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Minimum class size

Started by hester, July 11, 2024, 11:10:49 AM

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hester

Hello All,

  In CC settings, what is the minimum class size you see courses run with?

 I see dept chairs needing 6+ to run.

 At least for higher level courses students need.

Thanks

Parasaurolophus

We got upgraded from the Canadian equivalent of a CC to a university nearly twenty years ago, although TBH we're nowhere close to a real university.

Anyway: our classes start getting cancelled when enrollment dips below 27. The break-even point is around 13 (depending on how many domestic/international students are in the mix). All classes are capped at 35, room capacity is usually around 30.
I know it's a genus.

lightning

Quote from: Parasaurolophus on July 11, 2024, 12:39:11 PMWe got upgraded from the Canadian equivalent of a CC to a university nearly twenty years ago, although TBH we're nowhere close to a real university.

Anyway: our classes start getting cancelled when enrollment dips below 27. The break-even point is around 13 (depending on how many domestic/international students are in the mix). All classes are capped at 35, room capacity is usually around 30.

A range of 27–35 is a narrow window, requiring extra overhead for enrollment management. Your administrators like to waste time.

onthefringe

Speaking of narrow windows, we are not a CC but we were recently told our new minimum was 18 and for rankings it would be great to have more classes under 20 (In reality, many classes with enrollments of 4-8 run regularly if they are needed for a specific program, and our biggest lecture hall seats almost 900).

AmLitHist

Our "make" number for our classes that cap at 25 is 15; that 60% is the general rule. Often (at least in my English dept.) as long as a FT faculty member has 3 full classes, another class will be allowed to make so long as it has 10+; often the chair can get sections with only 8-9 to be allowed to run in similar situations.  We also can get the option to teach using the "low enrollment formula" for classes with fewer than 15 students, though that isn't invoked often--maybe in a situation where there are a couple of low enrollment sections in a full-timer's load. For someone at Associate level, like me, the LEF calculation = normal load pay at a little over 10 students.

Parasaurolophus

#5
Quote from: lightning on July 11, 2024, 03:01:49 PM
Quote from: Parasaurolophus on July 11, 2024, 12:39:11 PMWe got upgraded from the Canadian equivalent of a CC to a university nearly twenty years ago, although TBH we're nowhere close to a real university.

Anyway: our classes start getting cancelled when enrollment dips below 27. The break-even point is around 13 (depending on how many domestic/international students are in the mix). All classes are capped at 35, room capacity is usually around 30.

A range of 27–35 is a narrow window, requiring extra overhead for enrollment management. Your administrators like to waste time.

Yes, but the real reason is that we have no tenure system, are paid per course, and have no courseload guarantees (the closest we come is "priority" loading, but even then you could be first in line and get zero courses, depending on how they enroll--and you'd only find out after add/drop). So the more courses that get cancelled, especially just before add/drop, the less they have to pay us, and the slower it is for us to progress up the salary scale.

I was talking to HR about how to report "professional development" activities recently (it's a deeply flawed system because it bears no relation to the kind of work academics do, but that's another conversation). I was confused, because we were recently advised that (1) we have to fill out a form declaring when we're taking "vacation", and (2) PD has to be done in two specific two-week periods between semesters (but if you teach a full load you owe eight weeks of PD...). As you can imagine, that's weird and nonsensical. (1) isn't possible because we don't know our schedules ahead of time, and (2) is impossible because time doesn't work that way, and because the only times I can declare for (1) are those two two-week periods between semesters.

Anyway, the rep was horrified to learn that I had worked every semester (fall, winter, spring, summer) for the last five years, save one year when I had the spring and summer off. That, she said, was not how it's supposed to work; we're supposed to get time off, which we declare as "vacation". I then pointed out that because our course loads aren't guaranteed, and because they get cancelled so easily, if we want to earn our "salaries" then we inevitably have to pick up dropped courses in the spring and summer--so the university might not require us to work all four semesters, but the rent does. I don't know anyone who can afford to only get paid for four or five courses. Not only that, but my case isn't unusual, it's true of everybody. In other words, it's not an accident, the system is designed that way.

She was flabbergasted. Which, you know, tells you something about the admin here.

I know it's a genus.

Parasaurolophus

Quote from: onthefringe on July 11, 2024, 05:57:50 PMSpeaking of narrow windows, we are not a CC but we were recently told our new minimum was 18 and for rankings it would be great to have more classes under 20

Ooof.
I know it's a genus.