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Shapiro may pursue additional increase in size of faculty

Faculty size may need to grow faster than the Wythes committee has proposed in order to prevent the student body increase from adversely affecting the quality of education at the University, President Shapiro said in interviews yesterday and Wednesday.

Since the Wythes committee released its report Jan. 31, some students and members of the faculty have voiced concern as to whether the University's existing plans for faculty growth would be adequate to support the larger student body.

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Shapiro, who is a member of the Wythes committee, said significant faculty growth is already needed in many of the University's academic departments. A larger student body — as proposed in the committee's report — could support additional faculty growth, Shapiro said.

"We want to increase faculty in large departments. We want to expand the faculty at least 10 percent, maybe more," Shapiro said. "We do not want to change the student-faculty ratio."

The administration is also considering locations for a proposed residential college, according to Shapiro. The University will evaluate locations with the goal of minimizing the loss of free space. "[The location of the new residential college] is an open issue. We have architects on campus. They will be meeting with students and faculty. We should have a proposal in April," he said.

Shapiro also said he believes some non-residential construction will be required, though the Wythes report states that "except for new dormitory space to accommodate the proposed addition of 500 undergraduates and the construction of a sixth residential college, no other facilities need to be added."

"We will have to consider the need [for new facilities] over time," he said. "We're obviously going to need more of some facilities, such as playing fields and music rooms."

Shapiro noted that the Wythes proposal will increase University diversity. "[Increasing diversity] is one of our goals. It is important regardless of the student increase," he said. "We want to increase student and faculty diversity."

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The recommendation of the Wythes committee to increase the size of the student body is not the first time the University has considered such an increase. Shapiro said a proposal — which he did not support — was made in the early 1990s to increase the size of the student body by nearly twice the amount proposed by the Wythes committee.

In a 1993 strategic planning document he authored, Shapiro said he believed the University should maintain its size to preserve what he called "a 'human' scale."

Shapiro said an increase in the size of the student body is more practical now because the University has additional resources in place or under construction — such as the Frist Campus Center — that were not available in the early '90s.

Shapiro will be meeting tonight with the executive committee of the Alumni Council and Paul Wythes '55 to discuss the Wythes Committee Report.

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Shapiro added that the details of the Wythes committee's proposals have not yet been finalized. "The board of trustees is open to consider [the Wythes proposal] in April," he said. "There is no crisis if they aren't yet comfortable enough [to vote on] the proposal."

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