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Course Schedule

Developing Your Department's Teaching Schedules

Following the fall meeting between the Chair and the Dean, the Chair will receive from the Dean a letter concerning authorization for new full-time hires, the number of blocks any phased retirement status and adjunct faculty may teach, and the number of block visitors the department may hire. Based on that information, the Chair initiates departmental discussion about the forthcoming academic year’s schedule of courses. This discussion often begins with a query to faculty about the courses they hope/plan to teach. Some departments delegate the responsibility of constructing the teaching grid to an Associate Chair; other departments draft a teaching grid and develop their plan in full departmental session. In late December, the departments send draft copies of the teaching grid to the Dean’s office and the Registrar’s Office. By late January, departments respond to any questions the Dean or Registrar have and send a final teaching grid as well as a copy of each person’s teaching schedule to the Registrar’s Office. Chairs should send a final copy of the teaching grid to the Dean’s Office by the end of block six.

The completed schedule should indicate probable class sizes and room allocations / space needs. Chairs may request specific classrooms for specific courses. The Registrar's Office will try to accommodate these requests. In order to utilize classroom space effectively, Chairs should try to space the department’s courses evenly over the year. Blocks 1 and 2 are particularly full teaching blocks; both classroom and office spaces are in high demand; blocks 4 and 8, especially, often contain fewer courses. When possible, schedule block visitors into blocks 3 through 8, and encourage faculty to take non-teaching blocks in even distribution throughout the academic year.

 

Overview of General Guidelines and Current Practices for Teaching Schedules

Because we moved to the 6-block teaching load in 2003-04, we thought it would be helpful to include the Guidelines (items 1-8 below) approved by the faculty when we passed the proposal in block 8, 2002. Consistency will assist data collection and analysis by the FEC, Dean’s Office and Institutional Research Office.

1. The standard annual teaching load of six blocks shall apply to all full-time faculty, whether tenure-track or visiting. New tenure-track faculty will teach a six-block load, but will not be assigned committee service or advisees. Adjunct faculty will continue to carry a maximum teaching load of five courses.

2. Under the standard annual teaching load of six blocks, the minimum teaching load shall be five courses, except for (a) department chairs (not assistant or associate chairs) who may receive two blocks of administrative release time or who combine administrative release time with one other block of release time, (b) faculty with highly demanding administrative duties in a given year who negotiate with the Dean of the College for additional release time, and (c) full-time, tenure-track faculty who take unpaid leave.

3. Departments may define a “course” in whatever way is appropriate to their disciplines. If research or thesis blocks–in which faculty work with students engaged in independent study–now count as part of the teaching load, they may continue to do so.

4. The five-block teaching load will continue for MacArthur professors, those holding endowed chairs that have carried a five-block load, and those on mini-sabbatical leave. In other words, these positions will now carry only one block of release time. {Note MacArthur awards no longer exist; rather all faculty who pass their third-year review receive a half-year sabbatical, particularly to work on areas identified as weaknesses in the third-year review.}

5. Departments and programs with restricted funds for awards of release time may continue to disburse those awards as they do now. With the exception of qualified department chairs, any recipient of an award who is already at a five-block load shall receive the award in monetary form, such as a summer stipend or funds for research stays, travel, and equipment or books.

6. Departments may expect to receive the number of block visitors and full-year visitors they have received on average over the past five years (excepting extraordinary circumstances that radically skewed the allocation of replacement blocks during this period). Sabbatical and mini-sabbatical leaves, chair’s blocks, MacArthur blocks, and release time for professors who hold endowed chairs will continue to be replaced in consultation with the Dean of the College.

7. The College will continue to honor its commitment to interdisciplinary teaching by ensuring the right of faculty members to choose to teach one course a year outside their departments. To maintain continuity of support and to aid long-ranging planning of interdisciplinary programs departments will review their participation in associated programs on a biennial basis and communicate their commitments to the directors of the relevant programs as well as to the Dean of the College.

8. As incentive for professional development and as reward for productive scholarship, the College will award each year–on a highly competitive basis–four research and development blocks per division. Departments must continue to make a case for replacements. Note these blocks disappeared from the budget during the 2008-09 recession cutbacks. 


In addition, we ask that you remember, as you develop your teaching grids, the following basic college policies, definitions, and customary rules (see memo of 11/20/02).

• Per the faculty handbook, adjunct faculty may teach a maximum of 5 blocks per year as arranged with the department and the Dean of the College. Phased retirement faculty teach 3 blocks per year.

• Visiting faculty fall into two main categories: one-year replacements (visiting but full-time faculty issued a one-year appointment letter) and block visitors (visiting faculty paid on a per-block basis). Visiting faculty usually have no advisees, committee assignments, or scholarly expectations from the college but students may request letters of recommendation from them.

• Guidelines concerning distribution of courses within a particular faculty person’s teaching assignment have proven helpful in many departments. It is important to remember that course numbers mean a great deal in some departments and essentially nothing in others. One set of guidelines suggest full-time faculty teach two blocks at the introductory level, one or two at the mid-level, and one or two at the upper level, with a “choice block” (e.g.–senior seminar, development block, ID program block, etc.). If this formula does not fit the department or program, then an alternative guideline often applied is half of the blocks at the entry level (perhaps numbered 100 & 200) and half of the blocks at the advanced level (perhaps numbered 300 & 400), including a “choice block.” These ratios can also be applied to adjunct faculty.*

• Teaching grids are due to the Dean’s Office when department/program schedules are submitted to the Registrar. (See Master Schedule for due date.) Updated drafts should be sent to the Dean’s Office as well as the Registrar as available. 

NOTE: Please label each block by course number (and name if possible; these may be abbreviated). For TT faculty, please clearly identify non-teaching blocks specifically as Chair, Associate/Assistant Chair, Development, other specific release blocks (i.e., Jackson, sabbatical, early sabbatical, named professor, etc.) or Non-teaching.

*Currently under the guidelines of teaching up to five regular blocks.