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September 04, 1980 - Image 84

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-04

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I

Fage 10-B-Thursday, September 4, 1980-The Michigan Daily

Liberal arts
graduates
valuable
to society?
By LORENZO BENET
In these times of economic uncertainity and tightening
job markets, a University student might be tempted to direct
his or her education toward an easily marketable area such
as business or engineering.
But some students will still desire a liberal arts degree,
hoping for the best when it comes time to look for a job.
UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT Harold Shapiro admits that
n engineering or business graduate will be more
marketable" than a, liberal arts graduate over the next
several years, but he said the situation should not discourage
a student from entering the liberal arts.
"detting a job is only one part of an education," Shapiro
said. "Universities should continue to make liberal arts an
important part of education."
School of Education Associate Dean Carl Berger em-
phasized that an education should train a student to work
with ideas, and to address and solve complex proLlems.
"A LIBERAL ARTS education should not be something
that trains you for a specific job," said Berger, "but
something that allows you to think about your job in such a
way that it will be exciting."
The value of a liberal arts degree depends largely upon
how you perceive yourself as a human being, said Marvin
Peterson, director of the School of Education's Center for the
Study of Higher Education. He said law, business, and,
medical programs are challenged by society to think about
Inportant philosophical and societal questions.
"In these areas there is an expansion of liberal arts, not a
-decline," said Peterson.
LSA STUDENT GOVERNMENT President Dan Solomon
said a liberal arts education is vitally important if in-
dividuals wish to maintain a broad perspective on'life. He
said one of the problems with contemporary society is that it
is largely entrenched in old methods and solutions for dealing
with its complex problems.
"A liberal arts education fosters creativity and new
ideas," Solomon said.
Solomon said he sees a dichotomy developing between
technical and social segments of society. The University is
discouraging interaction between liberal arts students and
engineering students by transferring the Engineering
College to North Campus, Solomon said.
"WITH OUR SOCIETY becoming increasingly technical
with each new day, it is important that social and technical
individuals come closer together, not grow further apart,"
Solomon said. "Separation, is dangerous because groups
become isolated from each other."
Peterson pointed out that most employers will train
graduates to perform tasks on the job. The 1980s will be a
fime when universities and colleges will expand their con-
tinuing education programs to train people once they have
entered the job market, he said.
The job outlook for Ph.D. graduates in the arts and
humanities will be bleak for the next several years, Peterson
added.
"THE COMPETITION FOR jobs in these areas is in-
creasing," he said, "and universities have to adjust to the
fact that many graduates will not be going into academic
fields."
Shapiro saidit is the university's responsibility to inform
students entering these fields about their employment chan-
ces after graduation. He continued to say,,however, that it is
not the University's obligation to direct students away from
entering non-marketable fields.
Although the market for the humanities and education
fields will be tight over the next several years, Shapiro
predicted that in the late 1980s, when many older professors
willretire, the job market would loosen up.
BERGER AGREED WITH Shapiro's views, and added
that the number of people entering the teaching field is
declining and there could be a shortage of qualified
professors towards the end of the decade.
"There are currently shortages of teachers in the math,
science, and special education fields, especially on the
secondary and pre-secondary level," he noted. "We're
always getting calls from schools looking for people to teach
in these areas."
Berger also said universities are educating un-
dergraduates to be doctors and lawyers although there is
heavy demand for qualified students in other fields, such as
the public health professions. Universities have to expose
students to these other fields, said Berger.
According to Peterson, academicians who do not find em-

ployment at a university have the option of working for
private research firms and non-profit organizations. He said
universities have been so successful at educating scholars
that they have not only created their own competition, but
also provided new employment alternatives for their studen-
ts.

