Classroom- and Academic-Scheduling Changes Must Embrace a Common-Good Approach

Georgia Tech has changed dramatically since I came in 2010, and will most certainly look different 10 years from now.  We have made positive strides and have much to be proud of, but with growth and success comes a unique set of challenges as we stretch ourselves to meet the needs of an expanding residential and digital student body, respond to changing educational demands, and find ways to maximize our physical campus, including recreational and instructional space.

Instructional spaces at universities are changing — they can be a traditional classroom or lab, a maker space, or a completely virtual space supported through technology. During the past year, the Task Force on Classroom and Academic Scheduling, chaired by professor Joseph Hughes and Steven Girardot, Ph.D., and including faculty, staff, and students, completed a comprehensive review of our current classroom- and academic-scheduling processes and protocols to determine and plan for utilizing existing campus resources.

The task force’s final report contained five recommendations. They are:

  1. A new daily scheduling template that includes many innovations and seeks to rationalize use of space while providing maximum flexibility.
  2. A new set of policies, procedures, and best practices that among other things introduces the concept of anchor classes that will have priority for scheduling and room assignments.
  3. The creation of an Instructional and Class Scheduling Subcommittee of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum committees, IUCC and IGCC.
  4. Combine the academic class-scheduling functions performed by the Registrar’s office with the classroom-scheduling function done by Capital Planning & Space Management and place that scheduling function in the Registrar’s office.
  5. Conduct a technology audit and review to make strategic investments in technology that supports class scheduling, registration, and related analytics.

Steve Swant, Administration and Finance executive vice president, and I accepted the task force’s recommendations.

We must approach these recommendations’ implementation with a common-good perspective. There exists no perfect approach that will meet the optimal needs of everyone, but the new processes will allow for cooperation and coordination in a way that effectively addresses the needs of our faculty, students, and staff. This effort will require culture change, discipline, and the unwavering desire to best serve our students and position the Institute to “define the technological research university of the 21st century.”

I hope you will attend one of the forthcoming town halls hosted by the task force leadership. They are scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 25, 3 p.m. — Student Center Theater
  • Thursday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m. — East Architecture Building, Room 123 (auditorium)

Additional information, including the full report, is available online at

Rafael L. Bras


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