Report from CSI Core Committee

Dear faculty and staff, 

As the fall semester comes to an end, we want to take this time to present findings from the Collaborative Scheduling Initiative (CSI) Core Committee. We recognize that their work has been long and arduous, and yet incredibly promising for the future of UNCSA. 

As you know, CSI is an ambitious universitywide initiative that will help us create a more sustainable academic and performance schedule for our campus. Without question, time is our most precious commodity and we look forward to a day when we can achieve greater balance between the performance and academic calendars, thereby creating a more sustainable workload for our entire community. We will continue to honor our conservatory roots while holding, in equal regard, critical time for rest, reflection and collaboration alongside our commitment to rigor and mastery of craft. Lastly, we believe as a result of this project, the need for common and coordinated times throughout the yearly calendars has become increasingly clear.

All of these steps play a vital role in ensuring that UNCSA continues to build on its strong reputation among the top arts conservatories in the nation. They also enable us to reap the full benefit of our unique ecosystem, allowing us to envision and create works that can only be done at UNCSA. In addition, these steps will play a key role in our ability to make the case at the state level that arts education is a worthwhile and valuable investment – especially at UNCSA. If done well, this important revisioning will better position us to recruit and retain the best and brightest faculty, staff and students.

To recap, the CSI Core Committee is composed of a representative from each of the seven program areas who helped determine the framework of the four components (numbered below) presented by the CSI Summer Committee. Based on that charge, here are the determinations, which will be implemented beginning in fall 2024.

1. Intermission

  • Intermission will fall on Wednesdays from 12:30-2:30 p.m.
  • There will be no required activities for faculty or students during that 2-hour time frame, outside of engagement in faculty standing committees. No office hours or faculty/student meetings should be scheduled during this time. Our entire community will be held to this standard.

2. Collaborative Days  

  • There will be a total of 6 Collaborative Days per year.
  • Collaborative Days will be placed in the Academic Calendar according to EPC-endorsed guidelines at least a year in advance, in order to support meaningful planning.
  • An ad hoc committee of faculty, staff and students will allot the days for a variety of programming by various entities, including but not limited to: Arts Schools; Division of Liberal Arts/High School Academic Program; Collaborations between the previous groups; Provost Office; and Student Affairs.
  • Collaborative Days for 2024-25: Friday, Sept. 20; Thursday, Oct. 17 – until 5 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 11; Friday, Jan. 31 – until 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 11; and Monday, April 7.
  • Collaborative Days for 2025-26: Friday, Sept. 19; Thursday, Oct. 16 – until 5 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 10; Friday, Jan. 30 – until 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 17; and Monday, April 6.

3. 10-hour workday within a 13.5-hour period (8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.)

  • UNCSA will not schedule classes or required activities outside of the 10-hour workday threshold.
  • Exceptions should be granted only for performances and the immediately preceding tech period, as well as for film shoots.
  • We realize that this reduced schedule does not yet represent a sustainable model and should be addressed in ongoing CSI work.

4. Common start/stop times

  • For the 2024-25 academic year, we are still working to identify a few times each week that work most naturally as a common start time for interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary courses, with the most alignment already in place on the schedule.
  • In addition, program areas are examining potential fall 2024 interdisciplinary courses and will work to identify potential common times for those specific opportunities.

As an entire community, we are indebted to the CSI Core Committee, and want to acknowledge and thank them for their work: Abby Yager, Dance; Molly McCarter, Design & Production; Betsy Towns, DLA; Krisha Marcano, Drama; Kara Andersen, Filmmaking; Jeff George, HSAP; Steve LaCosse, Music; Karen Beres, vice provost and dean of academic affairs; and Kathryn McMillan, assistant vice provost for strategic planning & operations. They have worked tirelessly and exceeded our expectations. Their conversations have been challenging but fruitful and we are excited to build upon their work as we move into the next phase of CSI.

Currently, the committee is putting together some recommendations for short- and long-term next steps, including the request for engagement of a scheduling expert who can lead us in the creation of a newly designed full campus schedule. According to the feedback we’ve received, it is indeed impossible to use our current model as the basis for a sustainable schedule and workload and we look forward to the genesis of a more inventive and collaborative model upon which we can build the future of UNCSA.

May your break be filled with friendship, joy and rest. We look forward to your partnership as we work together to move us closer to a more sustainable future.

With much appreciation,

Brian Cole, Chancellor

Patrick J. Sims, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Dec. 13, 2023