University adopts revised class schedule paradigm, effective Spring 2005
University adopts revised class schedule paradigm, effective Spring 2005December 16, 2003Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Syracuse University today formally adopted a new class-scheduling paradigm that addresses the problems resulting from overlapping and irregular class times and other concerns. While retaining much of the structure of the existing schedule, the new paradigm provides for a greater number of 80-minute periods during the week and more strictly controls class-scheduling exceptions.
Today’s formal adoption of the plan–which will be implemented for the Spring 2005 semester–follows a final review period in which Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund requested comment from the University community on the final draft of the proposed schedule.
“The new paradigm is the result of a lot of thought, effort and reasoned debate by our students, faculty and other members of this community,” says Freund. “Their determination and leadership were instrumental in bringing about this change.”
The revised schedule results from a two-year exploration of ways to improve the University’s class scheduling paradigm to prioritize teaching, learning, research and service.
“I am excited to see a finalized scheduling plan, especially one that will benefit the students and faculty,” says Andrew R. Thomson, Student Association president. “This schedule maximizes the availability of 55-minute and 80-minute options, and by enforcing the new paradigm, students should see improved access to courses.”
The improvement process began in April 2002 with Freund’s call for reassessment of how the University schedules its classes. A key issue addressed by the new schedule is the erosion over time of adherence to designated class times and the distribution of classes. This schedule degradation has forced students and faculty members to contend with overlapping and irregular class times, and limited availability of courses across departments, schools and colleges.
After numerous open forums in which all members of the University community were invited to participate, the University Senate voted Nov. 12 to endorse the revised plan. Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw accepted the Senate’s resolution and asked Freund to prepare the final plan for review and adoption.
“In redesigning this paradigm, we went to great lengths to make sure everyone affected had an opportunity to voice their particular concerns,” says Freund. “I’m confident that this schedule reflects a representative consensus and a good solution for the University as a whole.”
Cathryn R. Newton, dean of The College of Arts and Sciences, agrees. “This proposal has won impressive and multilateral support from Arts and Sciences faculty and students,” she says. “We feel it will meet the needs of liberal arts courses to a far greater extent than the other options that were considered.”
The final, revised schedule retains the Monday-Wednesday-Friday/ Tuesday-Thursday/ Monday-Wednesday afternoon day-matching format, while providing additional 80-minute time slots on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. The new schedule will require “reasonably strict” faculty compliance with the time slots defined on the scheduling grid; all classes are expected to conform to the schedule.
Scheduling exceptions will be allowed, but only after review and approval by academic deans and final approval by the Vice Chancellor. Exceptions will be specific to the faculty member and class for which they are approved, and will have finite end dates. Changes in the nature of exceptions or extensions will require the submission of new exemption requests.
According to Newhouse Dean David M. Rubin, the revisions will help alleviate current scheduling problems. “The new class paradigm should make it easier for students to register for more of the classes that interest them by reducing the conflicts that occur because of bunching in the schedule. We hope that the paradigm will spread out courses more evenly throughout the entire week and make the campus a more vibrant place for learning, from 8 a.m. on Monday to 3 p.m. on Friday.”
The revised paradigm will go into effect in January 2005, allowing more than a year to prepare for the change and ensuring smooth and thorough implementation of the plan. The revised class scheduling plan, including guidelines for scheduling exceptions, can be viewed at http://cstl.syr.edu.