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Nonprofit sues UW for access to course outlines

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) — A research and policy group aimed at improving teacher quality is suing to get access to course outlines at the University of Wisconsin’s schools of education.

The National Council on Teacher Quality is reviewing teacher colleges around the country. The nonprofit group has met resistance from UW, which has refused to hand over course outlines at its schools of education.

The group is suing the UW System Board of Regents for not complying with information requests the organization made in November under Wisconsin’s open records law. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the group filed the complaint Wednesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

The suit contends that the course outlines at 12 UW schools of education are public records subject to disclosure under the state law, and that proposed disclosure of records to the nonprofit would constitute fair use.

“The purpose of this request is not to reproduce or disseminate these syllabi or to use them for commercial purposes, but to evaluate the content of the associated courses in connection with a national evaluation of schools of education,” the complaint said.

UW officials contend that university course syllabi are not public records because they are subject to copyright, and therefore exempt under Wisconsin’s open records law.

“We’ve long held that those syllabi are not subject to open records requests,” UW spokesman David Giroux told the Journal Sentinel.

The council is a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan group that is reviewing the quality of 1,150 public and private schools of education. The group has partnered with U.S. News & World Report to eventually publish the findings.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

One comment

  1. So who owns the copyright? The faculty member who created the record or the UW-System?

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