May 14th, 2014 | University

Report tackles Yale College expansion

As fundraising for the two new residential colleges nears its final stages, planning for the expansion of Yale’s enrollment is already underway.

In a report released to faculty and students Monday, the Ad Hoc Committee on Yale College Expansion said the 800 additional students will generate $30 million in net revenue for the University. The report added that the increased operating costs associated with supporting the additional students cannot exceed that figure. Since 2008 — when the initial recommendations for the residential colleges were made — significant progress has been made in expanding the Yale College faculty, developing lower Prospect Street and enhancing police and security support, the report said.

“In conducting this review, the committee found that much progress already has been made along the dimensions called for in 2008,” the report said.

Still, the committee described seven areas that require more focus in the coming months, including non-ladder instruction, fellowship demand and advising resources.

The report notes that a 15 percent increase in some of Yale College’s largest courses, including introductory economics, psychology and biology, will push the course enrollment over the maximum capacity of the University’s largest classrooms. Instead of constructing new facilities, the report suggests several solutions, including scheduling these large classes into earlier morning time slots.

“For the long-term health of the curriculum and of the students, the committee recommends that the current schedule structure be thoroughly and carefully reviewed and that measures be taken to shift course offerings to earlier in the day and more broadly across the teaching week,” the report said.

Initially, the implementation plan for the expansion called for a phased approach to increasing the student body, with the freshman class size ramped up one year prior to the new colleges’ opening, in 2016. However, the committee decided that this approach was non-ideal and has recommended that the freshman class should be increased for fall 2017 to coincide with the colleges’ opening for occupancy.

An increase in funding for non-ladder teaching — from those not on the tenure track — is also necessary for the successful expansion of the undergraduate population, the report said. The committee did not recommend adding more graduate teaching fellows, but instead suggested the increased use of undergraduate peer tutors, professional students as teaching fellows and “preceptors” to teach gateway courses. Section size limits should be relaxed as well, the report said.

The committee was also quick to identify the constraints of its recommendations.

“Any planning for the expansion, even just three years out, represents a moving target: it is impossible to predict every facet of student need or interest, economic circumstance, or evolving pedagogical practice,” the report said.

The residential colleges are estimated to cost roughly $500 million.