Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Enrollment leaves campus community feeling detached

SAN MARCOS - For the 16th consecutive year Texas State has set enrollment records, affecting classes and student relationships with professors.
Texas State enrolled a record 5,181 incoming freshman, a 22 percent increase from 2012, according to a university press release.
President Denise M. Trauth said she takes her role very seriously in preparing the next-generation workforce and that the new high in student enrollment demonstrates Texas State as a leading university in Texas.
“Students and their families recognize our institution offers both an outstanding educational experience as well as an exceptional value,” Trauth said.
For students like Zane Reiss, a freshman psychology major, feeling crowded in class is “typical” of a school that could “be one of the biggest and best universities in Texas.”
However, the university’s smaller size was what attracted some students. Cesar DeLeon, a senior music education and biology pre-med major, said class size was a deciding factor in choosing Texas State.
He researched the Texas University Report, and noticed Texas State’s good enrollment compared to the University of Texas and Texas A&M. But now, as a senior, he feels as if that’s changed.
“Taking attendance for 35 people instead of the 20 or 25 students when I was accepted is really hindering my education,” DeLeon said.
In fact, Bianca Gandaria, a freshman electronic media major, attends lectures of 300 students or more, and feels as if she can’t have interaction with a teacher.
“It’s already known that in college you have mass classes (lectures),” Gandaria said. “But, with the student population growing I feel we are out of touch with professors.”
The disconnect affects grades, attendance, and classroom interaction negatively, and Gandaria has seen it not only in her studies, but also in the studies of her peers.  
“I have a girl in my history class, and she is a senior,” Gandaria said. “She feels that it is just a waste of time for her to be in that class, and she doesn’t want to be there because she doesn’t have that one-on-one connection with the professor. And if that’s a senior talking that goes to show how I feel.”
The larger student body in a smaller campus requires larger classrooms, especially for general courses that freshmen across all majors have to take, but the university offers resources to complement lectures.
Gandaria goes to supplemental instruction sessions to have interaction about her studies, instead of keeping quiet in a room where she says she feels like “just a number.”
This isolation isn’t just felt by Gandaria alone.
Charles Regalado, junior English major and sociology minor, says the large class size had an effect on his interaction with professors and his study habits.
“I don’t think the teacher even notices what I look like, or if I’m not there,” Regalado said.
According to Regalado, the impersonal level in class impacts his study habits negatively, because the material provided seems general and inclusive.
The faculty felt the increased enrollment as well.
Tom Grimes, professor of mass communication, says the university is a less pleasant place to work because there are too many people for the physical space, but he says the university has to do so in order to follow their budget.
“The only place it can get money to operate as cost increase is through increased enrollment,” Grimes said. “The physical plant itself is too tiny to accommodate too many more people, but we have to in order to pay for what it is we’re doing here.”

Sources Cited:
Denise M. Trauth | President of Texas State University 
Charles Regalado |
Tom Grimes |
Bianca Gandaria |
Cesar DeLeon 

Zane Reiss |

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