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University Timetable Committee

 

Membership
Members as of November 20, 2015
Lynann Clapham                          Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
John Metcalfe Office of the University Registrar
Monika Holzschuh Sator Department of Languages, Literature and Cultures
Anya Hageman Department of Economics
Chris Ward Department of Biomolecular and Molecular Sciences
Mark Chen Department of Physics
Aphra Rogers Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Victoria Remenda Geological Sciences
Joshua Mozersky Department of Philosophy
Jo Brett Office of the University Registrar
    Principles of Timetabling
    November 27, 2001 (Final)
    Timetabling
    Definition                        A coordination of people, courses, and physical space within a defined period of time.
    Principles

    An effective timetable involves adherence to the designated time scheme, meaning that:

    • All courses held within the time period covered by the slot system should conform to the slot system;
    • Instructors should honour the approved slot system by timely commencement and termination of classes; and,
    • All slots are considered equally in the timetabling process.
    Instructors
    Definition All those individuals involved in teaching all or part of a course.
    Principles
    • The timetable must not conflict with an instructor's other teaching assignments;
    • Persons with disabilities shall be accommodated in any timetable matters up to the point of undue hardship for the University;
    • To the extent that circumstances permit, the timetable should take into account personal circumstances (such as childcare, elder care, commuting, etc.). Unit heads should endeavour to see that any such arrangements are distributed equitably across the faculty members in their unit;
    • To the extent that circumstances permit, the timetable should allow for discrete / continuous blocks of time for research;
    • Other instructor preferences should be accommodated if possible;
    • All timetabling arrangements for faculty must conform to the terms of the collective agreement; and,
    • To the extent to which it is possible, the pedagogical needs of a course should determine the type of time slot used or assigned.
    Students
    Definition Individual enrolled in a course for credit, part-time or full-time
    Principles
    • Persons with disabilities shall be accommodated in any timetable matters up to the point of undue hardship for the University;
    • To the extent to which it is possible, the timetable should facilitate the widest range of program selections within each Faculty;
    • To the extent that it is possible, the timetable should allow for organized on-campus extracurricular activities; and,
    • The timetable should provide a designated amount of time to move between classes.
    Individual Course Selections
    Core The timetable should avoid conflicts among concentration courses necessary for the completion of a program of study at Queen's. This principle is of paramount importance and should supersede the attempt to avoid conflicts among elective courses.
    Elective Whenever possible, the timetable should facilitate the availability of the widest range of elective courses for students. It is understood, however, that the number of elective possibilities offered in any year makes this aim difficult to achieve.
    Physical Space
    • The inventory of physical space (i.e. class and lab space) and the classroom assignment process should meet the pedagogical needs of instructors.
    • The timetable should optimize space utilization.
      Basic Rules for Timetabling

      Revisions

      • November 2002
      • Amended November 2004
      • Amended January 2005

      Rules

      Rules to apply in the scheduling process of an annual coordinated University timetable.

      Courses

      The following general parameters will be used to schedule courses:

      • Courses will be booked in the normal teaching week, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Regular academic activities will not normally be scheduled or held between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to create open time in the week for student activities.
      • Evening courses should be (effective September 2005):
        • Scheduled in a slot between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. (Where special circumstances exist, the University Timetable Committee may approve requests from Unit Heads for an earlier or later start time.)
        • Excluded from the definition of the "normal teaching week"
      • Courses offered outside the regular or evening slot system can not be scheduled using scheduling software and, therefore, require specific times to be entered into the scheduling software. (This process is referred to as forced scheduling.) Requests for forced scheduling will be considered on a limited basis and must be requested by the Unit Head, giving clearly articulated reasons for the request, to the University Timetable Committee for review. Only approved requests will be processed by the University Registrar's Office.
      • The scheduling process will attempt to optimize the use of academic teaching space using the course size and requirements, the room capacity and features, and instructor preferences.
      • Priority will be given to avoiding timetable conflicts between required, supporting or elective courses as identified by units from among their own offerings, as well as those identified by cross-unit consultations.
      • The timetable should provide a minimum designated amount of time for movement of students between classes. Additional time will be scheduled for movement of students between campuses.

      Instructors

      The following general parameters will be used to schedule instructors. These parameters may be changed at the request of the instructor and with approval of the unit head:

      • Persons with disabilities shall be accommodated in any timetable matters up to the point of undue hardship for the University.
      • A minimum of twelve (12) hours shall elapse between the completion of teaching one day and the commencement of teaching the next day.
      • No block of teaching shall exceed (3) hours.
      • Teaching should not exceed six (6) hours in any day.
      • Where applicable, continuous blocks of time should be available for research per week (e.g. one full day or two four (4) hour blocks).
      • No back-to-back classes (unless specifically requested).
      • All reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate the requests of instructors, as approved by unit head, concerning the scheduling of teaching based on:
        • A medical condition.
        • Family circumstances.
        • Research requirements.
        • Other academic responsibilities.
      • Where possible, an instructor's preference concerning the scheduling of teaching will be accommodated. Unit heads must approve and communicate this information to the OUR where required and appropriate.

