Re: Scheduling


My university does something like this. There's a fancy computer program that takes student course preferences, department course offerings, faculty time constraints, and space demands into account and them generates a schedule that's supposed to minimize course conflicts for students and maximize efficient use of classrooms. It's been met with decidedly mixed reviews. Lots of faculty hate it because they can no longer just tell their chair that they will only teach on Tuesdays and from 1-3. Lots of others hate it because they end up teaching 8:30am classes to 3 students, even though the classes would be full if taught at non-terrible times. And it doesn't clearly accomplish the aim of giving students what they want, since they end up switching courses to fit the timetable they want once the actual schedule gets released. Students might want to take PSYCH 101, but they also want to sleep in on Friday mornings, or have part time jobs, and so the schedules the system gives them is often very different from what they end up taking, which kinda defeats the purpose. (The computer scientists on campus point out that the program is effectively trying to run an impossible optimization task, and so of course everyone hates it.)

Posted by: MattD | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 1:05 PM
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I do like being able to be picky about my time slots. I suppose it ain't broken.

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 1:21 PM
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"The whole thing falls apart if everyone is too restrictive": it's an amusing bit of academic sociology to see who finds this to be a persuasive reason to not be picky/demanding.

Posted by: MattD | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 1:26 PM
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Now I'm wondering if that's how econ came up with the K group.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 1:27 PM
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M has been asked to write a new description for his spring class to make it sound more enticing, because only 5 kids have signed up so far. The school scheduled the class for two days a week at 8 a.m. -- I don't think it's the lack of an enticing description that is discouraging kids from enrolling. And anyway, it's intro studio art, what more description do you need. But he's an adjunct, so if more kids don't sign up, I think he gets the chop. I told him to say that he'll give everyone an A.

Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 1:44 PM
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Tighter pants. Looser standards.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 1:53 PM
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amusing bit of academic sociology

I recently read Misbehaving (about behavioral economics) it includes a story about assigning offices in a newly constructed building at the University of Chicago and everybody involved behaves in ways that fully live up to the stereotypes of the UofC.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 2:08 PM
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Sessions just purged 46 US Attorneys left over from the Obama administration. We may need a WTFriday thread after all.

Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 2:16 PM
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5: Nude models?

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 2:20 PM
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ooh! Any dirt? Name names.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 2:38 PM
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ooh! Any dirt? Name names.

Any real dirt is just alluded to, but my favorite story is the one professor (in the middle of the order of the ranking for office selection) who, when it's his turn, says that he thinks the information that's been provided about estimated square footage is inaccurate, and gets the architect to go back to the plans and confirm that several offices are, actually, 10% smaller than the distributed estimates. At which point everybody who had already selected offices insists that the whole process start over . . .

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 2:42 PM
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Whoa! Your process sounds so different. We have a pretty rigid rotation schedule because students need to be able to plan 4 years out. For class times, we rely on a template of past years times that we adjust when necessary. Its much more rigid than your process

Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 03-10-17 2:47 PM
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Surveying students! You librals!

Yeah, like Miranda we've got a rotation schedule, a four-year plan with every semester projected out, so that we know what we have to offer and when in order for a generic student to graduate in four years.

We still end up with the odd student who missed taking Chaucer (only offered in the Fall) or Capstone (only offered for straight-up English majors in the Spring), but we have work-arounds for emergencies.

We get to put in preferences (like I *prefer* to teach only on TR) but we all know those preferences won't always be met.

(Mine did get met this year, and also for Fall 2017, but then I'm now *the* senior faculty member in our department, which how TAF did that happen?)

Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 03-11-17 10:20 AM
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Did you murder anybody? If not, probably just normal attrition.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-11-17 10:24 AM
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Did I murder anyone? Me? Heavens, why would you think that?

And no, there's no particular reason for that lock on my gate, shut up.

Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 03-11-17 4:43 PM
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Our schedules mostly just kind of carry over from one year to the next. Of course, the senior faculty who are most important get to arrange to only teach on Wednesday afternoons from 2-4 PM and take the rest of the week off.

My partner's department chair (different university) assigns her classes that meet on early mornings three days a week because he knows she has a longer-than-usual commute and wants to punish her for not living closer to the university, I think.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-11-17 4:59 PM
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Maybe he's just misogynist.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-11-17 6:55 PM
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On a side note: I'm going to reserve WTF Fridays for those weeks in which we've been pummelled by unrelenting news. This week feels mild again.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-11-17 8:06 PM
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17: Well, he did tell her that he expects her to bring in more grant money than most of the other faculty because he thinks people like giving money to women....