Declining
enrollments
to have little

4

Daily Photo by JIM KRUZ
ONE OF THE FIRST PLACES most students and faculty members go to conduct research is the Harlan Hatcher
Graduate Library, which holds more than 2,242,280 volumes. The University's academic library consists of about
5,479,880 volumes, the fourth largest university collection in the country.
Research may suffer in '80s

By LORENZO BENET
With the economic picture for the
country already bleak,. the nation's
colleges are finding themselves faced
with declining enrollments, tighter
budgets, and aging faculty. But the
University expects to continue its
scholarly endeavors, despite signs in-
dicating increased teaching and ad-
ministrative loads. How the University
decides to deal with this situation will
be a critical issue in the 1980s.
University President Harold Shapiro
said that while he believes the Univer-
sity should increase its present level of
research, such an increase will not af-
fect the quality of teaching.
Some University officials say the
declining enrollment rates forecast for

students attending classes, professors
must spend more time at their teaching
duties, which restricts their research
work.
"Increased teaching loads may
destroy the University's research func-
tion," Brazer said. "How the Univer-
sity deals with this conflict depends on
how it perceives its responsibility to
society."
Because the University will be facing
a tighter budget in the 1980s, fewer
faculty will be hired, causing a
"generation gap" between faculty and
students. As this gap between older
professors and younger students
widens, the exchange of ideas between
the two groups may become more
limited, according to Marvin Peterson,

"I DON'T SEE a dichotomy between
the faculty and administration," he
said. "I look upon President 'Shapiro
and Vice-President of Academic Af-
fairs Billy Frye as colleagues, not as
employers. If there were serious
problems I wouldn't be interested in
having a third party arguing for me."
Some faculty and administrators fear
more interference in University affairs
from the federal government. Accor-
ding to School of Education Dean Joan
Stark, increased external interference
may restrict the responses to problems
taken by universities everywhere.
Stark said one of the key problems
facing research is the erratic and dic-
tatorial nature of the federal govern-
ment's funding of higher education

effect on 'U'
By LORENZO BENET
Enrollments will decline by as much as 15 per cent at
many higher education institutions nationwide in the coming
decade, but this trend will have little effect on the University,4
according to several University officials.
This opinion coincides with a study published in the
Chronicle of Higher Education earlier this year. The report
said major research universities and highly selective liberal
arts colleges will be least vulnerable to the trend.
Economics Prof. Harvey Brazer, the chairman for the
Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty, said that
since the number of applications the University currently
receives far exceeds the number of students that can be ad-
mitted to most of the University's schools and colleges,
declining enrollments will have little effect.
"THERE WILL ALWAYS be an excess of applications for
law, medical, and other professional schools," noted Brazer,
"but the College of LSA may have to trade off its admissions
standards if it wishes to maintain its enrollment."
Coincidentally, the Chronicle report also said first rank
universities, like Michigan, are in a position to reduce their
admissions standards to adjust to declining enrollments.
However, University President Harold Shapiro said he would
rather see the University's schools and colleges reduce their
enrollment to maintain a high-quality student body ralther
than decrease admissions standards to maintain enrollments
"If we wish to maintain our standards, there will be some
impact, but not a major one," he said. "For the last five
years we've been purposely dropping our enrollment in
several undergraduate and graduate programs, including
pharmacy, education, speech and nursing."
He continued to say some of these programs cut their
enrollments in an effort to improve the ratio of faculty-to-
students, thus upgrading the quality of the program.
THE UNIVERSITY IS in a relatively fortunate position
compared to most other institutions. Some schools will
struggle for survival and may exaggerate the quality of their
programs in attempts to bolster sagging enrollments.
"The danger that occurs when supply exceeds demand in,
education is fraud," explained Marvin Peterson, director of
the School of Education's Center for the Study of Higher
Education. "There are loads of marginal institutions
providing marginal educations and reporting promising
things that they can't deliver on, like job placement."
Most of the talk surrounding the enrollment issue dwells
on a reduction in student quality, fraudulent reporting by
second rate institutions, and the demise of colleges and
universities that can't compete with others, Peterson con-
tinued. Despite these results, there will be some positive ef-
fects from declining enrollments.he said.
"SINCE THE NORTHEAST and Midwest will be hit har-
dest by declining enrollments and other financial woes, in-
stitutions in these areas will suffer more than those in the
South and Southwest," Peterson explained. "Most of the top
institutions are in the Midwest and the East; now the
marginal schools in the South and Southwest will have a
chance to catch up with us, and this is good."
Another positive effect of declining enrollments, he said,
will be that programs in the arts and humanities will become
more accessible to women and minorities. In the past, he
said, Ph.D. programs in these fields were too competitive,
and now admissions standards will begin to ease.
In addition, Peterson said declining enrollments will force
universities and colleges to actively recruit older students
to make up f~r the loss of college-aged students.
"Currently our educational system is segregated," obser-
ved Peterson. "You have teenagers, college-aged students
and older people all in different educational settings."
HE SAID BOTH young and old students will benefit fron:
taking classes together. Peterson added he sees the con-'
tinued expansion of continuing education programs for
people in the work force.
"I'm not sure the University faculty and administration
are aware of these benefits," he said. "When you're at a,
university that is essentially invulnerable from these
issues, you become isolated."
This isolation factor could lull the University into a false
sense of security, allowing administrators to think they have
an adequate number of faculty for the coming decade.
According to School of Education Associate Dean Carl
Berger, the number of people entering the education field is
declining. He said when older professors start to retired in
the mid-1980's, there could be a severe shortage of qualified
candidates for faculty appointments.
The bottom line, said School of Education Dean Joan
Stark, is that the country hs more universitiesthan it needs
many of which may cease to operate in the 1980's.

