Big schedule changes are in the pipes for Fall 2012, Columbia. Bottom line is that 8:40 am lectures and 8:00 am sections will exist. Today’s email from the Registrar is after the jump.
Yesterday, Bwog met about the change with Barry Kane, Associate Vice President and University Registrar, and Margaret Edsall, Associate Vice President for Academic Planning.
According to Kane, the “Classroom Committee convened for two years” regarding business “mostly to do with classroom.” Exciting stuff! They were tasked with figuring out how to allocate classrooms between departments and professors most efficiently. The Classroom Committee strongly recommended a new class schedule model; the unenviable task of putting that “conceptual” model into practice fell to Kane’s office.
Quite simply, we don’t have enough space. Due to recent incremental class size increases as well as expansions of majors and programs, there isn’t enough room. Unsurprisingly, “Faculty like to teach when they want to teach, and students like to learn when they want to learn.” This leads to “clumping” of like classes around popular time slots, like 10:35 am and 1:10 pm. Kane explains that when, for instance, a class ups and changes time and place without warning three days before class begins, it’s because there wasn’t a room for it.
Kane openly admits that the change is “not intended to provide a better schedule.” Rather, it is very pragmatically intended “to enhance the availability of classroom space.” This meant treating Arts and Science classes, SEAS classes, and language classes, differently. This isn’t even a solution, Kane contends, but really more of a stopgap measure.
Classrooms “directly affects the transmission of knowledge,” according to Edsall. You’ll see she’s right, if only you’ll consider the difference in quality between a discussion sections in classrooms with floating desks and those in rooms with a kitchen table. This is why departments will get the option of scheduling lectures as early as 8:40 am and as late as 7:40 pm and of scheduling sections as early as 8 am and as late as 9:10 pm.
As you know, the initial registration period for fall classes takes place the week of April 9-13, 2012. As you begin to think about your fall academic program, we wanted you to know that, starting this fall, we will be using a new Master Schedule of Classes, which is attached to this memorandum. Also attached are the class schedules that will be used by the School of Engineering and Applied Science and by the foreign language departments in order to best accommodate their unique requirements.
These schedules were developed by the Arts and Sciences Ad Hoc Classroom Committee that completed its work last year. The Committee took a comprehensive look at patterns of classroom use and identified a range of things we could do to improve scheduling and the way we allocate our classroom spaces. The Committee consulted broadly, taking the classroom scheduling patterns of Arts and Sciences departments and schools, as well as Barnard and SEAS, into consideration. It made recommendations to address a broad range of issues, the two most pressing being the availability of electronic classrooms and the challenges of finding suitable classrooms, especially at hours of peak use.
One important outcome of the new Master Schedule of Classes is the addition of new lecture periods on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, which will significantly increase the number of classes that can be scheduled in existing classrooms. This, however, means that not all classes will begin and end at the times to which you are accustomed.
As you plan your academic program for the fall, we ask that you begin preparations for next year’s curriculum with the new Schedule of Classes in mind. You may consult with your adviser if you have additional questions.
Finally, we are also pleased to announce that, in response to the Classroom Committee’s recommendations, 46 classrooms have been outfitted with electronic podiums, projectors, and screens and are in use this year, bringing the total number to 88 out of 116. We hope to complete the conversion of our remaining 28 classrooms into electronic classrooms by summer of 2013.
Best wishes for the rest of the semester.
Rude awakening via Wikimedia Commons