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 5:44 AM
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Which is a shame because men need to earn more to support families and penises.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 8:05 AM
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Speaking of penises, I yelled at the TSA guy for groping me (random check). He told me I was overreacting. I want to go home so I didn't tell him to fuck off.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 8:22 AM
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19: How did she respond to that? Under those circumstances, it would be so hard for me not to show the anger I'd be feeling.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 11:37 AM
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|| I have a question for the academics: how do you keep from just slitting your wrists? Context: I've been talked into grading a question on the bar exam. I'm halfway through the 39 answers they sent me, and I'm left wondering whether life is worth continuing. |>

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 4:37 PM
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Multiple choice tests.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 4:43 PM
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Multiple choice tests, apathy, and graduate assistants.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 4:46 PM
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23: I have probably told this story, but one of the questions I got on the bar exam was obviously about some particular NYS corporate governance statute, but I drew a complete blank when I saw it. So I vomited eight pages of nonsense about the principles of equity underlying our Anglo-American system of law. I'd have loved to know if I got any credit at all for that or if it was just wasted effort.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 4:59 PM
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Legal education has problems but if you ask me, medical education has been completely destroyed since they stopped diagnosing diabetes by drinking urine.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 5:10 PM
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I'm sure the grader loved it.

Or contemplated leaving this vale of tears.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 5:11 PM
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28 to 27.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 5:17 PM
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Speaking of vales of tears, what do you do when your parents never agreed on where to be buried and now both are now alive but unable to to discuss this or even express an opinion? The dad option is a small family cemetery where most of dad's relatives have been buried since 1870. The mom option is a city cemetery where they lived for thirty years. Complication: mom isn't being buried any time soon (assuming actuarial determined life expectancy).

Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 6:08 PM
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30: Donate bodies to medical research and ask that the med school handle disposal of remains? That's my plan, if needed. (Dad's original suggestion involved curbside pickup.)

I'm so terribly sorry about your father.

Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 6:25 PM
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Thanks. Also, we're a consecrated ground family, so any solution has to involve that.

Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 6:41 PM
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I'm going to try to be less morbid tomorrow and Tuesday.

Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 6:49 PM
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Was it important to them (or is it to you) that they be buried together? Because if not, that seems to solve the problem.

If so, I'd go with whatever is going to be less explosive to the still-living people (you, your siblings if you have any, other family, etc), and not worry about "what they would have wanted." My justification is that I don't believe in a typical afterlife -- I figure people are either dead and unconscious of what's going on here on Earth, or if any spark of their being/soul is still conscious, they are mellow enough to be fine with whatever people are doing back on Earth.

YMMV, of course. I realize not everybody has as flexible a set of spiritual/religious beliefs.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 6:50 PM
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I think we just assumed you're supposed to bury spouses together. I'm not going to be the one who throws that question into the mix.

Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 6:53 PM
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It wasn't an entirely serious suggestion. If you want an earnest one, chose the location most practical to the folks who will want to visit over time. I realized when we buried my grandfather's ashes that he'd taken great pains to maintain the family plot (which is now basicaly full, so my parents won't be buried there), but it's in a tiny little town in central Maine, and I doubt anyone in my generation will be able to visit or do things like make sure the planter is refreshed every year with nice annuals.

Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 7:02 PM
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Another unserious one: do both. If they're being cremated, mix the ashes and do one plot in each. If not, maybe you could do limbs in one plot and torsoes in another. (A friend used to work at a cemetary and had to give families mapped information. At some point, she came across a listing something like "Doe, John, #157. Doe, John, leg, #158.")

Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 7:09 PM
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The nursing home can't possibly fuck up enough for that to become an issue.

Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 7:10 PM
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We went through this last year; AFWR my dad passed away on January 1, kicking off the worst year ever. Choices were local at their winter home (which my mom is in the process of leaving to be close to my sister in California); across Florida with parents and one set of grandparents; summer home in Canada sale not yet closed with some beloved pets; or near Boston with the other grandparents (and lots of space). Ultimate choice was local: we could have friends of all levels attend, family was all going to have to travel no matter what.

The wife and I have now each picked streams in Glacier Park into which our ashes are to be illicitly sprinkled. They're on opposite sides of the Divide, so whoever wins probably gets to settle the matter.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 7:13 PM
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Charley's post reminded me that we were supposed to obtain a "sprinkling permit" for my mom's ashes. We did not. After years of family debate -- during which the box with her ashes sat around one or another person's house -- they were scattered on family property in a garden, in combination with some ashes from her father, with whom she was very close.

It was a perfectly fine solution (I say, though I was the least invested/sentimental about it among the family members, since all of my deep emotion about my mother is regarding her spirit and memory, not her physical body).

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 7:26 PM
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I don't see the difference.

Posted by: Opinionated Norman Bates | Link to this comment | 03-12-17 7:33 PM
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