Education in the 1980:

the University will ease the faculty's
heavy teaching burden, leaving it freer
for research activities.
According to Carl Berger, associate
dean of the school of education, in the
late 1960s, the University experienced a
rise of enrollment among the 18-to 20-
year-old age group, but didn't have
enough professors to teach the in-
creased number of students.
"Back then, the teaching function
detracted from the researach fun-
ction," Berger said. "With a drop in
student enrollment, perhaps now we
can address some of the research
problems we could not adequately ad-
dress in the past."
BUT NOT ALL faculty members
agree that the University can effec-
tively stress both teaching and re-
search.
Economics Prof. Harvey Brazer,
chairman of the Committee on the
Economic Status of the Faculty, said he
foresees a growth in faculty teaching
loads in some departments, that will
directly interfere with faculty mem-
bers' research work.
"Tight budgets and little hiring of
new faculty spells out increased
teaching loads," explained Brazer.
"This will affect the quality and quan-
tity of research."
Brazer noted the University's
economics department's enrollment is
increasing, despite predictions of
declining enrollments for the college of
LSA. He explained that with more

director of the Center for the Study of
Higher Education.
"MUCH OF (this issue) depends on
how wide the' age gap grows, general
world events, and what student in-
terests will be in the coming years,"
Peterson said.
In addition, as the University faculty
ages, it may become less productive in
the area of research. Peterson said it is
difficult for faculty members to main-
tain producitivity in both teaching and
research as they grow older, but he said
producitivity varies with both the in-
dividual and the field of study.
"There is some evidence to indicate
that natural science faculty produce the
most in their early years, while
professors in the social sciences appear
to be most productive in their mid-to-
late years," Peterson said.
A KEY ISSUE facing the University
faculty, said Brazer, is that faculty
salaries are falling behind in their pur-
chasing power, affecting both teaching
and research.
"Our income is falling behind the
consumer price index at the rate of five
to eight per cent per year," said
Brazer.
"This puts a burden on faculty mem-
bers to find other sources of income,
which ultimately detracts from the
amount of time we can put into teaching
and research."
Despite the problems surrounding
faculty salaries, Brazer said he does
not forsee a faculty union.

