(pages II-100 through II-299)

II-100 Academic Year and Calendar
II-101 Collective Bargaining by Faculty
II-102 Diploma Signing; Dismissing Classes for Speeches
II-103 Grading System Policy
II-104 Honors Designations at Commencement
II-105 Summary Period for Academic Semester
II-108 Class Attendance Policy
II-109 Policy on the Awarding of Posthumous Degrees

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  1. The contractual academic year shall consist of a full nine months (39) weeks and shall include not fewer than 34 weeks of organized services for students including classroom instruction, registration, advising and examining.

    The chancellor of each institution, in consultation with the faculty, should determine the primary divisions of the academic year calendar. The calendar may be organized in two semesters, three quarters, or modules of semesters or quarters and shorter terms (mini-sessions, inter-sessions, etc.) within the academic year period.

    After the institution has determined its calendar and designated periods for instruction, registration, advising, examination, and official state holidays, the time remaining which is not on the organized calendar shall be used by faculty members for scholarly pursuits and instructional development as individual, self-directed professionals.

  2. Conclusions concerning the academic calendar, excerpted from Faculty Documents 269 (7 February 1977) and 285 (9 May 1977 and reaffirmed 6 March 1989), follow:

    1. The University of Wisconsin-Madison should continue the use of a two-semester academic calendar.

    2. From an educational point of view, the problems associated with the unequal length semesters of the present calendar are serious enough that the University of Wisconsin-Madison should further investigate the possibility of using a calendar having semesters of more equal length.

    3. In its attempts to obtain a calendar having semesters of more equal length, the University of Wisconsin-Madison should not consider the use of a calendar having a lame duck session after the Christmas holidays.

    4. Assuming that the University of Wisconsin-Madison continues to use the traditional final examination period, then in its attempts to obtain a calendar having semesters of more equal length, it should not consider the use of a calendar having no closed study days or a final exam period of less than seven days.

    5. It is a hardship on students, and perhaps on faculty, to schedule final exams through December 23.

[UW-Madison Faculty Documents 269, 7 February 1977; 285, 9 May 1977; and 790, 6 March 1989]
[Reaffirmed by the Faculty Senate 6 March 1989]

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The Faculty Senate approved the following resolution on faculty collective bargaining on 2 May 2005.

The Faculty Senate affirms its support for the seven principles enumerated below as essential features of any collective-bargaining enabling legislation affecting faculty and academic staff employed across the UW System. It instructs PROFS to communicate its support for these principles to the state legislature while continuing to oppose any enabling legislation that fails to conform to these principles, which are, that any enabling legislation should:

  1. provide that the board of regents shall have sole responsibility for negotiations and administration of any collective-bargaining agreements for faculty;

  2. preserve the independence of the Madison faculty by permitting it to elect whether, as a separate and distinct group of individuals apart from other academic employees and from the faculties of other universities in the system, it wishes to engage in collective bargaining;

  3. permit the faculty of each institution in the system to make the same choices concerning the desirability of collective bargaining and the make-up of the bargaining unit;

  4. subordinate all other provisions of the enabling legislation to the overriding provision that nothing in the law or in bargaining agreements shall be construed or allowed to diminish academic freedom or tenure, or prohibit or restrict the full exercise by the faculty of its functions in any shared-governance mechanisms or practices;

  5. clarify which faculty (e.g., principal investigators, department chairs, center directors) will be considered supervisory or management personnel;

  6. exclude from the definition of unfair labor practices the failure to implement improvements in compensation or working conditions gained at a campus regardless of whether the faculty are represented or not, if such improvements are based upon comparisons with comparable higher education institutions or other competitive practices; and

  7. include effective fact-finding provisions to resolve bargaining impasses.

The Faculty Senate reserves its judgment on the endorsement of any specific bill so as not to contravene the provisions of the following paragraph.

When legislation that seems to meet the above requirements is introduced in the state legislature, a meeting of the UW-Madison faculty will, upon the recommendation by the University Committee and a vote of the Faculty Senate, be convened to discuss and determine whether to support such legislation.

