Increased class sizes will likely affect how courses are taught

Vacant faculty positions and a larger incoming class may change the way that some professors teach.The layoffs of 16 staff members and the vacancies left in 22 tenure-track faculty positions are part of the plan to cut the budget by $10.8 million.The vacancies, coupled with 300 more new students than usual, will lead to a higher student-faculty ratio next year. “The move from a student-faculty ratio of 15.2 to 1 to about 16 to one would have produced a five percent increase in class size across the board.” UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel said in an e-mail sent out to the campus on Feb 17.”I transferred from a really tiny school – when I first came here, I thought that my classes were huge, and to think that they might get bigger is disappointing. I feel that UVM is obligated to increase their resources such as TAs, Tutors, and SIs,” UVM sophomore Rachel Meyer said.”We’re under a great deal of pressure when they talk about not renewing some of our lecturers, and half of the faculty in the English department are lecturers who are on contracts that range from one semester to three years,” English Professor Nancy Welch said.Those lecturers, whose contracts expire this year, are most vulnerable, regardless of seniority or importance to the department, she said.”I think that the biggest change that students are going to see next year are in disciplines like history and political science, and philosophy, which had always had lots of class discussion, lot’s of papers, lots of presentations and projects,” Welch said, “and as those course caps go from being 40 to 70, and 70 to 150, those faculty members aren’t going to be able to continue to assign writing, assign presentations, and projects and so forth.””We can teach bigger and bigger classes, we can try to figure out how to do that, but it’s not going to be the same, you’re not going to get the contact with the professors,” Welch said. “You’re also not going to get those folks who have expertise in particular areas that make an English major or a philosophy major, or a political science major here really something you wouldn’t get someplace else.” According to lecturer Linden Higgins, restructuring the biology dept has been one consideration to deal with the new students.One measure is to split Biology 1 and 2 into two classes for each level.For the lab coordinator Nathaniel Merrill, this means having an additional lab room as well as more TAs to manage.”At this point we’re talking about having another whole classroom full of another 20 student lab which means a lot more equipment,” Merrill said. “So we need to think about where that equipment is coming from and how we’re going to manage storing that equipment.”