Course Rostering

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Planning

Planning your roster should take place well in advance of any deadlines published by the Registrar's Office. Such factors as newly hired faculty, faculty leaves, and arrangements for leave replacements will affect the courses you can offer. You should construct a tentative roster of courses as soon as information on these factors begins to surface. A useful goal is to have a tentative roster prepared by the end of December for the entire subsequent academic year. Details for the Fall semester will have to become firm by the third week in February, and you will need the month between the start of spring classes and then to confirm tentative plans made in December. It is best to firm up plans for the spring semester before faculty leave for the summer (by May 15); you could leave this until the first three weeks of September, but there will be other matters to attend to at that time.

Allocation of Teaching Assistants to departments is made early in the Spring semester jointly by the Associate Deans for Undergraduate and for Graduate Education for the following academic year. TA allocations have a less direct impact on your rostering of courses than the numbers of available faculty, but they may require that you make some adjustments.

Courses for a given semester must be scheduled through the Registrar's Student Records System (SRS) several months prior to advance registration. For the Fall semester, courses must be scheduled by the third week in February in order to appear in the Course Timetable, which students use to choose courses when they advance register at the end of March. For the Spring semester, courses must be scheduled by the third week in September in order to appear in the Timetable in time for advance registration in late October. The departmental staff person who manages your courses in SRS has a detailed schedule from the Registrar providing the key dates in the course scheduling process. These dates are also included in the Timeline.

Mix of Courses

Each semester, you should recruit from your faculty a good mix of courses to meet the needs of departmental, interdepartmental, and College-wide programs. Following is a check list of the kinds of courses you should consider offering:

General Education Curriculum

Freshman Seminar Program

Communication within the Curriculum Program (CWiC)

Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program

Courses in the Major

Your roster of courses should reflect departmental planning efforts to ensure a coherent curriculum in the major, to reduce redundancy among courses offered either by your department or by others, to develop majors' abilities and level of sophistication sequentially, and to meet other goals set by the department. Here are some touchstones for thinking through the major curriculum:

Entry to the major - Many departments offer introductory survey courses as the point of entry into the major, but there are other paths as well. Often Freshman Seminars serve this purpose. General Educations courses do so as well, even though many of them are not introductory surveys.

Intermediate level courses - Designed primarily for majors but appropriate for non-majors with the requisite background, these courses develop skills and deepened knowledge that will be needed to take on independent scholarship and research in a student's later years.

Advanced courses for majors - Your program should culminate in one or more courses that are intended exclusively (or almost exclusively) for majors. This could be either some kind of integrative experience or a senior research seminar. In addition, you will want to make special opportunities for your honors students, such as a senior honors seminar.

As you think about the courses you will offer, please be aware of students from other programs who take your courses either as requirements or as electives. The College offers 22 interdepartmental majors that depend on the departments for most of the courses students take in these programs. Also, many departments encourage their students to take one or more major-related courses from other departments and to consult with other departments.

In addition, consider what courses from other departments your majors need. You should develop a good working relationship with the other relevant Undergraduate Chairs to ensure coordination in the courses offered and in the times they meet.

Teaching Loads

Each department should have an explicitly understood policy about standard teaching loads for standing faculty approved by the Dean's Office. In addition, it is usually desirable that each faculty member be expected to assume his or her share of responsibility for all of the teaching in the department, for undergraduate and graduate, large and small, lower and upper level courses.

Scheduling Classes

All undergraduate classes with the exception of science labs must meet for three nominal hours of instruction each week. Scheduling options include three one-hour class sessions, two hour-and-a-half sessions, or one three-hour session. To allow travel time between classes, each one-hour session is actually 50 minutes long; each hour-and-a-half session is actually 80 minutes long; and each three-hour session is 2 hours and 50 minutes long, usually with a 10 minute break.

College classes are day-time classes and should be scheduled during the hours of 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.; classes beginning after 5:00 p.m. are generally scheduled by the College of General Studies.In order to maximize students' access to classes, allow them to be able to plan as regular a schedule as possible, and enable us all to make best use of available classroom resources, SAS adheres to a time block system. One-hour sessions must be offered on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday pattern beginning on the hour. The Tuesday/Thursday pattern is reserved for hour-and-a-half sessions beginning at 9:00 a.m.

 Monday/Wednesday/Friday  Tuesday/Thursday
 8:00 to 8:50 p.m.  9:00 to 10:20 a.m.
 9:00 to 9:50 a.m.  10:30 to 11:50 a.m.
 10:00 to 10:50 a.m.  noon to 1:20 p.m.
 11:00 to 1150 a.m.  1:30 to 2:50 p.m.
 noon to 12:50 p.m.  3:00 to 4:20 p.m.
 1:00 to 1:50 p.m.  4:30 p.m. and after - LPS
 2:00 to 2:50 p.m. 4:30 to 6:20 p.m.
 3:00 to 3:50 p.m.  
 4:00 to 4:50 p.m.  
  5:00 p.m. and after - LPS  

If the Tuesday/Thursday blocks are full, hour and a half classes may be
scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday as follows:

 Monday/Wednesday/Friday hour and a half blocks
 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Three-hour seminars may not begin before 2:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays such classes may not begin before 1:30 p.m.

Registrar and Student Records System

Prior to advance registration, the Registrar publishes the Course Timetable on their website, which lists all courses to be offered the next semester. At the same time, courses are made available to students through Penn InTouch via the course search application. During advance registration Sstudents request courses using Penn In Touch (on-line registration web-site) or PARIS, (telephone registration system) over a two-week period (late October/early November for spring term and late March/early April for fall term). Once all requests are received, they are processed using a sophisticated scheduling algorithm that assigns students to classes based on such criteria as student class and major. The scheduler is run several times in an experimental mode, and results are shared with departments. You have an opportunity after each experiment to make adjustments to your courses (changing the enrollment limits, quotas, etc.ven meeting times) before the scheduler is run a final time to assign when students are then actually enrolled into classes. In order to disseminate accurate information about your courses and to schedule them in an appropriate classroom, you need to be sure that your departmental staff are competent in the use of SRS. Classrooms are assigned according to a complicated system of privilege and "first-come-first-served", so it is to your advantage to see that your staff are cooperating with the Registrar's staff, especially the classroom coordinator. Several weeks prior to the start of the semester, the Registrar publishes the Course and Room Roster to their website, and notify faculty of room assignments via e-mail, which looks much like the Timetable but which adds the building and classroom for each course listed At that time, students will be able to see building and room assignments on their course schedule in Penn In Touch.

Final Examinations

The Registrar is responsible for designing a schedule that provides for the orderly administration of final examinations. The schedule is published in the Timetable, in the Course and Room Roster, and, just prior to the exam period, in the Daily Pennsylvanian. Not all conflicts can be avoided, and there will always need to be special provisions for students who have more than two exams scheduled on a given day. The exam schedule is based on the regular meeting time of the class. While most faculty would likely prefer to have their exams scheduled early in the period, their preferences obviously cannot all be satisfied. Therefore, the Registrar uses a rotation system that over the years assigns a given meeting time to each of the days in the final exam period.If you have courses with special requirements for final exams, or if you are aware of likely sources of conflict for students enrolled in any of your courses (e.g., students in course A tend to take courses B and C concurrently; therefore the finals for these courses should not all be scheduled on the same day), please notify the Registrar if possible prior to the publication of the Timetable.