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SU to consider new class scheduling plan
SU to consider new class scheduling planApril 30, 2003Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
At the April 23 meeting of the Syracuse University Senate, the Senate Committee on Instruction presented a new class-scheduling paradigm proposal featuring additional 80-minute, twice-per-week class blocks in response to faculty requests. These class blocks will replace some of the more traditional 55-minute, thrice-weekly classes. To accommodate the change in class times and provide designated blocks of time for research, advising and student activities, a revamping of the class day schedule was included as part of the proposal.
An online survey to gather feedback from members of the University community ( http://cstl.syr.edu/scheduling/survey.asp) began April 24. In addition, the Office of the Registrar will create trial versions of future class schedules to demonstrate the new paradigm. Any revision to the class scheduling system will go into effect for Fall 2004 at the earliest.
“Students often face scheduling conflicts and have trouble getting seats in high-demand courses,” says Ronald R. Cavanagh, vice president for undergraduate studies. “By restructuring the schedule and addressing the issue of overlapping class times, the University expects to significantly reduce students’ problems with scheduling classes.”
One innovation of the new proposal is to spread scheduled classes across the week, while reserving a Wednesday afternoon block of time for departmental activities, service and other university events.
According to Cavanagh, the new proposal will have several other benefits, including more efficient use of the University’s classroom space and more flexibility for research, consultation and advising.
The committee’s proposal is in response to Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund’s April 2002 call for a reconsideration of how SU schedules its classes. In creating the new proposal, the committee looked at several issues, including student access to courses, increasing the number of opportunities to teach and learn within 80-minute time blocks and promoting Student Affairs objectives for healthier learning and social environments.
If it is approved in its proposed form, the new scheduling paradigm will introduce several changes, including:
- Time blocks for classes will be built around not one but two two-day sequences of 80-minute classes, Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday. The 80-minute blocks are the most popular on the current schedule among instructors and students;
- the less-used thrice-weekly schedule – currently calling for Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes of 55 minutes’ duration – will be shifted to Monday/Wednesday/Thursday;
- Wednesday afternoons will be set aside as a time for University departmental and community activities, including public lectures, symposia and experiential learning;
- the new paradigm will distribute classroom use more efficiently through earlier starting times, allowing space to be better utilized; and
- all undergraduate classes will be required to meet at standard times; non-standard length classes, such as studios or laboratory sessions, will be expected to start at standard times and use multiples of 55 or 80 minutes.
Before any changes are implemented, there will be a review of the online survey results, including the comments and suggestions offered by students, faculty and staff through early September. There will be opportunities for the campus community to attend open discussions of this proposal early in the Fall 2003 semester. Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw is likely to decide on the proposal by mid-Fall 2003 for implementation