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This post will feature several images from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Space Usage Efficiency Report for Fall 2012.  Appearing below are Texas public colleges’ space utilization scores from that report and, more importantly from this post’s perspective, other images dealing with room usage and time of day, images that essentially show graphically when a college interacts with students in classrooms and labs.

This first image (click on images to enlarge) deals with statewide space usage scores. With the Texas State Technical College West Texas’s ongoing enrollment crisis, one would expect the college to have one of the lowest space usage scores in the state, and it does. Only two institutions have lower scores, which, again, isn’t particularly surprising. One of the solutions TSTC West Texas says it will implement to improve its SUE score will be to mothball buildings. I suppose if a fellow had four buildings and burned down three of them, he would certainly increase the use of the one left.

THECB Space Usage Efficiency (SUE) Fall 2012 130725

SUE scores aside, what I find much more interesting are the graphs below; the first of which graphically represents TSTC West Texas’s room usage for any given day and time of day.

TSTC West Texas Space Usage Efficiency Room Utilization and Time of Day Fall 2012 130725

Note how the college virtually shuts down over lunch and then again at 5:00 PM, pretty much bankers’ hours. This phenomenon is particularly pronounced for the all-important labs, which is where that critical “hands-on” training occurs at technical schools. [LATE ENTRY: Look for Friday activity. The chart reflects NO classroom activity and pitifully little lab activity at West Texas on Friday.] I have to wonder if the students want these bankers’ hours or if the staff does. Let’s take a look at another technical college.

Appearing below is the Lamar Institute of Technology’s graph.

Lamar Institute of Technology Room Utilization and Time of Day Fall 2012 130725

The difference is remarkable. With the exception of Friday (the broken blue line at the bottom), lunchtime is hardly noticeable for classroom usage and there’s a small drop in lab usage then. Furthermore, just look at all that learning going on after 5:00 o’clock when the bankers have all gone home.

It would appear to me that TSTC West Texas’s shift from a majority of full-time students to a majority of part-time students would accommodate lunchtime and after 5:00 PM activity like LIT’s, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. (Note that the link in the preceding sentence takes you to an article concerning just the TSTC West Texas Sweetwater campus, but all four West Texas campuses have a majority of part-time students now.) I was a part-time student for years while I was in the service and went to school several times a week at night. With a minor in information systems, I was studying a bunch of computer-related material. So do a bunch of TSTC students. It seems to me that a potential student landscaping all day would be willing to study auto mechanics at night just like any other student wanting to improve his life. I don’t understand the  reason or reasoning that produced the difference in the two graphs. Both colleges are in the same Co-Board peer group and have a similar mission: to produce technical graduates for industry.

Here’s what the aggregated results for the state look like:

Statewide Room Usage and Time of Day Chart 130725

Looks like most Texas public institutions do quite a bit of instruction during lunch and in the evening. Now, before someone shouts that this graph also includes academic institutions and TSTC West Texas is different, please allow me to refer you to the LIT graph again.

A college with an enrollment problem, particularly a college with a majority of part-time students, ought to be teaching students whenever they can show up to learn, even at lunchtime and in the evening.

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