To comply with accreditation standards, this policy describes the conditions in which UW-Madison must seek approval for the delivery of credit instruction by contractors.
Per the Higher Learning Commission, an arrangement in which the institution outsources some portion of its academic programs, e.g., degrees or certificates offered for academic credit, to:
The services provided by the contractual party may include instruction, oversight of the curriculum, assurance of the consistency in the level and quality of instruction and in expectations of student performance, and/or the establishment of the academic qualifications for instructional personnel.
A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
(1)One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
(2)At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
Alternatively, a credit hour is defined as the learning that takes place in at least 45 hours of learning activities, which include time in lectures or class meetings, in-person or online, laboratories, examinations, presentations, tutorials, preparation, reading, studying, hands-on experiences, and other learning activities; or a demonstration by the student of learning equivalent to that established as the expected product of such a period of study.
In all cases, learning in for-credit courses is guided by a qualified instructor and includes regular and substantive student-instructor interaction.
Academic divisions and/or academic units that seek to outsource the delivery of academic programs and/or courses.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), UW-Madison’s accrediting body, dictates that prior HLC approval or notification may be required related to the initiation, modification, or renewal of contractual arrangements in which some portion of an academic program is outsourced.
If an academic division or academic unit at UW-Madison seeks to enter a contractual arrangement for the delivery of instruction that results in the awarding of UW-Madison credit, the arrangement requires academic approval by the faculty of the contracting department or unit, the dean of the school/college, and the University Academic Planning Council (UAPC). Upon approval of these entities, the contractual arrangement must be submitted to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for review and approval. Once approved by the HLC, the contract may be signed by UW-Madison’s Office of Procurement.
HLC approval or notification is not required for arrangements between an institution and a third party in which any of the following conditions apply:
In addition, the following arrangements do not fall under the definition of a contractual arrangement and do not require HLC approval or notification:
Proposals for contractual agreements are submitted in Lumen Structure Proposals.