Classroom and course scheduling procedures
Policy Authority: Vice-President, Academic and Provost
Parent Policy: GP 46 Classroom and Course Scheduling (at www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/general.html)
1.1 The purpose of these procedures is to ensure that classrooms and courses are effectively scheduled such that:
- Classroom spaces are efficiently utilized;
- Students are able to access courses in a reasonable and timely manner;
- The educational experience for students and instructors is accounted for;
- Course scheduling conflicts for students are minimized;
- Course access in general is improved;
- There is scheduling equity across academic units;
- Instructors are able to reasonably integrate their professional duties of teaching, research, and service.
2.1 “Course” - a lecture and/or seminar.
2.2 “Tutorial” – a component of a course.
2.3 “Instructional Hours” – 08:30 to 22:30 Monday to Friday, and 08:30 to 18:00 Saturday.
2.4 “Standard Timetable Patterns” – a set of established course scheduling patterns.
2.5 “Prime Utilization Period” – a period of high course scheduling demand during instructional hours where restrictions beyond the Standard Timetable Patterns may apply.
2.6 “Standard Utilization Period” – a period of average course scheduling demand during instruction hours where Standard Timetable Patterns apply.
2.7 “Low Utilization Period” – a period of low course scheduling demand where Standard Timetable Patterns do not apply.
2.8 “Lower division courses” – courses numbered 299 and below, including those prefixed with an X, principally taken by students in the first half of their degree.
2.9 “Upper Division Courses” - courses numbered 300 through 499, principally taken by students in the last half of their degree.
2.10 “Centrally Scheduled Classroom Space” – classrooms managed by the Registrar’s Office.
2.11 “Space Conflict” – when more than one course scheduling request requires the same classroom at the same time.
3.1 Schedules created for Fall and Spring enrolment must comply with the Standard Timetable Meeting Patterns:
3.1.1 The general principle for timetabling is the use of the following standard meeting patterns for courses:
- 50–minute course meeting three times per week. (Table A)
- 50-minute course meeting twice per week. (Table B)
- 110-minute course meeting once per week. (Table C)
- 110-minute course plus a 50-minute course meeting once per week. (Table D, D.1, & D.2)
- 80-minute course meeting twice per week. (Table E)
- 110-minute course meeting twice per week. (Table F)
- 170-minute course meeting once per week – lower division courses. (Table G.1)
- 170-minute course meeting once per week – upper division courses. (Table G.2)
- 230-minute course meeting once per week – upper division courses. (Table H.1 – Fall and Spring)
- 230-minute course meeting once per week – upper division courses. (Table H.2 – Summer)
Tutorials associated with courses can meet on any day. They must begin on the half hour.
3.1.2 The Registrar’s Office will review standard meeting patterns regularly and, in consultation with the Faculties, may make changes to ensure courses are effectively scheduled in accordance with the Purpose of the Classroom and Course Scheduling Policy.
3.1.3 Departments not able to schedule a course within the Standard Timetable Meeting Patterns due to special course-specific considerations may seek a scheduling waiver from the Scheduling Exemption Committee.
- A Scheduling Exemption Committee is to be maintained by the Registrar, and consist of:
- The Associate Registrar, Information, Records, and Registration Services (chair);
- The Manager, Schedules (secretary);
- The Assistant Registrar, Senate and Academic Services;
- Two representatives from the Faculties;
- At least one undergraduate student.
- Course scheduling waiver applications may be for a one-time exemption or an extended exemption.
- An extended exemption may be sought when the department believes the special course-specific considerations will be the same every time the course is offered in the future.
- An approved extended exemption will ensure the department does not need to re-apply for a waiver for that particular course for 5 years, or until the waiver is discontinued.
- Extended exemptions may be discontinued by either the department or the Registrar’s Office at any time.
3.2 Schedules created for Fall and Spring enrolment must also comply with designated utilization periods and associated restrictions:
3.2.1 Prime Utilization Period: 10:30 to 14:29, Monday through Thursday
- Standard timetable meeting patterns apply
- No more than 40% of lower division course seats and 40% of lower division tutorial seats within a department can be scheduled during the Prime Utilization Period.
- No more than 40% of upper division course seats and 40% of upper division tutorial seats within a department can be scheduled during the Prime Utilization Period.
- When the start and end times of a course are not fully contained within the Prime Utilization Period, the percentage of its seats charged against the 40% maximum will be prorated to match the percentage of course time within the Prime Utilization Period.
