Professor issues challenge to the Wildcat

Editor:

Lately there has been much heated debate about journalism at the UA. And not long ago we were treated to a fine example of scandalously irresponsible "journalism" in the form of a "60 Minutes" piece purporting to analyze issues of teaching, research and tenure in this university. Perhaps the most dishonest aspect of that segment was the implication that members of the faculty of science professors most of whom are very active, successful and productive in research and who garner more research funding than any other faculty in the UA are less devoted to teaching than their counterparts elsewhere in this institution.

At least as unimpressive as that CBS pseudo-report has been the commentary it triggered in this and other forums. Once again I wonder why the Wildcat fails its readers by making no effort to get the story right.

I hereby issue a public challenge to the Wildcat: be responsible enough to show that you know what responsible journalism is. Do what "60 Minutes" failed to do. Show that you care about the UA at least to report the truth about its faculty. Don't rely on anecdotes from disgruntled faculty or students; gather accurate data thoroughly and honestly about teaching and research at the UA and report equally honestly what you discover. You might start with these questions: Who is actually in the classroom to teach the courses offered in humanities, arts, social sciences and natural sciences at the UA? What fraction of courses in each area are taught by ranked faculty members? How do undergraduates majoring in each area feel about their academic experiences at the UA? How are GTAs actually used in the teaching programs of each faculty? Why are GTAs so employed and how do they really perform? Do science faculty who are devoted to research teach in the classroom or don't they?

I think I know generally what you will discover if you rise to this task with integrity and objectivity. The truth will bear little resemblance to the misleading drivel that has been promulgated by the "journalists" of CBS, the Wildcat and their ilk.

John G. Hildebrand

Regent's Professor,

Neurobiology

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