TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, April 22, 2004
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Research, teaching top dialogue
Final Vision in Action meeting focuses on faculty research and academic programs.


By Lacey Krause
Staff Reporter


Approximately 50 students, professors and staff members met Wednesday to discuss “Finding the Ideal Academic Mix.” The discussion revolved around the importance of faculty research and improving the core curriculum.

The meeting was the last of six town hall meetings organized by Chancellor Victor Boschini’s Vision in Action group. Boschini charged the group with formulating a three- to five-year strategic plan for the university.

One goal of the Academic Program Comprehensiveness/Appropriateness committee is to develop a TCU-specific definition of the “teacher/scholar model.”

“My vision of an ideal teacher/scholar is one who believes in and excels at teaching,” said Matt Orlovsky, a senior history major.

TCU should encourage faculty research by funding professors’ projects and research-related travel, Orlovsky said.

“The university has to encourage and further provide the resources for the professors to go where they want to go,” he said.

Board of Trustees member Malcolm Louden had another idea for encouraging faculty research.

“Why wouldn’t it be better to pay more and let the individual professor decide what to do with it?” Louden said.

TCU needs to develop a center for research, said Bonnie Melhart, associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering. Students and faculty could go to the center to develop ideas for projects and find funding sources.

Interdisciplinary education also needs to be addressed, said Sherrie Reynolds, director of graduate studies for the School of Education.

“It allows people to be prepared to deal with real-world problems and needs,” she said.
The university currently offers a Master of Business Administration/Doctor of Education program in educational leadership. This is an example of a niche program that fulfills a need, Reynolds said.

“There is no one preparing people in the way we are,” she said.

Other comments had to do with the TCU curriculum. The university should offer a “life skills” class, Louden said. The class would teach topics like understanding insurance and planning for retirement.

“When a person leaves TCU, we haven’t prepared them for real life,” Louden said.
The university must continue to emphasize liberal arts areas like philosophy, French and English, said Blaise Ferrandino, a music professor.

“We have to remember those forgotten areas upon which the liberal arts stand,” Ferrandino said.
Sarah Chacko/Photo Editor
Rhonda Keen-Payne, a nursing professor, responds to questions asked at the last Vision in Action meeting at noon Wednesday in the Student Center Lounge.
 
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