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Vol. 17  No. 21 Final Edition
Clovis Free Press
March 7, 2001
University Presidents
Overly Concerned With Fund Raising!

By Harold Levine

     CLOVIS -- Changes in society and its educational aspect over the past half century are profound, raising a fundamental concern about individual adaptability.
     When the current influence of special interests in commerce and politics is all pervasive and relentless, there is a compelling reason to question how our schools serve the younger members of society; specifically, are the latter receiving adequate instruction about the merit of logical reasoning which can help to distinguish between experts and charlatans?
     Without such a large-scale capability, the long-term prospects for a well-balanced society are dim. There is a general consensus, expressed by much oral and written means, that the priorities and objectives of the school system warrant attention.
     However, cooperation and a like-minded purpose on the part of educators, administrators and legislators is a prerequisite for any real accomplishment in this regard and appears far from assured.
     The present day institutions of higher learning resemble corporate organizations, with outsized administrative ranks and an orientation toward external audiences.
     Few university presidents manifest an educator's version of their role and most are overly concerned with fund raising, part of which is tied to athletic rather than academic programs.
     It is seldom that college presidents cite the importance of including a historical context in education, so that contemporary achievements can be viewed in a wider perspective.
     College presidents should encourage undergraduates to avoid narrow specialization and persuade their parents that broader study programs before graduation facilitate eventual job transitions.
     With a rising tide of highly technical literature, how are students made aware of a communication skill which, in their own future role as an author or speaker, will provide readers or listeners a better chance to grasp the sense, at least, of the argument?
     Both style and substance are significant and schools are the place for bringing out this fact.
     [Editor's Note: Professor Levine is professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University.]

Letter to the Editor

©2001 Clovis Free Press. All rights reserved.

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