The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are taking steps to deal with increasing enrollments, while the opposite is true at the University of Northern Iowa.
UNI’s vice president for facilities and planning, Phillip Simpson, says the Cedar Falls campus has more capacity than students. “Our peak enrollment occurred n 2001 at a little more than 14,000 students and most of our campus is sized for 14,000 students,” Simpson says.
UNI had a fall enrollment of just under 12,000 undergrads and Simpson says the school does have some empty classrooms. “We need less and less of the large lecture halls, and more of the smaller classrooms for that smaller, more intimate experience,” he explains. Simpson says the school is adjusting its campus building plan to meet the demands of its changing student body.
“Community colleges are doing such a good job educating the first two years, we’re getting more and more junior and senior transfers into our institution,” Simpson says. “So we’re beginning to transition away from the large 400-person classrooms. We need more of the 50 and the 75 and the 60’s, that’s going to be coming in our upcoming facilities master plan.” More than 90-percent of UNI’s student body is from Iowa. Iowa State University in Ames has the problem of finding enough classroom space for its record enrollment.
President Stephen Leath told the Board of Regents last week that he has instituted a program to create new flip format courses, that use one-line instruction to take some of the load off classrooms. “We’re giving one-time grants to our faculty to transform another 81 courses into flipped format,” Leath says. “We’ll use our on-line resources for instruction and we use our class time for more facilitated discussion, hands-on learning, personalized approaches to faculty-student interaction.”
Leath cited a couple of examples of how the program works. He says the Sociology 134 class will use on-line learning to replace one-third of the class lectures. “And then our Technology Systems Management 210 course will deliver all of its instructional content on-line, and then use the classroom time for examples and exercises,” Leath says.
The University of Iowa is also addressing increasing enrollment. The school is scheduled to open a new residence hall this fall as the university continues progress on rebuilding buildings that were damaged by the flooding in 2008.