100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

December 04, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-12-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


-JAMES WECHSLER

Etie lflirian Dai t
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

The

UN:

Off

limits

for

Nixon?

*1

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exp ress the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1968

NIGHT EDITOR: RON LANDSMAN

Publish or perish':
A role for students

THEDILEMMA of publish or perish is
a national academic phenomenon. But
that alone is riot sufficient reason for the
University to acquiesce in its miscon-
celved and misdirected control of the
academic marketplace.
Besides students, who have a c 1 e a r
class interest in weakening the publish
or perish syndrome, many faculty mem-
bers-tenured ones at that-find major
flaws in the demand for publications.
The most common argument of the
defenders of publish or perish-that the
best researchers make the best teachers-
is specious. It is of the breed of argu-
ments that is logically concise but it in-
vented after the fact. "Well," one might
verbalize it, "We have to have it, and,
come to think of it, it's good for teach-
ing here, anyway.'
IT IS OF the class of grand generaliza-
tions, semantically pleasing but only
tangentially related to reality. There are
too many exceptions and too many var-
iations-teachers whose research is
shoddy and the good or even great re-
searchers who are deadly in the class-
room-to accept the argument.
If teaching and research are so synony-
mous, why not measure by teaching
alone? The administrators would have
you believe that teaching is too hard to
measure, whereas all you have to do with
publications is read them (or sometimes
just count them).
Whether you use teaching or research
standards, argue the administrators, the
results would be the same.
But there is a difference, and others
are willing to admit it. Dean William
Hays of the literary college and Vice-
President for Academic Affairs Allen
Smith-acknowledge the distinct v a l u e s
and abilities involved in teaching and
research.
As long as the University seeks men
who have both qualities in ideal equal
proportion, though, Hays and S m i t h
would be satisfied. Still, as long as they
admit there is a qualitative difference
and a difference in rewards, we must ask
which is more important to the Univer-
sity and why.
UNIVERSITY partakes out of ne-
cessity in the game of publish or
perish essentially because that's w h a t
other institutions do - the demand is
for "names" and names are earned by
research and publication. Those are the
people to get.
There are at least two major assump-
tions here which are seriously challeng-
ed by professors who have succeeded by
the rules of the game:
s The rating system which establishes
which are the "good departments" is
vague and possibly inaccurate. This
makes the reliance on national status a
self-deceptive act which can and does
mislead the University in its values.
* The necessity of having that good
name. The values inherent in the pub-
lish or perish marketplace seem to go
unchallenged. But the standards of pub-
lish or perish'are not necessarily the'ideal
standarsd for an academic institution.
The basis for assigning "standing" is
misleading, and thoughtless adherence to
that approach by the University is ac-
cordingly dysfunctional.
Put simply, there is a status system
which the University adheres to. Individ-
uals gain status by publishing, depart-
ments gain status by picking up "name"
men or getting their own men to pub-
lish, and colleges and universities acquire
status on the relative strength of the de-
partments in their respective disciplines

nationally.
HAYS AND SMITH are practically ser-
vile in their adherence to this system,
a servility that is far from becoming.
The rules have been made by the good
schools - Berkeley, Harvard et al. and
the University is unwilling, whether or
not they are unable, to buck what the
"good" schools do.
But there is an alternative. Current-
ly researchers are supported at the ex-
pense of the teachers, but there is no

