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Timetabling Procedure

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Section 1 - Context

(1) This procedure supports the University's Timetabling Policy and should be read in conjunction with that document.

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Section 2 - Responsibilities

(2) The following bodies/positions have particular responsibilities in relation to timetabling:

  1. The Pro Vice-Chancellor has the responsibility for nominating the Faculty Timetable Officer for their College.
  2. The Head of School has the responsibility for nominating the School Timetable Liaison Officer(s) where the College wishes to appoint such a position. The Head of School is also responsible for approving late changes to the timetable.
  3. The Faculty Timetable Officer is responsible for co-ordinating the timetable process for their College. The Faculty Timetable Officer oversees the collection and entry of data in the University Timetabling System and is responsible for final scheduling of the College timetable adhering to the principles outlined in the Timetabling Policy and to appropriate timelines. Faculty Timetable Officers will consult with their respective Assistant Dean (Education) when timetabling issues require resolution. They are supported in their data collection by the Timetable Liaison Officer from each School, if applicable.
  4. There is a central Timetable Officer who is responsible for coordinating the timetable process for the TAFE NSW classes and for negotiating any shared space.
  5. The Timetable Liaison Officer is responsible for the collection of the timetabling data for their school and reporting timetabling needs and requests to their Faculty Timetable Officer. The School Timetable Liaison Officer is the conduit between the Course Coordinator and the Faculty Timetable Officer.

(3) The Course Co-ordinator is responsible for ensuring that:

  1. the information on the Course Tracking System is correct;
  2. accurate data is provided when the timetable is being prepared (including reasonable requests for adjustments in the circumstances of staff or students with a disability);
  3. liaising with the Timetable Liaison Officer within the School for timetabling needs;
  4. timely adjustments are made to the draft timetable and the published timetable where necessary and when approved by the Head of School or nominee; and
  5. students are reminded to check the timetable regularly to ensure they are aware of any changes.

(4) Student and Academic Administration is responsible for:

  1. timetabling formal examinations within the period designated for central exams;
  2. publishing an examination timetable for the advice of students and staff;
  3. arranging appropriate rooms for students with a disability to undertake formal examinations; and
  4. auditing room usage and room requirements throughout the year.

(5) Student and Campus Engagement will provide advice on the scheduling of the Graduation Ceremonies.

(6) The University Timetable Coordinator is responsible for:

  1. rolling over base timetable data in preparation for the ensuing academic year;
  2. ensuring all examination timetabling requests are catered for prior to the scheduling of classes;
  3. liaising with the central units responsible for facilities maintenance, upgrades, software installations etc. and for ensuring key university processes are allocated spaces; and
  4. initiating negotiations when there is resolution of any conflict about the use of a particular space and/or the use of space at a particular time.

(7) The Learning Design and Teaching Innovation - Teaching Spaces Support provides a range of services to support teaching and learning at the University of Newcastle. These include:

  1. audiovisual equipment services to classrooms and lecture theatres;
  2. maintenance and repair of audiovisual equipment in student learning areas;
  3. support and administration of the University's video conference facilities;
  4. provision of security measures for University audiovisual equipment including library and computer laboratory video surveillance;
  5. advice to Colleges and Schools on technology installations;
  6. monitoring of physical maintenance (lights, seats etc) of teaching areas;
  7. Lectopia support and administration of the Lectopia video streaming system.

(8) The Learning Design and Teaching Innovation is responsible for ensuring their maintenance and training activities appear in the timetable (using UoN Scientia Web Room Booking) and for notifying the University Timetable Coordinator of any changes to equipment or setup of rooms.

(9) Infrastructure and Facilities Services is responsible for:

  1. any relocation, maintenance or cleaning requests lodged via Maximo;
  2. transporting furniture or equipment needed by students or staff with a disability;
  3. assisting with examination set up;
  4. allocation and definition of space usage; and
  5. notifying the University Timetable Coordinator of any changes in the set up or capacity of space.

