MEMO ON SCHEDULING FROM FSCC
From: Prof. Linnda Caporael, x6413 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting Chair, FSCC and H&SS Representative
Re: Scheduling Policies for Undergraduate Courses
The committee recognizes the complexity of the scheduling problem: the importance of a well-rounded college experience for student, the need to optimize classroom utilization and facilities, the needs of diverse faculty whose research and artistic activities require access to facilities off-campus, and the difficulties faced by working professionals who are continuing their education. The FSCC also recognizes that scheduling must be an iterative process, characterized by trial-and-error and “evolutionary” change.
However, the policies going into effect in Fall 2000
constitute a major change in a complex system, and such alterations are prone
to unintended consequences, particularly when the rationale for the new
schedule is that it is the “easiest fix.”
The current problem itself is an unintended consequence of other major
policy changes. While such consequences
cannot be completely avoided, the FSCC urges the
Use the scheduling expertise on campus to develop scenarios for exploring alternatives. While ideal solutions are not to be expected, it is better to eliminate alternatives that can be shown to be gravely suboptimal given the complex constraints. According to Prof. Raghavachari, who attended our meeting, rough models that could nevertheless provide useful information could be developed in three months with support for a research assistant to be supervised by a faculty member. As Prof. Raghavachari points out, however, models are no substitute for policy.
The current scheduling policy
conceives of the Scheduling Committee solely as an implementation committee,
and the responsibility for policies that guide implementation is unclear. There must be interaction between the
development of policy and implementation.