The Kent Campus is Using its Classrooms Moderately Well

POSTED: Sep. 18, 2017

Although the university is scheduling the Kent Campus classrooms moderately well, the master plan seeks to further increase the efficiency of how we use our classrooms.  The master plan sets the following utilization goals for classrooms:

  • Assignable Square Feet (ASF) per Station (the amount of space each student has): The Kent Campus on average provides 21 ASF per Station. To achieve goals for more active learning and more flexibility, the campus average should increase to 24 ASF per Station.

  • Student Station Occupancy (number of seats actually filled): The Kent Campus now fills only 57% of seats during scheduled courses. To more efficiently use these classrooms, the goal is 65% seat fill, which means appropriately scheduling courses into the right-sized classrooms.

  • Weekly Room Hours (how much of the week a credit-bearing class is using the room): The Kent Campus now schedules it classrooms on average for 28 hours/week.Many states expect that existing classrooms be scheduled for 35 or more hours/week before new classrooms are considered.However, the Kent Campus has a culture that results in less efficient use of classrooms, so the utilization goal is only an incremental increase to 30 Weekly Room Hours.

    • Promise to students - conflict-free scheduling (courses provided when students need them)

    • Promise to students and faculty - pavilion scheduling approach (faculty teach only in building or adjacent building from their office location)

The State of Ohio does not yet have classroom utilization goals.  These goals were derived from other state’s guidelines and the experience of the master planning team.


Classroom utilization varies by classroom size, resulting in different implications for the future.


Smallest Classrooms (25 or fewer seats)

The classrooms with 25 or fewer seats, which is nearly ¼ of all Kent Campus classrooms, are scheduled for courses well below the Weekly Room Hours utilization target.  Some of these classrooms can be taken offline, and repurposed for other uses, such as conference rooms.  Adjacent small classrooms may be consolidated into a larger classroom.

Classroom utilization table (smallest) 25 or fewer seats

Middle Size Classrooms (46-150 seats)

The classrooms with 46-150 seats are now scheduled above the Weekly Room Hours utilization target.  Since many of these courses are filling half or less than half of the seats, these courses could be “right-sized” into lower-seat count classrooms.   Additionally, the campus should provide additional middle size classrooms.

Classroom Utilization - Middle Size (46-150 seats) Table

Largest Classrooms (More than 250 seats)

The four largest lecture halls are now scheduled well above the Weekly Room Hours utilization target.  The need for large lecture halls is driving the Kent Campus to creatively use it other spaces.  The School of Fashion, for example, is using the Stump Theater, but that is negatively impacting the performing arts use of that performance space.  KSU does not intend to teach more large lecture courses as student enrollment grows, but one additional lecture auditorium is needed to meet current academic needs.

Classroom Utilization - Largest Size (more than 250 seats) Table

The classroom workhorse buildings are Bowman Hall, White Hall, and Business Administration.  On average, courses in these building are above the Weekly Room Hours utilization goals.  Taken together, these three buildings contain over ¼ of all classrooms.

Classroom Utilization by Building Map

Is your experience in scheduling classrooms similar to the average experience – it’s hard to find sufficient middle-size classrooms and large lecture halls?

Would you have interpreted the classroom utilization analysis differently?


"Tracy Gidden: It is difficult"

Tracy Gidden: It is difficult to find middle size classrooms and large lecture halls. As our numbers increase we are finding it difficult to be able to stay in our own building due in part to room size. Also, it is difficult to ask students to attend classes outside our building that are not equipped with the same level of technology as our building. We have spent significant funds to increase our level of technology in our classrooms and then aren't even allowed to use them.

"Edward Herzog: It is"

Edward Herzog: It is difficult to schedule rooms in or near the College of Nursing. Our clinicals require students to have lecture classes on just one or two days a week, and classes of that type are especially difficult to schedule. Rooms for 80-100 students are particularly hard to come by. It is impossible to find rooms in our own building (Henderson hall) for one-off uses such as meetings, or for episodic classes as sometimes occur in hybrid courses. (Continued ...)

"(Continued ... ) For example"

(Continued ... ) For example we have simulation classes that occur once or twice a semester and are outside of regular class times, and we do not have enough midsize space available for that purpose. Sometimes there are rooms in our building that we could use except that they are being used by non-nursing classes instead, while nursing classes are instead placed in buildings that can be far away. This results in classes from two different majors being away from their home buildings, when only one need be. Placing classes in home buildings needs to be more of a priority in the algorithms used for scheduling. Many rooms across campus are not well designed for lecture, eg have lighting that cannot be dimmed near the screen but require dimming the entire room instead, do not have open electrical outlets at the lectern, etc.