(10) The Education and Innovation Officer is responsible for liaising with the Faculty Timetable Officer, rather than directly with the University Timetable Coordinator.

(11) The Disability Support Unit is responsible for advising:

  1. the appropriate Faculty Timetable Officer of students registered as having particular needs so that reasonable adjustments can be made to room allocations;
  2. the staff within the Graduations, Examinations and Timetabling Unit of those students who are registered as having specific needs for their examination; and
  3. Infrastructure and Facilities Services of furniture/equipment transfers required to accommodate the needs of students with a disability.

(12) Students are required to regularly check the online timetable for class changes.

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Section 3 - Procedure


(13) Existing base timetable data will be rolled on a date determined and advised by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar.

(14) The University Timetable Coordinator will schedule core University activities (examinations, graduations, commencement ceremonies, etc.) prior to the Timetable Officers (College and TAFE) accessing the University timetabling system.

(15) Timetable Officers will make adjustments to the previous year’s data on the advice of College, School and TAFE staff to align contact hours with the provisions in the CTS and to accommodate the coming year’s requirements.

(16) Times and locations will be allocated to teaching activities.

(17) Changes and corrections will continue to ensure the validity of the data by the published date for the draft document (a date determined and advised to users by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar).

(18) The timetable will remain in draft form until “published” on a date determined and advised to users by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar. This published version will be available to the public.

(19) The published version is a relatively stable timetable however, further changes and modifications may be required.

(20) Changes requested after the timetable is published will require written requests signed by Heads of School, or their nominee.

Background Preparation: Data Collection

(21) The following information will be used as base data for the preparation of the new timetable. It must be provided within the scheduled timeline.

Finalisation of University Course and Class Offerings

(22) Courses and classes being offered in the forthcoming academic year must be finalised before timetables can be prepared.

  1. Schools must finalise their course and class offerings for the forthcoming academic year in the CTS as set out in the Student and Administrative Services timeline.
  2. Courses being offered in the forthcoming academic year must be finalised and the CAL updated by Schools by the date nominated by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar.

(23) Education and Innovation Officers will advise Faculty Timetable Officers of any new courses or programs approved by Academic Senate or any changes to current courses and programs.

Finalisation of the TAFE Course and Class Offerings

(24) Classes being offered in the forthcoming academic year must be confirmed before timetables can be prepared. Schools must confirm their offerings for the forthcoming year by the date specified by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar, in line with University Colleges.

(25) Classes must all be entered into CLAMS.

(26) Head Teachers will advise the Timetable Officer (TAFE), through the Director of the Campus, of any new subjects, modules or courses approved after this date.

Roll-Over base timetable data

(27) Base data from the previous year’s teaching activities will be rolled over at a date set by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar, to provide a foundation for the following year’s timetable. This data will include courses, teaching activities, programs of study and student sets, but does not include times or rooms.

(28) The University Timetable Coordinator will then adjust any core University events in the timetable (e.g. graduation ceremonies, examinations etc) and delete the previous year’s room and time allocations, in preparation for the new year’s schedule and to accommodate changes between the years. This will ensure that new courses receive equal access to space and preferred teaching times, allowing space utilisation to be optimised and allow some management of traffic flow into and out of campuses.

(29) Timetable Officers will then be able to make adjustments to the activities for the coming year.

Validation of Initial Base Data

(30) Finalised course offerings (from NUSTAR and CLAMS) will be compared with roll-over timetable data to ensure consistency.

(31) Where discrepancies are identified, amendments will be made by the Timetable Officers to ensure it accurately reflects the offerings.

(32) Only course offerings that are on NUSTAR or CLAMS for the year in question will be timetabled in the University Timetabling System.

