Cooper Hall 103 and Ferguson Hall 1100 are two of the several lecture halls on USF’s Tampa campus that, if filled to capacity, seat more than 400. Such huge classes offer students less-than-personal relationships with their professors and can serve as distractions from learning altogether. The situation is apparently annoying students so much that some drive 30 or more minutes to the St. Petersburg campus, where they say class sizes and learning environments are friendlier.
It would appear from the multiple face-lifts and additions to the main campus in recent years that USF’s administration is hoping to attract students. But unless multiple sections with more accommodating class sizes are made available, the Tampa campus can expect to see more and more of its commuter students going elsewhere.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, roughly 20 percent of the St. Pete campus’ student population is made up of students who commute from neighboring counties. A rough estimate made by the Times figures that 14.3 percent of the approximate 4,700 students at the St. Pete campus hail from Hillsborough County alone.
These students are allegedly driving the approximate 30 miles because they can find classes that aren’t offered at the main campus.
A class packed with 400 or more students is less than welcoming to students hoping to form relationships with their professors that go beyond the social-security-number roll call.
Granted, the large class sizes accommodate the high demand from an ever-increasing number of students coming to USF. But if more sections as well as more class options were offered in the summer, it would help cut back on the number of students vying for the same course spot.
It would appear that the Tampa campus will have to go the extra mile to compete for students, because students are willing to drive a few extra miles for a better classroom environment.