Thursday, August 28, 2008

UWO Continues to Grow. Is This a Good Thing?

UWO issued a report yesterday about the continuing student growth of UWO.   It made the Northwestern this morning and more details can be found in the university's press release.

The report emphasizes that we have grown by almost 1000 students since 2000.   They also note that the incoming class is slightly stronger academically than it was last year.

My first reaction in these reports is the missing information about increasing the number of faculty to support this growth.  There were multiple positions as part of the growth agenda, but the basic number of teachers remains stagnant.  Many tenure-track lines are still filled with staff people, undermining the basic principles of quality college education.

It is good PR to emphasize the growing number of students.  The quality of their experience remains in doubt as classes overflow and we do not talk seriously about reducing our faculty to student ratio.

2 comments:

Al Hartman, Provost said...

Pleased to see that regional media are interested in the growth of UW Oshkosh and also pleased to also note that you, too, are interested. What was missing from the Northwestern’s article (http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008808280390) — but mentioned in today’s editorial (http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008308290008) — is reference to the University’s strategic plan to recruit and retain the additional faculty.

The news release (http://www.uwosh.edu/news/?p=1146) and earlier announcements address faculty growth in addition to the student growth at UW Oshkosh: Wisconsin’s Growth Agenda compensates for the projected enrollment growth by adding 27 new faculty positions by 2009. This next year, we expect to recruit more than 40 new faculty members as replacements for retirees and those who have left for positions at other institutions (some for higher-paying jobs) as well as new positions granted by the Growth Agenda.

The Governor and the Wisconsin Legislature have recognized that in order to maintain the quality and accessibility of education at UW Oshkosh, funds also need to be allocated for faculty as well as facilities.

In a state that is facing serious budget lapses, UW Oshkosh is very fortunate to be reaping the benefits of the Growth Agenda in the form of new faculty positions and construction projects, including the new 175,000-square-foot academic center with state-of-the-art classrooms and computer labs.

Lake Winneblogo said...

I guess the administration looks at the blog!

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but the number of tenure-track faculty has been declining for years and there is no sign of making much of that up--new positions are dependent on more students, not on reducing the faculty/student ratio.