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Timetabling Vice-Chancellor's Directive

This directive is current and enforceable, however is under review.


This directive provides clear principles and a framework for the planning and scheduling of teaching and learning activities across the university including the production and management of the UTS Timetable.

The Timetabling Vice-Chancellor’s Directive is also available as a PDF document.

Dates Directive approved 12/07/2013
Directive takes effect 31/07/2013
Directive is due for review (every three years) 07/2016
Directive amendment approved 13/03/2019
Directive amendment takes effect 19/03/2019
Approved by Vice-Chancellor
Latest amendment: Senior Advisor, Governance and Policy (see change history for details)
Accountable Officer Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services)
Implementation Officer Director, Student Administration Unit
Relevant to All academic and administrative staff involved in timetabling activities
Related documents
File number UR13/1004
Superseded documents None


1. Purpose

The purpose of this directive is to provide clear principles and a framework for the planning and scheduling of teaching and learning activities across the university, including the production and management of the UTS Timetable. This directive ensures the development of a timetable that is focused on student learning requirements and the need to effectively utilise the teaching and learning spaces of the university.

2. Scope

This directive applies to all academic and administrative staff involved in the planning and scheduling of teaching and learning activities across the university. The directive also applies to the use and timetabling of all teaching and learning spaces, including their use for non-teaching activities.

3. Definitions

The definitions below define terms specific to this directive. These are in addition to terms defined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Core subjects
means a self-contained unit of study that is approved by a faculty board and is recognised as a compulsory component for award course completion.
Faculty Timetable Coordinator
means the named individual responsible for the coordination of the planning, collection, input and checking of teaching and learning activity data in each faculty. This person acts as a conduit between the Student Administration Unit (SAU) Timetabling team and faculty teaching staff.
Non-teaching activities
means ad-hoc activities and/or bookings made by staff, students and external organisations that are not part of award course requirements and are not incorporated into the UTS Timetable.
Production calendar
means a sequence of deadlines for the collection, scheduling and checking of teaching and learning activity data. Generated by SAU.
Specified minimum course duration:
all students must complete the educational (and other approved requirements) of each course of study as set out in official UTS publications from the year in which they commenced their study in that course, unless other requirements have been approved by the relevant Responsible Academic Officer, in accordance with Rule 3.6.4.
Subject performance criteria
means minimum subject performance criteria (student enrolment headcount) established for non-core subjects to establish the success of each individual subject.
Teaching and learning activities
means all educational activities (both on and off-campus) that a student is required to undertake to complete a course.
Teaching and learning spaces
means general, prioritised use and specialised space areas used by UTS for teaching and related activities.
Teaching staff
means all staff with teaching responsibilities including full-time, part-time and casual positions.
Teaching resource availability
means a combination of teaching space, teaching staff and the other resources required to deliver teaching and learning activities.
University timetabling system:
the system (Syllabus +) used by UTS to assign spaces to teaching and learning activities.
UTS Timetable:
the approved UTS annual class timetable.

4. Directive principles

The primary requirement of the UTS Timetable is to schedule teaching and learning activities that enable students to complete all requirements of approved award courses. In addition, a number of other considerations affect timetabling, including appropriate staff, space and equipment availability, necessitating accurate forward planning.

The following principles apply to the annual development of the UTS Timetable. The principles should be considered in the context of the university’s strategic plan.

4.1 The UTS Timetable will prioritise student needs, including but not limited to the need to meet course progression requirements.

4.2 The UTS Timetable will optimise space utilisation within the constraints of teaching resource availability.

4.3 The scheduling of teaching and learning activities will take priority over non-teaching activities.

4.4 All teaching and learning spaces will be centrally scheduled and allocated.

4.5 The process of constructing the UTS Timetable will take place in accordance with the Timetabling Procedures. These procedures are available to faculty timetabling planners and other administrative staff upon request, via this access field request.

5. Directive statements

The UTS Timetable is a critical element of information for students and also assists the university to optimise its physical resource and workforce management approaches. To ensure efficient and effective timetabling, the information required to schedule teaching and learning activities is gathered, collated and prepared by faculties in partnership with SAU Timetabling.

5.1 Student needs and timetable scheduling

  • Core subjects within a standard course program as published in the UTS Handbook will be clash-free.
  • The scheduling of teaching and learning activities will minimise the requirement for students to travel across campus.
  • Normal teaching/timetabling hours are 8am to 9pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Activities will be scheduled on all weekdays and, where requested by the faculty, on weekends.
  • All teaching activities will start on the hour and end 10 minutes before the hour.

