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Letters to the Editor

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday Apr. 19, 2002

Research equals money

This is a response to the April 18 Wildcat article entitled, "Top teacher must publish or leave," by Cyndy Cole. First of all, I was very disappointed to see that a teacher who obviously cares about his students and is a true mentor for others could get fired for not publishing. I understand that this is a Research I school, and therefore, it is important for the teachers at the university do research. But, I also see that the reason why research is so important comes down to one word: MONEY. Research brings in grant money, which in turn helps to reduce the costs that the university must shell out for resources. But, are we as a society every going to realize that money is not what this life is about? To me, life is a gift that I have been given, and the reason why I am here is to support others and listen to the students who are going through the trials and tribulations of college. Money is not going to matter the day I die! We need to start supporting teachers such as Dr. Todd in his endeavors. So what if he doesn't publish and meet the money-hungry standards of this university! He is doing something for the students that is more important than putting something out there with his name attached to it. Wake up and smell the fresh air of human kindness! Aren't the students the ones who are paying to attend school here? I can guarantee you that they would rather interact with a teacher who cares about them vs. a teacher who is so into his/her research that he/she doesn't care about the students. I know "teachers" such as this. They spend about 95 percent of their time doing research and 5 percent teaching. And, if they would rather not teach, they "buy out" and pay a certain amount of money from their salary so that an adjunct teacher will teach the course for them. How pathetic!

Before you make the mistake and fire a wonderful teacher, you need to ask yourself this question: If a teacher who spends 90 percent of the time doing research and 10 percent teaching were violating his 50 percent research/50 percent teaching contract, would you fire him? Clearly, you would not.

Colleen M. Kopytek
family studies and human development graduate student

Todd needs to do research

Contrary to the seemingly overwhelming opinion that Dr. James Todd should not have to publish to retain his position, I believe that he should. I had the unfortunate experience of taking political science 201 class during the most recent presidential election taught by Todd. Although he clearly stated his ideology leans toward the left, I had no idea what I was in for. The class material was basic government and law, material I learned in high school, but that was not the focus integral in Todd's lectures. Instead, I found nothing more than politically schizophrenic, dogmatic and unscrupulous diatribe that bordered on anarchism. I found my grade suffered because of my Republican roots - and no, I do not belong to the fanatical right wing, where Christian fundamentalism seems to rule over political thought - I am a moderate Republican.

Class was taught with an almost resentful tone toward modern-day politics, which absolutely flabbergasted me. Was this not supposed to be a class that helped students with little or no political education? Instead, the lecture hall was morphed into a microcosm of political satire, bordering on an entity of indifference. I saw naive students gung-ho at the beginning of the semester recoil into rabid anti-government activists. This is not positive teaching, and although many may disagree with me, this is not the most conducive manner in which to orchestrate a lower-tier political science course.

On another note, political science teachers are notoriously easy targets for nay-sayers who shrug them off as being cowardly for veiling themselves in the infinite macrocosms that are state universities. These critics say that their passivity is a failure in displaying conviction or simply a fear of failure. This is a major reason why political science teachers are asked to publish and therefore legitimize their work. The best always do. Dr. Todd responded to his ultimatum with the decree that he "does more good working with students than publishing in some second or third grade journal that no one will read." Why won't anyone read his work if it is thought-provoking and valid? I commend Todd on his bonafide student relations, but this isn't kindergarten and those who want babysitters and bumblers should head north to ASU. On a final note, this is not a bitter letter over an insignificant C in a class that means nothing to my degrees. This is the devil's advocate rationalizing a decision by the political science department criticized by many students but applauded by me. A political science teacher at a major university needs to justify and validate his position and work to the general public, just as every public servant from the lowliest of peons to the president must, so why should Dr. Todd be the exception? So, as my high school football coach used to scream at us, I will end with two simple words of inspiration: Sack UP.

Rudolph D. Randa
junior majoring in economics and Italian

Education should be top priority

Kudos to not only Dr. James Todd, but to undergraduate Kat McClernan for her astute and well-written letter to the editor on April 15. As an alumnus of the university who has personally benefited from Dr. Todd's dedication to his students, it would be extremely short-sighted for the political science department to discreetly show him the door. A state-sponsored undergraduate school owes more to its undergraduates than foisting young and inexperienced TAs upon the undergraduate masses engaged in their pursuit of a degree. There is no denying that research and publication dollars are an integral portion of the success of a university.

Regrettably, turning out refined and knowledgeable young men and women by the university seems of less import in today's society. For the current undergraduates and the university at large, I hope that Dr. Todd will opt to continue to stay the course and remain a staple within the political science department.

Theodore Harper
UA class of 1988


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