Rutgers, AAUP-AFT continue to dispute impacts of Course Atlas

The results of simulations are not currently available, but the union said that the University has lied about its results. 
Photo by Photo by Dustin Niles | The Daily TargumThe results of simulations are not currently available, but the union said that the University has lied about its results. 

Negotiations between the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) and the University regarding Course Atlas, the new scheduling system set to launch for the Fall 2020 semester, have ended with the union now determined to stop the “unilateral imposition of this software.” 

The University does “not only disrespect faculty rights to protect our service, research and family commitments, they're also willing to stoop to misinformation to assert control over our work schedules,” said the AAUP-AFT in an email to its members. The union email was provided by Todd Wolfson, president of the AAUP-AFT and associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies.

The union has been asking for a legal commitment to “block off” for scheduling times when faculty have commitments outside the classroom, according to the email. The AAUP-AFT is now asking faculty to sign petitions for meetings with deans of schools to address the software crisis. 

“The University fully supports our faculty members' rights to call meetings with their departmental and school leadership, in accordance with school bylaws. These are valuable opportunities to advance important campus conversations,” said Neal Buccino, a University spokesperson. 

Another part of the dispute between the two sides is on whether Course Atlas, a software made by the company Infosilem, will actually work, make traveling time shorter or increase or decrease the number of classes on Fridays, according to the email. 

The AAUP-AFT said that the software has not been working in simulations, it would not lower transportation times and that it would add more Friday classes. 

Buccino said that the software would lower the amount of Friday classes, with 276 fewer for the Spring 2020 semester compared to the amount of Friday classes actually scheduled for next semester. 

“As Chancellor (Christopher J.) Molloy stressed this week, Course Atlas will modernize our approach to provide courses for students when and where they need them. We are committed to enhancing our students’ educational experience by decreasing their time to degree and the associated financial burden,” Buccino said. 

The results of simulations are not currently available, but the union said that the University has lied about its results. 

“As already shown in the simulations, Infosilem will shift hundreds of classes to Fridays, upending students' jobs and lives. The same data show Infosilem will hardly put a dent in student travel between campuses (an issue better addressed through more busses with dedicated lanes). In other words, the benefits remain unproven while the costs — to the personal and professional lives of students and faculty — are real and significant,” according to the union email.