CSU professors prepare for over 7,000 spring semester courses

Charlotte Lang

file photo of registrar's office/financial aid
(Photo by: Mackenzie Boltz | Collegian)

Though most students may just be beginning to think about registering for spring classes, professors and faculty have long since started the process of setting next semester’s plans and schedules.

As of right now, there are 7,400 course sections scheduled for the spring 2019 semester. Each course has to be organized into rooms across campus and scheduled appropriately by both the Office of Registrar and individual departments.

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We would all like to teach in the College so we aren’t sending students and faculty all over campus, but that isn’t always possible.”

Dave Gilliland, Department Chair for Marketing

Courses for upcoming terms are scheduled through a build and draft process, according to the Office of the Registrar’s website. Under this process, course changes are entered in the Campus Planning Interface through a series of rounds to allow for term changes such as the addition of new sections or cancellations.

Once departmental changes have been entered for each round, schedulers must email Academic and Classroom Scheduling to establish processing queue order. 

According to the website, the academic and classroom schedulings are then done on a first-come, first served basis. 

Julia Murphy, associate registrar and chair of the Classroom Review Board, said University departments task their faculty members to develop new courses. The courses go through a developmental and college review process before being fully approved or denied by the University Curriculum Committee.

“Once courses are approved by the University Curriculum Committee, departments can request to schedule a section of the new course,” Murphy said. “Students register for sections of courses.”

During the planning phase, sections may be canceled due to low enrollment, while others can be added to a department to meet demand.

“Departments often use information from the registration waitlists to help inform if new sections of courses are required to meet demand,” Murphy said.

Though there are similar processes, each department has its own system for how to schedule the approved courses and sections.

For example, Heidi Runge, academic support coordinator for graduate studies, said the Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology department at the University schedules courses based on how they are set up in the catalog, referring to classes which may be offered during a specific year or semester.

“There are some instances, due to special circumstances, where classes may need to be canceled or offered off cycle,” Runge said.

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Runge also said instructors have input on the day and time offering of a specific course, so long as their preferences do not create time conflict issues with other courses students need.

Dave Gilliland, chair of the Marketing department in the College of Business, said course scheduling is a function of student demand. The department has core courses that are always in high demand and a variety of elective courses that, depending on the topic, are also in high demand.

Gilliland said that, occasionally, there will be a course that is unpopular among students. If such a course isn’t a learning priority for students, it will be offered less.

Spring 2019 Registration Access Dates

  • October 22 – Graduate, Professional, Honors and Second Bachelor’s Students
  • October 23 – Seniors
  • October 26 – Juniors
  • November 2 – Sophomores
  • November 9 – Continuing Freshmen
  • Registration Ready available on RAMweb on October 8, 2018.

When it comes to scheduling courses, Gilliland said the department tries to have classes in Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday and Monday/Wednesday/Friday times in approximately equal numbers to fill available classroom space. The goal intends to allow students more options in taking the courses.

Room scheduling is then set by the department’s scheduler. Classroom scheduling and is one area where preferences aren’t always possible to fulfill, Gilliland said.

“We would all like to teach in the College so we aren’t sending students and faculty all over campus, but that isn’t always possible,” Gilliland said.

Runge said that, for the most part, departments do not have control over room scheduling and that most of the classroom spaces on campus are “general assignment”, meaning they do not belong to any department and are available for use on any course.

According to the Registrar’s website, classroom preference is given to sections that meet or exceed the University’s recommended 67 percent seat fill.

“Departments can request certain rooms for certain classes but based on the factors that Room Scheduling uses to make room decisions, they may not always be able to accommodate those requests,” Runge said.

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @ChartrickWrites