Department Chairs Scheduling Guidance

This guidance supports department chairs through the Fall 2021 schedule building process and the reconciliation of room assignments needed to finalize scheduling.

May 7, 2021 - Vaccination Policy & New Schedule Publication Date

AVP of Faculty Affairs Carleen Mandolfo and Dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning Lori Beth Way provide chairs and deans an update on proposed proof of vaccination policy and additional time to prepare course schedules: 

Hi all,

President Mahoney has shared with us that the CSU is currently drafting a COVID 19 vaccination policy. It is likely that the policy will only require self-certification of vaccination status. But after hearing from department chairs, SF State has decided to pursue a more rigorous certification process that will include verification of vaccine cards. We will work quickly to draft a policy and meet with our unions to ensure compliance by August 2021. Thank you for speaking up.  The concern expressed by department chairs for the health of our community, and the quick response of the university to hold ourselves to higher standards demonstrates the depth of SF State’s commitment to ending the pandemic and returning our students to a safe campus.

Further, at the good suggestion of a department chair, we’ve decided to delay the publishing of the fall schedule in order to give everyone the option of more time. We’d like to move the publication date to May 17th.  In order to facilitate making changes as easy as possible for everyone, colleges can make changes until May 14th at 11:59 PM. Please contact your college scheduler to plan how best to proceed.

Hope you all get a little down time this weekend.

Our best wishes,

Lori Beth and Carleen


Carleen Mandolfo
AVP Faculty Affairs & Professional Development
Lori Beth Way
Dean, Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning


May 5, 2021 - Responses to Scheduling Questions

AVP of Faculty Affairs Carleen Mandolfo and Dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning Lori Beth Way provide responses to a number of questions regarding scheduling: 

Dear chairs and directors,

President Mahoney’s recent request asking faculty to work with you and the colleges to increase our in-person offerings (including hybrid) – especially in order to attract transfer students and retain continuing students -- has generated a lot of questions regarding barriers that the campus is facing in trying to reach that goal.  Below we try to provide answers, but let us know if you have further questions.  

Can Instructors Request Larger Class Sizes?

As you know, the course scheduling needs and constraints of departments vary widely. Because San Francisco has moved into the yellow tier, we can now accommodate requests for full capacity sections, without social distancing restrictions.  However, in order to be consistent with our previous communications, sections can be scheduled at room capacity ONLY IF the instructor agrees to a larger class size than would have been possible with 6-ft distancing.  We hope the increased flexibility will be useful to departments as you continue the hard work of managing a uniquely complex course schedule. 

Will We Be Asked to Increase Class Sizes?

We know that people made decisions to teach in-person partly because of the smaller class size. As we’ve repeatedly said, we don’t plan to move away from those sizes unless we really need to in order to accommodate student need; and even then, we will not raise them by more than a few seats. 

What if Instructors Move Classes to In-Person Mode but they Remain Low-Enrolled?

Please assure your faculty that should they volunteer to move their class/es to f2f or hybrid, low-enrolled sections will not be cancelled.  Such reassurance is particularly important for our Lecturer Faculty who step up to teach f2f.  

What’s the Deadline for Adding More In-person Classes?

In order to assist in this process, we’ve given the college offices access to make changes in the schedule so that a change form will not be needed in each case.  College access will stay open until 11:59PM on May 9th.  The schedule will publish on May 10th.  We can still add in-person sections after that date, but because the schedule will have been published, those changes will need to be done via a change request form. 

Admittedly, much of our planning is based on speculation about what fall will look like, but the evidence at this time is pretty clear that to meet the needs of our students and not suffer further enrollment declines we must offer more f2f and/or hybrid sections/seats.  We know the ground beneath your feet keeps shifting – let us know if there is anything we can do to help; and please continue to work with your associate deans and deans as the schedule develops. 

Best wishes,

Carleen and Lori Beth


Carleen Mandolfo
AVP Faculty Affairs & Professional Development
Lori Beth Way
Dean, Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning


May 4, 2021 - President Mahoney Advocates for More In-Person Classes

President Mahoney sent this email message to all faculty on May 4, 2021:

Dear faculty colleagues,

I write you today with some good news.  We have learned that San Francisco County will be moved to the Yellow Tier shortly and that it is likely that the city will be able to adopt the state’s relaxed guidelines by mid-June, including reduced physical distancing. The vaccine roll-out in San Francisco has been highly successful. Supply continues to meet demand and, given the enthusiasm our students and employees demonstrated for a vaccine, we will have no trouble meeting the vaccine mandate. The change in just a few weeks has been impressive and heralds well for the fall.

