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Academic Scheduling

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Category:
Academic & Student Affairs
Audience:
All University Personal
Issued:
January 26, 2020
Last Revised:
January 26, 2020
Owner:
Registrar’s Office
Approved By:
Board of Governors
Contact:
Registrar’s Office

Introduction

As part of FNUniv’s Teaching & Learning strategic process highlighted in the Strategic Plan, the institution will facilitate effective and efficient program and operational administration.  This relates to Academic Scheduling which involves timetabling courses as per execution of the approved annual Academic Plan to maximize efficient utilization of classroom space. 

Policy

Alignment with Academic Plan & Budget:

Resulting from the approved Academic Plan and Budget, Academic Scheduling initiates the execution of this plan by timetabling the specified courses for each Program area for each semester (Spring/Summer, Fall, Winter).  Any changes to course offerings require review and approval as per academic governance structure.

Integration with University of Regina:

FNUniv is integrated within the University of Regina’s established process for scheduling, which requires use of the Scheduling software’s Data Collection Utility (DCU) and adhering to defined timelines for course scheduling for each semester. This information is outlined in the University of Regina’s Class Scheduling Policy number OPS-040-015. The following policy provisions are excerpts from this U of R policy:

INTRODUCTION:

An effective class schedule is one that facilitates learning, maximizes access for students within the constraints of classroom space and the number of instructional hours available, and accommodates a range of pedagogies. In developing the course schedule for students and instructors, the following goals must be balanced:

  • Students should be able to take courses needed to graduate from their program in a timely manner.
  • Classes should be scheduled to avoid as many course conflicts as possible.
  • Classes should be scheduled to make the best possible use of the available space for teaching and learning activities.
  • Class schedules should consider the pedagogical needs of courses and programs.
  • Instructors should be able to obtain schedules that permit them to integrate their professional duties of teaching, research and service in a reasonable way.
  • In scheduling classes, the University must, if requested to do so, make accommodations under the provincial Human Rights legislation.
  • Scheduling priorities should be scheduled equitably across all disciplines.

The purpose of this policy is to:

a. define university policy as to the use and management of classroom space;
b. establish and enumerate processes for allocating classroom space; and
c. encourage the university community to make efficient and coordinated use of classroom space.

DEFINITIONS:

  • Classroom Space – is a university resource allocated to and managed by the Scheduling area of the Registrar’s Office.  All academic units share access to classroom space to deliver courses
  • Core/Required Courses– Those courses a student must take in order to graduate from their program of study.
  • Daytime Hours– Classes with start times between the hours of 08:30 and 16:59.
  • Evening Hours –Classes with start times between the hours of 17:00 and 22:00.
  • Forced Meeting Day and Time – A class that has been forced in the system to be scheduled on a specific day and/or time.
  • Standard Meeting Pattern – An established pattern of class meeting times.
  • Tier 1 Accommodations – A Tier 1 accommodation is an approved workplace accommodation or some other contractual obligation that the University has with a faculty member.  
  • Tier 2 Arrangement – A request for an arrangement that does not fall into the definition of a Tier 1 Accommodation request.

FNUniv Policy Priorities:

FNUniv is focused on maximizing the efficiency of classroom utilization and scheduling process, through adherence to established priorities and clear criteria for justifiable accommodations.  It is expected that each faculty member adheres to accommodation definitions and only advance justifiable accommodations (i.e. Tier 1 Accommodation or Tier 2 Arrangement) forward for change approvals.  Stronger adherence at the faculty level will minimize non-justifiable requests coming forward for approval which adds inefficiencies and unnecessary changes to the overall scheduling process.

Classroom Space

Scheduled classroom space is a university resource allocated to and managed by the Registrar’s Office.  All academic units share access to classroom spaces to deliver courses.

Classroom allocation and specifications (i.e. square footage, video equipment, computer lab, etc.) is managed by PPM with information provided to the Registrar’s Office to ensure classroom allocations and specifications are recorded in the DCU accordingly.  Classroom space will not be removed from the classroom pool unless formally approved by the Vice-President, Finance & Administration.  

Casual bookings of classroom space not in use for purpose of events, meetings, tutorials, workshops, etc. must be booked through the Registrar’s Office to ensure it does not conflict with scheduled classes and labs. 

Changes to room allocation after the timetable is produced must be approved by the Associate Dean, Academic and the Vice-President, Academic.

Standard Meeting Patterns

Standard meeting patterns will be used when scheduling most classes.  A complete list of standard meeting patterns can be found in Appendix 1 outlined in the University of Regina’s Class Scheduling Policy number OPS-040-015.

Non-standard Meeting Patterns

There may be some classes that need to be scheduled outside of standard meeting patterns (a one-week intensive course for example).  In these cases, forced entries to the system may be used.

Tier 1 Accommodation Requests

A tier 1 accommodation will be made for employees who have a temporary or permanent medical disability or who have a contracted teaching agreement to teach on a specific day and/or time.  Tier 1 accommodation requests will be respected 100% of the time.  Tier 1 accommodation requests are made to the Associate Dean, Academic through the Academic Administrator, with a note to Human Resources.

Tier 2 Arrangement Requests

Reasonable efforts will be made to honor Tier 2 arrangement requests (i.e. administrative work, research work), but the arrangement might not be guaranteed as the scheduling needs of the students will take precedence.  Tier 2 arrangement requests are made to the Associate Dean, Academic through the Academic Administrator.  These requests are not always accommodated or approved.

Schedule Requirements and Deadlines

Designated academic administration staff are required to enter all pertinent information into the established timetabling system by the approved deadline dates.

