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College of Arts & Sciences

Recommendations for Course Scheduling

Part of the May 2015 Report of the A&S/RHE Task Force.

Course scheduling is a routine task that all the regional and Athens campuses do every semester. However, little coordination in course offering within the regional campuses and between the regional and Athens campuses has been observed. This limited coordination creates problems such as: lack of course offerings in some important areas that the students need for graduation, duplicate offerings in courses that could be avoided, online courses that are either offered only on the Athens campus or in the regional campuses creating disparities in course fees for the same service, poor communication between the different Art & Sciences departments and the regional campuses regarding the course requirements for the students that transfer to a four-year program in the Athens campus. In summary, the communication between the regional and Athens campuses regarding course scheduling should be improved for the benefit of the students and to optimize the use of human and physical resources in the University.

Recommendations

  1. Program Pathways: The College of Arts & Sciences has been developing sample four-year advising plans for each major to help students plan the sequencing of their coursework. These plans can help to strengthen the advising for relocating students and can help to support on-time degree completion.
  2. Scheduling Summit: Host a scheduling summit with Regional Higher Education and College of Arts & Sciences scheduling stakeholders on the Athens campus. An annual agenda should be developed and could include the following types of topics: identification of scheduling gaps, needs, and issues; review of historical enrollments; and discussion of future collaboration opportunities. The recommended standing A&S/RHE Committee should provide oversight for this event. 
    • Recommended attendees: associate deans, regional academic division coordinators, department chairs, scheduling staff (campus and college) 
    • Recommended agenda: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
      Deans Welcome & Charge 
      Overview of purpose 
      Workgroups: social science, natural science, humanities
      Group recap
  3. Increase/Streamline Regional Course Options: Utilize existing OHIO resources to increase and streamline course options for regional campus students: OULN, online, and graduate appointments.
    • OULN: Increase the use of OULN to offer more courses to the regional campuses from the Athens campus, and to Athens campus from regional campuses. This could be of particular use/value in content areas where enrollment on an individual campus would not sustain a full section, and/or when campuses are unable to locate faculty in a particular content area. Also, increase OULN opportunities for regional campus faculty to teach Athens students, and for Athens faculty to teach regional campus students.
    • Online Courses: Consider using a split-course option for online courses that have generally seen overall low online enrollment: partially Athens, partially regional. This would allow for a single faculty member to teach multiple (combined) sections as a single course, which would reduce overhead and still ensure access to content and quality.
      Use the scheduling summit to increase communication between and among all campuses about online course offerings.
    • Graduate Student Funding: Consider establishing graduate student funding lines (graduate assistantship) through Regional Higher Education which would include regional campus teaching responsibilities. This could serve as a recruiting tool for graduate programs and could open teaching capacity on the campuses. Issues to be considered and reviewed include: funding costs and process, mentoring, advising and evaluation processes.

Related Institutional Notes

The following items should be considered at an executive leadership level as they have the potential to limit the implementation of the above recommendations, particularly as it relates to online courses:

  • Cost differences for online courses: Athens vs. regional. The current cost differential has implications for academic units as well for students.
  • Swirling student enrollment: There is an increasing need for academic units to understand how multi-campus enrollment by students can impact the course scheduling and enrollment processes. Statistical data should be periodically reviewed by RHE and Arts & Sciences to plan for future courses and optimization of resources.

Resource distribution for online courses serving multiple campuses should be defined by Ohio University authorities. 

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