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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

The 4:25-7:30pm Free-Time Zone

Faculty legislation defines the “free-time zone” to be Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 4:25pm and 7:30pm, Fridays after 4:25pm, Saturdays after 12:05pm, and all day Sunday. The idea is to create a dependable space for relaxation and outside-of-class activities.

Any course numbered 4999 or lower is an “undergraduate-level” course even if it is cross-listed with a course numbered 5000 or higher. All other courses are “graduate-level” courses. Graduate-level courses are allowed to meet during the free-time zone. Undergraduate-level courses are generally not allowed to meet during the free-time zone. Notable exceptions are certain studio and performance courses that are essential to the offering unit’s academic program.

It is important that the intent of the free-time-zone policy be respected during the process of course scheduling. For that reason, the scope of teaching in the free-time zone will be reviewed annually by the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Dean of Faculty, and the University Registrar.

There are situations associated with undergraduate-level courses when use of the free-time zone (FTZ) is permitted without explicit approval:

  1. A visiting speaker cannot visit during the normal meeting time for the class. It is OK to use the FTZ but attendance must be optional.
  2. The class meeting time is too short to handle effectively a particular portion of the syllabus. It is OK to use the FTZ for the required teaching but the students concerned must agree with the scheduling.
  3. It is OK to schedule a review session in the FTZ provided an alternate review session is offered outside of the FTZ.
  4. It is OK to use the FTZ for make-up, alternate, and extra-time exams provided similar test-taking opportunities are offered outside of the FTZ.
  5. It is OK to hold office hours during the FTZ provided alternate office hours are offered outside of the FTZ.
  6. It is OK to use the FTZ for make-up classes that are necessitated by a snow day or other campus-wide emergency closure provided everyone agrees with the scheduling.

Questions and ambiguous situations relating to this list should be relayed to the Dean of Faculty.

Last Updated: May 31, 2019 at 6:51 am