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Impact on Cost Savings

University of Iowa

Were costs reduced as planned?

As planned, cost savings from redesign of General Chemistry were realized from reducing the labor of faculty and graduate teaching assistants. In addition, following the reintegration of the laboratory component, the department was able to replace a faculty member with a full-time instructor whose sole responsibility was to provide instruction and support for the laboratory portion of the course.

Two additional unanticipated cost savings occurred:

1) Historically, the chemistry department offered a similar introductory chemistry lecture-lab sequence for chemical sciences majors (chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, and biomedical engineering) in the fall term. The College of Engineering was so happy with the redesign that it decided to move all 70 of its students into the redesigned course, and the chemistry department consequently decided to drop the chemical sciences sequence. As a result, the redesign was responsible for an additional cost savings of $25,959 (1.5 faculty per semester, one from the lecture and one-half from lab course in the chemical sciences sequence).

2) The significant reduction in the Drop-Failure-Withdrawal rate meant that 90 students did not need to repeat the General Chemistry course. These students comprise three discussion sections and four laboratory sections. The personnel not needed to cover these sections is the equivalent of 1.5 TA, an additional cost savings of $7,022.

The cost of offering both course sequences in the traditional format was $205,754 ($179,795 + $25,959) or $286 per student using the combined number of students, 720 (compared to the original $277 cost-per-student). With both changes described above, the redesign cost is now $137,860 ($144,882 - $7,022) or $191 per student for the 720 students accommodated each term after the merger with the chemical sciences track. The new cost savings is $67,680 or $94 per student for 720 students per semester. The new savings represents a 33% reduction in costs, a substantial increase over the planned 20% reduction.

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