Course Scheduling Guidelines

  1. Classrooms
    1. Technology Options
    2. Bousfield Rooms
    3. Specific Room Requests
  2. Days and Times
    1. Changing Days and Times
    2. MWF vs. TuTh
    3. Peak Time vs. Non-Peak Time
    4. Standard Time Blocks
    5. Prohibited Course Times
  3. Instructors
    1. Adjuncts and Graduate Students as IORs
    2. Co-Taught Courses
  4. Courses with Additional Instructions
    1. Area IV Courses
    2. Independent Study Courses
    3. Current and Special Topics Courses
  5. Special Situations
    1. 3+1 Eligibility
    2. Buy-Outs and Sabbatical Leaves
  6. Changing Course Scheduling Information


Technology Options

Instructors have several classroom technology options, the most basic being no technology.

Hi-Tech: The demand for high tech classrooms with a full audio-visual exceeds their availability. Instructors should only request a high tech if it is absolutely needed. Teaching outside of peak meeting times will increase the probability of being assigned to a high tech room.

Tech-Ready: A number of classrooms on campus have been converted to tech-ready, which provide a computer projection/audio system. This type of room is a good option if you want to make use of a projector but do not need a full audio-visual set-up.

Bousfield Rooms

The psychological sciences department has scheduling control over most rooms in Bousfield; however, the registrar has control over some of the Annex rooms.

Most graduate courses are routinely scheduled in Bousfield. It is not always possible to honor all requests due to overlapping times. Faculty should be to be prepared to move to another day and/or time, if necessary, in order to stay in Bousfield or their desired room in Bousfield. Rooms are booked based on a combination of need (e.g., cap, technology) and priority (e.g., first come, first served).

A note on classrooms in the Annex:

  • Due to the high demand of Bousfield rooms for graduate courses and meetings, undergraduate courses will not be scheduled in Bousfield except for BOUS A105 and BOUS A106.
  • Only courses requested during the initial round of course requests can be placed in BOUS A105 and A106.  The registrar fills these rooms based on initial course submissions and will not move (several) courses to accommodate a later-scheduled course.

Specific Room Requests

Instructors interested in requesting a particular classroom (no guarantees can be made, as the registrar makes the final assignments), should refer to the Classrooms website for more information about specific classrooms and capabilities. Requests must be for only one specific room; requesting multiple buildings/rooms will result in only the first listing being formally requested. Faculty with no specific room in mind may leave the item blank.

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Days and Times

The registrar sets forth requirements for scheduling the days and times of (undergraduate) courses. These requirements are intended to create balance and structure. The use of the parameters explained below should be present in each division, so no single division is over- or under-represented in undergraduate listings. Division heads are responsible for ensuring balance before submitting their divisions’ schedules to the scheduling coordinator.

Compliance is extremely important from the students’ perspective; if most of our courses were offered on the same days of the week at around the same time, they would not be able to enroll in the courses that they need to complete the requirements of our major. Additionally, many students have jobs and other responsibilities that limit their scheduling choices. It is important that we be sensitive to the needs of our diverse student population.

Changing Days and Times

The registrar rolls over the schedule from year to year (e.g., Fall 2015 rolls over to Fall 2016; Spring 2016 rolls over to Spring 2017). When the registrar receives the schedule, they make changes to class details (e.g., days and times) in the first round and assign rooms in the second round. (Classes that did not change days or times are typically assigned the same rooms as the previous year.)

Faculty changing days and times from the previous year will lose their room and placement in another room is not guaranteed. It is quite common for faculty teaching a large class during peak time (e.g., moving a class with cap 150+ to a different time on TuTh) to not receive their requested time change. By then it is too late to “go back” to the original time as the room has already been given away; faculty must choose from an entirely new available time. This issue can typically be avoided by switching to MWF and/or non-peak time.

MWF vs. TuTh

Undergraduate courses should be scheduled so that there are roughly an equal number of courses scheduled on MWF and TuTh. In the past, TuTh has been a faculty favorite, but it is extremely important that we maintain a balance of courses on MWF. Faculty should be to be prepared to move to MWF should an abundance of requests to teach on TuTh be submitted.

Peak Time vs. Non-Peak Time

The registrar defines peak time as courses that have a start time between 9:00am and 4:00pm. At least 30% of the undergraduate courses from each division should be scheduled during non-peak time, in compliance with requirements set forth by the registrar.

Standard Time Blocks

As mandated by the Provost’s Office, undergraduate courses must be scheduled only in standard time blocks during peak time. Thus, MWF courses must extend for 50 minutes, be spread across all three days (i.e., not offered in two 90-min blocks or one 3-hr block), and begin at the following times: 8:00, 9:05, 10:10, 11:15, 12:20, 1:25, 2:30, 3:35, etc. TuTh courses are scheduled for 1 hour and 15 minutes and must begin at the following times: 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, 12:30, 2:00, 3:30, etc. Graduate courses should also follow the MWF start time, as many graduate students are inherently subject to the undergraduate time blocks. Classes beginning at 4:40pm (MWF) or 4:00pm (TuTh) and later do not have to follow standard time block scheduling, though the registrar’s office is more frequently challenging these requests as room availability becomes more limited.