Roles and Responsibilities

Registrar’s Office (Owner)

  • Distributes call for timetable to Associate Deans & Academic Administrator to kickoff scheduling process, along with various timelines associated with UofR DCU steps and deadlines;
  • Enters all pertinent scheduling data into the DCU system by the approved deadline dates based on the schedule spreadsheet document provided by the Academic Administrator;
  • Informs Academic Administrator and Associate Deans when draft timetable is available for review;
  • Works with Academic Administrator to resolve changes to schedule based on University of Regina Class Scheduling Policy (OPS-040-015);
  • Receives and forwards Course Add/Revision/Cancellation Forms to UofR after schedule has been published; and
  • Overall responsibility for maintaining this policy, including distributing and educating on updates.

Faculty Member or Instructor (Compliance)

  • Submits justifiable accommodations (i.e. Tier 1 Accommodation or Tier 2 Arrangement) requests to the Academic Administrator for approval by the Associate Dean, Academic. 

Academic Administrator (Compliance)

  • With support as required from Academic Administrative Assistants, prepares detailed course requirements in spreadsheet for courses specified in Academic Plan;
  • Receives course change requests from faculty members, sessionals and instructors and provides to Associate Dean for approval;
  • Works with Associate Deans to finalize schedule and submits to Registrar’s Office;
  • Works with Registrar to resolve changes to schedule based on University of Regina Class Scheduling Policy (OPS-040-015); and
  • Ensures Course Add / Revision / Cancellation Forms (with support from Academic Administrative Assistants) are completed as requested by the Associate Deans and obtains appropriate approvals from Associate Deans (for Add and Cancellation) or Vice-President, Academic (for Revision) and submits to Registrar’s Office.

Associate Dean, Academic

  • Reviews and refines schedule as developed by the Academic Administrator from the Academic Plan information;
  • Reviews draft schedule from the Course Schedule Detail Audit Report extracted from CASPUR during Program Review period, consults with Program Coordinators and provides required changes based on faculty/sessional/instructor customization and student needs to Academic Administrator.
  • Consults with Program Coordinators on course revisions, additions or cancellations identified after the schedule is published, working with the Academic Administrator to complete required forms and approvals.

Program Coordinator

  • Coordinates Program Council meetings to prepare Academic Plan; and
  • Reviews draft schedule during Program Review period, consults with faculty and sessionals and recommends changes to Academic Administrator.

Vice President, Academic

  • Reviews course revisions and provide approvals for justifiable requests.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Noncompliance with this policy could result in unnecessary delays in the time a student takes to complete a program, or other consequences that could impact the class schedule in a negative way.

Processes

General Approach:

Based on the “Year 2 Projected Courses” in the approved Academic Plan, the Academic Administrator (supported by the Academic Administrative Assistants) works alongside the Associate Deans to specify for each course to be offered – the type (i.e. lecture, lab, online), meeting pattern, the need for particular room type and requested times for which instructors are unavailable to teach.  It must also be identified which courses must be scheduled in a conflict-free manner (which may include courses from other Faculties) as well as identifying course combinations (more information below).  This information is provided to the Registrar’s Office to input into the DCU software, ensuring all special requirements of the course are included.

  • For course combinations, the Academic Administrator (supported by the Academic Administrative Assistants) must ensure that course combinations are reviewed and modified.  The student demand for courses (as determined by the Student Counts in the course combinations) must not exceed the number of seats available in the components of the courses.
  • Any courses from the course combinations that are not being offered get deleted automatically.  Course combinations drive the entire scheduling system.  It may be prudent to discuss students’ course needs with Program Coordinators and to reflect these in course combinations and number of seats scheduled.  The Registrar’s Office can provide further guide on course combination requirements.

Following the preliminary deadline of DCU data input, the Academic Administrator, supported by the Academic Administrative Assistants, will review the overall timetable to ensure timetabling conflicts are minimized and to catch any errors that may have happened during data entry.  Requests may be made to the Registrar to move specific courses to solve conflict problems. 

Course Additions / Revisions / Cancellations:

Once the timetable is created, class changes are made by completing course add or revisions forms to make changes to the schedule based on justifiable Tier 1 Accommodations or Tier 2 Arrangements. The forms must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.  If a day or time change is required for a class, the request must be approved by the Associate Dean, Academic and the Vice President, Academic.  Class adds, enrollment changes, classroom changes, and any other changes require the Associate Dean, Academic’s approval.  The changes are submitted to the U of R Registrar’s Office for processing prior to the CRN creation to reduce the number of revisions to the timetable in Banner, resulting in fewer inaccuracies and omissions as per past process.  Changes following the timetable being published are to be minimized.

Review & Approval:

Scheduling is administered by the Academic Administrator in collaboration with the Registrar’s Office.  All timetabled courses require review and approval of the Associate Dean, Academic and approval of the Vice-President, Academic for day and time changes of classes.

Low-Enrolment Classes:

The Registrar’s Office provides information to the Senior Academic Management Team (SAMT) regarding classes with low-enrolment.  SAMT will review and discuss low-enrolment classes and engage with Program Coordinators concerning such classes to understand if cancellation will result in undue hardship for students who need them to graduate.  Cancellation of a low-enrolment class required approval of the Vice-President, Academic.

The following process map demonstrates the key steps involved with execution of this policy:

Related Information

University of Regina Class Scheduling Policy – https://www.uregina.ca/policy/browse-policy/policy-OPS-040-015.html

University of Regina DCU Timetabling Timelines

Course Offerings Timetabling Information Spreadsheet Template

Course Add / Revision Form

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