I am also writing, though, to ask for your help. As the health news improves rapidly, students are increasingly imploring us for in-person instruction, including hybrid courses. For a good number, waiting until January 2022 is just too long to be away from campus and in-person instruction. We initially took a cautious approach to fall and focused on new students and some other key groups. I appreciate the hard work our department chairs have done in constructing the fall schedule under highly challenging circumstances, but we still have less than 30% of our sections currently scheduled to have any in-person meetings. Our goal has been to ensure that any student who wants to enroll in an in-person class can. The number currently offered for upper-division students is not likely to meet these students’ needs. We need now to focus on increasing in-person offerings for continuing students, particularly upper-division students.

The pandemic, as we know, had a differential impact on low-income BIPOC communities. It has also taken a toll on the educational pipeline. For the first time in many decades, experts are predicting a nation-wide decline in low income, BIPOC enrollments at colleges and universities. I worry about our students. I worry about the impact of prolonged exclusively virtual learning on their retention and engagement. I know that many of you share these concerns and am grateful for all who will be teaching in person in the fall. If you have already volunteered to teach in person or hybrid, even with physical distancing requirements likely being lifted, we won’t be increasing current class sizes by any significant amount.  We are aware, however, that physical distancing restrictions have created some barriers in schedule building. As distancing relaxes, there will be more flexibility in this regard for those willing to teach larger classes.

As I have said, the fall will be transitionary; post-pandemic, we will have far more online classes than we had pre-pandemic, given that both faculty and students found them effective and enjoy the flexibility they allow. But we currently have a need for more in-person courses for Fall 2021. Colleges and department chairs are working on this, and I am deeply grateful. I ask today that you help us build a more robust fall class schedule so that any student who wants an in-person educational experience can have one. I encourage you to work with your department chairs to identify possibilities for building out our face-to-face schedule.

I appreciate how hard the transition back to campus will be after so many months of remote work and shelter-in-place and am grateful for all the work being done for fall. I am hopeful that we can work together for the sake of our students who are eager to come back.


Lynn Mahoney

April 29, 2021 - Information on Faculty Overload Assignments

AVP of Faculty Affairs Carleen Mandolfo sent this information to college deans regarding overload assignments for faculty:

Chairs should NOT be offering “new” or “additional” work to T/TT faculty.  Only in very rare cases will I approve overloads for this category of faculty.  The contract has provisions against doing so.  Further, new and additional work should be offered to Lecturer Faculty according to the order of work in 12.29 before any overloads are considered, for anyone. 

An almost irresponsibly brief summary of 12.29:  go through the order of work and offer work in the appropriate order to LF up to their entitlement.  THEN, in the next round (and I think most folks don’t read this far), if there is new and additional work, offer that work to part-time employees holding a 3 year contract, UP TO FULL-TIME (1.0).  See below for the contract language.  The spirit of this article is to give LF an opportunity to work their way to full-time.  When we funnel work to T/TT faculty or new LF before going through the order of work we are setting ourselves up for a grievance, not to mention it’s a great disservice to our LF’s professional trajectories.  Many thanks.

CBA Art. 12.29 

b. 9. Next, assign any remaining temporary work to temporary employees as

"new or additional" work in the following order:

i. First, offer work to part-time temporary faculty unit employees holding a three-year appointment up to and including a 1.0 time base. In the event the department has a need to assign work for which a temporary part-time faculty unit employee with a one-year appointment is objectively determined to be demonstrably better qualified, the one year appointee may be assigned the work.

Carleen Mandolfo
Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs

April 22, 2021 - Increased Capacity in Lab Spaces

Based upon the reported need to be able to increase the capacity in order to offer more lab and activity-based in-person sections, we have changed the planning for those spaces from 6ft distance to 50% capacity. Today all university chairs were emailed a new spreadsheet indicating the capacity in each teaching space. If you have questions about a specific room’s capacity or the spreadsheet indicates that room needs a consult, please contact Michael Scott at

April 20, 2021 - Provost Summit Encourages Departments to Increase F2F Sections

Provost Summit sent this email message to all department chairs on April 20, 2021:


Dear department chairs,

I want to thank you for all the complex work you’ve had to do to prepare and submit your course schedules by last Friday. You’ve done an excellent job working with us to prioritize in-person sections for our first-year students and those disciplines that were hard to teach remotely. Thanks to your efforts, we should be able to accommodate all freshmen who requested face-to-face courses with at least two hybrid or face-to-face sections—this is immensely valuable to many of our newest students. 

We still have physical capacity to add more sections, and we would like to increase face-to-face or hybrid courses for continuing students; I am now asking for your help to meet this goal.  