[UW-Madison Faculty Senate reaffirms its resolution of 2 April 1973, Minutes, 2 December 1974]
[UW-Madison Faculty Senate adopts resolution 9 May 1983]
[UW-Madison Faculty Senate adopts resolution 7 February 1994]
[UW-Madison Faculty Senate reaffirms its resolution of 7 February 1994, Minutes 5 May 1997]
[UW-Madison Faculty Senate revises the resolution of 7 February 1994, Faculty Document 1623c, Minutes 1 April 2002]
[UW-Madison Faculty Senate amends resolution of 1 April 2002, Faculty Document 1623d, Minutes 2 May 2005]

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The president of the University System, the president of the Board of Regents, and the chancellor of UW-Madison are authorized to sign diplomas as certified by the registrar. The lists of diplomas are filed in the permanent records of the Office of the Board of Regents.



University classes may be officially dismissed at any campus whenever they conflict in time with:

  1. a previously announced public appearance on or near that campus of the President of the United States; or

  2. a previously announced public appearance, during presidential election years, of the nominee of a major party for President of the United States.

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The resolution below was approved by the Faculty Senate at its meeting of 15 January 1973. Section 1 of the grading policy was adopted by the Faculty Senate at its meeting of 5 May 1980, to be effective in the first semester of the 1980-81 academic year.

The present grading system (A-F) will be retained with the following exceptions:

  1. Undergraduate students may repeat any course once without special permission of the dean, with all grades (A through F) and their associated gradepoints included in the gradepoint average, but with credits counted only once for any other purpose.

  2. The academic rationale for certain courses may most appropriately be served by grading the entire course outside the usual grading system. The grades for these specially approved courses shall be CR for credit and N for no credit. These grades will carry no grade points. Approval for such courses shall be obtained through the appropriate divisional executive committee. The divisional committee is to take into account the possible effects of such action on other departments and majors. All approvals must be obtained prior to the publishing of the Timetable for the initial semester in which the course is to be offered. Subsequent offerings of the course do not require further authorization. All future Timetables and all subsequent catalogs must indicate the special grading rules in effect for such courses. The CR/N courses are independent of the student-option pass/fail system.

  3. Intermediate grades of AB and BC shall be added between A and B and between B and C, respectively.

  4. For courses taken under the pass-fail option, the grade of S shall be recorded by the registrar in place of instructors' grades of A, AB, B, BC, or C.

[UW-Madison Faculty Senate Minutes, 15 January 1973, and 5 May 1980]

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  1. INVITATION TO THE HONORS CONVOCATION. Invitation to participate in the honors convocation will be extended to students who are expected to graduate and who either:

    1. have a cumulative gradepoint average which places them in the top 20 percent of students in the school or college in which they are enrolled who have earned 60 credits or more at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or

    2. are candidates for an honors degree, whether they are in the top 20 percent of their class or not.

  2. NOTATIONS. Notations citing graduation distinction or honors will be made as follows on the diplomas and transcripts of students who complete degree requirements:

    1. A notation of the honors degree (i.e., Bachelor of Arts-Honors) will be placed on the diploma and the transcript of students who have completed the requirements of an honors program.

    2. The notation "Graduate with Distinction" will be placed on the transcript of any student who has earned a cumulative gradepoint average which places that student within the top 20 percent of students graduating that term in his or her college.


    1. The revised criteria noted above will go into effect with the May 1979 honors convocation and commencement.

    2. The registrar shall determine cumulative gradepoint average and student rank as required by these criteria employing procedures approved by the Associate Administrative Council.

  4. OTHER FORMS OF RECOGNITION. These criteria for the designation of honors at graduation and graduation with distinction shall not preclude schools and colleges from specifying additional types of recognition, such as high honors, or thesis honors.

[UW-Madison Faculty Document 298, 6 February 1978]

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  1. The academic semester consists of  a regularly scheduled instructional period, and no more than a 7-day summary period. The first day of the summary period is for individual study and review, and no classes or exams are to be scheduled then. The other days are prescheduled to include one two-hour summary block for each course of two or more credits. This two-hour block shall be used for an examination or for other instructional activities as deemed appropriate by the instructor and as approved by the instructional unit offering the course. Final examinations or other summary period activities cannot be scheduled during the two weeks preceding the summary period. Take-home final examinations are due at the scheduled two-hour block.

