It’s no secret that Temple is getting bigger. Over the last few years, the university has boasted ever-growing freshman classes, paving the way for the most inclusive and diverse student body in its history.
Total enrollment on all campuses rose nearly 20 percent from 2000 to 2006 to more than 35,000, according to the Department of Institutional Research.
Karin Mormando, associate director of admissions, said this increase was an explicit goal of Temple’s administration.
“The university wanted growth,” Mormando said, citing the construction of new buildings, dormitories and the overall improvement of the campus’ appearance.
On the business side, the immediate benefit of increased enrollment is more revenue for investment and expansion, which the university has noticeably undertaken. New buildings on campus, such as the current construction of Alter Hall, are the result of the fruitful combination of both rising enrollment and tuition.
But is all growth good?
At Temple, the reality is that there is an ever-growing amount of students to teach, but only so many instructors to teach them and classrooms in which to place them. In 2006, the average undergraduate class size was 27, three students more than in 2000.
This may not seem like a lot, but for students and teachers alike, there are many direct benefits to smaller classes – more personal attention, more time devoted to student work and the ability to teach and assess more critically. It’s a more beneficial educational experience.
Fortunately, the administration has recognized the need to preserve the university’s resources and to maintain the quality of education and campus life.
Mormando said while the Class of 2011 was about 500 students greater than anticipated, things will change.
“We’re actually looking at a smaller class for next year,” she said. “It will stabilize after that.”
Now that the university’s goals for growth have been met, Mormando said Temple is curbing admission levels to ensure that students have access to housing, classes and other educational services.
Despite any immediate inconveniences, the overall growth of the university is viewed by faculty and administration as a positive.
David Jacobs, associate professor of history, has taught at Temple for 32 years. In this time, he said the growth of the university has allowed it to blossom into a much better learning environment.
“Overall, the trajectory has gone up,” he said. “There’s a bigger, better and more cohesive university community.”
Whether Temple can continue on this upward trajectory remains to be seen. For the time being, long lines, packed classrooms and full elevators will continue to be inevitable parts of the Temple University experience.
Brian Krier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.