Too many students, too few profs

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By Chieu Luu Luong

Students will see some new faces at the front of Ryerson classrooms next September.

Ryerson administration is hiring up to 60 new faculty to alleviate a student/teacher ratio that has increased steadily since 1990, on top of the 78 professors that will be hired to make up for retirements.

In the past decade, the number of faculty being hired has not kept up with the student enrolment, which has increased by 18 per cent.

Ryerson’s student/teacher ratio is now 21.3 students per teacher, higher than the provincial average of 19.9 students per teacher.

At its peak, Ryerson had about 580 tenured faculty, but a $20 million decrease in government grants over the past 10 years has caused that number to drop to 480.

Ryerson will hire more professors for the 1999/2000 school year, made possible by higher enrolment and tuition fees, excess money in Ryerson’s pension surplus, and other factors, said Michael Doucet, president of Ryerson’s Faculty Association (RFA).

“They’re looking to bring it up to between 520 and 540 [faculty],” Doucet said.

The student/teacher ratio in Ryerson’s engineering department is especially high, where there are about 24 students per teacher in some classes.

Alan Chan, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, said he’s noticed the ratio increase.

“In my first year, there were pretty small classes. One class had about eight sections,” he said. “Now there are only five sections for a class.”

Ryerson’s faculty has also felt the impact of having more people to teach.

“More students make it more difficult for instructors,” Doucet said. “Especially when it comes to grading and being available during office hours.”

But Dennis Mock, Ryerson’s v.p. academic, said students have it better here than at other Ontario universities.

“In most universities, there’s much more research going on, and professors area also spending a lot of time with graduate students, so they don’t have as much time for their undergraduates,” he said. “At Ryerson, there is less research and we don’t have any graduate programs, so our students have more access to their professors.”

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