Dear Members of the Rutgers–New Brunswick Community:
I'm writing to follow up on the University’s recent announcement regarding the new course scheduling initiative and to provide an update on the status of the project in New Brunswick.
First, I want to thank all of the dedicated faculty, departmental schedulers, and faculty administrators who have been working diligently on this important initiative. Your insight and expertise and your active engagement have been invaluable to the project's success. Indeed, the decision to conduct a final "parallel" system test was made largely to enable the schools and departments to confirm that the individual course combinations and academic blocks they identified are properly reflected in a final simulated schedule.
In order to assist the schools and departments in continuing to collect, enter, and evaluate this critical curricular information, I am creating with the school deans a New Brunswick Scheduling Working Group. This group will be comprised of academic representatives from each unit who will be coordinating directly with the implementation team.
The parallel system test will differ from the previous simulations the project team have conducted in that it will mirror the regular scheduling period and sequence. By matching the same time windows that will be used during production scheduling, the schools and departments will also be able to receive additional training and to assess adjustments to their scheduling workflow, including how and when course information is entered and updated, and how and when to review the schedule before it is published.
The project team has also made significant adjustments to the Faculty and Instructor Teaching Availability portal in response to feedback from the schools and departments, and this final parallel system test will provide faculty and instructors with an additional opportunity to indicate their teaching availability using this new added flexibility.
Finally, because the new course scheduling system is better able to schedule courses into more appropriate classrooms—which will greatly improve the overall teaching and learning environment—we have identified some deficits in our classroom stock, in particular with our seminar-sized classrooms. I have met with Institutional Planning and Operations, and they will be evaluating options to "right-size" our existing classrooms, with a final parallel test of the scheduling system providing valuable information to help them complete their work.
Overhauling our University course scheduling reflects our collective dedication to improving our students' educational experience. I am committed to doing everything I can toward that goal—in particular, using modern tools to reduce the time-to-degree for our students—and I want to thank all of you who have been working on this vital initiative.
Christopher J. Molloy
Chancellor, Rutgers–New Brunswick