Governance

Policies and procedures

Policy No.
UP10/6
Function
Teaching And Learning
Authoring Organisational Unit
Student Systems - BITS
Date Approved
07/07/2010
Next Review Date
07/07/2013
Approving Body
Academic Council

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Central Timetabling

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

The Central Timetable is an important framework which allows timetabling constraints and room allocations to be coordinated to achieve optimal and equitable utilisation of teaching resources. The goal of a Centralised Timetable is to minimise student clashes in a multi-disciplined scholastic environment, optimise the use of Central Teaching Facilities, and provide practical solutions to better use resources and manage timetable constraints.

The University has experienced significant growth in student numbers and a corresponding increase in the size and number of lectures timetabled per week. Subsequently there is considerable pressure on the larger lecture theatres with some already at capacity.

This document outlines the key elements of Central Timetabling and discusses: Standard Teaching Times, Academic Staff Availability, Central Teaching Facilities, Phantom Bookings, Timetable Data Collection, Making Changes to a Published Central Timetable.

Definitions:

Central Teaching Facilities (CTFs) are shared teaching venues available for use by all UWA Schools. The responsibility for CTFs lies with Central Administration which administers the usage and manages the associated costs. The Timetabling and Venues Unit is responsible for the efficient utilisation of CTF space through timetabling and room allocations.

UWA is The University of Western Australia.


Policy statement:

1 Standard Teaching Times

1.1 Standard Teaching Times are Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. When a course is available in a full-time mode, classes may be scheduled any time during these hours. The following conditions apply:

1.1.1 Classes are spread evenly over a 5-day week.

1.1.2 Schools that adopt patterns of timetabling that do not utilise the full span of teaching hours may be given lower priority in room allocation.

1.1.3 Evening classes are scheduled where required (per Faculty advice only).

1.1.4 First-year classes must not normally be scheduled in the 8:00 am - 9:00 am session but an 8:00 am start time is used if no other options are available.

1.1.5 Teaching activities are not scheduled during the common lunch hours on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm without written approval from the UWA Guild President.

1.1.6 Classes are scheduled to begin on the hour and must conclude 15 minutes before the hour to allow for a change-over period between classes.

1.1.7 When scheduling classes, priority is given to reducing student clashes and utilising CTF resources efficiently.

1.1.8 Classes must not normally be scheduled to finish beyond 9:00 pm.

1.1.9 The Timetabling Unit must inform UWA Security at the beginning of each semester of classes that finish outside the Standard Teaching Times. Any subsequent timetable changes involving late classes must be notified to UWA Security by the relevant School administration.

2 Academic Staff Availability

2.1 It is assumed that Academic Staff are available to teach any time during the Standard Teaching Times. The following Staff Availability Exemptions may apply but require Head of School approval:

  • academic staff member employed on part-time basis only (Note: Part-time academic staff are only scheduled to teach for the equivalent amount of time that they are paid to teach.)
  • approved School/Faculty commitments e.g. School seminars or staff meetings with appropriate advance notice of these commitments provided to Timetabling Unit
  • allocated day for research free of teaching commitments for academic staff in research-active positions
  • accommodation of life balance, religious or cultural commitments.

2.2 Student clash resolution is given priority over staff availability exemptions. If staff availability/student clash conflicts cannot be satisfactorily resolved between the Timetabling Unit and the academic staff member concerned, the Dean must appoint a person within the School or Faculty to oversee discussions and mediate a resolution.

Procedure

To request exemptions to the Standard Teaching Hours for the forthcoming year, academic staff must complete a Staff Availability Form which is available online from the Timetable web page http://www.timetable.uwa.edu.au/ from July-August each year. The forms require Head of School approval before the information can be incorporated into the Central Timetable development.

3 Central Teaching Facilities

3.1 CTFs are managed centrally by the University and are under the booking control of the Timetabling and Venues Unit.

3.2 The following conditions apply to CTFs:

3.2.1 All CTFs are incorporated into the central timetabling system and are shared teaching spaces available for use by all UWA Schools.

3.2.2 During the room allocation process, venue access for students and /or staff with a disability takes precedence over other considerations, unless this causes unjustifiable hardship to the University.

