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Student reaction to possible changes mixed

Joe Trombello | Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Student reaction to the programs described by College of Arts and Letters Dean Mark Roche and other faculty members that aim to increase academic opportunities outside the classroom was mixed. Most students said that they believed students could benefit greatly from increased funding and interaction with faculty members while others said they thought the money could be better used elsewhere.

Robert Gibbs, a sophomore finance/psychology major, said that he thought business students would benefit from increased lectures on campus but not necessarily from increased funding for research. Gibbs said that some business students he has spoken to seemed uninterested in pursuing research.

“For business students, it doesn’t seem like there is a lot of interest to go out and do research,” he said. “It’s hard to see the connection between the things you might be researching and immediate business applications.”

In contrast, Mary Mullen, a senior honors program participant and English/political science major, said that she thought increasing funding for student research and conference travel would prove especially useful because it would allow students writing senior thesis projects to have better access to primary sources. She also said that these resources may encourage more students to pursue research.

“I think that they [University initiatives] are a great opportunity and a lot of my friends have felt the same way. To have the opportunity to do independent research is something that’s incredible,” she said. “By giving funding, it [the University] allows everyone to do it [research] and encourages you to think about [academic subjects] outside of the classroom.”

Mariah Quinn, also an honors program student, said that she used grant resources from the honors program and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts to visit the Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Parks to conduct research this summer for her thesis. Quinn said the grants were not restrictive in any way and proved invaluable to her research experience.

“I think that the money is there for those who have the interest in doing undergraduate research; it’s just a matter of putting the time in to apply for it,” she said.

In contrast with other undergraduates, junior theology major Eric Wooldridge said that although he could find some uses for the funds with respect to his work with Circle K, he believes that the money could be better used for other initiatives.

“Overall, I would rather see that type of money go more toward financial aid and other university programs,” he said. “I don’t think they are as useful to students as maybe some other things would be.”