Student-to-faculty ratio lower than national average

Tamonda GriffithsNews Writer

During his annual Town Hall, President Joe Bertolino said the university’s student-to-faculty ratio was 14 to 1, the national average is 18 to 1, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Director of Institutional Research Chul Lee said the ratio, “surprised” him. The university’s ratio, Lee said, is an overall average of the undergraduate courses. The ratio is discerned through a federal survey, and, he said the data that was found relates to whether the university could receive funding for financial aid or accreditation.

The federal survey, Lee said, is not the only survey the university participates in.

The commercial surveys the university is involved in, Lee said, sometimes exclude variables that the federal survey considers for ratios, such as science laboratory classes or music one-on-one practicum courses.

The ratio, Lee said, is found by first “transforming” part-time students into full-time students by multiplying one-third to the number of part-time students and adding that amount to the original number of full-time students.

English professor Michael Shea said, at the president’s Town Hall, in a ratio of 1 faculty member to 40 students, some students may receive less attention, than in a smaller classroom of 1 faculty member to 15 students.

If a student is in an introductory 100 or 200-level course, Shea said usually a student requires “better teaching” or more one-on-one teacher attention to learn basic math and English skills.

From Bertolino’s perspective, he said the ratio is not “the be-all-end-all” for determining if a student does well during their collegiate career.

In his leadership course, Bertolino said he has 40 students and prefers a larger class because of the excitement and interactive nature he employs when he teaches.

Director of First-Year Experience Nicole Henderson said it is beneficial to have a more one-on-one teaching or learning experience than not.

“Most of the classes that [students are] taking their first semester are not large,” said Henderson.

In a student’s first semester, Henderson said FYE tries not to put a lecture course on their schedule.

The INQ class, Henderson said, usually has between 20 and 22 students, which is paired with a critical thinking course. She said the class size for those two classes, in her opinion, is “non-negotiable.”

“We’re mostly working with students in the first semester,” said Henderson. “There’s much more [that is] needed to be done in the second semester.”

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