3.2.2 Standard Utilization Period: 8:30 – 10:29 and 14:30 to 16:29, Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 – 14:29 on Friday.
- Standard timetable meetings patterns apply.
3.2.3 Low Utilization Period: 16:30 to 22:30, Monday through Friday; 8:30 to 18:00, Saturday
- Scheduling during the Low Utilization Period is unrestricted.
3.2.4 The Registrar’s Office will review utilization periods regularly and, in consultation with the Faculties, may make changes to ensure courses are effectively scheduled in accordance with the purpose of the scheduling policy.
3.2.5 To ensure departments with fewer course offerings are not disproportionally affected by the utilization period rules, Faculties may, with the approval of the Registrar, group departments together for the purposes of these procedures.
3.2.6 Departments not able to comply with utilization period restrictions due to special course-specific considerations may seek a waiver from the Registrar’s Office.
3.2.7 Extended exemptions are not available for utilization period waivers.
3.3 Schedules created for Summer must follow the procedures listed under 3.1 and 3.2, though some special considerations and exceptions may apply:
3.3.1 The Standard Timetables listed in 3.1.1 may have adjustments to the frequency of patterns to better accommodate the special demands brought by Summer term:
- Table H.1 is replaced with Table H.2.
3.3.2 Summer Term, Intersession, and Summer Session sections are combined when evaluating compliance with the Utilization Period restrictions.
3.3.3 The Prime Utilization Period seat percentage caps listed in 3.2.1 are raised from 40% to 50%.
3.3.4 Special requests will be considered by the Registrar.
3.4 Schedules created for Intersession (May-June) and Summer Session (July-Aug) must follow all procedures listed under 3.1 and 3.2, though some special considerations and exceptions may apply:
3.4.1 Summer Term, Intersession, and Summer Session sections are combined when evaluating compliance with the Utilization Period restrictions.
3.4.2 The Standard Timetables still apply. To accommodate longer class durations, classes may be scheduled by:
- Combining two patterns with equal start/end times within a single table (e.g. F7+F8).
- Combining two patterns with back to back start/end times within a single table (e.g. A1+A2)
3.4.3 Special requests will be considered by the Registrar.
3.5 Instructor Constraints:
3.5.1 Instructors may request constraints on teaching time availability, with the approval of their Dean, for reasons including, but not limited to:
- Human rights accommodations (as per GP 18 Human Rights Policy);
- University academic or administrative responsibilities;
- Circumstances of a serious personal nature.
3.5.2 Instructors should refer to their departmental policies on requesting teaching accommodations.
3.5.3 Departments should refer to Procedure 3.1.3 above regarding Special Course-Specific Considerations as necessary when accommodating Instructor Constraints.
3.6 Changes to Assigned Rooms:
3.6.1 Changes to an assigned classroom may only be made with the approval of the Registrar or designate when:
- Enrolment increases beyond the capacity of the classroom assigned and a larger classroom is available;
- The assigned classroom does not have all or some of the room facilities (technical or other) requested and a classroom with the facilities is available;
- The number of students enrolled in a course can be accommodated in a smaller classroom, allowing another course with more students to use the larger classroom.
3.7 Changes to the Schedule:
3.7.1 Changes to the schedule after enrolment begins requires approval of the Registrar or designate with the exception of:
- Adding additional sections of a course or tutorial.
- Cancelling a section that has zero students enrolled.
3.7.2 All schedule changes once enrolment begins are subject to room availability.
3.8 Space Conflicts:
3.8.1 If a space conflict exists between two or more scheduled courses, priority will be given to:
- Credit courses;
- A classroom assignment to address a disability need of an instructor or a student(s);
- A large course (to the upper limit of classroom capacity) over a smaller course, regardless of requests for permanent (installed in the room) technical equipment;
- Requests by departments that make full use of the teaching week and utilization periods over requests made by departments that cluster their courses during the Prime Utilization Period.
3.9 Removal of Spaces from the Centrally Scheduled Pool:
3.9.1 Classrooms will not normally be removed from the centrally scheduled classroom pool. Requests to remove one or more classrooms from the centrally scheduled classroom pool must present a business case, supported by a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis, to the Associate Vice-President, Academic. The Associate Vice-President, Academic, in consultation with the Registrar, will decide whether the classroom space will be converted to other uses as proposed in the business case.