New principles for timetable planning at Aarhus BSS

Flexibility in the timetable planning and a good study environment close to the departments. These are the overall ideas behind the new principles for the timetable planning at Aarhus BSS, which the faculty management team has just approved. The principles should contribute to easing the growing pressure on the classrooms and ultimately create more coherence in the students’ timetables.

2016.12.09 | Sinne B. Jakobsen

[Translate to English:] Photo: Jesper Rais, AU Foto

Planning the timetables for the many lecturers and students at Aarhus BSS is something of a jigsaw puzzle. The planning is meant to result in sensible and coherent timetables for the students in which teaching is conducted close to the study environments of the individual degree programmes. The planning should also ensure sensible working conditions for the lecturers in terms of their teaching preparation and research activities. With the new principles, the faculty management team aims to promote both of these aspects.

Early and late classes a shared responsibility

The new principles for timetable planning are in many ways similar to the principles from 2015, but they contain a few significant changes. First of all, the principles have deliberately been formulated so as to increase the possibility of creating sensible timetables for as many as possible. If the principles were formulated too strictly, it would simply result in too little flexibility in terms of solving the jigsaw puzzle for the benefit of as many people as possible, Vice-dean Per Andersen explains. Second of all, the principles tighten up the requirements for when lecturers can be granted exemption from teaching either early or late in the day or on specific days.  Thus, the heads of department are now responsible for evaluating on a semester to semester basis, whether a lecturer can be granted exemption due to exceptional circumstances. Although the new principles might not allow for the same individual considerations as previously, Per Andersen underlines that the principles should in fact benefit all lecturers:

“When we tighten up the rules for when a lecturer can be granted exemption from teaching early or late in the day or on specific days, it is not only to increase the level of flexibility in the planning phase, but also to ensure that these specific times and weekdays increasingly become a shared responsibility. In this way, it will not always be the same lecturers who are responsible for teaching at these less attractive times. Furthermore, the system is, of course, still flexible enough to allow lecturers to be granted exemption if the head of department decides that the circumstances are in fact exceptional.”

Flexibility in focus

With the last comment, Per Andersen hopes to set people’s minds at rest, because he is fully aware that possible changes in the working conditions of the individual lecturer will often cause worry.

“With the new principles, we are not turning everything upside down,” he points out. “Most of the timetable planning will be done in the same way as always, but we do have an increasing need for flexibility if we want to provide our students with sensible timetables. Thus, we are now including such a flexibility in the principles. Subsequently, we are also initiating a process in which we will evaluate our progress after each semester and identify the areas in which we can improve. The increased flexibility promoted by the principles also means that we have an increased responsibility for learning from our experiences, so that we can get closer and closer to our goal of creating sensible timetables for as many as possible.”

What should you do as a lecturer?

If you are a lecturer and believe that you have exceptional circumstances that need to be considered in connection with the planning of the teaching in the autumn of 2017, which starts in the beginning of 2017, you should:

  • Discuss your request with your head of department well in advance to clarify whether your request can be be approved as exceptional circumstances
  • Be aware that the head of department only approves the exceptional circumstances for one semester at a time

Read the new principles.



Aarhus BSS