All Posts Tagged With: "small classes"
Large classes have the benefit of having so many students that at least a few are bound to show up.
I like small classes in general — I get to know the students by name and we can have real conversations about course material. But these days — partly because of declining enrollment in the program I teach in and partly because I have a reputation for being a tough marker — some of my classes are too small.
That fact was driven home to me today. The weather has been bad but not quite bad enough to close the university. So I came in and dutifully tromped off to my classroom. And nobody showed up.
Actually, it was worse than that. One person showed up. If no one had been there, I could have left without thinking too much more about it. Nobody there means nobody to teach. But with one person, I had a dilemma. Cancel the class and I feel bad for this one woman who made the effort to be there. Teach the class and it’s just plain weird. So we talked it over and she seemed like she would not feel too hard done by if it was cancelled, so we left.
Moments ago, another student showed up at my office wondering what happened to class — turns out she was just really late.
I have to get some more students.
Cites “financial constraint,” need to “deploy our teaching resources effectively”
Citing the economic downturn, the administration at the University of Waterloo is discouraging professors from teaching classes of 10 or fewer students:
A memo from provost Amit Chakma this week tells faculty members that UW is taking steps to discourage small classes — those with fewer than 10 students — at the undergraduate level.
Says the provost: “As always, but particularly in these times of financial constraint, it is important that we deploy our teaching resources efficiently and effectively. At the University of Waterloo, approximately 10 per cent of the undergraduate courses taught in any academic year have 10 or fewer students. While there may be unusual circumstances where small classes are unavoidable, it should not be a regular occurrence in an undergraduate program.
“To that end, on February 4, 2009 Deans’ Council endorsed the following: ‘Beginning fall 2009, undergraduate courses of 10 or fewer students will not be counted in the teaching load of any faculty member.’
“It is understood that there may be a short transition period where some small classes are offered while adjustments to programs, curricula and practices are implemented. However, the objective is that by the end of 2009 those adjustments will be made, and in 2010 and beyond offering undergraduate courses with 10 or fewer students will be unusual.”