U. hires additional faculty to meet large Class of 2016
No new professorial faculty were hired because the University had already completed its faculty hiring process for the year by the time it learned the freshman class would be larger than usual.
Nevertheless, University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua said the University did hire more lecturers and teaching assistants to keep class sizes down in precepts, seminars and beginning language classes.
Mbugua added that some large lecture courses grew in size, but the increase in Assistants in Instruction have kept precept sizes consistent. He could not say how much the hiring of the additional lecturers and teaching assistants cost.
Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin did not respond to repeated requests to be interviewed. A representative of Dobkin said he and his associates did not have time in their schedules to speak.
Mbugua said the adjustments made this year have gone according to plan.
“We have heard no faculty concerns about increased workload,” Mbugua said. “We feel that there was sufficient notice to enable the University to make the necessary adjustments.”
The freshman Writing Seminar program is offering four more sections this year than it offered last year, though it had initially planned to offer five additional sections. Writing Program director Amanda Irwin Wilkins said the unexpectedly large size of the Class of 2016 did not pose any logistical issues, since the program’s annual hiring process was still going on when the size of the class was publicized.
“We just took the additional sections needed into account as we were finalizing our hires and the teaching load for our faculty,” Irwin Wilkins said.
Just as in past years, the writing seminar sections are capped at 12 students. Irwin Wilkins said maintaining the small class size was a priority for the program.
If anything, Irwin Wilkins said the hiring of the additional instructors has benefited the program.
“People just had a few more topics to choose from when they were making their decision of which course they were choosing in the fall,” Irwin Wilkins said.
The Freshman Seminar program also expanded this year, not in response to the larger class, but rather due to what Deputy Dean of the College Clayton Marsh ‘85 called “a serendipitous increase in capacity.”
Marsh said that this year the program actually grew at a faster pace than the Class of 2016 did, adding 11 new seminars with a capacity of 15 students each.
As a result, participation in the Freshman Seminar program is higher than it has ever been. This fall, 600 freshmen enrolled in freshman seminars, and in total Marsh said he expects more than 1,000 students to take a freshman seminar this year, a record number for the growing program.
In the coming years, the Office of Admission will cap incoming classes at roughly 1,290 students to offset the larger size of the Class of 2016.