According to the UNC Charlotte office of Institutional Research (IR), the amount of courses with sections available on Fridays is slowly diminishing. In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, there were only 35 sections scheduled on Fridays in Spring 2012.
For many students, this isn’t a problem. An early start to the weekend and less needed travel time for the university’s growing commuter population make the decreases in Friday classes seem like they affect students positively.
Based on numbers for daily classroom usage from the IR and UNC Charlotte General Administration staff, the lack of students taking Friday classes will impede the physical growth of campus.
The data shows that classroom space is at maximum usage during prime class hours, which are classes that begin between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and a very small amount of classes are scheduled during non-prime time hours, which are morning classes beginning at 8 a.m. and afternoon classes that begin after 3:30 p.m., according to the official Academic Policies and Procedures.
With the amount of classes during prime hours versus non-prime hours, it appears on paper that the university is not effectively using classroom space. Until the university is effectively using classroom space, it is unlikely that new academic buildings will be created to increase the number of classes available for the growing student body population.
The mindset across campus for Fridays being a day off is not strictly a student thought. According to a survey done last spring by the Committee on Class Schedule and Classroom Utilization/Priority, one individual who completed the survey said, “both students and many faculty think of Friday as a day off or at least a day away from the campus.”
Another survey taker notes this is what makes optimizing classrooms on Fridays difficult. “[The] challenge is getting faculty and students to buy into offering or taking courses on Friday,” said the particulate survey response.
The survey goes on to look at how changes to the scheduling process could be made. One said that by implementing Friday classes, it is possible to remove some of the difficulty many students have when registering for classes each semester.
When classes during prime hours are full, many simply choose not to take the classes during non-prime hours.
This causes the scheduling problem to continue to get worse each semester. By “[reinstituting] Friday classes to relieve pressure on scheduling and class size issues while the university continues to grow in an environment where the buildings are not available for general purpose instruction” the survey taker says that we can better optimize classroom space and help more students get into the courses required for graduation.