Faculty debate the 2200 plan:
How big can we grow?
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Torch Note: The University hopes to attract 2200 students next year, about 600 more than came to school this year. That goal inspired the following e-mail exchange among faculty.
From: Gary Pierson
Friday, October 28, 2005 12:59 PM
At Senate yesterday we were told to expect 2200 students in the fall. I hope that we are making plans to accommodate those students. We currently run a ration of less than 20 (full time) student(s) per (full time) faculty. This is a reasonable number for an institution that boasts of easy student access to instructors. If we expect 600 more students, we should be looking for 30 more full-time faculty. The cycle for hiring faculty is such that we should be advertising those positions now.
The question arises as to where these positions should be. To get 2200 students it seems likely that we will need more than 1000 new freshmen. This means at least 40 MTH sections and 50 ENG sections. These sections cannot all be covered by the existing MTH and ENG faculty. I doubt that sufficient adjuncts can be found. Many other areas are chronically short of faculty as well, leading to large overloads or use of adjuncts. We must recognize that an increase in student numbers requires an increase in faculty numbers. The practice of assuming that the existing faculty can teach an increasing number of students cannot continue.
From: Jeffrey Crawford
Friday, October 28, 2005 3:51 PM
We need to plan on staffing as if our plans will come to fruition. And we need to talk with each other about these things. So, here is some talk.
In Humanities we have 22 sections of ENG 0950, 1100, and 1101 total and 15 sections of HIS 1110, 1121 and 1121 total. This was to serve 1600 students and 350 first time students. If we were to have 1,000 freshmen, we would need more than 50 ENG sections. Currently we have 6 FTE faculty positions. I suggest that we would need more than 30 sections of HIS. We currently have 2 FTE faculty positions.
Today I submitted a staffing request that would move us to 18 FTE positions in the department total, with 8 in English and 3 in History. We had 14.5 FTE positions in the fall of 2002 and we now have 12.5. But to serve 1000 incoming students, 18 FTE positions in the department would still need to be supplemented by approximately the same number of adjuncts we currently employ, which for fall 2005 is twenty two.
At the point that we have 18+ FTE faculty positions and in the range of 20 adjuncts, the workload for a chair and a single secretary probably becomes unmanageable.
Plan, Plan, Plan. Lets do it. As for advertising new Faculty positions, lets go high and include a proviso that the position is contingent upon funding. Lets do it. Lets do some planning.
From: Subramania Sritharan
Friday, October 28, 2005 5:58 PM
All new students must be served by all (service ) departments. How real is the goal of 2,200? Could we prepare contingency plans for the following scenarios: 1,620 (no net loss), 1,800, 2,000, 2,200 ?
What is the fraction of freshman out of these? Enrollment management should give us some basic projections.
From: Joe Ross
Saturday, October 29, 2005 10:52 AM
Related to the FTE issue is an implied practical matter space. If the 2200 student enrollment is realized and the number of students taking general chemistry increases beyond sixty, we will have a problem with space for offering the associated and required labs. Currently general chemistry labs are held in McLin 127. For safety reasons and/or space requirements, a maximum of 15 (This actually too many. Twelve would be more reasonable.) students are allowed per section, i.e., four sections. An increase to 2200 would generate a projected 30 to 40 additional students in the labs. This would require another 2 to 3 sections. We cannot accommodate this number of sections.
From: Robert Marcus
Sunday, October 30, 2005 1:21 PM
The critique of the proposed target enrollment is well taken. ... However, it is not too late pursue this goal properly. Dont forget that a goal of 2200 students in no way means that we will get 2200 students. Any goal requires strategic analysis and planning to keep things in proper focus. .. Student enrollment planning should not be reduced to email discussions, or committee-as-a-whole discussion in a Senate meeting. All components of student enrollment: faculty, students, classes, staff, dorms, academic buildings, etc. should be analyzed.
From: Joe Ross
Monday, October 31, 2005 10:20 AM
Clearly in this case we must base our projections on a worst case model, i.e., 2200 students. Question: Does anyone believe that if the enrollment swells to 2300, 2400, etc. that the extra 100, 200, etc students will be turned away? At some point we are going to have to face reality!
From: Krishna Kumar Nedunuri
Monday, October 31, 2005 10:30 AM
Every department should come up with their own projections based on historical records and the overall university goal.
Then we will start planning for contingencies.
From: Sam Laki
Monday, October 31, 2005 12:21 PM
I agree that that to realize the projected goal of 2200 students, academic affairs, enrolment management and admissions will have to make a concerted effort to achieve this worthy goal but I would think that before we worry ourselves to death, we would like to learn more from the administration
Decision makers are hired because they are good at what they do so l do not believe that they could have pulled out the figure of 2200 students for next academic year out of thin air without taking into consideration what it would take to sustain 2200 students so guys take it easy for now until we get more detail. As to whether this goal is achievable or not is beside the point at this point in time.
It seems to me that it would be a lot easier for us to contribute when we know the stage the plan is and what went into it, least we end up worrying about issues that have already been addressed by the plan. In short, what I am saying is that we need a little more detail from the administration before we can proceed. Be prepared to help when the time comes. Keep the discussion alive.
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