Pitt is working to make room for the greatest first grader of all time
Gayle Rogers, Professor and Chair of Pitt’s English department, saw his department grow in response to Pitt’s largest freshman course to date 5.195 Students. Rogers said the department added more class sections to accommodate the new students.
“You can imagine the effect on us,” said Rogers. “We are a department that lives from this for young professionals, which is why we have opened new areas for many courses. If I had to go it would probably be 15% more courses at the induction / first year level. “
With more than 880 students over the target of 4,315 Enrolled Pitt struggled to accommodate the large class, with departments resorting to hiring new staff and adding new class sections, and the university renting a hotel to live in.
The English section – that’s the one Dietrich School of Arts and SciencesLargest undergraduate department – has a handful of courses that first graders usually flock to. Along with Composition seminar, Dietrich students must also take two intensive writing courses and one literature course in order to get their general educational requirements – who have both classes that fall into the English section.
There are also a number of introductory courses that Rogers says are popular with first graders, including Introduction to writing poetry, Introduction to the film and Introduction to Shakespeare.
Rogers said the new hires in the English department were primarily hired to suit the first year class. As student numbers increased in recent months, the English department opened new sections in their lower grades and hired new staff to teach them.
“We had to hire a lot over the summer because we just didn’t have enough people to teach the new sections,” said Rogers. “So we hired some new visiting lecturers and hired some new part-time lecturers to come on board and teach more courses.”
While the English Department added sections to allow for increased enrollment, it did not increase the enrollment cap for their classes.
“Most of our courses are intensive writing-based courses – which are hard limited,” said Roger. “A professor cannot plausibly grade 20% more written essays in the same amount of time. It’s just not humanly possible. It will degrade the quality of guidance and feedback, etc. So we kept the upper limits and only opened more sections. “
According to Rogers, the department was focused on improving training and support for the new hires.
“I would say our main investment was just improving education and increasing our visibility for guidance,” said Rogers. “Here we just have to double our investments and make sure that the people we ask to take on new teaching assignments at short notice feel supported and ready to take part from day one.”
Corresponding Jonathan Rubin, Professor and Chair of Mathematics, his faculty saw a similar surge in enrollments and decided to add sections – much like the English faculty – although they pushed some classes “beyond their usual limits”.
“We have a few extra sections and more of our classes are busy than usual,” said Rubin. “All of the sections are packed and we’ve even pushed some beyond their usual limits, which we normally don’t.”
While a teacher was assigned to all math classes, Rubin said the department struggled to fill the recitations with teaching assistants for graduate and undergraduate students. He said the department closed the process “only at the last minute,” even after classes started.
“That process wasn’t completed until Sunday evening – that was after the first day of class, but luckily there were no recitations on Friday,” said Rubin.
Although some Dietrich departments made notable changes to accommodate first graders, the Swanson School of Engineering didn’t have to do so.
Corresponding Bopaya Bidanda, Professor and chair holder of the industrial engineering department, registered a moderate increase in enrollments in his department this year and did not have to make any significant changes for this year’s freshman semester. Unlike Dietrich, Bidanda said Swanson was “already operational”.[ed] up to capacity “, as it accepts a limited number of students each year.
“Mechanical engineering is a slightly different situation,” said Bidanda. “We were already busy. There is no absolute hard and fast rule, but we usually have a quality limit on how many students we can accept. “
Matthew Sterne, Pitt’s vice chancellor for business services, said housing the first graders had proven challenging. He said his department was looking for “housing expansion options for the best student service” in the spring when it became clear that Pitt was expecting high enrollments in the first year.
To accommodate freshmen, Pitt has partnered with Residence Inn University Medical Center. According to the star, Pitt received an additional 171 rooms and 346 beds through the lease of the Residence Inn – so the university was able to accommodate 5,260 first-year students.
While he was “unable to provide a specific cost” and refused to comment on the exact cost of Pitt’s lease, Sterne said it costs less than Pitt’s Spent $ 22 million on three Oakland hotels to detack student dormitories last year.
As for Pitt to accommodate students over the next year, Sterne said, “Additional campus apartments are part of the campus master plan to plan for future long-term growth.” Pitts Institutional master plan, which the city recently approved, includes several residential projects such as the detachment of Litchfield Towers, the redevelopment of Bouquet Gardens and the addition of 600 new suite-style beds in a Hillside project.
Sterne said he was “honored” to support Pitt’s new class.
“It was exciting to welcome Pitt’s freshmen to campus!” Said Sterne. “We see this year’s enrollment as evidence of the university’s academic strength and appeal, and we are honored to provide accommodation to support Pitt students.”
Rogers said while the first grade intake was “pretty insane,” he’s excited to see so many new Pitt students.
“We look forward to more incoming students, more freshmen, more career starters and more transfer students. That means more students in our classes and more contact with our professors who we think are great, more of our ideas, more of our material, more of our pedagogy, ”said Rogers. “So that’s a net gain for us. Do you need some logistical hurdles? Naturally. But we do it every day of the week. So that’s good news and it was definitely a pretty crazy August, but … I signed up for the job. ”