Enrollment, classes per faculty increase

Chelsey Fisher

With the university’s growing population of students, many have noticed a growth in number of students per classes.

Appalachian has 17,589 total students, including 3,028 first-time freshmen. This averages to a 17 to one students to faculty ratio, according to the Fact Book from the office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment.

The average class size is 26.

Provost Lori Gonzalez said they have plans to keep the freshman class at about 3000.

“Growth will come through transfer students with an emphasis on those who
have completed the 44 credit general education core,” Gonzalez said.

Keeping freshmen steady allows them to grow in graduate programs. Gonzalez said the dean of the graduate school has been charged to work with the Graduate Council to develop a plan to grow enrollment by 15 percent by 2020.

But as for faculty, they are teaching more.

“Because of the budget cuts coupled with enrollment growth last year, faculty members taught more students than before and a number of classes were larger than usual,” Gonzalez said.

English professor Elaine O’Quinn said it hasn’t affected her department.

“Because we do research in our department, most professors have a 3-course load and then 3 hours for research, but that may not be the case in all departments,” O’Quinn said.

Accounting professor Ken Brackney said he hasn’t see much of a change in his department either.

“It may be that some faculty have experienced an increase, perhaps subtle, in their teaching loads in the last few years,” Brackney said. “I am not aware of that for myself, or for any of my colleagues in the Department of Accounting.”

Gonzalez said that while they have budget cuts, they still will add more faculty if needed.

“We will add faculty lines to those programs with greatest need if the lines are available,” Gonzales said. “By controlling enrollment and replacing lines when possible, we hope to limit large enrollment classes when appropriate.”

Story: ANDREW CLAUSEN, News Reporter