To research or educate?

Dec 092002
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

If you read the Collegian Monday, you may have noticed CSU is receiving millions of dollars in donations for research, and the National Science Foundation ranks the university in the top five percent of colleges and universities receiving funds for science and engineering.

This is very important because it brings a lot of prestige to the school, and it attracts good faculty.

We are a land grant university and our role as a research institution is very important. We should be proud of our success in research and ability to get so much money in donations.

But this is still an educational institution, and we hope the university does not lose sight of that important role.

In a story we ran Monday, Tony Frank, CSU’s vice president for research and information, said the university is still committed to its role as an educational institution.

“People have a tendency to say that all the money means we’re focused only on research,” he said. “That’s not true. It shows that we’ve been very successful at recruiting a very high-quality faculty and therefore high-quality students.”

We sure hope he is right, but there are a few examples where faculty focusing on their research has affected teaching, and, consequently, what students learn.

One member of this editorial board said his teacher has been gone for weeks pursuing research. This, undoubtedly, hurts what the students learn – the teacher is not there teaching.

Another editorial board member said the speech department does not sponsor the speech team because they couldn’t find a professor to assist them. This is because many professors had scheduling conflicts, including research to achieve tenure. Tenure is where professors with seniority achieve protection against at-will firing.

Research is important, but it appears that when it conflicts with teaching, research sometimes wins. We understand the importance of research, but perhaps the university can better prioritize teaching and other student needs.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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