3.2.3 Unit enrolment is the key determinant when allocating venues so traditional class times may not be automatically carried forward each year for any unit.

3.2.4 The UWA Timetable Unit reserves the right to relocate classes scheduled in Central Teaching Facilities, based on enrolment numbers and venue size, to achieve best possible space optimisation.

3.2.5 A CTF cannot be used without written confirmation (including the applicable booking reference number) from the Timetabling Unit or the Venues Officer.

3.2.6 Use of the Octagon Theatre is restricted to large classes (300+).

4 Phantom bookings

4.1 The Timetabling Unit must be notified immediately if a CTF booking is no longer required.

4.2 If CTFs are required on an irregular basis, they must only be booked for the actual days required for teaching.

4.3 Failure to notify the Timetabling Unit of a cancellation or unused booking will result in the unit receiving a lower priority for subsequent bookings.

5 Timetable Data Collection

5.1 Timetable requirements for UWA Schools for the forthcoming year are updated during a Timetable Data Collection period.

5.2 The following conditions apply to Timetable Data Collection:

5.2.1 It is the responsibility of each Faculty to provide the necessary timetabling information to the Timetabling Unit during the Data Collection period each year.

5.2.2 UWA Schools must nominate at least one Timetable Coordinator who is responsible for collecting and inputting this data via the Timetable Data Collection website, and liaising with academics and the Timetabling Unit during the Data Collection period.

5.2.3 The draft Lecture Timetable is published online by November of the preceding year and publication is followed immediately by a comments/amendments period of not less than three weeks, after which the Central Lecture Timetable will be considered a FIRM timetable.

Procedure

The Timetabling Unit will send email notification of specific Data Collection dates for the timetables for the following year to all nominated Timetable Coordinators. July and August are the nominated Data Collection months for the timetable for the forthcoming year and a Timetable Data Collection website is the method of inputting timetable information.

In order to construct the Central Timetable the following information is required: unit information, teaching format, venue requirements, potential enrolments, a non-clash unit list and related core units list.

6 Making Changes to the Central Timetable

6.1 The Central Timetable is constructed primarily for students. When considering changes to the Central Timetable, student enrolment trends (including course core unit requirements and common non-core unit combinations) are of paramount importance over any academic staff preferences for venues or teaching times.

6.2 Changes to the Central Timetable after the FIRM (final) publication must be kept to a minimum as students use the timetable to make enrolment decisions that best fit their academic interests as well as their family and work commitments.

6.3 It is incumbent on School Timetable Coordinators to ensure that information used to prepare the Central Timetable is accurate and subsequent changes to the FIRM Timetable are only made under valid conditions.

6.4 Central Timetable Changes are only considered under the following conditions:

  • to reduce the number of student clashes (Note: Timetabling incorporates a number of complex issues and a certain number of timetable clashes across the University are unavoidable within current timetabling constraints, however every effort is made to reduce the impact of clashes.)
  • when enrolment numbers increase beyond the capacity of the allocated venue
  • if there is unexpected staff turnover
  • if there is an unexpected surge/decline in student enrolment numbers
  • if a unit is no longer deemed viable
  • to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students and/or staff with particular needs (Note: Access for students and/or staff with a disability takes precedence over other considerations, unless this causes unjustifiable hardship to the University.)
  • If an allocated venue does not provide the requested audio visual facility
  • if a location has unexpectedly become a health and safety hazard
  • to support UWA Policy of facilitating life balance for UWA Staff

Procedure

Unit coordinators must provide written justification and Head of School approval if a timetable change results in an increase in the number of student clashes when compared to the original scheduling. The Timetable Unit reserves the right to refuse such an amendment if the justification is inadequate.

Related forms: (Link)

T:\Help\Staff_Availability_Form.pdf

T:\Help\List of Central Teaching Facilities.pdf

http://www.timetable.uwa.edu.au

TRIM File No:

F20402

Contact position:

Senior Timetabler

Related Policies or legislation:

HR Policy: Life Balance

UWA Disability Policy

( http://www.studentservices.uwa.edu.au/ss/disability/action_plan/policy )

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