|Centre students benefit from small classes
RELEASED: Oct. 7, 2004
DANVILLE, KYTry to imagine finding the derivative of a calculus function crowded in a lecture hall with 400 of your classmates while using a remote control device to communicate with the professor.
According to recent news reports, this is just a typical school day for students at many large public universities. Because of budget cuts, many of these institutions have cut teaching positions and increased class sizes. Some calculus classes at the University of Kentucky, for example, have increased in size by almost 1,500 percent.
At Centre College the typical calculus class has fewer than 20 students.
"I had about 400 or so students at UK in my largest lecture hall," says Brian Kretz, a junior from Perrysburg, Ohio, who transferred to Centre this year. "It was very hard to even find my professors at UK during the day, let alone find a time to meet with them. It was nearly impossible to ask any questions during class because of the noise as well as the sheer number of students in the lecture halls."
Kretz welcomes the personal attention Centre offers its students. With a student-teacher ratio of 10-1, Centre students can expect to participate in class with ease, meet with their professors on a regular basis and even call their teachers at home.
"[The small class size] is beneficial in that I get more one-on-one attention from my professors and it's easier to ask and answer questions during a class," adds Kretz, a anthropology/sociology major. "All of my professors have been available whenever I needed to meet with them. Centre simply has much more to offer when it comes to academics and receiving help from the faculty."
Several other Centre transfer students agree with Kretz's assessment.
"Class size was a major problem for me at the University of Southern California," says David Kaplan, a junior transfer student from Boston, Mass. "I felt disconnected from the professors. There was limited class discussion and participation in these large lectures. The class size here at Centre is beneficial to me because I feel involved in each class."
Louisville, Ky., sophomore Clay McCollum says she enjoys that her professors know who she is, unlike her experience at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
"All of my teachers [at Centre] know my name and that I play soccer," McCollum says. "They have all had time to meet with me individually. I never approached my professors at my other school it was too embarrassing. I didn't feel like they knew who I was."
Dusty Butler, a sophomore from Harrodsburg, Ky., was eager to receive one-on-one attention that she says she couldn't find when she attended Eastern Kentucky University.
"I felt like a number instead of an individual," says Butler, now a double major in English and classical studies. "Centre fulfills all of my expectations and more."
Centre professors also know their students long after the semester ends.
"Once you've had a professor at Centre, they'll remember you the remainder of your time at the college," says Shea Tankersley, a junior history major from Chattanooga, Tenn. "At Auburn, unless you made an effort to contact and get to know your professor, you were always just a number in the classroom."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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