Prof. studies growth potential

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February 26, 2010

3:39 AM

The College of William and Mary Faculty Assembly has initiated a study to determine how an increase in the size of the student body would affect the overall student experience at the school. The study is in response to a Faculty Assembly proposal to increase incoming classes by 50 students to make up for budget shortfalls.

Physics professor and former Faculty Affairs Committee member William Cooke ’72 recently started a database to track class sizes and records, using information from Banner.

“I hope the data will show that the College holds true to its core value of being a small school where faculty and students are able to interact easily, and that it provides a more personal experience,” Cooke said.

He added that once the data is analyzed, the Faculty Assembly would advise the Board of Visitors and administration to push the College toward these goals.

The Office of the Registrar will also supply data to the study, in association with the Faculty Assembly and the Committee on Planning and Resources. The database is currently comprised of data from the fall 2009 semester. Data from all semesters since 2004 will be added.

Faculty Affairs Committee Chairperson and Faculty Assembly President Gene Tracy said student-faculty interaction will be a key variable to track as data is presented.

“Are students having mostly large classes without much direct faculty contact, or are they receiving more direct one-on-one contact?” he said.

Tracy said he plans to initiate similar databases in the future regarding College revenue and expenditures, although specifics are still being worked out.

“The intent is to make this an ongoing activity that is updated every year,” he said.

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