      Students

      • Persons with disabilities shall be accommodated in any timetable matters up to the point of undue hardship for the University.
      • Where possible, a minimum of 30 minutes will be scheduled for lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
      • Where possible, a maximum of 8 hours will be scheduled in a day.
      • The timetable should facilitate the widest range of program selections within each Faculty. For a conflict-free schedule, students are expected to request courses that are consistent with their degree program requirements.

      Other

      Administrative and Academic Meeting Times.

      Units will request a period of time, on slot and preferably outside the middle time band, in which no courses from that unit may be scheduled to allow for administrative and academic meetings, or special activities. (In the case of administrative meetings, the time may be moved to enable the scheduling of courses and departments will be informed accordingly.)

      Fire Regulations, Enrolment and Room Capacity

      If a room is requested for a course that has a higher maximum enrolment than the seating capacity of the requested room, after consultation with the unit, the maximum enrolment will be changed to match the room capacity.

      Enrolment Change Requests

      Once the final timetable has been published, should a unit wish to allow more students to register in a course section over and above the existing enrolment maximum and assigned room capacity, units must first request and receive from the University Registrar's Office a new room assignment. This process must occur before the maximum enrolment of the course is increased and before additional students are allowed to register.

      The undergraduate timetable should have scheduling priority over the graduate timetable.

      University Timetable Committee Recommendations to the Vice-Principal (Academic)

      1. Computer-Assisted, Centrally Coordinated Timetabling System, hereinafter referred to as the "system."

      There are several distinct advantages to following a computer-assisted, centrally coordinated timetabling system. This system will allow:

      1. modelling and testing the implications of:
        • program changes
        • different types of slot systems or timetabling patterns
        • changes to the availability of rooms
        • changes in student enrolments
      2. the facilitation of interdisciplinary and cross-Faculty program and course scheduling;
      3. conflicts to be readily identified and remedied;
      4. the University to monitor more effectively the use of space and to identify opportunities for improving space usage;
      5. the prediction of the need for certain types of rooms. With this software the University should be able to monitor more effectively the types or styles of teaching rooms most often or least often requested. This will assist in planning future building initiatives or the renovation of existing classroom space;
      6. for reduced workload and frustration for timetable consultants; and
      7. requests from instructors concerning rooms and timetabling to be more easily evaluated and accommodated where possible.

      2. Reporting Structures

      It is recommended that the University Registrar make a formal annual report on timetabling and space usage as it pertains to this system to Senate, through SCAP, and to the Vice-Principal (Academic).

      3. Availability of Timetable Information

      It is recommended that the University make university-wide timetabling information available via the web.

      4. The Queen's "Slot System"

      It is recommended that the University test the current slot system against alternate systems. Ideally, the final recommendation on the slot system should be made available for implementation in September 2004.

      5. The Teaching Week

      It is recommended that the normal teaching week continue to be from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Changes in the slot system may result in changes in the normal teaching week. Regular academic activities will not normally be scheduled or held between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to create open time in the week for student activities.

      Evening Courses

      Evening courses should be:

      • held between 7:00 and 10:00 p.m.; (revised Jan 2005 - 6:30 and 9:30 -see Basic Rules)
      • assigned a separate slot system; and
      • excluded from the definition of the "normal teaching week."

      No Slot Designated courses (NSDs) (Excludes slotted evening courses)

      Courses offered outside the regular slot system (No Slot Designated courses) create significant complexities and inefficiencies in both timetabling and room allocations. The Working Group recommends that requests for such offerings should be:

      • Processed after all regularly slotted courses have been given rooms.
      • Allowed if the NSD does not disadvantage other Faculties, instructors or students.
      • Justified to the Office of the University Registrar, with a copy to the Faculty Office for information, by the unit head with clearly articulated reasons. (The OUR may consult with the University Timetable Committee for advice where necessary.)

      6. Constraints on Timetabling

      In producing an annual timetable for the University it will be the responsibility of all involved, at both Unit and central levels, to ensure that the Principles of Timetabling established by the University Timetabling Committee are followed.

      7. Process

      It is recommended that a set of procedures for the development of the timetable be developed to outline the interrelationship among the individual units and certain timetabling offices.

      8. Adjudicating Among Units

      Every effort should be made to resolve conflicts at the unit or Faculty level. Inevitably cases will arise in which there are conflicts in timetabling and room allocation. It is recommended that, in cases where no easy resolution can be found, these conflicts should be referred to an adjudicating body established by the VP Academic. This body will be called the University Timetabling Appeal Committee.

      9. Implementation

      The Working Group recommends that the University implement these recommendations by September 2004, with the exception of 5. The committee recommends that this item, "The Teaching Week," be implemented for timetabling effective September 2003.