Review of Base Data

(33) The Timetable Officers (College and TAFE) will liaise with Schools regarding any changes to the following:

  1. courses (alternatives and options);
  1. classes (delivery structure, equipment and teaching requirements, variations to teaching week pattern); and
  1. staffing (allocation to courses).

Collection of New Data

(34) Information relating to staffing availability will be provided to the Faculty Timetable Officers by the School Timetable Liaison Officers, using the Timetable data collection form. This information regarding availability can then be entered into the University Timetabling System.

(35) Casual staff placeholders can be used in the University timetabling system, if the actual staff member is not known.

Development of an Annual Timetable

(36) From the timetable preferences collected by the School Timetable Liaison Officer and provided to the Faculty Timetable Officers an annual timetable can be prepared. Due to demand for space Faculty Timetable Officers will need to utilise all core teaching hours.

(37) The Timetable should be prepared using the key principles as outlined in the University’s Timetabling Policy.

(38) Use of the auto-timetable feature will then guide the preparation of the new timetable within the preferences already entered (e.g. academic availability, room preferences or location preferences).

(39) School preferences in respect to time and location of activities will be accommodated, wherever possible.

(40) Student sets will ensure that a clash-free timetable is developed for students, wherever possible.

Resolution of Conflicts

(41) In the event that a conflict arises in relation to timetabling or space usage, the Faculty Timetable Officers are expected to resolve the conflict considering the principles outlined in the University’s Timetabling Policy.

(42) Resolution of conflicts will also consider the following factors:

  1. the needs of students;
  2. the importance of the activity to the University;
  3. the justification for requiring a specific location;
  4. the justification for requiring a specific time;
  5. the availability/unavailability of alternative teaching space/time;
  6. the extent to which the alteration of existing arrangements will impact on other staff and students;
  7. the need to consider sharing/turn-taking;
  8. the use of specialist teaching spaces only for designated purposes (e.g. science laboratories);
  9. the priority given to activities requiring specialised teaching facilities (e.g. media equipped lecture theatres);
  10. the priority of access to larger facilities given to larger classes over smaller groups;
  11. priority is given to activities which occupy large blocks of time (i.e. hours) over those which occupy small blocks of time; and
  12. the need to give access to students with disabilities unless this causes unjustifiable hardship.

(43) Conflicts that cannot be resolved in the context of the principles listed above will be referred to the University Timetable Coordinator.

(44) Where agreement is not reached, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar in the first instance, or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will be responsible for resolving the disagreement.

Publication of Timetables and Changes

Official Timetable Publication

(45) The timetables for all teaching sessions held in the next year will be published at a date specified by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar. While the University endeavours to limit changes to its published timetables, changes may still occur.

(46) The University timetable will be published on the official University web pages only.

Timetable Changes

(47) Changes to the published timetable should be kept to a minimum. It is the responsibility of the College to ensure that information used to prepare the University timetable is accurate and subsequent changes to the published timetable are only made for valid reasons. Reasons for changes are as follows:

  1. unexpected staff turnover;
  2. unexpected surge or decline in student numbers;
  3. a location that is or becomes a health or safety risk;
  4. an approved change in the CAL;
  5. a course is no longer deemed viable; and/or
  6. reasonable adjustments to accommodate students with special needs.

(48) Requests are to be submitted using the Request to Amend Class Timetable Form.

(49) Request for changes to days and times, and anything affecting lecture activities after the timetable is published will be submitted to the Faculty Timetable Officer by the Course Co-ordinator together with the signed approval of the Head of School.

(50) Requests for changes to TAFE offerings after the timetable is published will be submitted to the Timetable Officer (TAFE) by the Head Teacher, through the TAFE NSW Director of the Campus.

(51) Request for room changes (adding, deleting, and moving a tutorial) should be made directly to the Faculty Timetable Officer.

(52) Where changes occur, Schools must notify all students of the change. Where changes occur with little notice Schools must display appropriate signs at the original location to direct students to the new location. Signs are to be removed at the conclusion of the activity.