reason wihy this should be so. The Uni-
versity, as one well-known professor
phrased it, can get exactly what it wants
- if it wants researchers, it can get
them. And if it wants teachers - all it
has to do to get them is pay them better.
"That's all," Prof. Daneeka said, "just
ask." But this time there's no catch.
If the University wants the standard
reputation, it can have it. And if it wants
to get a reputation as a good' school for
teaching, it can get that as well.
This argument is tied in with ques-
tions of graduate vs. undergraduate edu-
cation. Defenders of publish or perish
maintain that graduate education is
much like an apprenticeship and thus it is
necessary to get good scholars to work
with them.
But even within that limitation the
University seems to have gone too far
afield and the loss: undergraduate edu-
cation. The emphasis on name and what
it implies has left the less glamorous
teachers in the dust. And the result has
been only incidentally good - or else
mediocre or bad - teaching of under-
graduates. But universities don't make
their name there, so it is of little import.
There is another question here, one
which concerns students. Considering the
criteria used now for appointments, and
the different standards that students
might use, what role should students play
in the selection and promotion of pro-
fessors?
Student groups up to now which were
otherwise either willing to concede the
faculty's right to select themselves or un-
willing to even dare ask should re-con-
sider their position.
The faculty has an interest to protect
-its professional standing and scholar-
ship. But the students have an equal
interest that may come into conflict--
their education. It is for students to de-
mand, and for faculty to give, the right
for a more than advisory voice in tenure
decisions to students.
There are full professors now who
have never gotten their PhDs. They made
it eventually on the basis of their teach-
ing, it just took them years longer than
it took the "publishers." Students have
a right, an obligation in this case, really,
to demand that they get good teaching.
Not that it replaces scholarship as the
deciding criterion, but that it be made
equal to publishing as the deciding fac-
tor.
Executive departments and faculty
members defend their right to choose
their own members, guild-like, on the
basis of confidentiality and competence,
both of which are relevant but neither of
which are sufficient.
Arguments between faculty and stu-
dents over choice of faculty have center-
ed, incorrectly, over questions of politics,
such as in the first history department
forum. But there is also the question of
research vs. teaching, a valid difference
of values which the students have a just
reason for wanting expressed.
Student membership on executive or
tenure committees is the only solution
to this conflict of interests class. The
faculty would no more give to students
the right to decide on professors' quali-
fications than the students should cede
to faculty members the full voice over
the quality of a man's teaching.
An advisory voice is clearly not suf-
ficient. An advisory mechanism would
not give students any assurance that
their recommendations were playing an
appropriately significant role. Rather,
joint committees should be formed, stu-
dents forming a subcommittee to discuss
and report on teaching, faculty a sub-

committee to meet and report on scholar-
ship.
The relationship between the college
and depart'ment executive committees
cannot be ignored, of course. The col-
lege can and does exert a strong hand
in appointments and promotions, but
within the departments there is much
that can be done, much which students
can do.
THIS ISSUE seems to be the appropriate
culmination of student power, a voice
in the area of the central concern of

N THE COURSE of a visit to New York earlier
this week, Hubert Humphrey staged an inform-
al pilgrimage to the halls of the United Nations.
If he had been the man who had won the Presi-
dential election, his visit - and the impassioned
remarks he delivered to UN personnel about the en-
during meaning and mission of the institution -
would have been big world-wide news. Instead the
event was treated as a social note or a footnote, or
totally ignored.
But for many veteran UN hands, the occasion
was far more than ceremonial or sentimental. For
it underlined the ambiguity and doubt that sur-
rounds President-elect Nixon's conception of the
relationship of his Administration to the world or-
ganization. These uncertainities were enhanced by
his designation of Robert Murphy as his foreign
policy adviser during the transition;Murphy is on
record as deprecating the UN's value and even
crisply suggesting that the world would suffer no
irreparable loss if it ceased to exist.
IN RESPONSE to inquiry UN officials merely
say without comment that, in the post-election era,
neither the President-elect nor- any of his emissar-
ies has yet signified any desire for consultation
with Secretary General U Thant and his associates.
It is possible, of course, that Nixon is unfamiliar
with the protocol under which heads of state are
obliged to initiate such meetings, or that he believes
such a step should be delayed until he has formally
assumed office.
But other circumstances give the non-recogni-
tion to date a more conspicuous and disturbing
quality.
Thus, a search of the journalistic archives re-
veals no point at which Nixon. throughout his long
public life, has ever entered the UN building. Con-
ceivably he participated incognito in a guided sight-
seeing tour at some moment of curiosity, but such
an event is unrecorded,
MOREOVER an examination of the two major
campaign volumes released during the Nixon cam-
paign-one called "Nixon on the Issues" and the
other "Nixon Speaks Out"-reveals almost total
obliviousness to the UN's existence.
In neither does the UN rate evena special head-
ing in the enumeration of the many topics on which
he has spoken (ranging from "Peace" to "Respect
Letteros:

A study of the clipping-folder in our morgue
entitled "Richard Nixon-UN" produced exactly six
fragments. One, dated September 23, 1960, quoted
him as favoring "the establishment of a permanent
military force under the United Nations." But he
apparently never reverted to the theme; the other
brief citations reiterated his opposition to a Peking
presence.
WHILE NIXON'S AVOIDANCE of any extended
remarks on the UN can hardly be deemed encourag-
ing, no evidence was found in these researches that
he has ever joined in the frenzied anti-UN rhetoric
long fashionable among right-wing Republicans. It
is as if he had systematically chosen to remain
aloof from the controversies surrounding the or-
ganization, and had asked his speech-writers and
press agents to pretend that the UN's existence had
not yet been officially called to his attention. In
the collected and selected recitations and writings
of the new President, the UN essentially emerges
as a non-thing, worthy of the studied inattention
politicians now accord the Women's Christian Tem-
perance Union or the Socialist Workers Party.
But an ommission or neglect that might have
remained unnoticed for a while has been under-
scored by Mr. Humphrey's UN appearance and the
warmth of the response it evoked. Consider what
the impact would have been if the visitor had been
Mr. Nixon.
BEFORE TOO LONG the President-elect will
have to assume some meaningful posture toward an
institution that still symbolizes so much of the hope
of mankind, and so many of whose constituent ele-
ments are awaiting a sign. What he does-or fails
to do-will be one of the more tangible clues to the
future. In much of the world his ascendancy has
created apprehensions about a resurgence of mind-
less nationalism and militarism, and those fears are
manifest in many UN delegations. They will not be
resolved by reports that he offered the UN Ambas-
sadorship to Mr. Humphrey '(who could hardly
have been expected to accept it) or some other old
UN friend. No appointment will be meaningful until
Mr. Nixon gives some word that he views the UN
as a serious place rather than as political outer
space.
(Copyright, 1968, New York Post)
0a
option

