By Dillan Schorfheide

Though the enrollment for Eastern Illinois University has fallen in recent years, and though the state has not funded the university very well, students and faculty are still able to connect in the classroom.

According to a fact sheet published by Eastern, in 2015, the school had an enrollment of 8,520 students and had 597 total faculty on payroll.  This means that there were 14 students for every one faculty member at Eastern.

Other Illinois colleges have higher ratios.  The University of Illinois has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, and the ratio at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is 15:1.

With such a low student-to-faculty ratio, it is easier for students and faculty (especially teachers) to connect on a personal level.

This is something that Eastern takes pride in, making it a selling point to prospective students when they visit the campus.  It is also displayed around campus; there is a poster in Thomas Dining Hall that has the ratio on it.

Dr. William Lovekamp, a sociology professor who teaches in Blair Hall at Eastern, said he thinks the small ratio is a great thing for teachers and students alike.

“I think it’s really beneficial.  When you’re in a huge lecture hall, I don’t have any idea who you are, I don’t connect with you on a more personal level.  Networks and making those connections are important for a lot of reasons,” Lovekamp said.  “I like to get to know my students a little bit, I never know all of you as much as I would maybe like to.  We’re also supposed to sort of serve as resource people for you.  Those personal connections I think are really good, and that’s one of the things that I think’s great about Eastern.”