TO:                  Anne Gormly, Vice President of Academic Affairs

                        Paul Jones, Vice President of Institutional Research & Enrollment Management

FROM:            Michael Gass, Director of Institutional Research

RE:                  Calculation of Student/Faculty Ratio

DATE:            September 25, 2004



In the latest college rankings issue of U.S. News & World Report, Georgia College & State University was reported as having 15 students for every one faculty member.  This report, based on Fall 2003 data, surprised many on campus, who had been told by my predecessor in the Office of Institutional Research that the ratio was 19:1. More perplexing still, consultants from Sasaki & Associates recently announced to the Facilities Master Plan Committee that our student-to-faculty ratio is now 13:1.


This confusion stems, not from ignorance of the basic facts  – the same accurate counts of enrolled students and of employed faculty have been used by all parties -- but rather from a lack of consensus about how to calculate the student/faculty ratio from the basic facts. The Sasaki consultants arrived at their conclusion by dividing the number of currently-enrolled students (both full-time and part-time) by the number of currently-employed faculty (both full-time and part-time) -- 5526/431, or 12.8.  On the other hand, Jim Purcell arrived at a ratio of 19:1 by dividing the full-time equivalent number of enrolled students by the number of full-time faculty who have predominately instructional (rather than research or administrative) responsibilities. For Fall 2004, this yields a ratio of 4983:269, or 18.5 to 1.   


To redress this lack of a uniform approach to calculating student/faculty ratios, the Common Data Set (CDS) Initiative has published for universal adoption a formula that takes into account both full-time and part-time student counts, both full-time and part-time faculty counts, and the percentage of faculty who have predominately instructional responsibilities.  U.S. News & World Report requires schools to use the CDS formula when submitting student/faculty ratios for its college rankings issue.  The formula is as follows:


Student-to-Faculty Ratio   =   [ SF  +  SP/3 ] / [ FFI + (FFN + FPI)/3 ]


where SF = the number of full-time enrolled students, SP = the number of part-time enrolled students, FFI = the number of full-time instructional faculty, FFN = the number of full-time non-instructional faculty who teach part-time, and FPI = the number of part-time instructional faculty.1


Using the Common Data Set formula, our student/faculty ratio for Fall 2004 is [ 4284 + 1242/3 ] / [ 269 + (23 + 139) ], or approximately 15:1, the same value that was published in U.S. News & World Report from Fall 2003 data.


I recommend that, as an official policy, we use the CDS formula when calculating and publishing to all audiences the Student-to-Faculty ratio at Georgia College.





1The CDS definitions of ‘full-time instructional faculty’ and of ‘part-time instructional faculty’ are those used by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in its annual Faculty Compensation Survey.  These detailed instructions from the AAUP are reproduced in the 2004 CDS documentation:


Instructional Faculty is defined as those members of the instructional-research staff whose major regular assignment is instruction, including those with released time for research. Use the chart below to determine inclusions and exclusions:





(a) instructional faculty in preclinical and clinical medicine, faculty who are not paid (e.g., those who donate their services or are in the military), or research-only faculty, post-doctoral fellows, or pre-doctoral fellows



Include only if they teach one or more non-clinical credit courses

(b) administrative officers with titles such as dean of students, librarian, registrar, coach, and the like, even though they may devote part of their time to classroom instruction and may have faculty status



Include if they teach one or more non-clinical credit courses

(c) other administrators/staff who teach one or more non-clinical credit courses even though they do not have faculty status



(d) undergraduate or graduate students who assist in the instruction of courses, but have titles such as teaching assistant, teaching fellow, and the like




(e) faculty on sabbatical or leave with pay




(f) faculty on leave without pay




(g) replacement faculty for faculty on sabbatical leave or leave with pay





Full-time instructional faculty: faculty employed on a full-time basis for instruction (including those with released time for research)

Part-time instructional faculty: Adjuncts and other instructors being paid solely for part-time classroom instruction. Also includes full-time faculty teaching less than two semesters, three quarters, two trimesters, or two four-month sessions. Employees who are not considered full-time instructional faculty but who teach one or more non-clinical credit courses may be counted as part-time faculty.


(Source: 2004-05 Common Data Set, section I-1.)