More in person courses needed for upper division students.  

We may have been collectively too conservative in planning offerings for students who are not incoming freshmen. You may recall that our survey of current students (with a response rate of over 2,000 students) indicated that 46% of them would like to learn either in-person or in a hybrid format this coming fall semester. I am now asking that you work with your college dean to increase the number of in-person or weekly hybrid section sections (learning mode 05 or 06) that we can offer these continuing students. Major courses as well as upper division General Education courses would be especially helpful for our continuing and new transfer students. We very much hope that all students who want to take a course with an in-person component are able to do so.

Anticipating reduction of social distancing requirements.  

 We anticipate that the 6ft social distancing rule will be relaxed as vaccination rates increase. Given how difficult it is to schedule labs and activities at caps based on 6ft distancing, we are preparing to move to 50% capacity for those types of spaces; if expanding those caps will allow you to increase the numbers of in-person or hybrid sections you can offer, please do so. Current requirements for 6 ft distancing mean that many in-person classes will need to maintain a capacity cap of or near 15, but we do have the option of increasing the cap up to 20-30 in certain instances. Please contact AVP Michael Scott to discuss options if you require a larger space.

Professional development for hybrid and face-to-face modalities.  

 Last summer CEETL did an excellent job offering professional development to improve remote instruction. It was impressive and inspiring to see how many  faculty took up this opportunity to support our students. This summer CEETL is planning new professional development opportunities to support teaching in hybrid and in-person modalities, since teaching in a hybrid format (with a weekly in-person meeting and either asynchronous or synchronous remote components) will be new for many instructors, as well as opportunities to help in-person instructors develop safe and supportive classroom environments (like last summer, these will include stipends for participating faculty). Other professional development opportunities currently planned include trauma-informed pedagogy as well as the continuation of the popular JEDI PIE Institute.

Continued prioritization of health and safety. 

 Finally, we understand that faculty still have concerns about safety. The CSU is currently reviewing the possibility of requiring vaccines for students, and future campus plans may be able to include mandatory vaccination for at least residential students. (The most recent CDC research about vaccines indicates that they are extremely effective.) We are also working hard to ensure a safe campus environment for staff as well as faculty and students. The President’s April 4thmessage  outlines planning efforts that are currently underway, and all units are preparing to develop phased return-to-work plans for the fall that will meet the stringent safety standards of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. 

As we continue to plan, we will deliver updates to you through this website for department chairs, which will be refreshed at least once a week: please plan to check it regularly.

Your hard work makes it possible for us to support our students through these very challenging times. Thank you for your continuing efforts to refine and further develop our in-person and hybrid course schedule in the middle of everything else that demands your attention right now. Now more than ever, our chairs form the backbone of our academic core, and I very much appreciate all of you.

Yours sincerely,

Jennifer Summit,
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

April 16, 2021 - What To Expect Next

Department access to schedule building will conclude on April 16th, 2021. The college offices will then conduct their review and adjustments up to April 30th. Simultaneously, DUEAP will be working with the Associate Deans on the sections for first time freshmen that are hidden and will be block enrolled by cohort. We asked you to plan with the assumption that those caps will be at 15. We’re expecting that, but there may be slight additions and subtractions based on the room and 1st year student interest. We’ve promised 1st year students that they would be cohorted with their peers if they were opting for an in-person experience. Hence, we will be identifying two sections that the same 15 students can be block enrolled into.

Our first assessment will be whether we can accommodate all the proposed in-person sections. We assume we will be able to, but may need to request some time adjustments depending on what is collectively submitted. We may not be able to tell you right away where the course will meet, but we will be working to accommodate all the in-person sections as long as we have the capacity.

April 15, 2021- Classroom Safety Protocols

Information regarding classroom disinfecting and safety protocols will be added as it becomes available.

April 9, 2021 - Instructions for Scheduling Courses Requiring Computer Labs

As Fall 2021 schedule building continues, we would like to clarify the availability of computers spaces for Fall 2021 instruction and the process under which department and college schedule-builders can schedule in-person classes into computer spaces.

Given anticipated social distancing requirements, considerations for cleaning regimens for equipment and some surfaces, and other safety and confidence measures, computer labs in particular will require efficient and safe approaches to use in Fall 2021. Therefore, Academic Affairs will be providing centrally-managed computer lab spaces to house scheduled courses requiring a computer lab.

Department computer spaces that have specialized hardware or equipment may be considered for an exception. However, most specialized software can be easily made available in alternative central computer spaces. More importantly, centrally-managed spaces will be selected to maximize enrollments and to ensure any required safety and confidence measures can be easily managed. For planning purposes, anticipated enrollment for central computer spaces will be between 15 to 20 students per room.

