UConn adds faculty to balance ratio, students have mixed feelings
Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 20:10
After one of the biggest freshmen classes joined UConn this semester, the university is also increasing its faculty in numerous departments as an effort to shrink the student-to-faculty ratio over the next few years.
In December 2011, UConn’s Board of Trustees approved a four-year plan to begin tuition increases in September 2012 for the hiring plan. For 2012- 2013, tuition went up 5.5 percent starting with fall 2012 tuition bills and, as of this semester, it has now gone up to 6.25 percent. In 2014-2015, tuition will slightly increase by 6.5 percent and, in the last year, tuition will rise by 6.75 percent in 2015-2016.
Stephanie Reitz, a University spokesperson, said, “From the beginning, UConn has said the faculty hiring plan would help decrease the student-to-faculty ratio, increase the University’s research capabilities, and build on important academic areas.”
“We’re seeing that come to fruition with these new hiring numbers – our ratios are dropping and we’ve recruited several prominent and nationally known scholars,” Reitz said.
As much benefit as these new additions may bring to UConn, students have some mixed views about it.
Alex Grant, a first semester math major, said she likes “that it’s going to lower the student to teacher ratio, but I don’t like the fact that tuition is going to increase,” and she feels as if she “already [pays] enough to go here.”
“I mean,” Grant said, “the student to teacher ratio will only go down from 17.3, to 15 by 2015, which doesn’t seem that drastic of a drop. But then again, that means students have more opportunity for a one on one conversation with their teachers, so if you like meeting with your teachers, it could work to your benefit.”
Grant said it really all depends on how a student handles his or her academics. “I learn better in a smaller setting because I feel less it intimidated to ask questions,” Grant said, “so for me I think it would pay off.”
Shlomi Davidi, a third semester student in the ACES program applying to be in the business school, said he thinks it depends on how you look at it. “On one hand, more faculty is advantageous because more classes will be put in place then UConn will have a better reputation.”
However, Davidi said some students prefer smaller classes because they feel they have more time to ask questions and get more attention from the teacher or they simply just might be used to smaller classes.
“Schools change their curriculum/faculty on a regular basis,” Davidi said, “every school does. However, I think it’ll be worth it in the long run as there will be countless new majors offered and more flexible schedules as well.”
In fall 2011, the year before the plan began, enrollment was 22, 472 including 17, 815 at the Storrs campus. In fall 2012, enrollment increased to 22,301 with 17,528 at Storrs. As of Sept. 10 this semester, fall 2013, there are 22,595 enrolled at UConn including 18,032 at Storrs.