In our departmental listening sessions, we heard that many faculty are upset about the classrooms they are assigned. Faculty who use active and participatory learning methods were often frustrated by the inflexible rooms they were assigned to. We brought this issue up in our winter quarterly Labor/Management meeting. Last week, we met with the registrar and learned how scheduling occurs.
Departmental schedulers assign classroom that are controlled by your unit/program and the registrar assigns general pool classrooms. General pool classroom requests are run through Ad Astra scheduling software. Rooms are assigned first based upon enrollment size, but you can request particular furniture types.
If you use a lot of hand-on, active learning strategies and want a classroom suitable for this pedagogy you can:
- Talk to your departmental scheduler about your needs and see if any designated program space is available for your class.
- If you are put into the general classroom pool, make a request for a specific furniture type. You can request fixed tablet arm chairs (usually a lecture hall), non-fixed tablet arm chairs (individual desk that are movable) or tables and chairs.
- You have a better chance of getting the furniture type you want if you teach within the class grid, on less popular days/times, and you don’t request a window in your classroom.
While there is no resolution to this issue, hopefully these tips help.
Shelly Chabon plans to hold a classroom scheduling workshop for all department schedulers this fall.
In the meantime, please continue to forward any “problem classroom” stories you have. We’ll meet with the Academic/Research Space Committee this Friday and share what we’ve heard from our members about classrooms that need serious renovation or simply need to be taken out of the pool.
PSU-AAUP VP of Collective Bargaining