The "60 Minutes" program on CBS broadcast on Feb. 26 painted a deceiving, yet convincing, image of undergraduate education at the University of Arizona. Deception is gained wtih the loss of honesty and integrity.
"60 Minutes" stated that 87 percent of all freshman courses are taught by graduate students and part-time instructors at the UA. Eighty-seven percent is an astonishing number, yet the viewers were not informed that the calculation includes all the laboratory and discussion courses which are traditionally taught by graduate students. The question of who are teaching sophomore, junior and senior college students was not addressed in "60 Minutes." Is it valid to ignore the other three years of college education to emphasize that the undergraduate education lacks teaching from professors?
"60 Minutes" showed the shelves of scientific journals which reporter Leslie Stahl claimed that "nobody reads." The importance of research is further devalued by the message of the programÄ undergraduate education is sacrificed at the expense of research. As participants in the UA Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP), we have found that research and teaching can be complementary and synergic. UBRP offers students the opportunity to conduct scientific research in faculty laboratories. The program has enabled us to explore the realm of research, while integrating critical thinking skills and classroom knowledge.
Research is the key to the advancement of knowledge and education is key to the success of future generations. We believe that both are essential and the quality of each can be improved without endangering the other.
Dawood Baradaran Jennitte Stevens
Chen Li Kimberly Suedkamp
Undergraduate Student Advisory Group of the
Undergraduate Research Biology Program
Read Next Article