New faculty added for record enrollment, classroom unavailability to continue

Sept. 15, 2014

Samantha Morley
[email protected]

UCCS has hired more than 50 new faculty members to accommodate for the record setting influx of 1,759 first-year students.

51 new members will be holding instructor, assistant professor and associate professor positions all over campus. Most are replacements for faculty that have left for various reasons. There are also 20 new positions that needed to be filled.

Hires have been focused on departments that have seen the most growth.

25 faculty are designated to the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; five to Beth- El College of Nursing and Health Sciences; seven to the College of Business; five to the College of Education; five to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and two in the School of Public Affairs.

The library also gained two faculty members, something that hasn’t happened in a long time according to vice provost and associate vice chancellor David Moon.

“Every time the campus grows, their demand grows and it grows twice because our faculty also grows,” Moon said. “It was really time to catch them up a bit.”

Among the new faculty is James Pearson, biology assistant professor. Pearson said in an email that he chose UCCS because he was “offered the platform necessary to simultaneously develop [his] own line of research and teach interested students.”

“I am very excited by the prospect of integrating new discoveries from my own research into my classes,” he wrote. “In doing so I will have the opportunity to facilitate the development of the next generation of young scientists.”

Lack of classroom availability

Classroom availabilities continue to be an issue on campus, especially as student population increases.

Most classroom usage falls between 9:40 a.m. and 7:15 p.m., a time frame that Moon said is filled.

“Yes, we are running into classroom issues,” he said. “If you look at our usage of the classrooms, it is true that we’re pretty well out.”

“But we still have capacity at 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.”

Moon said more space will be picked up when the new housing village, the Alpine Apartments, opens. Breckenridge house in Summit Village is already partially used for the Gateway Program Seminar, the mandatory orientation for first-year students.

“GPS, which is now required for every incoming freshman, has outgrown Breckenridge and so they’re taking up classrooms all over the campus,”Moon said. “They chew up all those classrooms because they have to have a big meeting room and breakout rooms.”

Moon noted that he is unsure when the campus will have more classroom space.

Moon explained a project proposal to build a new structure near the paved lot between Cragmor Hall and University Hall. The buil ding would provide additional classrooms and offices to the campus.

“It hasn’t made it to the list of things to get funded yet,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a couple of years where we’re really going to be tight on classrooms.”

In order to alleviate some of the problems and respond to demand, the university has been working on constructing more hybrid courses. Hybrid courses involve both going to class on campus and online.

“As long as that demand continues to grow, we can absorb part of the classroom problem,” he said. Moon teaches a hybrid course and said that his experience “has been really positive.”

The school has also experimented with double-block classes, but that can actually cause more inefficiency problems. English professor Rebecca Laroche, for example, has experienced some classroom shuffling.

“I get shuffled around depending on which block is available,” she said.

Teachers, such as Laroche, who have one double-block class are encouraged to have another one as well in order to even out the schedule, but it is not required.

“We have a little inefficiency because of that,” Moon said.

LaRoche has double-block classes that can make it difficult to find a classroom during a reasonable hour.

“That means that the rooms don’t get filled because nobody wants to teach at 8:30 to 10 [p.m] class. I’m in bed by 10,” LaRoche said. “That’s the part that’s gotten harder but I think that there are some solutions that haven’t been considered.”

While having symmetrically scheduled double-block classes is ideal, Moon states that it isn’t always the best for students.

“We don’t want to tell departments that they can’t do what they think is best in terms of how the class ought to be offered,” Moon said. “So, that’s the trade-off.”