As promised in my last post, we have continued exploring potential alternate parameters for categorizing schools according to size. This post explores the impact on the number of schools classified as small, medium and large—if the parameters are changed from the standard parameters based on counts of full-time faculty to the various alternate parameters mentioned in Part I. We look at that impact at subsets of AACSB member schools offering different combinations of degree levels.
Figure 1. Net Change in Size Categories, Standard vs. Alternate Parameters by Degree Program Levels Offered
Some of the considered alternative size parameters cause the numbers of small, medium and large schools to differ more significantly from our standard classification scheme than others do. For example, when using the alternate parameters of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Faculty Counts or Total Enrollment Counts, in each case the vast majority of schools stay in the same size category as when defined by the current standard Full-Time (FT) Faculty parameters. Schools that do change category almost inevitably move down the size scale, particularly schools that offer both undergraduate- and graduate-level programs. Only among schools that solely offer undergraduate programs does the change in size category potentially go in either direction.
By contrast, when we apply alternate parameters based on student/faculty ratios, the numbers of schools that change size category from the standard parameters are far greater, comprising anywhere between 20 to 40 percent of the schools in each group. The net changes for both types of student/faculty ratios follow the same general pattern, but that pattern is much less uniform than that of the alternate parameters of FTE Faculty and for Total Enrollment.
Schools with doctoral programs, for example, appear much more likely to move down in size category when using either Student/FT Faculty or Student/FTE Faculty Ratios. In particular, application of the Student/FT Faculty Ratio results in over 34 percent of schools that offer doctoral programs moving down in size category, whereas nearly 19 percent of all schools without doctoral programs move up in size category.
When selecting peer schools for benchmarking in DataDirect based on school size, it is important to keep factors such as these in mind. What other characteristics do you think might influence the size category under these alternate parameters?