(53) A record of all changes with appropriate authorisations will be kept by the Faculty Timetable Officer for a minimum of 12 months from the date of authorisation.

(54) Any changes to the timetable once it is published are not guaranteed the preferred location or time slot. Any classes with late changes may be required to split their location during the term if no single location is available for the entire term. Late class changes will also be required to utilise free time slots as they exist in the timetable. Late changes may request that part term booking vacate a desired space but this is at the discretion of the University Timetable Coordinator and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President.

Timetable Usage Monitoring and Review

(55) Once a timetable has been established and bookings confirmed, staff and students are expected to utilise facilities in accordance with the official timetable. This means that all classes should be conducted within the scheduled times. teaching spaces will be vacated five (5) minutes prior to the start of the next class to facilitate student movement.

(56) In situations where more than one (1) party presents to use a room at the same time, the party that is booked on the University Timetabling System will be granted use of the room.

(57) Timetable data and actual usage of facilities will be subject to periodical evaluation. Therefore all parties should take care to ensure that the information supplied and their requirements are consistent and up-to-date. Particular attention will be given to ensuring that timetabled space is in fact required and has been utilised in accordance with stipulated booking requirements.

(58) When rooms are found to be unused, despite having a booking, the Head of School will be advised. The Course Co-ordinator will then be required to provide a justification for not using the space as booked.

(59) A second instance of an unutilised room will result in all the bookings for that activity being cancelled for the remainder of the relevant term.

Ad-Hoc Room Booking Procedures

(60) Ad-hoc bookings are not intended to replace course or ‘ongoing’ teaching activities. Some regular School, College or Division activities such as research seminars, guest lectures, meetings and honours presentations may be scheduled in appropriate locations using a multi-week booking via UoN Scientia Web Room Booking.

(61) Temporary and casual bookings for rooms that are included in the University’s timetabling system and that are not already in use may be made for non-teaching purposes. Any member of staff, who would like to use a room that appears to be free and who has a valid reason for doing so, may use the on-line UoN Scientia Web Room Booking facility to make the request. Such requests will be considered by the Faculty Timetable Officer.

(62) The proposed use of University facilities by individuals, groups or organisations external to the University must be compatible with the University's mission and goals and must comply with University’s Facilities Hire and Use Policy and related procedures. Any enquiries and bookings should be referred to Infrastructure and Facilities Services before a commitment is made.

(63) The University's core requirements for rooms and facilities take precedence over their use by external persons, groups, or bodies. No adjustments to the academic timetable are to be made to accommodate external use except in exceptional circumstances. These would be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President.

(64) Individuals or groups seeking to make a casual room booking should refer to the University's Space Management Policy being aware that casual room bookings in a teaching area during main teaching sessions cannot be confirmed until:

  1. the beginning of week three (3) of each year, irrespective of how far in advance the casual booking was made; or
  2. the working day before the booking, if the booking falls within the first two (2) weeks of any session, irrespective of how far in advance the booking was made.

(65) Requests for ad-hoc use of space that is allocated to a College should be approved if the room is available and poses no threat to the welfare of the occupant (e.g. biological, mechanical or chemical hazards (Refer to section 7 for more details).

(66) Where the College has provided additional resources and equipment to a room, these resources should be used with care. The School should be notified of any breakages, missing equipment or faulty equipment during, or at the conclusion of the ad-hoc booking.

(67) Should the group with the casual room booking be responsible for the damage to resources, they may be requested to reimburse the College for repair or replacement. This request will be made by the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Reporting Teaching and Learning Space Refurbishment and Maintenance

(68) Space audits will be performed regularly. Outcomes and recommendations will be provided to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President, relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar, the Director, Infrastructure and Facilities Services and the Senior Manager, Student Administration.

(69) Refurbishment of teaching and learning spaces is undertaken on a cyclical basis, and should be planned to fall outside core teaching times, whenever possible.