projects. She said there are an ex-
cessive number of federal regulations
which force universities to spend just as
much money on paper work as on
research itself.
VICE-PRESIDENT for Research
Charles Overberger said the govern-
ment has increased its scrutiny of
University research over the last ten
years in two wasys. First, the federal
government has called for an accoun-
ting of the context in which research is
carried out, Overberger said, adding
that the government also wants a
stricter financial audit of the money
spent on the projects.
"Federal accountability has to be
considered as we conduct research," he
said. "But we don't want the agency
we're dealing with to tell us exactly how
to go about our work. We want a lot of
flelxibility for the faculty to carry out
their research."
OVERBERGER ALSO said some of
the accounting procedures demanded
by the government do not always fit in-
to the structure and thought of Univer-
sity procedure.
Peterson agreed with this assess-
ment.
"These tight procedural and contrac-
tual controls make it difficult for a
professor to integrate his teaching and
research work," said Peterson. "The
work schedules, deadlines, and other
procedures required by the government
force professors to devote all their time
to the project, and little or no time to
teaching."

TAs must practice what they preach

By LORENZO BENET
Question: What element of the Uni-
versity must simultaneously take on
the teaching burdens of a faculty mem-
ber and the studying hassles of a
student? Answer: the Teaching
Assistant (TA).
University TAs are saddled with
much of the responsibility for running
introductory courses. Although specific
responsibilities vary by department,
TAs spend much of their time
preparing lectures, grading exams an-
papers, and supervising labs and
discussion sections for professors.
Some TAs even teach courses indepen-
dent of a faculty member.
They also must take classes in one of
the University graduate schools. By
playing the dual role of student-
teacher, TAs can knock off a good sized
chuck of their tuition bill, as well as
gain hands-on experience as instruc-
tors.
SINCE TAs INSTRUCT many 100-
and 200-level courses, the University

questions. I often had the feeling they
worked on their own material before
they prepared lessons for us," she said.
ACCORDING TO David Zweig, a doc-
toral candidate and TA in the political
science department, one of the primary
problems TAs encounter is the issue of
"your time vs. my time." "TAs have
their own deadlines to meet, so often
there are time constraints placed on
TAs,"'he said.
For example, Zweig said his program
involves attending three years of
classes with heavy reading and writing
workloads, followed by one year of
preparing for "prelims" (constructing
a dissertation outline and passing a
series of oral and written exams), then
three years of researching and writing
the dissertation, which can often be as
long as 200 pages.
While some students feel their TAs
have been poor, others maintain
they're quite competent.
"SOME OF THE TAs I've had,"
noted Engineering senior Gloria Lee,

junior Robert Gantz, is foreign TAs.
"Some of them don't speak English too
well, which makes them very difficult
to understand," he said.
"IT'S HARD ENOUGH grasping math
and chemistry material without having
the added problem of trying to interpret
what the TA is trying to say," Warholak
added. "Whenever I get a foreign-TA, I
transfer right out of the class."'
Despite these problems, students
have said TAs are both more receptive
to their questions and frequently more
accessible outside of the classroom
than professors.
"What I like best about teaching a
language," explained George Greenia,
Ph.D. canidate and TA in the spanish
program, "is that you can develop an
emotional rapport with your class
because you see them so often (classes
meet five times per week) and can talk
about anything, so long as you stick to
spanish."
GREENIA STRESSED that a TA
must downplay his role as an authority

presence. "Some guys can't handle
being instructed by a young woman, so
they act rebellious." She adIded that it's
easier for male TAs to command
authority. "Sometimes I get heckled,
usually a few guys will lead and the rest
will follow suit, I doubt they would pull
that kind of stuff with a male instructor.
ALTHOUGH TAs WILL encounter
various problems with students, more
often than not their big problems lay
with their faculty supervisors.
"I've never encountered the problem
myself, but some TAs have told me they
teach from syllabi that are more than
five years old," noted Zweig. "As a
graduate student, you have the oppor-
tunity to see new information, so it can
be frustrating teaching outdated stuff."
He said once a faculty member is
tenured, he or she may lose incentive to
maintain an updated syllabus, but ad-
ded, "it is only a minority of professors
that have not gone over their syllabi or
changed their approaches."
"This problem occurs occasionally of

A

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