Step one: start working on academic settings

Academic settings let you establish your preferences for how Populi organizes and calculates academic information. These settings are foundational to most of what you'll be setting up later—programs, courses, degrees, and so on. If you have a good grasp of how your school's setup will work with Populi, you can go ahead and work through all the settings in one go. But if you need to take it slower, that works, too. You can come back at any time to fill in or update these settings.

The first thing you need to do is set up Academic Years; you can tackle the other settings in any order you please.

In order to update academic settings, you must have the Academic Admin role.

If we imported your legacy academic data, then we imported your Academic Years and have most likely filled in some of your settings (including your grade scales). If we did not import any legacy data, then all of your academic settings are currently set to their default mode. At minimum, you should review them.

First things first: Academic Years!

Academic years help organize almost all of your school's information—including academics, admissions, student billing, and some portions of financial aid. They are foundational to nearly everything else you're going to do in Populi.

Does your school use Federal financial aid? We recommend aligning the start and end dates of your academic years and terms with those of the Federal "aid year", which goes from July 1 of one calendar year to June 30 of the next calendar year. Check with your financial aid office to make sure y'all are all on the same page.

Start by going to Academics > Settings > Academic Years.

Grades & Attendance

The Grades & Attendance settings let you establish letter grade scales, pass/fail grade scales, and various attendance requirements. If you need to change these items for particular academic programs, you can do so later when you set up programs.

Populi provides a basic grade scale (A, B, C, D, F). Feel free to modify this one to your needs. The pass/fail and attendance settings are all optional.

Start by going to Academics > Settings > Grades & Attendance.

General academic settings

General academic settings cover numerous details that will affect the daily operations of your school—global retake policy settings, certain transcript details, and more. You have plenty of latitude about when you take care of your general academic settings, but you should at least look over your options as you consider what your school will need.

Start by going to Academics > Settings > General Settings.


Rubrics are standard guides for evaluating and grading student assignments and other coursework. They can exist at the "global" level—when created in Academics > Settings, they can be used in any course. They can also be created at the individual course level for use only in that course. You don't need rubrics to grade assignments, so they're by no means essential to academic setup.

Start by going to Academics > Settings > Rubrics.

Departments, Honors, and Course Delivery Methods

  • Departments help organize your degrees and courses. There's no need to overthink them—other than helping you relate courses and degrees in groups, they don't materially affect much.
  • Honors are academic awards ( Dean's List, Summa Cum Laude, etc.) that you can attach to students manually or via automated GPA triggers.
  • Course Delivery Methods let you specify how courses are brought to students. Typical examples include On Campus, Online, Self-paced, and so on. You can set up fees to automatically trigger based on a student's enrollment in a course with a particular delivery method. Read about using course delivery methods with student types in this article.
  • Although Populi includes the official IPEDS Exit Reasons, should you need to add custom exit reasons for your own internal reporting, you can do that in Academics > Settings. To add a new exit reason, you'll need to map it to one of the official IPEDS reasons.

Start setting up these items by going to Academics > Settings and choosing the appropriate navigation view.

Custom Student Fields

Custom student fields come in two flavors. Student Fields are stored in the student information panel in Profile > Student; they're meant for information that doesn't change that often. Term Student Fields are stored in Profile > Student > Term Info. They're meant for custom information that changes with the passage of time.

Start by going to Academics > Settings and choosing the appropriate navigation view.

Next: set up your academic programs...

Discipline types

Though not included in the interface for initial academic settings, you may want to give some thought at this point as to whether you'd like us to modify the built-in student discipline types. Learn more in this article.

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