Each fall in my department, we get "the list." Basically, the list puts down the whole array of courses the department expects to offer in the coming year, and asks us to choose our top choices in each of several categories.
There are the central courses, the ones that every major has to take.
And there are lower-division courses.
And there are upper-division courses.
And then there's composition courses. We have several composition courses; the form asks us which we would "enjoy" teaching. So I left that blank. I don't "enjoy" composition courses. I do them, and I try to do good work on them, because that's part of the job. But "enjoy"? Nope.
I've come to accept the fact that I'm lousy at cutting the special deals some people around here manage. Usually the special deals have to do with not having to teach composition. I have one colleague who plans never to teach composition; I don't know if that will work in the long term, but that's the plan (it worked for this year). I have another colleague who's negotiated her way out of composition for two years for taking on a position that had included a course release, but not composition.
But I've never been good at negotiating these sorts of deals.
The list is good, though, because it does give us some sense of agency, even though most of the agency comes through hiring. So, for the lower division classes, I typically put Shakespeare, and an early modern class, and then poetry or drama. Another Shakespeare person might put women's lit rather than the early modern class, or whatever. But there are three people who pretty much put Shakespeare at the top of their list. It only gets weird when someone decides that they really want to teach a course outside the area they were hired for. So, if I decided that I really wanted to teach the American Ethnic lit courses, that would be weird. And thus, the three people who will put Shakespeare first. (Some courses are assigned by area committees, because there's no need to put linguistics courses on the list for everyone when we have few linguists, and they can figure those out between them.)
In a couple of weeks, the schedule committee will get together, and figure out who's going to teach what. It's usually a pretty good system, though there are times I've found it frustrating. (I didn't have a Shakespeare class for three semesters in a row, which made me extra cranky.)
Then, once they've done that, we get a piece of paper with our course assignments on it, and get to fill in a "here's the schedule I want" thing. You get to choose preferred days/times for each of the courses, and preferred room configurations for some (do you want a computer lab? individual chair/desks? shared tables? a circle or rows?).
I really love this aspect of how we assign schedules. The committee spends pretty much all day going through and figuring out who wants what, when, and works through so that there's a spread of times and days for different courses. The idea is that we don't teach a bunch of senior seminars all at the same time, so seniors can take several if they need to. And we don't schedule all the intro creative writing courses at the same day/time, so the student who has a Tuesday/Thursday job schedule can find a section that works. And the committee assigns our priority classrooms, so we keep them occupied from the start of the day until afternoon. It's like a massive, multi-dimensional puzzle (people, courses, times, rooms, requirements), and yet after a whole day of work, the committee mostly manages to give us schedules that are pretty close to what we ask for.
(The committee also schedules IAS folks with their choices, to the extent it can, and tries to give humane schedules to the new hires we hope to make.)
All in all, it's a really good system, WAY better than systems where one person decides, based on what's been done for the past 20 years or on their own preconceptions.