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Smaller classes make a bigger impact

Posted by Mike Bosco on Jun 21, 2016 2:30:00 PM

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Small class size and accessible academic supports play a critical role in helping students graduate. We’ve heard this story so many times. A student enrolls at a large community college or university, but drops out due to not being unable to make the transition, or getting lost in the maze of higher education and “feeling like a number.” It’s not for lack of intelligence or hard work. Students simply do not get the one-on-one attention and support they need to thrive in the classroom and workplace.

BFIT’s Student Success model is structured to help students succeed, especially those who thrive in small, hands-on learning environments. The college’s 13:1 student to faculty ratio is designed to give students direct access to their instructors during class and outside the classroom. Students’ questions can be answered as they arise and not postponed until later “office hours.” You can’t hide or get lost in a small class. Instructors know each student individually and are aware when they are falling behind. When this happens, they can quickly communicate with student services and advisors to get the student the help they need.


The college’s 13:1 student to faculty ratio is designed to give students direct access to their instructors during class and outside the classroom.


The academic and social supports available can be tailored to each student situation. Students take placement assessments upon entering BFIT. If additional language and math coursework is needed, they are placed into classes designed to assist them to be successful in their major. If an entire semester is needed to get up to speed, a third summer semester is offered – at no cost – to keep them on pace to graduate on time. If students fall behind during the year, they can access free tutoring services – provided by the actual course instructors, not outside tutors. Advisors, academic success coaches, and a social worker are notified if academic issues exist so the student can be connected with non-academic resources that may help them be more focused in school.

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Small class size is especially important for lab coursework in technical fields. Each week, BFIT students participate in lab, working directly with equipment and machines they will use on the job.  Small class size makes it possible for professors to provide direct instruction for each student. BFIT professors possess decades of experience in their fields, and this direct interaction is critical to transferring their expertise to current students.


Small class size makes it possible for professors to provide direct instruction for each student. BFIT professors possess decades of experience in their fields, and this direct interaction is critical to transferring their expertise to current students.



Close connections with college faculty facilitate industry connections and recommendations.
As students prepare to graduate from STEM degree programs and enter the workforce, faculty’s close connections with local companies provide employment opportunities. Because of the small class size, professors can offer personalized and accurate recommendations on behalf of students.

Students who graduate are more fully prepared to pursue a bachelor’s degree or other advanced education if they choose. Those same students that struggled when they initially enrolled at large four-year universities or community colleges thrive in the small class-size environment at BFIT. With the support of staff and faculty, they strengthen their study skills and academic focus. Many transfer credits to another college to continue their education and find they now have the ability to excel in any academic environment and eventually become leaders within their field.

Helpful Article: Importance of class size in higher education. (source: Inside Higher Ed)

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