The policies listed below have been established to ensure Robert Gordon University delivers the best possible outcomes for students and staff alike in what is a complex process.
With many competing interests to balance adhering to these policies is essential in order to produce timetables which match our student experience aspirations, provide protected time for staff to undertake research, business interaction and other academic commitments, and make most effective use of our facilities.
1.1 Robert Gordon University is committed to delivering accurate timetables to students and staff in a timely manner. Timetables should demonstrate:
- A student-centric approach as far as possible, including protection of Wednesday afternoons;
- Optimised room utilisation, including use of the whole teaching week;
- Protected time for staff who engage in research and corporate/commercial activities as part of their agreed activity plan;
- Minimal impact from twin sites
1.2 The University will achieve these aims through adherence to the following principles, procedures and guidelines.
2. General Procedures
2.1 Course and module changes:
a. Scheduled changes should be formally approved at least 4 months prior to enrolment of the next cohort of students.
b. Exceptional changes may be approved by the Dean of Faculty up to 2 months before enrolment. Exceptions would, for example, relate to issues arising from External Examiners/Assessment Boards.
In practice, for courses following the traditional Academic Calendar, this would require scheduled changes to be approved by the beginning of May and exceptional changes by the beginning of July.
2.2 Course/Subject Leaders must provide School Timetablers with updated course/module and staff information by the agreed deadlines. The Timetabling Manager in conjunction with the School Timetablers will set the deadlines. The Timetabling Manager will retain oversight and will liaise with the relevant Head of School/Associate Dean if deadlines are missed.
2.3 Schools must provide Timetabling with complete and accurate timetables by the agreed deadlines. Heads of School/Associate Deans have a responsibility to ensure this deadline is met and that the Timetabling Manager is kept fully informed so that s/he can work with the school in question to resolve the bottlenecks.
2.4 Block-booking is not permitted - events should only be timetabled for the precise time, day and weeks required.
2.5 Teaching patterns should be consistent such that a series of classes on any module should, as far as possible, take place at the same time each week. This will better enable students to arrange family and childcare commitments, part-time working and study routines around their timetables.
3. Teaching Space
3.1 All teaching space will be recorded in the central timetabling system, CELCAT. Responsibility for this lies with Timetabling.
3.2 All booking requests (including rooms assigned to specific Schools) will be made through CELCAT. This is essential for clash checking, the provision of room utilisation statistics and to allow complete timetables to be produced for students and staff.
3.3 Rooms will be allocated by Timetabling on the basis of:
a. Specialist equipment/accommodation required (this includes access/facilities for students/staff with disabilities)
Schools cannot request specific rooms but can request specific requirements.
3.4 All teaching space (including rooms assigned to specific Schools but excepting certain specialised rooms) must be made available for general usage (where appropriate) once the semester timetabling is complete. Timetabling will oversee this.
3.5 All ‘Open Access’ rooms are available for any user across the University.
3.6 Class sizes should not exceed the capacity of the room allocated. As such, Schools have a responsibility to convey accurate (or best estimate) student numbers to Timetabling. This must be adhered to for reasons of health and safety as well as the student learning experience.
4. Teaching Times
4.1 Events should start on the hour and finish at 10 minutes to the hour (prior to the next event) to allow time for changeover.
4.2 For the purpose of timetable planning ‘daytime’ teaching hours are defined as Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm and ‘evening’ teaching hours are Monday-Friday, 6pm-9pm. Weekend teaching remains undefined and fluid according to need but should still be arranged in accordance with these policies. Teaching should however not be timetabled on Wednesday afternoons unless the Head of School/Associate Dean has concluded that s/he has no option. Also see guidelines regarding student engagement in sport.
5. Timetabling Order of Precedence
5.1 For the matters below, where conflicts arise they should be referred to the Timetabling Manager for a final decision. These policies will be reviewed over time to ensure different pedagogical approaches and course structures are not disadvantaged.
5.2 Teaching, including corporate teaching, normally takes precedence over non-teaching events during teaching weeks (excepting key University events *).
5.3 Semester-long teaching normally takes precedence over shorter periods of teaching (i.e.1-2 weeks only).
5.4 Events with large capacity requirements will normally be roomed before those with smaller capacity requirements.
5.5 Events with long durations (i.e. 3 hours) will normally be roomed before those with shorter durations.
6. Timetable Changes
6.1 Timetables for students and staff will be published 6 weeks ahead of semester.
6.2 Requests for changes to timetables after the publication deadline must adhere to one of the following criteria:
a. Staff clash (where a member of staff is scheduled to attend more than one event at the same time)
b. Student clash (where a student is scheduled to attend more than one compulsory module at the same time)
c. Change in student numbers (requiring larger/smaller/additional room)
d. Room unsuitable for purpose
e. Accessibility requirements
f. Staff turnover or absence
Timetabling will monitor the frequency and type of requests and, where necessary, the Timetabling Manager may ask for additional information. All other requests must be referred to the Timetabling Manager who will approve or reject the request in consultation with the relevant Head of School/Associate Dean (this refers to ad hoc change requests as opposed to official course changes which are channelled through Academic Affairs - see section 2.1).
6.3 Academic staff must adhere to the centrally published timetable and have a responsibility to report to their School Timetabler when:
a. A room booking is no longer required
b. An additional room is required
c. A room has insufficient capacity for their class
d. Their allocated room is occupied by someone else
e. Courses or modules are cancelled
7.1 In order to ensure that the timetabling software is used appropriately, the Timetabling Manager is responsible for ensuring that all School Timetablers have received appropriate training and guidance.
8. Student Engagement in Sporting, Artistic and Other Social Activities
8.1 Teaching should not be timetabled on Wednesday afternoons unless the Head of School/Associate Dean has concluded that s/he has no option.
8.2 Wherever possible, seminars/tutorials/lectures etc. which require 100% attendance should not be timetabled on Wednesdays.
8.3 Students to take responsibility for giving their tutor/Course Leader/Programme Leader advance warning that they are active participants in sporting/artistic/other social activities and, where necessary, to give their tutor/Course Leader/Programme Leader advance warning of important fixtures/events in order that members of staff can make reasonable adjustments.
8.4 Wherever possible, Course Leaders/Programme Leaders should show flexibility in dealing with clashes and make reasonable adjustments.
8.5 Where clashes occur final year summative assessments will normally not be re-scheduled.
8.6 Events involving elite athletes will be given special consideration over other sporting activity.
* Such as Supported Enrolment and Graduation.