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Scheduling Best Practices

The weekly schedule of classes is too important to all members of the University (faculty, students, student life, and others) to not have agreed upon best practices.  The scheduling process requires input from, and interaction among, all corners of the university and involves consideration of academic program needs, faculty availability and preferences, facility limits, finance and budget planning, and processes of the Registrar’s office.

Because faculty best understand the curricula and pedagogical requirements of their courses, attempts should be made to accommodate a department or school’s proposed schedule to the greatest degree possible. However, experience reveals that inevitably not all requests can be accommodated due to limitations of the physical facilities, overall student needs, equity across departments or schools in the workloads of faculty, and the need for coordination between them. Common recommendations for managing the extremely complex process of developing a semester’s (and academic year’s) course schedule have been drafted, with the goal of achieving a more effective schedule to better meet the needs of students, contribute to a sense of equity among faculty, and provide the best possible utilization of classroom spaces and physical facilities.

These recommendations apply to the scheduling of all classes.

1.  Departments and Schools should provide a predicted course schedule at least one year in advance, in Spring of each year (i.e. when Chairs and Deans submit their Fall schedule, they also should submit a tentative schedule for the following year).

2.  Departments or Schools should distribute their offerings as evenly as possible.

A.  Departments or Schools offering both MWF and TR classes should aim to distribute classes amongst all available time slots.  Departments or Schools may hold one time slot open for the purpose of having a departmental meeting time that everyone could attend.

B.  Departments or Schools offering primarily MWF courses that meet more often for shorter periods of time, or primarily MW or TR courses that meet for longer periods of time with fewer class meetings, should distribute their offerings evenly across these available time slots.

C.  Departments or Schools should offer no more than 84% (5/6) of any of their offerings in primetime.

D.  Departments or Schools should offer less than 20% of their offerings in each semester in any one given time slot.

E.  Departments or Schools should offer at least 16% (1/6) of their offerings in any given academic year either before primetime (An 8:00 a.m. slot) or in the evening (starting at 3:40 p.m. or later).

F.  When possible, courses required for completion of the major that are scheduled at or through the 3:40 pm block on MW or TR should either be offered in multiple sections (where other sections are offered at a different time), or attempts should be made to offer these courses at different times in other semesters.

G.  Offerings that meet one day a week (laboratories, studio courses, or capstones, for example), should abide by these guidelines when possible.

3.  Classes should start at standard start times, and efforts should be made to keep class meetings in the times scheduled.  Attendance requirements outside of normal class meeting times should be indicated in the course description provided on Banner at the time of registration.

4.  Departments or Schools offering courses that require larger blocks of time should schedule these to cover no more than 2 normal class periods.

5.  The onus of teaching courses in non-prime time slots should be distributed through the Department or School in an equitable manner.

6.  While Department Chairs or School Deans are responsible for submitting their class schedule, oversight of the process should be provided by Deans and the Provost.

1. Courses must be scheduled in the regular scheduling blocks.

2. Courses meeting four days a week must meet TWRF rather than MTWR due to loss of contact time for the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.

PLU’s daily class schedule was adopted in October 1993. 4-credit courses are offered in MWF, MW, or TR time periods for 65- or 105-minutes, starting at 8:00a and ending 5:25p. Evening classes are offered in 2 hour periods, two times a week. Graduate programs may not adhere to this schedule strictly.

Fall/Spring 65-min Class Periods:

MWF 8:00-9:05a
MWF 9:15-10:20a*
MWF 11:15a-12:20p*
MWF 12:30-1:35p*
MWF 1:45-2:50p*

Fall/Spring 105-min Class Periods:

MW 1:45-3:30p*
MW 3:40-5:25p
TR 8:00-9:45a
TR 9:55-11:40a*
TR 11:50a-1:35p*
TR 1:45-3:30p*
TR 3:40-5:25p

Fall/Spring Evening Class Periods:

MW 6:00-8:00p
TR 6:00–8:00 p

J-Term/Summer 140-min Class Periods:

MTWRF 8:30–10:50a
MTWRF 11:30a–1:50p
MTWRF 2:30–4:50p

J-Term/Summer 170-min Class Periods:

(M)TWRF 8:30–11:20a
(M)TWRF 11:30a–2:20p
(M)TWRF 2:30p–5:20p
(M)TWRF 6:00–8:50p

* Class periods considered ‘prime time’.