Topics Map > College of Letters and Science > Academic & Curricular Administration > Frequently Asked Questions
How do departments plan for classes in future terms? How do they prepare the Schedule of Classes?
Policies and strategies in the areas of registration, preparing the Schedule of Courses (formerly known as the Timetable), and management of course and department enrollments are evolving along with our information systems.
Overview of issues to consider when planning the Schedule of Classes for future terms.
Technical questions about building the Schedule of Classes may be answered by consulting the "Curricular Toolkit", which is maintained by the Office of the Registrar, or by contacting Curricular Services (formerly known as Timetable and Classroom Scheduling, or TACS). The information provided in this section is intended to provide more background about the registration process and enrollment management issues.
The process for preparing the Schedule of Classes for any semester takes place far in advance of the actual beginning of any semester or summer session, often in advance of having firm knowledge about staffing and resources. In addition to curricular needs, several factors can affect departmental decisions about classes offered - faculty hires, leaves, and retirements; short term staffing exercise outcomes; teaching assistant budgets; and summer sessions budget building are factored in, as are questions about student numbers (e.g., the number of new graduate students, incoming first-year students, or the result of curricular changes in a department's own or a related program). Departments need to use their "best guess" about what courses to list in the Schedule of Classes and to then monitor and modify listings carefully as the Schedule of Classes schedule unfolds. It is often helpful to establish zero enrollment limits for sections for which budgetary authorization or enrollment potential is uncertain. If authorization is obtained later and/or enrollment pressures become apparent, the department can then establish a new enrollment limit and allow students to register. (Entering a section with the zero enrollment option means that the Registrar's Office will reserve a room for the section and that the course/section will appear in the Timetable.)
Keep in mind the physical limitations of room capacity if your department is experiencing heavy enrollment during the registration period. A class can expand only slightly beyond the room assigned to it. Departments working with Curricular Services to obtain a larger room may find them unavailable especially at the most popular class hours or in the central campus area. As much as possible, try to estimate enrollment so the appropriate room size is assigned at the outset.
If enrollment pressures develop in any of your courses during the registration period, contact Associate Dean Nancy Westphal-Johnson or your academic Associate Dean to discuss the situation and options that may be available to you. While it is sometimes possible for us to provide additional resources for a course if staffing is available, we also need to balance enrollments across the College as a whole and so are not able to respond positively to all such requests. During the SOAR program in the summer, enrollments in freshman level courses are monitored quite closely at the SOAR and College level, and departments may be contacted about enrollment issues for their department.
It's important that department staff who are in charge of planning the curriculum and staffing levels maintain contact with staff charged with the responsibility of building the Schedule of Classes, so listings are accurate. Staff working with the Schedule of Classes need to know when and whether they may change enrollment limits, how many students may actually be allowed in any given section, and who has the authority to open additional sections. For SOAR registration, it is also helpful to provide the name of a departmental contact to the L&S SOAR Point Person, so SOAR personnel know whom to contact if there are questions or problems.
- What are L&S limits on "low enrollment" courses? Are there required sizes for class sections?
- How do we get the word out about courses? Are there other tools to help with enrollment management?
- How much lead time is needed to implement a new course, or to a change to an existing course?
- How can departments/programs avoid creating problems with "Meets-With" arrangements?
- L&S Undergraduate Directed/Independent Study Course Guidelines