In 2014, the Offices of the University Registrar and Provost conducted a classroom assessment to address what appeared to be an insufficient number of classrooms to meet the demands of the University’s teaching schedules. This assessment revealed that, it was not that the University had too few classrooms, but that most of our 200+ classrooms were not being effectively utilized. The data showed that when the Registrar scheduled classrooms they were utilized 72% of peak teaching periods (M-Th, 9 AM to 4 PM), while department/ proprietary rooms had a 37% utilization rate. To increase classroom use, the Provost’s Office made investments to upgrade proprietary classrooms and a single scheduling system was adopted across the University. In just one year, these improvements were effective in increasing classroom use by 11%, but there is still improvement to be made in the efficient scheduling of classrooms. In particular, rooms scheduled by departments are still under-utilized (for any activity, class or otherwise) relative to rooms scheduled by the Registrar. It is also the case that classes are often scheduled so close to the start of the quarter that appropriate rooms cannot be found. Third, as seen in the figure below, there is also extreme clustering of classes during peak times.
The updated policy is intended to enable a more even distribution across all the canonical periods, days of the week, and classrooms and accommodates (in a more efficient way) some of the teaching practices that are already happening on campus – e.g. 2 and 3 hour course blocks. The policy also recognizes the importance of workshops and seminars taking place in classrooms. Integral to the success of this effort, the annual Schedule of Classes should be submitted by April 1 along with the College Catalog and the Graduate Program Announcements. The new policy can be found here: Canonical Hours Policy 2017.