Provost Michael Kotlikoff presented a plan to expand on-campus housing at a Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting Monday.

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Provost Michael Kotlikoff presented a plan to expand on-campus housing at a Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting Monday.

November 28, 2016

Provost Michael Kotlikoff Details Housing Plan

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Correction appended

University Provost Michael Kotlikoff presented a plan to expand student housing and advance academic initiatives at a Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting Monday.

The plan aims to solve two problems — deferred capital investment and academic investment — due to constrained budgets and high sophomore housing demand, according to Kotlikoff.

Kotlikoff said the plan will “invest in facilities, curriculum initiatives and housing initiatives.” He outlined plans to alleviate housing demand by building new dorms on North Campus and encouraging the townhouses to become part of a “sophomore village.”

Overall, the capital project seeks to add 1,250 beds and a new dining hall to North campus by the year 2020.

The project’s goal is to create more housing options for sophomores — as currently about 60 percent of sophomores reside in Cornell housing — and open up living opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

The plan does not end on North Campus. Details of the housing plan include goals to renovate Balch Hall and to partner with other facilities to improve and expand opportunities for Collegetown housing.

The housing plan initiative is also projected to increase the freshman class by 250 to 275 students. Plans to address the repercussions of higher student admissions are also underway, including ways to fix the “gateway course issue,” a problem when students cannot get into introductory level classes because they fill to capacity.

In the past, Cornell has tried to maintain a policy of only accepting as many students as North Campus can hold. However, this policy becomes difficult with new majors and, this year, the creation of the College of Business. Essentially, Kotlikoff said new academic initiatives create demand for more students.

“The faculty to student ratio [in the College of Arts and Sciences] is the highest it has ever been in 20 years,” Kotlikoff said.

The plan must deal with navigating increased student growth, as Kotlikoff acknowledges the potential for increased class sizes and exacerbated “gateway course” issues.

Discussions on the initiative have been taking place since the fall of 2015 and now final reports have been issued to move forward on the initiative.

A previous version of this story misquoted Provost Michael Kotlikoff as asserting that Cornell’s faculty to student ratio is the highest it has been in 20 years. In fact, he was speaking about the College of Arts and Sciences. 

  • Make Cornell better than bigger

    Applaud the decision to expand and improve on campus housing. Question increasing again the number of undergrads. Will faculty and class offerings be increased commensurate with the student increase? Or will classes be more crowded and the quality of the education suffer?

  • jj

    The student to faculty ratio and the endowment per student ratio at Cornell need to be made more comparable to the rest of the Ivy League. In my latest review of the data, Cornell’s ratios are out of line (too low) compared with the rest of the 7 schools. This should be a top priority, not just increasing class size.

    • jj

      Correction: Student to faculty ratio is too high, not too low. The statement concerning endowment per student is, however, correct. It is too low. Sorry for the error.

    • Alum

      Cornell will never be able to reach the level of endowment per student that is seen in the rest of the Ivy League. Some of those institutions don’t even have 5,000 undergrads, whereas Cornell has 14,000+. Cornell will always be the largest Ivy, largely due to the fact that it can house and educate more students than any other Ivy. This is in line with our motto that anyone should have the opportunity to study anything they please, and I think it’s wonderful. I do think it’s awful that rankings place so much weight on acceptance rate. This harms Cornell a lot in college rankings. We can house the students (usually…), so we should accept them.

  • Concerned alumnus

    Cornell needs more small group housing (such as fraternities, sororities, co-ops, and theme houses) rather than another anonymous large dorm. Similarly, these smaller buildings should incorporate dining rooms rather than a large central eating facility.