example the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry administers the BIOC-BS, CHEM-BA, CHEM-BS, and CHEM-MINR, B.S. in Biochemistry, B.A. in Chemistry, B.S. in Chemistry, and Minor in Chemistry, respectively. The Academic Requirements Outlines in LOCUS are a convenient place to verify Plan Codes.
Prerequisites are courses a student must have either already completed or, if a continuing student at Loyola, be currently enrolled in as of the registration period in the preceding term, in order for LOCUS not to block them from registering for a target class. Corequisites are courses that must be enrolled in concurrently with a target class. Changing the prerequisites or corequisites of an existing course is considered a Course Change requiring approval by the Academic Council.
Prerequisites and corequisites may be either enforced or advisory in LOCUS. If some precondition of a student's success in a course is something LOCUS can readily identify in a student's record as having been either satisfied or unsatisfied, such as the student's having successfully completed a certain prerequisite course, LOCUS can be set to enforce the prerequisite, and not allow students to register if they have not satisfied the prerequisite condition. But if a course's preconditions for success are not regularly coded in LOCUS, LOCUS would not be able to enforce them meaningfully: they may be useful to indicate in the course-description in the catalogue on an advisory basis, only. (For example, the degree of fitness needed to succeed in the Department of Forestry's Treejumping class, FRST 387, is assessed by physicians attached to the campus ROTC division.)
As opposed to specifically required courses on the one hand and to electives on the other, a requirement with options gives students pursuing a given major/minor choices among a set of individually specified alternatives: for example the Ethics requirement of the fictional major in Forestry might be satisfied by any two of FRST 355 Environmental Justice, FRST 356 Sustainable Development, FRST 357 Ethnobotany, FRST 358 Ecofeminism, and FRST 359 Natural Resources Conflict Resolution. Just like specifically required courses, requirement-option lists must be individually programmed in students’ Academic Requirements Reports: therefore their processing-requirements and deadlines are parallel. Interdisciplinary and interdepartmental majors/minors typically rely on requirement-option lists, since ARRs cannot read tags.
Every student pursuing a given major/minor must successfully complete every one of its specifically required courses in order to complete the major/minor successfully. Majors and minors vary tremendously how much they make use of specifically required courses.
Any academic unit that will be concerned in a proposed curricular change is a stakeholder in it. The term is especially used of second unit(s) signing on to a change proposed by the major/minor’s or course’s home unit.
Student groups are used by LOCUS to program enrollment-restrictions according to characteristics of students prospectively enrolling in a given course: for example, students who have declared a certain major/minor, students of a certain academic standing, or students enrolled on a specific overseas campus. Restrictions according to Student Group may be programmed for a course permanently, in the Course Catalogue (in which case they are subject to approval through the College’s curricular-review process), or in the Class Schedule for a specific class-section in a specific semester.
Subject Area Codes in LOCUS identify the academic field in which a course is coded. Subject Area Codes typically use 4 letters but occasionally 3 letters. The View Course Catalog or Browse Course Catalog index in LOCUS is a convenient place to verify Subject Area Codes with currently effective courses.
The verb submit is used to refer to two different steps in the processes of the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform:
- After all the applications and supporting documents have been prepared and the eForm of the Summary Memo drafted, to submit the Summary Memo formally begins the application-process. When the Summary Memo is completed, scroll down to the Submit button at its bottom and click. This step will generate an automated e-mail message to the submitter, confirming the Unique ID generated at the top of the Summary Memo for the application package. It will also make the Summary Memo visible to other users in the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform. At this point the Job Queue of the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform would indicate that the application-package is still an “Initial Submission.”
- When the applications and supporting documents have all been uploaded to the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform and indexed, go to the Jobs Queue, check all the tasks in the task-menu, then check the box “is the Submission Complete?”, select “Submission Complete” in the pop-up window, and then sign off with the “Complete Job” icon in the toolbar. This step is also known as submitting the application-package. It sends the package forward to departmental and interdisciplinary co-signatories with the job-status “Submission Complete.”
The noun submitter refers, according to context, either to the individual who fills out the eForm for the Summary Memo and whose UVID is incorporated in the autopopulated Unique ID, or to the academic home unit initiating the application-package.
The Summary Memo, an eForm in the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform, interactively generates a Unique ID for the application package, manages the routing of the package to stakeholders for review and signoff, and contains a Table of Contents that enables all users to navigate the application-package efficiently. The Table of Contents should follow the format exemplified in the Instructions for the Summary Memo.
In addition to the standardized application-forms, many kinds of curricular request also require certain supporting documents be uploaded and indexed together with the application-package, and identified in the Table of Contents in the Summary Memo: for example, any time the coding of a course in LOCUS is to be changed, a Course Inventory Form must be submitted laying out the changes in the format Registration & Records requires. Please consult Instructions for the different kinds of curricular request in order to determine which types of supporting document your applications will need. Some applications, as submitters may determine independently or in consultation with the Dean’s Office, AC Curriculum Committee, or other entities, may be clarified and supported by additional supporting documents; in those instances they too should be uploaded and indexed included in the table of contents in the Summary Memo.
Tags appear in the Enrollment Information box of the Class Detail display in the Class Schedule in LOCUS. They variously indicate “class attributes” such as Core or Engaged Learning credit borne by the class-section. The tags of greatest pertinence in the College of Arts and Science’s curricular review, however, identify class-sections’ carrying credit toward interdisciplinary major(s)/minor(s). The Class Search function in LOCUS can read tags, so that they make it possible to search across different Subject Area Codes for class-sections bearing particular tags. Interdisciplinary Programs may apply to tag departmental courses and include them in interdisciplinary major(s)/minor(s) on either a permanent or a semester-specific basis, facilitating students’ class-searching. Academic Requirements Reports cannot read tags, so that while permanently tagged courses may also be permanently programmed into students’ ARRs, the semester-specific Temporary Tags must be hand-credited by students’ CAS Advisors via Individual Directives. Please advance Permanent Tag requests as soon as it is determined they are appropriate, so as to avoid the inefficiencies of the temporary process.
The Unique ID holds its application-package together in the CAS-AC DocFinity Platform. A number of the form UVIDmmddyyyy (according to the submitter’s UVID and the submission-date, e.g., mlettie05162017) auto-populates when the submitter opens a new Summary Memo eForm. (In the rare event a single submitter submits multiple packages of curricular-change applications on the same date, please add to the automatically generated ID a number after the date so as to differentiate separate submissions, e.g., mlettie05162017-1.) By entering the Unique ID of on every Application-form and every Supporting Document in the application-package and including it in the indexed information for every item in the package, submitters enable DocFinity to identify documents as belonging to their packages.