Old Dominion University is seeking state funding for 170 new full-time faculty positions in an effort to bring its student-faculty ratio in line with other Virginia universities.
The initiative would increase ODU's full-time faculty contingent, now around 800, by more than 20 percent.
President John Broderick told the university's governing Board of Visitors on Thursday that ODU's student-faculty ratio of 21 to 1 is out of whack with the state average of 17 to 1.
Lowering the ratio would help improve the university's student retention and graduation rates, he said.
Additional full-time faculty slots would also allow ODU to reduce its reliance on part-time, or adjunct, teachers, Broderick said.
The requested new teaching positions would cost about $20 million over the next two years.
Broderick said university officials have been lobbying Gov. Bob McDonnell to include the money in his proposed 2014-16 biennial budget, which will be unveiled later this month. The General Assembly will take up the spending plan when it convenes in January.
Broderick said ODU officials have also made their pitch to Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, who takes office Jan. 11.
ODU's student-faculty ratio has been on an upswing over the past decade, largely because of a spurt in student enrollment in the mid-2000s. Enrollment grew by about 3,500 during that period, without a corresponding increase in teaching slots.
Since then, the student body has leveled off at about 25,000.
Bill Sizemore, 757-446-2276, email@example.com