On Campus

Waterloo to profs: no more tiny classes

Cites "financial constraint," need to "deploy our teaching resources effectively"

Citing the economic downturn, the administration at the University of Waterloo is discouraging professors from teaching classes of 10 or fewer students:

A memo from provost Amit Chakma this week tells faculty members that UW is taking steps to discourage small classes — those with fewer than 10 students — at the undergraduate level.

Says the provost: “As always, but particularly in these times of financial constraint, it is important that we deploy our teaching resources efficiently and effectively. At the University of Waterloo, approximately 10 per cent of the undergraduate courses taught in any academic year have 10 or fewer students. While there may be unusual circumstances where small classes are unavoidable, it should not be a regular occurrence in an undergraduate program.

“To that end, on February 4, 2009 Deans’ Council endorsed the following: ‘Beginning fall 2009, undergraduate courses of 10 or fewer students will not be counted in the teaching load of any faculty member.’

“It is understood that there may be a short transition period where some small classes are offered while adjustments to programs, curricula and practices are implemented. However, the objective is that by the end of 2009 those adjustments will be made, and in 2010 and beyond offering undergraduate courses with 10 or fewer students will be unusual.”

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