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Good teaching, research coincide

Rebecca McCumbers | Thursday, February 25, 2010

I’m writing to respectfully disagree with Justin DeRosa’s letter (“An argument against research,” Feb. 24) in which he criticized the University’s endeavors to improve research because he thinks this comes at the expense of quality undergraduate education. DeRosa assumes that research and teaching are mutually exclusive spheres and that gains in one area necessarily lead to a decline in the other. I would argue instead that quality teaching and research go hand-in-hand in at least two ways.
First, research enables the faculty to stay current with developments in their field; I shudder to think what my lectures will be like in 20 years if I conduct no research beyond my dissertation! Moreover, I think if you were to survey many of the faculty who are considered excellent teachers, you will probably find that they are excellent researchers as well.
The second benefit of research at Notre Dame is that it enables undergraduates to gain hands-on experience that will be beneficial to them after graduation in their careers or future graduate studies. DeRosa overlooks the fact that the University’s drive to increase its research profile includes devoting substantial resources to undergraduate research. For science and engineering students in particular, this will be vital to their success. So, I encourage DeRosa to rethink his position and consider these benefits of research that he has overlooked.

Rebecca McCumbers
graduate student
off campus
Feb. 25