Many of Rutgers' faculty will not sign up for Course Atlas until negotiations finished
Many Rutgers University—New Brunswick faculty are not signing up for the University’s new scheduling system, Course Atlas, because the software they claim to be designed to help students graduate on time and reduce transportation time does not take into account commitments for research, grant writing, conference speaking, book writing, mentoring, labs and parental or relative care.
Scheduled to begin in the Fall 2020 semester, Course Atlas requires faculty to provide their input for scheduling from now until Nov. 15. The Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), in a post on Facebook yesterday, stated that faculty should not provide their input until the union finishes its collective bargaining meeting with the University on Oct. 17.
Currently, the new system will only take into account a faculty member’s “scheduled University and departmental obligations, and/or times they are unavailable due to medical conditions, disabilities or religious observance,” said Neal Buccino, a University spokesperson.
Despite this, Buccino also said that adjustments are still possible: “Rutgers—New Brunswick has adjusted the Course Atlas program throughout the simulation period, and will continue to make adjustments as a result of continual feedback from the schools and departments, to ensure it best meets the needs of students, faculty and departments.”
In the Rutgers AAUP-AFT’s post, the union stated that it hopes to include more “block-offs,” which it intends to be first included in the front end of the system’s drafting and then, once the schedule has a preliminary layout, it wants to work with program directors and chairs to complete a final schedule for the first semester of the 2020-2021 academic year.
The union also questioned the University’s ability to implement the new system, citing software failures in the past.
After Thursday’s meeting, the Rutgers AAUP-AFT will update its members on the system’s current status and whether they should begin giving the University their input.
“All that said, to win this fight and to save (University President Robert L.) Barchi and his team from another disastrous decision, we will need mobilization beyond the bargaining table,” according to the post. “In the next few days, we will be sending out a petition calling for an emergency meeting in each of the University’s major colleges as per bylaws."
The union also plans to mobilize beyond the bargaining table. In the next few days, it will begin calling for an emergency meeting in each of the University’s major colleges, as bylaws state.
“We will then mobilize hundreds of faculty across the University to these meetings, to express our collective outrage to college deans, and to let them know that we believe we can serve our students well without compromising our ability to perform research and service, or maintain our family commitments,” the post stated.
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