5.2 UTS Timetable planning and development

  • It is the responsibility of each faculty to ensure the currency and accuracy of information used to prepare the UTS Timetable to ensure that changes after the publication of the Timetable are minimised.
  • All UTS Timetable planning tasks will be undertaken in a timely manner using quality planning processes to ensure timely publication to students.
  • Planning of subject activities should prioritise course progression requirements and evidence of student demand.
  • Faculties are responsible for undertaking timely analysis to determine student enrolment (headcount) and student preference impacts on the number of subject activities and delivery mode options to be scheduled. This includes the need to remove non-core subject offerings that do not meet minimum subject performance criteria as approved by the faculty board (Delegation 4.3.6).
  • Enrolment (headcount) projections and changes to targets will consider teaching and learning space requirements and availability of required spaces. Changes will be determined and notified in a timely manner and in accordance with the Timetabling Procedures (available to staff upon request).
  • Every attempt will be made to ensure teaching staff are assigned to teaching and learning activities prior to the scheduling of the UTS Timetable where possible.
  • Faculties are responsible for ensuring that adequate staff resources are available to deliver the UTS Timetable as published.

5.3 Teaching and learning spaces

  • All teaching and learning spaces will be entered into the university’s timetabling system.
  • To support planning, any changes to available spaces will be notified by Facilities Management Office (FMO) to the SAU Timetabling team and Faculty Timetable Coordinators by June of the previous year.
  • All teaching spaces will be categorised as either:
    1. general teaching space (any teaching and learning activity can be assigned)
    2. prioritised use space (priority will be given for agreed use, but able to be timetabled for other agreed use)
    3. specialised space (purpose-built spaces unsuitable for general use, eg labs).
  • As part of the implementation of this directive, all teaching and learning space will be categorised in consultation with faculties. Following initial categorisation, changes must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services).
  • All teaching and learning activities will be entered into the university’s timetabling system.
  • Faculty Timetable Coordinators will be advised, by the end of June, of any addition or removal of a teaching space for the coming year (eg for refurbishment).
  • All general teaching spaces will include equipment to the minimum standard defined in the Timetabling Procedures (available to staff upon request). Requests for rooms with additional/specialist equipment must be approved on a subject level by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services).

5.4 Timetable changes

  • Changes must be authorised by the dean (or nominee) of the relevant faculty. Changes that cannot be enabled or resolved, or are inconsistent with this directive and the Timetabling Procedures (available to staff upon request), will be escalated to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services).
  • Changes to the UTS Timetable after publication must be kept to a minimum and may only be made for the following reasons:
    • unexpected staff turnover
    • unexpected change in enrolment numbers
    • location becomes a health or safety hazard
    • reasonable adjustments to accommodate students with accessibility requirements.
  • Student Centres must notify students of changes to their timetables in a timely manner.
  • An evaluation of timetable production and effectiveness including timetable changes after timetable production will be conducted annually by the SAU Timetabling team for report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) to ensure ongoing effectiveness of processes and to identify opportunities for improvement/streamlining.

5.5 Exceptions

Any requests in exception to the Timetabling Vice-Chancellor’s Directive or the Timetabling Procedures (available to staff upon request) will be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) for resolution.

5.6 Production calendar

The schedule of dates for producing the UTS Timetable will be determined and provided on an annual basis by SAU Timetabling. The schedule will align with related university calendars, handbook review and publication cycles, and will comply with dates established by the Commonwealth legislation (HESA and ESOS Act) for finalising schedules of courses to be offered in a calendar period.

6. Roles and responsibilities

Accountable Officer: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services)

Implementation Officer: Director, Student Administration Unit

Other positions and committees

Vice-Chancellor approves the directive.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services):

  • approves the associated Timetabling Procedures (available to staff upon request)
  • receives and monitor reports on timetable changes
  • considers exceptions to the Vice-Chancellor’s Timetabling Directive and Timetabling Procedures.

Facilities Management Office notifies SAU Timetabling and Faculty Timetable Coordinators of space availability changes.

Deans authorise local timetable changes and ensure appropriate faculty processes and resources are in place to meet the directive and guideline requirements.

Faculty Timetable Coordinator liaises with faculty academic staff to complete tasks required by the directive and Timetabling Procedures.

SAU Timetabling:

  • coordinates production of the UTS Timetable
  • supports Faculty Planners
  • develops and provides periodic reporting on timetabling activities to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) through the Director, Student Administration Unit.

Student Centres notify students of changes to their timetable.

7. Version control and change history

Effective date Version Approved by, resolution no. (date) Amendment
31/07/2013 1 Vice-Chancellor (12/07/2013) New directive.
07/08/2015 1.1 Council, COU/14-5/106 (15/10/2014) Consequential changes to align with changes to the Student Rules. Minor link updates.
30/05/2017 1.2 Director, Governance Support Unit (30/05/2017) Changes approved under Delegation 3.17 to implement 2017 change of name from Special Needs Service to Accessibility Service.
19/03/2019 1.3 Senior Advisor, Governance and Policy (13/03/2019) Amendments to correct link to the Timetabling Procedures. Minor changes to update changed instrument titles and align capitalisation with the Publications Style Guide.