President Criticizes Research Emphasis

Rudenstine Calls For `Balance'

President Neil L. Rudenstine said yesterday that scholars today put "too much" emphasis on publication of research papers and other activities which take a heavy toll on their teaching efforts.

Speaking at a Graduate School of Education panel discussion, Rudenstine said professors and graduate students need to strike an appropriate balance between teaching and research efforts but are often distracted by other concerns.

"Fifty percent of faculty time is going to outside duties, such as reading manuscripts, writing letters and sitting on panels," he said.

Rudenstine acknowledged that demands to publish research create "a real time problem" for graduate students and non-tenured professors.

"People at Harvard are working too hard," Rudenstine told nine fellow panelists and an audience of more than 100 graduate students at Longfellow Hall.


Rudenstine called for more funding for graduate students as a way to increase the quality of teaching. However, he offered no specifics on where such funding could be obtained. Instead, he made a cranking motion with his hand and said, "I wish I had a machine that could print the money."

He defended recent efforts to improve undergraduate education, saying, "More is put into the teaching process than used to be the case." But he added that "We couldn't be what we are without research. We run some risk ofundervaluing research."

Rudenstine said that universities typically tryto seek out scholars dedicated to teaching andresearch. But the President said that not allindividuals can be expected to have strengths inboth areas.

"Some people are better teachers, some peopleare better researchers," he said. "If you expectthe same thing from everyone, you will bedisappointed."

But one fellow panelist said that he did notentirely agree with Rudenstine.

"All teachers ought to be researchers andvice-versa," said Professor of Education and UrbanStudies Charles V. Willie, adding thatuniversities must be increasingly willing toaccept alternative styles of research in place oftraditional scholarship.

"I'm not committed to formal publicationmethodology," Willie said. "We must loosen upformal categories of research methodologies."

According to Rudenstine, however, the type ofpeer review inherent in the traditionalpublication process stems the spread ofquestionable theories under the label of academicwork.

During a question and answer session, onegraduate student criticized the inaccessibility ofHarvard's professors.

"Something's wrong here," the student said.

But several of the panelists disagreed.

"This place is chock full of devoted teachers,"said Geyser University Professor Henry Rosovsky,who was one of the panelists. The classiccriticism that "professors don't teach" is"unreflected by the market."

Audience members said that the discussion hadtouched on several important issues.

"I don't think answers were given, butdifficulties and complexities were certainlyaddressed," said Maddy Hewitt, who earned hermaster's degree at Harvard this year

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