Yearlong freeze for university catalog begins Feb. 1

The task of moving student-related data from multiple legacy systems into Workday is so vast -- and so important -- that Iowa State will take the unusual step of pausing edits to the university catalog for about a year to help get it done. (The pause applies to Graduate College Handbook content, too.)

At the conclusion of its annual updating and editing process, on Feb. 1 the newest university catalog, for the 2023-24 academic year, will be frozen, in essence becoming the official record through the 2024-25 academic year. Generally, no new programs, changes to existing programs or changes to academic policies are permitted until next year about this time.

The freeze provides stability to a period when legacy systems (such as AccessPlus, ADIN) and Workday will both be in use but the focus will be on building and maintaining the future system. It gives staff involved in Workday Student time to develop the new system and confidence that data being moved from the old systems is reliable, said Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for academic programs.

"This creates a window when we don't have two parallel systems working, which reduces the opportunities for errors. We need to have a cut-over point, when we can assure accuracy of all the data at the time of transfer," VanDerZanden said.

Course, degree development continues

The freeze doesn't mean that change halts. The behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating courses and adding new degree programs will continue, VanDerZanden said. For example, work on two current initiatives, Degrees of the Future (to meet employer and student demand) and courses to meet the university’s new U.S. diversity requirements, will continue with a target launch in fall 2025. From department proposal to final approval by the state Board of Regents, it takes 12-18 months to add a degree program, she noted.

Next February, when work resumes on the catalog for the 2025-26 academic year, all necessary edits from the stabilization period will be made in the new Workday system.

It's a big catalog

The simple-sounding "university catalog" is a little misleading. In addition to a list of nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate courses organized alphabetically by major, minor or certificate, the university catalog includes all academic procedures and policies, curriculum requirements, first-year courses of study for more than 100 undergraduate majors, and the many layers of tuition assessment and financial aid possibilities.