Course Scheduling for Future Semesters Still an Issue
By Nicole Brown
The controversy about changing the upcoming spring course-scheduling grid, seemingly to address parking problems, is over — but the issue is not dead.
David Joiner, chairperson of the Faculty Senate, said that although the administration has rescinded its proposed course scheduling changes for spring semester, work still exists” to ensure that the needs of students are met in the scheduling process.”
“That does not change the fundamental issue with both the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 schedule that prompted the scheduling guideline revisions,” Joiner said in an email. “The most visible aspect of this for students has been parking. We have a student headcount near 15,000, and the campus has about 4,300 parking spaces. “
Joiner said Kean needs more information.
“Careful management of how many of our students are in class at any given time is important to make sure that students are able to get to class,” he said.
The Faculty Senate was slated to discuss course scheduling at a public meeting Nov. 11.
Controversy erupted in September among faculty about major changes in the spring schedule when – seemingly out of nowhere — Joy Moskovitz, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, sent an email informing deans and department heads of three major revisions to the course schedule for the upcoming spring semester.
The email announced that Kean would no longer offer Tuesday/Thursday courses from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Instead, those course times would be replaced with a Wednesday/Friday schedule.
Additionally, no 3000 or 4000 level courses would be offered at 11 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. from Monday- Friday and only graduate courses would be scheduled during the 4:30 double periods from Monday- Thursday. Undergraduate courses would be available during the 7:30 p.m. double periods from Monday- Thursday.
The Kean Federation of Teachers, the union representing full-time faculty and professional staff, and the Faculty Senate, the governing body for academics, both held emergency discussions on Sept. 30 as a result of the email.
Faculty said the changes would be detrimental to students. Dr. Sonja Kim, an Early Childhood professor, said the changes would have a negative effect on student teachers.
“This would be a disaster for student teachers,” said Kim. “They have to work full-time in the day and then go home late at night to prepare for classes the next morning.”
Dr. Richard Katz noted that students would have to go home in-between the gaps in their course schedules, causing an inconvenience that would waste gas.
“Students following a four-year plan would be affected and the graduation rate would be impacted,” said Katz.
However, Moscovitz, who attended the senate meeting and answered questions, sent a second email to Kean’s deans and directors, informing them that the proposed changes would not happen and that the college’s existing course schedule would remain the same.
“As always, we will continue to engage with the campus community to determine the scheduling options that best meet the needs of our students and their academic goals,” said Moscovitz.
Jeffrey Toney, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said that feedback from the campus community was reviewed and will be considered in the event of any future course scheduling.
No one knows why the scheduling announcements were made; however, the first email sent stated that the college needed to evenly distribute its course offerings over the week. Faculty proposed that the changes were related to the parking situation.