for America" and "Pornography"). In the first 175-
page volume the only reference to the UN occurs
in a declaration opposing the admission of Red
China; in the s e c o n d (291 pages of collected
speeches) I find literally no mention of the UN.
Indeed, even in his discussions of the Korean
War, he omits any notation that this was the first
war in history waged under the UN banner in the
name of collective security; the passage merely em-
bodies the complaint that Americans carried the
burden of the fighting. In a cryptic reference to
the futility of China's permanent exclusion from
"the family of nations," he somehow avoided men-
tioning the name of the family.

4

The

Pot pourri

E

To the Editor:
THE RECENT enunciation by a
number of students of a brave
new principle of higher education
certainly merits consideration.
This principle, namely the "stu-
dent's right to conduct his aca-
demic life as he chooses," has ad-
mittedly not yet been discovered
by our faculty, who have b e e n
blinded by the premise that some
knowledge is a prerequisite to the
development of wisdom. But this
is no reason to reject out of hand
a novel, and possibly revolution-
ary, concept of learning. Certainly
the enormous resources of o u r
University should make it possible
to experiment with a mini-pilot-
program in this direction!
THE PROGRAM would of course
be organized about a new degree-
I would suggest a Resident in Arts.
There might be several such de-
grees offered, for example R.A. 2,
R.A. 3, R.A. 4, depending on how
long a student "resided" at the
University. Naturally, there would
be no hours or course require-
ments for receiving a suitably-em-
bossed parchment with such a
designation. To make this quite
clear, the concept of a "distribu-
Ition - concentration requirement"
would be explicitly replaced by a
"potpourri option." The students
in such a program might well be
given a much greater latitude in
organizing and conducting their
courses; perhaps they might even
teach the courses themselves. Fur-
thermore. would it not be fairer
and more practical to have stu-
dentscdecide by majority voteuon
the content 'of any particular
course? It is quite clear that laws
of physics, for instance, derived
from such a participatory demo-
cratic procedure would be far
more acceptable, and therefore
valid, than those which must be
received by compulsion.
I realize that there will be many
who will jump to criticize these
seminal ideas, no doubt on the
grounds that the University's re-
sources are limited and. that the
success of such a program is un-
certain at best. On the first point,
I would say that an institution of
our size and breadth should have
room for every kind of program,
certainly for one which has such
tremendous implications for rev-
olutionizing graduate education
(notathe least of which wouldrbe
the awarding of a much more rel-
evant degree, the D. o. P., Doctor
of Potentiality, than those now of-
fered). And as to "success," why
be bound by one of society's ar-
bitrary middle-class values? After
all, a little failure might be insti-
tutionally therapeutic.
-Prof. S. Krimm
Department of Physics
Nov. 25
Not Sieglinde!
To the Editor:
MY DAUGHTER, who studies in
Ann Arbor, is sending me

Naturally it was Faust's Gretchen
who was singing her song "am
Spinnrad" and not Siegmund's
"Sieglinde." Not only that, there
was no Spinnrad existing at the
prehistoric time when Wagner's
"Walkuere" is taking place but
Sieglinde just would not have had
the time to sit and sing at the
Spinnrad. Her excitement starts at
the very beginning of her entrance
in the first act when she finds the
strange man at the fireplace who
is her long lost brother Siegmund
and whom she falls in love with.
And where would we be if Sieg-
linde would have killed her child
as poor Gretchen did? Siegfried
would never have been born and
the world would miss the operas
Siegfried and Goetterdaemmerung
in which she plays a leading role.
Therefore please, to put us music
lovers at ease, no "Sieglinde am
Spinnrad" any more!
-Walter Strauss
Nov. 27
Smorgasbord
To the Editor:
THE DISCUSSION about the
language requirement seems
to have got stuck in the mud. On
the one hand, there is the estab-
lishment, insisting on the great
educational merits of knowing at
least one other language (Goethe

