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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Mailbag: Sept. 17

Students paying for an education, not a service

I’m rarely spurred to react to something I read in the Wildcat, but I did blink at the “”rant”” of Chris Ward on attendance that you published today (“”Attendance policies don’t have a place in college setting,”” Sept. 16, 2009). Not that I don’t agree with him on some issues — such as the fact that attendance should not be a substitute for a high-quality, learner-centered experience that would make students want to come to class and be involved in what goes on in the classroom. But his statement that “”we’re paying for a service”” is at the heart of a lot of problems at this university and others. I believe what he is actually paying for is an education, and that carries with it obligations from the students as well as the professors. One of those obligations is civility, which is violated when students blow off class or arrive late. Students quite often complain to me about the disruption of students coming late and ask for me to enforce an attendance policy and encourage promptness, so the discontent does not just rest with faculty.

Chris Impey

University Distinguished Professor

Department of Astronomy

Politics have no bearing on professors’ ability to teach

The key to diversity on campus is in respecting others’ opinions, not in establishing a set of quotas based on party or ideology. As a member of the political science faculty who is a registered Republican, I believe that the use of quotas in hiring professors undermines the mission of this campus, that being providing the best education possible. I appreciate the concern and diligence of yesterday’s article (“”From political science to just politics,”” Sept. 16. 2009). However, I believe that the writer misses the point. Diversity is not established through quotas, but through respect. Part of higher education is learning how to understand an issue, think critically about it and then persuade others to agree with you based on fact and reason. More important in this pursuit than the party registration of the professor is their willingness to engage students on this level and their ability to foster respectful discussion about controversial topics in the classroom. Students who think through issues for themselves and pursue truth for its own sake, not in order to get a grade, cannot be indoctrinated by a professor, liberal or otherwise. As a conservative, I would argue that the best course of action is not to attack or react negatively to others’ ideas but to compel them with well-thought-out ideas and sound solutions of your own. The beliefs that you establish in college will affect your choices for the rest of your life. My question is, what will you base those decisions on? Will you allow others to think for you because it is easy or will you seek out truth no matter what the cost? I have taught on campus for almost eight years and frankly, my experience has been that faculty and students are generally respectful of each others’ ideas, be they liberal or conservative. A good teacher is not liberal, a good teacher is not conservative, a good teacher knows the material and presents it in a balanced manner. Overall this has been my experience serving on the UA faculty.

 

Ethan Orr

Adjunct Instructor

Political Science Department

 

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