To: All Faculty
From: Jon Bakija, Chair, Calendar and Schedule Committee
Re: Division of the Day
Here's a copy of the Division of the Day, including suggestions on how to avoid evening conflicts, for example by having exam seatings that end by 7:45 pm and rehearsals that start at 8 pm (as well as exam seatings that start at 7:15 pm to accommodate athletes). In theory, any activity can now halve potential conflicts by staying on one side of the 8 pm divide.
In order to protect the wealth and diversity of activities at Williams—first academics, but also athletics, performances, cultural events, volunteer work, and others—the College has reserved the hours of 8 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday and 7 to 9:40 PM Monday evening for academic courses. All extracurricular activities, including athletic captains’ practices and suiting up, should be scheduled outside these hours. This rule, which is overseen by the Calendar and Schedule Committee (CSC), is called the "Division of the Day."
All required class meetings, events, and activities, including tutorial meetings, normally should be scheduled during these hours. Classes and labs should end at the publicized hours. Particularly in labs students bear part of the responsibility for timely completion of the activity and may need to be reminded of this. Likewise students may need to be reminded that the end of the academic day is 4 PM and not “enough before 4 PM that I have time to go back to my room and find my ….”
Field trips (one per course) do not require approval by the CSC, but faculty should make a good-faith effort to schedule field trips so as to minimize conflicts with students’ other academic and extracurricular commitments. Instructors planning a course field trip will notify the CSC before the start of classes, list it on the course syllabus, and advise students to check with other instructors during the first week about missing class. Although you do not need approval from the CSC for one field trip per course, we do ask that you provide the CSC Chair with the date and time of any field trip and the name of the course, so that we can list it on the web page that records approved academic exceptions to the division of the day, at (www.williams.edu/Registrar/exams/eveningexams.html).
Multi-sectioned courses may schedule common exams in the evening (although not on Mondays), preferably with two time slots, an earlier one ending by 7:45 p.m. to accommodate 8 p.m. rehearsals and a later one starting no earlier than 7:15 p.m. to accommodate athletics. Faculty should check with the Activities Office to reserve a room and avoid conflicts. One class must be cancelled for each evening exam. The CSC strongly encourages faculty to make alternative arrangements with students who have evening conflicts. We expect faculty to include evening exam dates in the course syllabus, and announce all required evening exam dates in class before the end of drop/add period, so that students can make informed decisions about taking the course.
Single-section courses may hold evening examinations only with the approval of the CSC. The Committee typically will approve petitions for evening exams if the following criteria are met: (1) one regularly scheduled class meeting must be cancelled for each evening exam; (2) there are two time slots, an earlier one ending by 7:45 p.m. to accommodate 8 p.m. rehearsals and a later one starting no earlier than 7:15 p.m. to accommodate athletics, or alternative arrangements are possible for students with conflicts.
To avoid potential conflicts, the CSC asks that you register any approved evening exams by submitting the following form online (www.williams.edu/Registrar/exams/eveningexams.html).
In addition, please always check the schedule posted at the URL noted above before attempting to schedule your evening exam, and try to avoid conflicts with evening exams that are already scheduled.
All class meetings normally should be scheduled during the regular class hours described above. All exceptions must be approved by the CSC.
Some important class activities, such as attendance at performances or evening lectures, cannot be scheduled during regular class hours. The CSC does not need to approve these events when (a) attendance at an event is optional (i.e., missing a particular event does not affect a student’s grade), or (b) when students have flexibility in choosing among several evenings or several events. However, faculty who wish to make attendance at specific events mandatory, with no flexibility in allowing students to avoid conflicts with other commitments, must seek approval from the CSC. In all cases we ask that faculty list optional or required dates in the course syllabus and announce those dates in class before the end of drop/add period, so that students can make informed decisions about taking the course.
As noted above, all extra-curricular activities including athletic captains’ practices and suiting up should be scheduled outside of regular class hours. However, because athletic competitions involve coordination of schedules with other schools, in some cases competitions or travel to competitions may conflict with the Division of the Day. Such potential conflicts are monitored by the Athletics Committee, and a list can be found online (http://sites.williams.edu/athletics-committee/potential-conflicts/). Join the coaches in asking students to consult with their instructors at least a week before missing classes.
Note: It is at the sole discretion of the individual instructor whether or not to excuse absences due to athletics (e.g., games), academics (e.g., field trips in other classes), or any other type of conflict. The CSC expects faculty to include their attendance policy in writing in the course syllabus and to announce that policy in class before the end of drop/add period, so that students can make informed decisions about taking the course. (Concerns over athletic conflicts should be addressed to the Athletics Committee. Concerns over other types of conflicts should be addressed to the CSC.)
Please submit petitions for evening exams in single section courses, required classes or events outside normal hours, or any other exceptions to the Division of the Day guidelines to the Chair of the Calendar and Schedule Committee. Your cooperation and respect for the above procedures will help the community to maintain sensible balances between the academic and extracurricular demands on a student’s time.