Rutgers officially announces scheduling system Course Atlas for Fall 2020
Rutgers University—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy officially announced the University’s new course scheduling system for the Fall 2020 semester, Course Atlas, to the Rutgers community in a University-wide email.
“The Course Atlas initiative modernizes our approach to course scheduling by considering detailed course information, program curricula, classroom inventory, faculty/instructor availability and projected student enrollment to build a schedule that best fits the needs of our students, faculty, departments and programs,” Molloy’s email stated.
Despite the announcement, negotiations with the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) are still ongoing, with a session scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Todd Wolfson, president of the AAUP-AFT and associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, said that faculty across Rutgers are “deeply disturbed” that the University is implementing the system so quickly, given its struggle to implement similar technology in the past.
The AAUP-AFT, in its statements, refers to Course Atlas as Infosilem, the brand name of the system.
“Today, over 100 faculty in the New Brunswick School of Arts and Sciences petitioned Dean March (Peter March, executive dean of the School of Arts and Sciences) for an emergency meeting to discuss Infosilem if things are not resolved in bargaining tomorrow,” Wolfson said. “We expect to see many more petitions like that across the University in the days and weeks to come if the administration does not recognize the many roles that faculty balance as part of their job.”
Infosilem is used by several other universities across the country in various ways.
For instance, Pennsylvania State University uses Infosilem to make exam schedules, and Villanova University uses the system to make its class schedules, according to Infosilem’s website.
The union will push for a scheduling system that prioritizes both faculty and students in its Wednesday session, Wolfson said.
“During the last two years, the Course Atlas implementation team solicited and received extensive input from faculty members, a faculty committee and faculty leadership in creating and modifying the web application that faculty members will use to input their preferred teaching availability," according to Molloy's email.
At the moment, faculty are allowed to have “block offs” — timeslots when classes will not be assigned to faculty to teach — that are caused by University and professional obligations, including service, research and scholarship, as well as disabilities and religious observations, Molloy’s email stated.
The Daily Targum reported last week that faculty were urged not to give their scheduling preferences to the system until negotiations with the University were completed, which the union is still asking faculty to do.
With the faculty not yet satisfied with Course Atlas and the potential for emergency meetings being called by faculty, Molloy finished his email by looking forward.
“I want to thank all of our faculty, staff and students for your ongoing commitment to Rutgers. Together, we will continue to enhance our dynamic course offerings and research opportunities to help ensure Rutgers remains a world-class institution,” Molloy’s email stated.
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