“My sense is that it’s increasingly thought to be a matter of professorial prerogative to say, ‘to make a better teaching experience for me, I’m not going to teach these students who are paying $50,000 a year to come to Harvard’—and it doesn’t seem right to me,” Lewis said.Clearly Harry has a point. On the other hand, from the faculty point of view, Harvard (and from what I know, many other schools) don't generally incentivize teaching larger classes -- which, I can tell you (since my class size doubled from last year), is indeed more work. If you're not tenured, there may be some incentive to teach a larger class sometime early on -- it shows you're a team player, useful to the department/college, etc. Past tenure, I'm not sure there's a direct incentive -- although plenty of faculty enjoy teaching, and are happy to teach larger classes at least once in a while. Without such incentives, isn't limited enrollment understandable (as long as nobody stops you)?
Should a university offer incentives for teaching larger classes? Perhaps some additional time on teaching leave? Or direct monetary compensation? What is the "social contract" between faculty and students regarding when class size should be limited? Or the less social contract between faculty and their employers, the universities? How are these questions affected (if at all) by the newly developing paradigm of classes of 100,000+ online?
Challenging questions, I think.