Undergraduate courses cannot be scheduled across time blocks during peak time without advanced permission from the registrar; even if a faculty has received permission to do this in the past, it must be granted anew before scheduling can violate the standard time blocks. Faculty seeking such exceptions should individually email scheduling before submitting their courses to their division head; should permission be granted, the faculty should forward the email to the scheduling coordinator.

Prohibited Course Times

Graduate courses (or undergraduate courses utilizing graduate students as TAs) may not be scheduled during the following times:

W 9:05am-10:05am  (Conflicts with PSYC 1100 and PSYC 1103 TA training.)
W 4:45pm-5:45pm  (Conflicts with PSYC 2100WQ TA training.)

Undergraduate and graduate courses may not be scheduled at the following times:

W 3:35pm-4:35pm  (Conflicts with Departmental Colloquium time.)

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Adjuncts and Graduate Students as IORs

The registrar has to match every scheduled IOR to their ID in the Student Administration System (i.e. PeopleSoft). When listing an “out-of-the ordinary” adjunct or graduate student as an IOR, please also include the instructor’s Student Admin ID or date of birth to prevent later confusion.

Co-Taught Courses

Co-taught courses must list one instructor as primary and one as secondary, as the Student Administrative System (i.e., PeopleSoft) is structured to only allow one instructor per “slot.” The primary/secondary designation does not necessarily indicate the actual division of teaching. However, the primary instructor is listed as receiving the teaching credit, so many co-instructors alternate the listing of primary and secondary each term.

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Courses with Additional Instructions

Area IV Courses

Faculty should consider teaching an Area IV Lecture course if at all possible, as we have not been offering many of these courses. Students pursuing the BA Research and BA Honors plans of study are required to take two Area IV courses.

For Fall semesters, we try to offer the following Area IV Lab courses:

PSYC 3250/W (Lab in Animal Behavior & Learning)
PSYC 3251/W (Lab in Physiological Psych)
PSYC 3253 (Sensory Neuroscience Lab)
PSYC 3750/W (Lab in Social Psych)
PSYC 3551W (Psycholinguistics Lab)

For Spring, other Area IV Lab courses should be offered.

Independent Study Courses

Faculty should not list independent study courses (i.e., PSYC 3880, 3889, 3899, 4197W, 5800, 5801) on the course request forms. Every faculty will be assigned a section of each of these courses whether they use it or not. However, faculty should list their graduate research teams (i.e., PSYC 5399, 5499, 5699, 5799).

Variable Topics Courses

Current topics (i.e., PSYC ##70), special topics (i.e., PSYC ##85), and other variable topic courses require a title indicating the course topic. The full title will be listed in “class notes” when the students search for and enroll in the course. However, excessively long titles will be abbreviated and truncated (almost to incomprehension) down to 30 characters in order to fit on the student’s transcript.

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Special Situations

3+1 Eligibility

As per the guidelines of the 3+1 Teaching Plan Committee:

Each September, faculty members will be asked to submit their teaching preferences for the ensuing Fall AND Spring semesters. Division Heads will be responsible for assigning eligible faculty members’ teaching reductions to either the Fall or Spring semesters, with preference given to the Spring semester (two to one). Division Heads will be expected to insure that the appropriate departmental required enrollments are met.

The 3+1 Teaching Plan necessitates planning PSYC courses for the entire academic year one year ahead of time. Faculty should consult their division head before submitting course preferences, and discuss whether or not they are eligible for a course reduction in the subsequent academic year. While there may be a few exceptions, with the implementation of our new 3+1 Teaching Plan, each faculty member normally will be expected to teach 2 undergraduate courses and 1 graduate course per year. (Normally faculty teach 4 courses per year.)

The 3+1 Teaching Plan cannot reduce the number of seats offered by the department; thus, it’s necessary that many faculty teach larger-enrollment courses as well as offering courses during non-peak time (e.g., 8:00am and after 4:00pm). Faculty should this into account when indicating preferred course capacities and teaching times.

Buy-Outs and Sabbatical Leaves

Faculty planning on buying out any courses in the subsequent academic year should schedule a meeting with Jim Green to confirm the details of any course buy-outs prior to submitting their course preferences to their division head.

Faculty planning on requesting a sabbatical leave for either or both semesters in the subsequent academic year should schedule a meeting with Jim Green to confirm the details of a possible sabbatical leave prior to submitting their course preferences to their division head.

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Changing Course Scheduling Information

Once the schedule is finalized, changes should not be made with a casual attitude. If a change is needed individual faculty should first seek approval from the department head and their division head, then complete the online form. Faculty should not contact the registrar for changes. The only exception would be room changes that do not involve internal Bousfield scheduling; faculty may directly contact scheduling for non-Bousfield and BOUS A105 and A106 room changes.

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