Provost’s Scheduling Block Creates Opportunity

By Kassondra Granata

The new scheduling blocks for this academic year has created a more organized system that is more well-liked by the faculty and students.

As CCSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Carl Lovitt had redone the calendar and the scheduling blocks at the beginning of the Spring 2011 semester in order to avoid overlapping time blocks and to successfully utilize the University Hour.

“The university schedule cannot be driven by convenience, but by student need,” Lovitt said in the fall.

Lovitt reached out to all of the deans this semester and received feedback from every department. Lovitt said that there was nothing too startling that he heard on the impact of scheduling.

“Generally the new scheduling blocks have worked from the standpoint of Registrar,” Lovitt said. In November, Lovitt said that the Registrar was his main audience to propose the importance of the University Hour and the new scheduling block.

Due to the new block, the university has been able to fit all courses in a classroom, where last semester they had problems doing so. According to Lovitt, it was their intention to make more times for classes and to double classes in the evening, and they have succeeded.

“Every semester prior to this year we have had anywhere from 20 to 30 courses that we were scrambling to find classrooms for,” Lovitt said. “This semester, the problem has been solved.”

The feedback from the departments have been mainly positive, Lovitt said. There were a couple of glitches that they still have to face when it comes to the University Hour.

It seems that some classes still continue to be scheduled during the University Hour. Lovitt said that the reasoning behind this is a “change of culture” and faculty are accustomed to teaching classes at that time.

The music department and the art department were not pleased with the new scheduling block. Lovitt worked with the music department more than any other department before he made the new block schedule.

“I think those two departments have their own specific needs with individual sessions and scheduling and they present challenges,” Lovitt said. “Now they have to conform with a past schedule and have to make a compromise.”

The only “unintended consequence” is that the schedule shifted to a four-day week for students. Friday classes have dropped significantly this semester from 250 courses to 90 courses. Lovitt hopes to gain those classes back. This semester, there were only three Wednesday-Friday classes offered.

Lovitt said that he has only heard from the faculty on the new block and not students. He sees this as a positive thing. According to Lovitt, the university’s top priority is the students and getting them the classes that they need.

“The new scheduling block has achieved its purpose,” Lovitt said.”It has made more classroom slots available and I think students are now able to get to their classes easier and have the ability to take more courses. From my perspective I think it’s great that I haven’t heard student complaints.”

Share

One thought on “Provost’s Scheduling Block Creates Opportunity

  1. I wonder if you asked a 5 year old if they wanted 10 pieces of candy or only one, which they would choose? If I was an employee or a student and you asked me if I wanted classes on 5 days or 4, I think I might choose 4. Is that a good choice though? As usually occurs with an adult/child at Halloween, maybe an adult needs to consider the unintended consequences of allowing the children to decide what is best for them, and in this case maybe the adults need just as much guidance! I think sometimes we call it critical thinking in the college environment. The process where many complex issues are considered, all scenarios and data are taken into consideration, including results that may spin off if certain decisions are made, and then… implement a well-considered solution.

    While block booking certainly did fix the mash of classes in the middle of the day, not allowing some classes to be offered at all, and horrible parking issues, or those classes that were left considering closets as locations for their meeting location, it also created other problems because of how it was implemented and because it was not thoroughly thought through. A rock thrown in a pond sends out ripples in all directions, eventually returning to crisscross in all sorts of directions.

    It did not fix the magic of a University Hour. A university hour can be an invigorating part of the University's life. Meetings can be scheduled, short displays of artistic talent in the form of musical performances, colloquia, lectures, community building events and more can be scheduled during that time. However the University hour was not considered sacred, and anything and everything was scheduled over that period, especially classes.

    The block solution may have met some students needs, but not all students needs. All students should experience the vibrance of a campus life filled with arts, music, theater, club activities, student activities, encouraged student study time, athletic events, social interaction opportunities, leadership challenges and more. The block schedule, may have improved the availability of classes, and met the desire of some students to be on campus as few hours as possible, but it also damaged the ability of most students to participate in campus life where a vast majority of learning and development has the chance of taking place.

    I don't believe that the “only unintended consequence” was students choosing a four-day week. They had to choose a four-day week since the number of classes offered on a Friday in fall of 2010 was 287, and this past fall, the number was 82. Faculty made that choice. It was a benefit to them. I'm not surprised that students are not complaining about a four-day week. Students do not fully realize what they are missing by having a vibrant campus 7 days a week. Faculty and administration should have been more supportive of the fullness of a college student’s education.

    Imagine a campus where at least 500 students showed up to every men's and women's basketball game. A campus where an art exhibit was scheduled to open on the Saturday afternoon and 250 attended. I'd like to see a campus where live entertainment was produced every weekend. Not major acts, but a small acoustic bluegrass group, preceded by a brief lecture on where bluegrass came from; or a group of jugglers/comedians, or jazz band in Alumni Hall, cabaret style, with brief introductions to each tune being played and where in our history the piece was born. Magicians and prestidigitators are fascinating, especially when you learn about their histories and who the great ones are. Typically the audience can participate, making this event quite the experience. Why not learn to square dance as an event. What about a “hobby” show presented by faculty and staff? That could be amazing! Maybe a library open on Friday until 8 PM?

    Campus life must be designed and developed mostly by students, with the support of staff and faculty. Students build campus life, not faculty, not staff, students create that. Until students stop going home on weekends because it is a benefit of the four-day week at CCSU, and start looking out for the fullness of their own education through the experiences of out of class activity, life on campus will always be a flat water cracker, not a Ritz topped with a delectable taste experience.

Comments are closed.