(70) Infrastructure and Facilities Services must send notification to the University Timetable Coordinator and the relevant Faculty Timetable Officers, with as much notice as possible, of any unavailability of teaching spaces for the purposes of refurbishment or maintenance. This notification should include:

  1. the location/s affected;
  2. the dates/times affected;
  3. the reason for the unavailability (indicating if there are safety issues, etc.); and
  4. the details of a contact person from Infrastructure and Facilities Services.

(71) A preliminary analysis of the impact of the unavailability of the teaching and learning space will be performed and one of the following courses of action will be followed:

  1. where the impact is minimal and it is feasible to address the unavailability by rescheduling, relocating etc, this will be carried out and consultation will occur with all affected parties; or
  2. where the impact appears to be considerable, but rescheduling or relocating is feasible, then this will be done in consultation with affected parties; or
  3. when the impact is considerable and relocation or rescheduling is not feasible, and the work is considered urgent, consultation will be undertaken to consider other means of addressing the unavailability; affected parties will be advised of the outcome.

Teaching and Learning and Other Spaces

(72) No Division, College, School or individual person has absolute control over any building, room or area within the University. Responsibility remains with the University through the Chief Operating Officer in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President and ultimately the Vice-Chancellor.

(73) Infrastructure and Facilities Services will continue to classify space as outlined in the University's  Space Management Policy.

(74) The University Timetable Coordinator will maintain a list within the University Timetabling System, containing the location of all the spaces the University has designated for use in teaching and learning, meetings and conferences.

(75) Changes to locations, equipment, seating numbers or purpose must be clearly documented and provided to the University Timetable Coordinator at the time that the change is completed. This applies to all spaces including specialist teaching spaces, allocated spaces and common teaching and Learning spaces.

Common Teaching and Learning Spaces

(76) Common Teaching Spaces are defined as general, non-specialised areas used for teaching and learning and other related activities by the academic community at large. Typical examples are lecture theatres, lecture rooms, tutorial/seminar rooms and the computing and information technology laboratories.

Specialised Teaching Spaces

(77) Specialised Teaching Spaces are designated as teaching areas which provide specialist teaching facilities for use by the academic community at large. They are not suitable for lectures, tutorials or general teaching and learning functions.

(78) Control of such areas is vested in a specified School/College however their use is allocated using the University Timetabling System. The controlling School/College will have first preference in the allocation of these facilities.

(79) Such spaces are typically configured and equipped for teaching a particular discipline and are supported by specialised technical staff (for that discipline only). The space however, is available to all students and staff wishing to acquire or impart the particular knowledge and skills associated with the specialised functions of the space.

(80) The University Timetable Coordinator has the authority to give permission for use of these spaces by parties outside the School/College.

Restricted Specialised Teaching Spaces

(81) Restricted Specialised Teaching Spaces are areas intended for highly specialised use. Such areas are normally developed by specific Schools and controlled by them. The use of these locations will be scheduled via the University Timetabling System but they are available to the academic community only at the discretion of the controlling School/College.

(82) Specialised technical support is required for restricted specialised teaching spaces. Characteristically such facilities will be configured or equipped in such a manner that students without previous background in the area or non specialised teaching staff would be at risk working within this space and may compromise the effective operation of its facilities.

(83) These spaces will not be available for ad-hoc bookings via UoN Scientia Web Room Booking, but will be available for bookings within the School via the Faculty Timetable Officer using the University Timetabling System.

Review of Teaching Spaces

(84) Periodical audits of spaces will be conducted by Infrastructure and Facilities Services in consultation with the Senior Manager, Student Administration. Outcomes and recommendations will be provided to the Director, Infrastructure and Facilities Services, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President, relevant Pro Vice-Chancellors, Assistant Director, Learning Design and Teaching Innovation and the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar.

(85) Recommendations may result in the reclassification of space as being Common, Specialised or Restricted.