even thought that for every lan-
guage you knew you were a new
and different kind of human
being); on the other hand, there
are the radical abolitionists, re-
iterating their right to choose
their own kind of education and
not be coerced.
By now it should be clear that
the two parties arerlargely talking
past each other. For the abolition-
ists have not gone on record deny-
ing the possible virtue of knowing
another language; they are
against being taught badly and
against being told what they have
to be taught. And the establish-
ment has not, to my knowledge,
made a plain case for coercion;
although coercion is what they
seem in fact torbe practising. It
might help to trace some of tihe
implications of this dilemma.
THE ABOLITIONIST'S idea of
a university seems to be some
giganticintellectual smorgas-
bord which justifies its existence
by providing a maximal choice
of morcels out of which the radi-
cal intellectual gourmet can com-
bine his educational repas. An in-,
tellectual smorgasbord a univer-
sity certainly is and this is neither
its least attractive nor its least
important aspect. To taste one's
way through its offerings, avoiding
stale dishes and anything over-
spiced or underspiced, too homely

or (particularly) too exotic, prom-
ises to be stimulating and reward-
ing. It may also be perfectly re-
spectable intellectually.
But providing an exciting menu
of courses is not a university's
only function. It also accumulates
and distributes information, it oc-
casionally adds a brick to what
is know anywhere, it prepares its
students for various roles and
functions etc, etc. It also hands
out degrees. And this is the point
where our radicals do not seem to
me to be radical enough. They
want to have their cake and eat
it too. They want their own, rad-
ically uncoerced education, but-
Just like mom and pop-they also
want a degree. And just like mom's
and pop's, this degree must come
from a nationally recognised uni-
versity.
NOW, BY CONFERRING a de-
gree, a university is in effect say-
ing the person so singled out 1)
has mastered a certain body of
knowledge, 2) has acquired a cer-
tain number of skills, 3) has
reached a certain degree of ma-
turity, and 4) has thereby intel-
lectually outgrown the provincial
perspective with which we are all
very naturally born. Today, most
American universities deserving
that name include in their degree
definition a knowledge of one
language and culture other than

"First of all, can she support me in the manner to
which I hove become accustomed?"
'4
--

one's own. Modest though this is,
this was not always so, and there
are, I am told, very good reasons
why the tradition of learning for-
eign languages is still so striking-
ly weak-kneed and undernourished
in this country. If the reasons for
this fact are good, the conse-
quences, it should by now be clear,
are devastatingly bad. For it is
precisely 19th century isolationist
educational philosophy in unholy
alliance with 20th century global
power politics that have maneu-
vered this country into its present
fix. It will not do to be progressive
and critical about the one, and yet
reactionary and complacent about
the other. It makes no sense rad-
ically to protest the war, while
strengthening the intellectual
isolationism that keeps it going.
Developing a national consci-
ence presupposes devolping greater
international awareness. It is
these exigencies which alone seem
to me to justify a degree of coer-
cion-even though Igagree that
such coercion should be kept to
a minimum. But how can coercing
a student to take a look beyond the
backyard fence of his native cul-
ture be exceeding this minimum--
at a time when our missiles and
bombers, our hand-grenades and
flame-throwers point or reach
across that fence every day?
AS FAR as I know, there is no
law barring a student from spend-
ing four years at the university
taking nothing but the exciting
courses he wishes to take. If he
is bourgeois enough, also to want
a degree-and incurious enough
not to want to learn a -language--
there are still plenty of colleges
across the country that do ,not
include, in their definition of a
student worthy of graduation, a
knowledge of another language or
culture. Why, then, should the
University feel obliged to lower its
standards to cater to self-per-
petuating provincialism?
Ideally, ,a working knowledge of
a second language should be an
entrance requirement fdr any
good university. (Most European
universities, including Oxford, re-
quire Latin and one modern lan-
guage, Cambridge any two lan-
guages etc.) One of the four un-
dergraduate years might then
profitably be spent abroad, put-
ting this knoweldge to use and
widening a student's horizon. Thre
curriculum of the average Amer-
ican high school being what it is,
this will remain utopia for some
time t9 come.
In the meantime, American uni-
versities will have to do, alas,
what the high schools ought to,
but cannot or will not do. They
may even have to use coercion to
teach students, at long last, the
languageswhich they couldhave
been taught, and much, more
painlessly, at an earlier age. Now
if the universities teach these lan-
guages badly, ways must indeed be
found, and strong pressures ap-

A"
*'

4

Back to Top

© 2017 Regents of the University of Michigan