Timetabling PrinciplesOur University Teaching Committee receives and approves the annual Space Management/Timetabling report and periodically reviews the Timetabling Principles that we operate by at York. The two principles that directly apply to the space allocation are:
7. Where competing demand for spaces with specific facilities (including large boards, chalk surfaces, blackout curtains, etc) exists, sessions requiring these facilities will take priority during the timetable construction. These requirements should be identified during the annual timetable construction round. If demand for a particular space outstrips supply and cannot be accommodated through the provision of additional equipment, sessions shall be prioritised with the needs of the session size foremost. As far as possible, sessions will be located in the most appropriate and geographically close location to the department home zone.
8. Space utilisation must be maximised within the constraints of these principles, with all non-specialist space to be available for general use outside teaching activities. Space utilisation will be audited at least once a year and reported to the University Teaching Committee (UTC).
If we apply this to the Spring Lane Building we have the following specific facilities that come into play:
- A 350-seat lecture theatre, with blackout, and board replacement technology (a large, digital overhead projector)
- 23 seminar rooms, of which eight have full blackout and larger screen/projection facilities. All in boardroom seminar format for up to 20
- Three experimental spaces (which for the purposes of this blog post I will exclude)
So when it comes to the lecture theatre, by and large we are seeking to house the cohort sizes that require this size provided by the lecture theatre first, then utilising the remaining capacity. Given the board replacement technology the theatre has the potential to work for most teaching delivered at this size. A store room to the undercroft of the lecture theatre seating allows for storing science experiments too!
The 23 seminar rooms are most likely to be the highly contended spaces. They complement our existing learning space capacity with the same facilities and, broadly speaking, we have aimed to allocate the activities that require these evenly. Taking the timetabling principle into account though, the departments closest to the building (ie in the ‘home zone’) may have a higher density of activity.
Actual usage of the Spring Lane BuildingFor the first year of operation, eight of the top floor seminar rooms are set aside for use by the International Pathway College’s inaugural year. Any further need will be accommodated in capacity throughout the learning and teaching estate as needed.
The headline figures for the number of hours booked in the building so far for next year are below (this includes all year round, evenings, vacation time known so far).
Centre for Applied Human Rights
Centre for English Language Teaching
Centre for Global Programmes
Centre for Lifelong Learning (predominantly outside of teaching hours)
English and Related Literature
History of Art
Languages and Linguistics
Politics, Economics and Philosophy
Social Policy and Social Work
Support - Admissions (predominantly outside of teaching hours)
Support - General room bookings
Support - Exams
Support - Central booking including IPC allocations
Centre for Women’s Studies
As you can see, a fairly good amount of hours for departments that suit the type of learning space provided.