Classroom scheduling times

A message from the Provost - January 4, 2019 regarding class timing for Fall of 2019.

New Procedures in Response to Calendar Committee Concerns

During the spring 2018, I appointed a special committee to review Lehigh’s academic scheduling practices. Based on the committee’s report and recommendations, I am announcing new scheduling guidelines to be implemented by the Registrar for the Fall 2019 schedule of classes. These guidelines are described in detail below.

Among the factors necessitating this review was the difficulty last spring in scheduling the past semester (Fall 2018). For example, the departmental requests for classrooms and lecture halls substantially exceeded the number of spaces available during the “prime-time” periods of the day, roughly from 9:00 am to noon. I specifically tasked the committee with examining alternatives to the crowding of the prime-time. However, this is not the only issue to be considered. In general, our current scheduling practice allows a multiplicity of start and stop times, and many variations of the meeting pattern , which leads to an inefficient use of space. The current complexity, and the over reliance on prime-time, may also limit student options and even delay their progress.

As Lehigh’s enrollment grows, and as various construction and renovation projects are undertaken during the next few years, I expect these difficulties to continue, and to worsen, so we need to institute the necessary changes this Fall (Fall 2019).

1) Class Timing on Lower Campus

The schedule for each day of the week will consist of standard periods of 75 minutes, with 10 minute breaks between periods, beginning at 7:55 AM (0755) and ending at 9:55 PM (2155). For instructors who prefer a format of two 75-minute classes per week, the only change will be the start and end times. For example, if a course has been scheduled 1110-1225 in the past, it can be now be scheduled as 1045-1200. For instructors who prefer to teach three 50-minute classes per week, these will be scheduled within the standard 75-minute block, and start at the standard times. For example, if a course has been scheduled 1010-1100 in the past, it can be now be scheduled as 1045-1200, but students will be dismissed at 1135. Also, because the “3 hour” Lab/Seminar periods are reduced from 170 to 160 minutes, activities should be adjusted. 

MTWRF 50/75 minutes

MTWRF 3 hours (Lab/Seminar)

0755 - 0910

0755 - 1035

0920 - 1035


1045 - 1200

1045 - 1325

1210 - 1325


1335 - 1450

1335 - 1615

1500 - 1615


1625 - 1740*

1625 - 1905*

1750 - 1905*


1915 - 2030

1915 - 2155

2040 - 2155


The last period of the regular day extends 15 minutes beyond the current schedule, followed by two more 75-minute (*) blocks. Per current practice, courses that are primarily developed for undergraduate enrollment (e.g., numbered 399 or lower) should not be scheduled between 4:15 and 7:05 PM.  Except ions may be made for courses with multiple sections, where most of those sections are available outside of the 4:15 to 7:05 PM block.

Evening classes will also use new standard 75-minute periods. Instructors who currently schedule twice-weekly for 1900-2015, should now schedule 1915-2030.

I am aware that several programs (especially at the graduate-level) have been developed to accommodate the scheduling needs of non-traditional students. For example, there are MBA programs and College of Education programs that currently schedule once-per-week 4-credit-hour classes that are offset from the current schedule (such as, M 1610-1900, T 1800-2130, or W 1800-2100). These programs (although not individual courses) should build their new schedules by assembling the necessary time from the new standard blocks. For example: 1610-1900 wou ld become 1625-1905 (losing 10 minutes); 1800-2130 would become 1750-2155; and, 1800-2100 would become 1800-2030 or 1800-2155, as deemed necessary by the program’s faculty.

2) Offset Schedule for Mountaintop Classes

To allow adequate travel time between campuses, schedules for mountaintop classes will be offset from those on lower campus.

MTWRF 50/75 minutes

MTWRF 3 hrs (Lab/Seminar)

0825 - 0940

0825 - 1105

0950 - 1105


1115 - 1230

1115 - 1355

1240 - 1355

1240 - 1520

1405 - 1520


3) Fewer Classes in Primetime and More Balance Across the Week

Balanced scheduling practices should be implemented, such that departments/programs will schedule no more than:

  •      35% of course sections (lectures, recitations, or labs) during the primetime periods 0920-1035 and 1045-1200.
  •       35% of standalone labs, or coursed-based recitations and labs, on a single day of the week.
  •       50% of multi-day courses in the same daily format or pattern.

The office of Registration & Academic Services (RAS) will assist departments in meeting these goals. For example, if a department’s requests exceed the guideline that only 35% of sections be scheduled during prime-time, RAS will advise the department to prioritize their requests so that adjustments can be made. For example, a department might choose to use i ts prime-time “budget” on lectures, and schedule all recitation sections outside prime-time. 

Also, RAS has added a new field to the schedule, “projected” enrollment, which should be a realistic estimate informed by historical enrollments (for example, a “realistic” projection would not be more than 15% higher than the past 3-year average). The projected enrollment will help RAS with scheduling the appropriately sized room. This field is distinct from the enrollment “cap,” which is the limit for pedagogical reasons. If classrooms of the projected capacity run short for a preferred period (whether prime-time or not), RAS will advise the departm ent to prioritize their requests so that adjustments can be made.

4) Four O’clock Exams

In response to committee concerns, the Registrar will be preparing a modified 4 o’clock exam schedule for Fall 2019. In the meantime, Departments/Programs are encouraged to offer common exams during class time to reduce the number of days of 4 o’clock exams.

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