  2. The summary period block schedule must be published and must be adhered to by all faculty in accordance with faculty legislation requirements. The Office of the Registrar is authorized to prepare the summary period block schedule without submitting it to the faculty for approval, except that any college or school may prepare its own summary block schedule.

  3. The time of a two-hour block for a class and/or the due date for the take-home examination may be changed only with the prior approval of the dean. Where a student has more than two summary blocks scheduled within a period of 24 hours, the instructor may, within guidelines adopted by the college or school faculty, reschedule a final exam to avoid hardship. Rescheduled summary blocks shall be of the same general nature and quality as the activities of the regular two-hour summary block.

  4. Special hours within the prescribed summary period shall be assigned by the Office of the Registrar, in consultation with the dean, for combined summary periods in multiple-section courses that have no common meeting hour.

  5. Undergraduate seminar courses, independent study, and directed study courses are exempted from the above rules. Also, the rules apply only to courses numbered 699 or below.

  6. Course grades must be completed by each instructor and submitted to the Office of the Registrar within six calendar days (144 hours) from the date and hour of the two-hour block scheduled during the summary period.

[UW-Madison Faculty Senate Minutes, 9 May 1977]
[UW-Madison Faculty Document 2074, Faculty Senate Minutes, 6 October 2008]
[UW-Madison Faculty Document 2636, Faculty Senate Minutes, 26 September 2016]

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Faculty and instructors may require students to attend scheduled meetings of a class and/or to participate in other course-related activities, including distance activities. Students are responsible for materials presented in such meetings or activities. Because courses are designed and conducted in diverse ways, faculty and instructors should inform students in writing at the beginning of each course if there are specific expectations for attendance/participation, including whether any component of the grade is based on such attendance/participation.

Faculty and instructors are encouraged to extend reasonable consideration to accommodate students should their university-endorsed extracurricular activities, not including practice activities for performances or athletic events, conflict with class attendance requirements. It is expected that students provide adequate and reasonable advance notice to faculty and instructors in order that they can ensure that an accommodation, if granted, not jeopardize or compromise the pedagogical goals and requirements of the course and students' learning.

[UW-Madison Faculty Document 1308b, 1 December 1997]
[revised: UW-Madison Faculty Document 1308e, 4 December 2006]

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Schools and colleges may be interested in conferring posthumously a degree to a student who is near completion of her/his degree so as to recognize the academic achievement of that student who, in all likelihood, would have fulfilled the requirements of the degree. In all such cases, conferral of a degree must also be balanced with attention to academic and institutional integrity.


Decisions on awarding of posthumous degrees will be made using the following criteria:

For award of a posthumous baccalaureate degree in memoriam:

  • The student was a senior.
  • The student was enrolled in a degree program at the time of death and was in good academic standing.

For award of a posthumous graduate degree in memoriam:

  • For graduate degrees not requiring a research product, the student was enrolled in courses that would have completed the degree requirements at the time of death, and he/she would have passed the courses with an acceptable grade.
  • For graduate degrees requiring a research product, the student had completed all course and other requirements pursuant to the degree and was near completion of his/her dissertation/thesis; and the student's committee determines his/her scholarship to be substantial work and worthy of the degree.

For award of a posthumous commendation in memoriam:

  • A continuously enrolled student who dies before meeting the criteria listed above may be nominated for a posthumous commendation. Such a nomination would be appropriate for a student who has made substantial progress toward a degree or has achieved particular distinction during her/his tenure at the university.


  1. When a recommendation for the awarding of a posthumous recognition is received, the student's academic department and appropriate student services office determines whether to recommend the degree based on the above criteria.

  2. The appropriate dean or director, or the dean of the Graduate School in the case of a graduate student, forwards the recommendation to the chancellor for conferral.

  3. Upon approval, the Office of the Registrar will be notified and will record the awarding of the appropriate degree in memoriam in the student's transcript.

  4. The registrar will send a diploma to the student's family and invite the family to send a representative to participate in the commencement ceremony on behalf of the student.

  5. The student's name will be listed in the appropriate commencement ceremony program.

[UW-Madison Faculty Document 2146a, 7 December 2009]

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