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April 21, 1998 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-21

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18 - The Michigan, Daily - Tuesday, April 21, 1998


Continued from Page 1.
"We do perceive as a problem that senior facul-
ty members ... have not been available to under-
graduate students," said Kenny, who is also presi-
dent of State University of New York at Stony
Brook. "These are great institutions, but there are
things we can do better."
Lincoln Faller, the University's associate dean for
undergraduate education, said the idea that research
and education are closely linked at the University and
that one cannot survive without the other.
"If you have a university that cared only about
research, you'd have to ask why have a university
at all. Why not just have a think tank?" Faller
asked. "There needs to be a balancing act. We try
to maintain that balancing act"
But the commission found that many students
do not benefit from that balancing act, and instead
they move through the institution, not fulfilling
their potential.
"Many students graduate having accumulated
whatever number of courses is required, but still
lacking a coherent body of knowledge or any

inkling as to how one sort of information might
relate to others," the report said.
The commission returned a great deal of data on
the experience of first-year students at research
institutions, saying they suffered most from the
problems in such schools.
Chemistry Prof. Thomas Dunn said most
first-year students are not ready for major
research projects, but the University has done a
good job of making these projects available.
"There is a certain degree of expertise you need
to do research. There is no way all freshmen are
ready for research," Dunn said.
But Dunn said the University is not as prob-
lematic as many of the research institutions the
report discusses.
Education "did suffer for a period of time,"
Dunn said. "But now we're a little ahead of the
In a presentation to the University Board of
Regents last July, Vice President for Research
Frederick Neidhardt said the University must
ensure the link between education and research to
best maintain the University's reputation.
"As one of the nation's vanguard research uni-

versities and leading educational institutions, the
University of Michigan assumes a special respon-
sibility for ensuring that our extensive effort in
research, scholarship and creative activity adds
value to the education of our undergraduate stu-
dents," Neidhardt said.
In addition to identifying problems, the com-
mission suggested 10 ways to improve undergrad-
uate education at these institutions.
"Our proposal makes research the mode of edu-
cation for all students," Kenny said. "We would
like to see professors spend time with smaller
groups of students.",
Kenny said some schools offer excellent stu-
dent-instructor interaction, but professors often do
not interact with undergraduates. Another of the
commission's suggestions was for every student to
have a professor as a mentor, Kenny said.
The University works hard to maintain its
undergraduate population because it is the life-line
of the entire University, Faller said.
"Without being able to recruit some of the best
undergraduates in the country, we wouldn't be able
to maintain our excellence," Faller said.
The University has addressed the problems

posed by continuing research with many new pro-
grams. The Undergraduate Research Opportunity
Program and the First-Year Seminar program are
two such opportunities for students to work close-
ly with higher level faculty, Faller said.
There are 160 first-year seminars offered to
incoming students, all taught by full professors.
Faller said these seminars offer more than enough
spots for all incoming students.
Although these experiences with professors are
important, Faller defended the graduate student
instructors who many students deal with on a reg-
ular basis.
"NV recruit some of the best people possible for
our graduate program," Faller said.
But the report said GSIs and other teachers
often times cannot stimulate learning among their
"Some of their instructors are likely to be badly
trained or even untrained teaching assistants who
are groping their way toward a teaching technique;
some others may be tenured drones who deliver set
lectures from yellowcd notes, making no effort to
engage the bored minds of the students in front of
them," the report said.

Continued from Page 1


friends:' Mandel said.
The impact of two lawsuits filed
against the University this past year that
challenge the University's use of race as
a factor in admissions has taught many
lessons to graduating seniors.
Leavitt said affirmative action "has
been a theme of the year, and that's
reflected in the commencement speak
Rose said the issues of affirmative
action, along with the 10-percent,
increase in undergraduate applications
for Fall 1998, will be something many ;
graduates think about as they enter the
"I think admissions is importantto
many of us, more the process thanthe
numbers," Rose said. "For seniors
especially those moving into the
workplace ... understanding what
going on in our own University is
Manske said she hopes activism.
will remain a part of graduates'lives-
after they leave the University can
"I hope people will continue
activism and interest wherever they
go into the real world," Manske
Many students said the deaths of LSA%
senior Tamara Williams and Michigan
wrestler Jefferey Reese last semester will
remain sobering reminders of life, but
will not stay in the forefront of most stu
dents' memories.
"I think people in the long run
remember more of the positive things."'$
said LSA senior Carrie Horn. .Oft
course, people will remember some of
the bad things that come along with our,
Mandel said student deaths will no
be remembered as prominently as
events like the Michigan football
national championship.
"I think that with some of the amaz-
ing highs this year, that will be ovei
shadowed a bit," Mandel said.
Despite the variety and extreme
nature of all the events that have
occurred in the past four years, no one
event has truly bonded the senior claJ
Horn said.
"Nothing ever quite brings the senior
class together," Horn said. "There are
things like Diag Days today and t6mor-
row, but I think making seniors days
every day of the semester would bring
(the class) together."

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