One of the most demanding tasks for department heads and directors is scheduling classes, which consists of several important steps.
To begin the planning process, one must consult with the Office of the Registrar for due dates for the fall, spring, and summer schedules. In general, schedules for the spring are due by mid-August, and schedules for summer and fall are due in early December. These dates are subject to change, but department heads and directors should allow time to begin the planning and the sharing of schedules with faculty members before submission to the Office of the Registrar.
Before planning a schedule, department heads and directors should consult departmental materials for offering classes and for the number of sections that the schedule will require. Perhaps the most important preliminary guide is the previous year’s schedule and the tentative two-year cycle of upper division courses. It should give a reasonable indication of what demands were. However, one must analyze those demands in light of how enrollment patterns may have shifted during the year. A valuable resource is the seat planning tool (which can be accessed through the EAS portal at the Strategic Research and Analysis website where faculty SOIs are also accessed) for core curriculum and upper-division classes. Faculty should be consulted in terms of their course and time preferences for teaching. Department heads and directors should make sure that the classroom accommodates the maximum number of students enrolled in the course. The seat capacity of a given classroom and its availability can be checked through the master course scheduling software (R-25). A room can be requested through this software, which can be accessed through Banner Forms (formerly GUI Banner). Overrides for a class must not be given beyond the capacity of the classroom.
A department should have a two-year rotation for all 3000-4000 level courses. This rotation should assure that all required courses for majors are available within that span in the appropriate number of sections. When this rotation is in place, one then decides when the classes should be offered (it is wise to rotate these courses among morning, afternoon, and evening), and which faculty will be teaching those courses. The tentative two-year rotation for upper-division courses should be posted on the departmental website.
The trickier part of the schedule may be deciding on the number of core curriculum sections needed. Once again, enrollment information is important as well as enrollment figures from the previous semester (particularly for a sequential course). As noted previously, a valuable resource is the seat planning tool for core curriculum and upper-division classes. The hiring process for adjunct faculty to meet departmental needs is outlined on pages 34-35 of this handbook.
When applicable, departments also should construct graduate rotations as well. Upper-division undergraduate courses may be cross-listed at the graduate level, but department heads and directors should ensure that the graduate component of the course includes appropriate assignments/reading load for graduate credit. Furthermore, attention should be given to scheduling some graduate courses during the evenings for students who work during the day.
Online or hybrid courses should be scheduled to support the overall mission of a department or program as well as the university. Hybrid or online courses should be identified as such prior to the start of a semester and clearly noted as such in Banner, and the delivery format of a course should not be changed after the semester starts. Department heads and directors should utilize E-Major to advertise upper-division online courses. E-Major is an entrepreneurial system modeled after E-Core which allows for some funds to come back to the department or program after initial costs have been covered.
A department also may schedule courses in conjunction with other departments and programs. Some of these programs are listed below. Department heads and directors may establish rotations with some of these programs; in other cases, they may contact one another to see if faculty would be available to teach. In these cases, department heads and directors must evaluate departmental needs to see if faculty can be spared. Of course, faculty often enjoy these special courses, which may be nice perks.
- Honors College (Honors Course Rotation)*
- African-American Studies
- Women’s and Gender Studies
- Office of International Programs
- College of Education
- College of Business Administration
- College of Nursing
- King’s Bay Naval Base ***
- Moody Air Force Base ***
*A department may offer specifically designated Honors courses.
**Department heads and directors schedule PERS classes. The associate dean of A&S serves as the coordinator of PERS classes, and department heads and directors should consult with the associate dean to avoid offering an excessive number of PERS seats in a given semester.
***Scheduled by the Dean of Faculty at King’s Bay Center
Once department heads and directors determine what classes must be taught, they must establish which faculty should teach these courses and at what time. Many find faculty-preference sheets helpful. These sheets may indicate what courses faculty have taught or would like to teach as well as their preferred times. Of course, one cannot guarantee that departments can meet all faculty preferences. In addition, department heads and directors should maintain lists of part-time faculty and should check their availability for the coming semester.
As they build a schedule, department heads and directors must assign rooms for all classes. They should maintain lists of classrooms normally assigned to their departments and the number of seats in each classroom. A department head or director can schedule courses in those classrooms that have been historically designated for the department or program. If a department or program has scheduling needs beyond the designated classrooms, the department head or director should work with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs to secure a classroom for a given course. As department heads and directors prepare schedules, they often sort by faculty member, by class sections, and by classroom. In this way, they avoid double booking a classroom or a faculty member. As noted previously, the master scheduling software (R-25) is a valuable tool.
Department heads and directors will receive an electronic form from the Office of the Registrar which requests information for the course abbreviation, course number, course section, off-campus sites, number of seats, credit hours, days, beginning time, ending time, building, room, and instructor.
After submitting the schedule, department heads should remind faculty of the due dates for ordering books, dates which are posted on the bookstore’s homepage. Faculty are responsible for ordering books through the website for the VSU Bookstore.