By Cara Miller
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Not only did the 1970s breed lava lamps, Saturday Night Fever and wide lapels, but it was also an era of technology, higher education and Research I universities.
The actual golden age of science began on Oct. 3, 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, its space satellite, according to an article in the Jan.-Feb. 1994 issue of Academe magazine.
However, this era was darkened by the Vietnam War and a new ideology of social justice spread across campuses nationwide, downgrading research, the article states.
It is during this disenchantment with research that the University of Arizona took advantage of the research openings abandoned by other universities.
The UA achieved Research I status in the mid-1980's, said Charles Geoffrion, associate research vice president. A Research I university offers a doctoral degree program with 50 doctorates per year and brings in over 45 million dollars in research grants.
The UA currently draws $236 million yearly in research grants, statesProfile '93, an annual summary of total grant money received and spent by the school.
"This university would be a very different university without research," Geoffrion said. "If we did away with research grants, we would slip into the ranks of lesser-known universities."
Earlier this month, a report from the Social and Behavioral Sciences Strategic Planning Committee recommended the college cut three programs Ä the Journalism department, the Communication graduate program and the Near Eastern Studies graduate program Ä in part because the three were not connected to a strong and central research program.
But Geoffrion said he hopes people do not assume that research and teaching are separate.
"They go hand in hand and both bene- fit from being healthy and alive," he said.
Jory Hancock, acting chair of the UA's Committee on Dance, agreed.
"Research is not just working with test tubes or star gazing Ä there are a multitude of definitions for research," Hancock said.
In last spring's report from the Program for the Assessment of Institutional Priorities, which evaluated university programs, four out of five units in the Fine Arts department exceeded criteria for centrality to the mission of the university.
"This wouldn't have happened if fine arts weren't considered to be an important part of the university," Hancock said.
"Both disciplines take incredibly creative minds. You can't invent a rocket ship unless you know what makes a plane fly, and you can't create a symphony unless you know something about the violin," he said.
The Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, a Research I university since the early 1970's, also believes the liberal arts are an important part of a well-rounded education, said Demetrius Paris, Georgia Tech vice president for research.
"A research university offers a service to society in its technical offerings as well as educated people with new knowledge that looks beyond research," Paris said.
"If there was more room in our program, we would require more humanities background because it is important once you get out in the real world," he said.
The UA and Georgia Tech are in a group of approximately 70 Research I universities in the nation. Arizona State University recently attained the same status.
According to the National Science Foundation, the UA ranks 13th among all public universities based on research dynamics.
Geoffrion said a Research I university is central to any student's education.
"When we look at what the university is doing, we want to be positioning people to get a job. Research is one of the major contributing factors for positioning students for a job," he said. Read Next Article