      Latest revisions as at 15 October 2002

      Unit Head Responsibilities

      Revisions

      • 7 July 2003
      • 27 January 2004 (Revised)
      • 13 April 2004 (Revised)
      • 17 January 2006 (Revised)

      Responsibilities

      Heads are responsible for:

      • Dealing with all matters concerning timetabling with the Office of the University Registrar (OUR). The Head retains ultimate responsibility for all timetabling tasks within the academic unit.
      • Overseeing the collection, evaluation and approval of instructor, course and room information to be submitted to the OUR.
      • Receiving and evaluating instructors' written, detailed requests for special timetabling arrangements.

      For purposes of this document and for providing timetabling-related information to the University Registrar's Office, items shown with an asterisk(*) below are referred to as "tier 1" instructor timetabling constraints. The item shown with two asterisks(**) is referred to as "tier 2" instructor timetabling constraints.

      • Requests arising out of Human Rights legislation will be accommodated up to the point of undue hardship to the University.*
      • The University shall make reasonable efforts to accommodate the requests of the Members concerning the scheduling of the Member's teaching based on the Member's research requirements*, other academic responsibilities*, medical condition*, family circumstances* or preferences**.

      Important Notes

      Due consideration will be given to all requests. Decisions must be in accordance with applicable federal and provincial legislation and the Faculty, Librarians and Archivists Collective Agreement. The Head, with knowledge of local conditions, is expected to balance the competing demands of individual instructors and the Unit's obligation and responsibility to offer a timetable that meets the Unit's academic program needs and conforms with the Unit's needs and priorities.

      • Submitting accurate, complete and timely scheduling data to the OUR on all course offerings upon request. An annual identification of courses requiring conflict-free scheduling will be required.
      • Reviewing a draft timetable(s) from the OUR to ensure that the principles of timetabling have been met and approving the final timetable prior to release to students.
      • Notifying instructors in writing where it is not possible to accommodate timetabling requests. (See Collective Agreement, Article 37.2.8)
      • Attempting to resolve all conflicts informally.
      • Referring unresolved inter-Unit timetabling conflicts to the University Timetabling Appeals Committee.
      • Reviewing and confirming approval of all submitted constraints.
      • For tier I constraints, to further categorize the requests according to the following groupings (as identified in the Collective Agreement):
        • Human Rights Constraint
        • Research Requirements
        • Other Academic Responsibilities
        • Medical Condition
        • Family Circumstances

        The detailed categorization is for the purpose of the collection and analysis of aggregate data and will not be used in any way to influence or prioritize the accommodation of requests. The privacy and confidentiality of all information related to individual instructors will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be released.

      Dispute Resolution Committee

      Mandate

      The mandate of the University Timetable Dispute Resolution Committee (UTDRC) is to resolve scheduling conflicts in the final timetable* in a timely manner that cannot be resolved by the OUR or Academic Unit Heads.

      Decisions of the UTDRC do not preclude an instructor from filing a grievance under the Collective Agreement.

      Contexts for Decision Making (in order of priority)

      • Accessibility as determined by Human Rights Legislation
      • Collective Agreement
      • University Timetable Committee Principles of Timetabling
      • Room-access priorities
        1. the course enrolment that is closest to the maximum capacity of the room.
        2. other pedagogical needs (e. g., equipment needs, physical layout, proximity to teaching resources). Rationale must be provided.

      Membership

      • Chair of the University Timetable Committee (normally, the Chair of the UTC and non-voting member)
      • A Faculty UTC member
      • A Student (normally the UTC student member)
      • A Faculty Member nominated by QUFA
      • University Registrar (or delegate) (ex-officio)

      Note on membership: Since it will be important for the UTDRC to meet in a timely manner when an appeal is received, [the University Timetabling Committee will compile a list of a number of possible members for each of the above-stated position types] each category above will have a pool of candidates.

      Procedures

      In the first instance, scheduling conflicts should be addressed to the Head and, if necessary, with the Office of the University Registrar.

      Unresolved scheduling conflicts must be in writing from the Head and submitted to the Chair of the UTDRC.

      The OUR may submit disputes directly to the UTDRC.

      The Chair of the UTDRC will convene the UTDRC in a timely manner.

      The Head will be informed of the UTDRC's decision in writing by the Chair of the UTDRC as soon as possible.

      * In preliminary versions of the timetable, the instructor should discuss all requests for a change with the Head.

      Policy on Instructor Time Changes

      All timetable change requests (related to courses) are to be sent via department timetable administrators to the Timetabling Office.

      Revisions to this document

      Revised October 14, 2003 and

      Revised January 27, 2004

      University Timetabling Committee.

      Policy on Instructor Course Time Changes (Post registration)

      Instructors may not change a course from its officially scheduled time unless the following conditions are met:

      • The instructor must first confirm with the OUR that a suitable room is available at the desired time.
      • A vote must be taken by secret ballot.
      • For the class time to be changed, there must be unanimous approval on the part of the entire registered class.
      • If there is agreement on such a change, the instructor will confirm with the OUR.