To: All Faculty
From: Jon Bakija, Chair, Calendar and Schedule Committee
Re: Division of the Day and Evening Exams
This memo describes the “Division of the Day” guidelines and the procedures that you should follow before the semester begins if you wish to give an evening exam, schedule a field trip, or do any other academic activity outside of regularly scheduled class hours. Note that these rules apply to you even if you teach a multi-section section course! Last semester, instructors in several large multi-section courses failed to comply with the procedures for evening exams, and as a result, they all scheduled their exams for the same evening! Several professors had to re-schedule their exams after we were well into the semester, which was inconvenient for them and for their students. Please follow the guidelines below to avoid a repeat of these problems.
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 ….”
All faculty members who wish to give an evening exam must contact the Chair of the Calendar and Schedule Committee, Jon Bakija (Jon.Bakija@williams.edu, x2325) about it before the semester begins, regardless of whether or not you teach a multi-section course. Your proposed evening exams should follow the guidelines described below.
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. 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. In the case of multi-section courses, the Calendar and Schedule Committee will automatically approve requests for evening exams if they meet these guidelines above and if the professor has made a good faith effort to avoid conflicts with other evening exams (see below on how to do this).
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; and (3) the professor has made a good faith effort to avoid conflict with already-scheduled evening exams.
Regardless of whether you are teaching a single-section or multi-section course, the CSC asks that before the semester begins, you check the schedule of already-approved evening exams available at (www.williams.edu/Registrar/exams/eveningexams.html), avoid conflicts with other exams, and use the form available at that web site to submit the information on your exam, so we can get it posted on the schedule to help other people avoid conflicts. In the case of a single-section class, you should also get prior approval from the Chair of the Calendar and Schedule Committee before doing this.
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 must 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).
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.