Recommended Process for Scheduling Computer Labs

  1. As possible, we ask departments (chairs and/or interested faculty) to schedule a quick consultation with AT to review their needs and planning to help interactively guide the process (contact Andrew Roderick –
  2. If a consultation is not possible given the time frame, departments should:
    1. Enter a specific lab in the ‘facility Id’ AND also enter the ‘Room Characteristic’ of ’17 – Computer Technology Lab’. A reconciliation consultation will then take place with the department to finalize the assignment and enrollment cap.

April 2, 2021 – Time Blocks

Because of the changes in SF Public Health Department guidelines around cleaning, we no longer need to leave classrooms vacant during some time blocks. Departments can schedule all of the Senate approved time blocks in department controlled spaces as well as in centrally-controlled classrooms (i.e. Need Room).

March 8, 2021 - Memorandum re: Fall 2021 In-person course planning

Our current assumption is that we will be able to accommodate faculty who want to teach in-person. If, however, colleges evaluate their departments’ requests to teach in-person as likely being too many given our physical inventory and the need for social distancing, the following courses should be prioritized in this order:

  1. Courses that simply did not work in a remote modality and for student success reasons should be in person (and faculty are willing to do so)
  2. Courses that are for first year students and prioritized as follows: 
    1. Golden Four
    2. Area E
    3. Any other lower division GE
  3. Senior level courses
  4. Anything else

As of the beginning of March, we assume that we will be able to accommodate everyone who wants to teach in person.

Lecture-based courses should assume a likely cap of 15 people. Some will be a little more and some will be a little less based on the ability for social distancing in the room. If physical distancing requirements relax and a section would like to accommodate more capacity, that selection may be entered in CS.

On April 16, departments will have finalized their schedule submissions. Between April 16th and April 30th, colleges will assess the requests for in-person sections. If those requests appear to be more than can likely be accommodated, they should reduce the number of sections requested to be in person using the priorities above.

Departments can schedule the rooms they have typically scheduled in the past in the same manner they have done historically with one important difference – they must enter the cap provided on the Excel spreadsheet for that room. Lecture based courses and those that have not typically been scheduled in department specialized space, should indicate “Room needed,” enter the Enrollment Capacity of 15 and possibly a higher capacity in Room Capacity if the section can be increased with relaxed physical distancing requirements. Departments should only schedule in-person sections during identified time blocks in order to leave time for appropriate cleaning. Once we have housed all the in-person sections, we may need to return to departments to slightly adjust start and/or ending times. For example, a class that was scheduled to start at 9 AM may need to start at 9:15 AM so that we don’t have too many people in a hall at the same time.

Departments should only schedule in-person sections in department-scheduled rooms in the time blocks that are NOT highlighted. Departments can schedule all the published time blocks (amended 4/5/21). Because we will be cohorting first year student courses, all time blocks can be used for first year student sections. Once we have housed all the in-person sections, we may need to return to departments to slightly adjust start and/or ending times. For example, a class that was scheduled to start at 9 AM may need to start at 9:15 AM so that we don’t have too many people in a hall at the same time.

MW and TR  MW and TR  M, T, W, or R 
75-minute blocks 100-minute blocks 165-minute blocks
0800 – 0915 0800 – 0940 0900 - 1145
0930 – 1045 1000 – 1140 0930 - 1215
1100 – 1215 1200 – 1340 1230 - 1515
1230 – 1345 1400 – 1540 1300 - 1545
1400 – 1515 1600 – 1740 1530 - 1815
1530 – 1645 1800 – 1940 1600 – 1845
1700 – 1815 2000 – 2140 1630 – 1915
1830 – 1945   1700 – 1945
2000 – 2115   1730 – 2015
    1800 – 2045
    1830 – 2115
    1900 – 2145
    *** Friday and Saturday can be scheduled at any blocks from the current policy. *** 

Some information that might help departments scheduling courses meant for first time freshmen (assuming we get enough sections in-person to do the following): On April 1st April 5th, Undergraduate Admissions will notify all admitted first time freshmen that if they so choose, we’ll be providing them with two courses in-person. Once a student has accepted their offer of admission (AAOed), they will receive a request to complete a survey asking them if they’d like two classes in person and if they have preferred days and times (with a note that we can’t promise everyone will get their first choices). These sections will not be on the public schedule. As we get responses, we will be cohorting the students into two in-person sections via block enrollment by the Registrar staff. When scheduling these sections, please suppress the class by unchecking the ‘Schedule Print’ box in CS. Please let you associate deans know if you’d like to offer sections in person for first year students.