I feel your pain, too. I think this is a big challenge for all of us. Years ago, I had a computer science professor offer to have his programming students, as a class project, write me a program that would take in all the necessary information (course coverage, demand, max hours a tutor can work, max consecutive hours before they have to take a break, tutor seniority, and tutor schedule preferences), and spit out the optimum work schedule. They couldn’t get it to work, so… back to pencil and paper.
I have them fill out grids with a cell for every hour the center is open like tic tac toe: X means you cannot work that hour, O means you want to work that hour, and blank means you could work it if you had to, but I tried to accommodate their preferences first. One of the challenges I found is that tutors would try to force me to give them the EXACT work schedule they wanted, by claiming they were absolutely unavailable at any time other than the precise hours they wanted. It became quite impossible to accommodate everybody’s requests. So I made a new rule that they had to provide me with a number of available hours equal to 150% of the hours they wanted to work. So if you want ten hours a week, you have to give me at least 15 hours to choose from. That helped a lot.
Michele Costabile Doney, M.S.Ed.
Director, Student Academic Consulting Center & Immersion Programs
Secretary, Association for the Tutoring Profession
NCLCA Learning Center Leadership Certification Level Three
Baruch College, CUNY
55 Lexington Avenue, Box B2-116
New York, NY 10010
I hesitate to admit this, but scheduling tutors is one of my greatest challenges with my job. I coordinate between 15 and 20 student employees, and each semester this is a headache for me. Our center does drop-in tutoring, so I set a schedule at the beginning of the semester and it (mostly) remains the same throughout. I spend hours trying to accommodate tutors’ class and job schedules, give them the number of hours they want, maintain sufficient coverage for each subject, and hire to fill gaps. I need to start creating the schedule for next semester, so I’m looking for suggestions before I dive in.
Does anyone else feel this way about scheduling?
What do you do to make it go smoothly?
Do you use a software or online program to manage/optimize scheduling? (I’ve been using Excel)
As always, thanks for your suggestions!
Academic Support Advisor
Iowa Western Community College
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