Editorial: Increased course caps breaks promise, inhibits student success

When students come to Baldwin Wallace, they expect small class sizes as promised by the school website: “our 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio means professors know you by name and face.” By increasing course capacity in multiple classes, BW would be breaking this promise and the students as well as faculty would suffer.

At many large universities, lecture style classes are filled to the brim with students; however, at BW, this is not an expectation because the school takes pride in the fact that class sizes are to remain smaller, no matter the teaching style.

There are many benefits to having a smaller course capacity, especially in writing extension classes. These benefits include, but are not limited to, individual help from professors, detailed feedback of assignments and basic human connection.

By expanding course capacity from 15 to 20 students, professors will have less time to give individual feedback to each student, which in turn, negatively impacts the student.

The reason behind this new policy is the decrease of incoming college students. Increasing course capacity would benefit the school because when students are not able to speak to their professors, they must rely on each other and even themselves. This policy would create an extremely self-reliant student body.

Although self-reliance is an important skill to learn, there are other ways of teaching this lesson without forcing students into something they are not prepared for. Moreover, college already teaches students how to be self-reliant, so increasing course capacity could be detrimental to a student’s grade if he or she is not privy to said teaching style.

A larger class can potentially rob students of one-on-one time with professors. This time that students would receive in a smaller class could help clarify class discussions and at the bare minimum, solidify student-professor relations.

Part of the promise BW makes is that professors will know the names and faces of their students, but with larger classes, there is no guarantee that professors will remember each and every student. This could disturb students’ participation and attendance because they may feel as though they are not important to the class as a whole.

Professors would not benefit from an increased class size because not only will they have more faces and names to remember, but they will have more papers to grade. Although an increase from 15 to 20 students does not sound extreme, if a professor is hypothetically spending 45 minutes on each paper, he or she is adding about four more hours of grading.

Although there are two sides to each decision, increasing course capacity would only negatively impact the students and faculty of BW.