Failures Condemn UM, not Poor ExplanationsIn a letter...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 21, 1994

Failures Condemn UM, not Poor Explanations

In a letter about the question of professors' teaching hours in The Sun April 9, Donald N. Langenberg (chancellor of the University of Maryland System) admits that we in higher education have done a lousy job of explaining it to the people we expect to support us.

I heartily agree. Besides the trivial subjects he cites as examples, I would add several more.

Maryland administrators have done a lousy job of publicizing the names of top faculty members, if there are any, in trying to lure prospective students.

They have done a lousy job of reporting the cost of educating a student, as well as the most important statistic, the quality of graduates throughout the entire system.

They have done a lousy job of explaining the emphasis on research at the expense of liberal arts fields. They have done a lousy job of explaining salaries in the $230,000-plus range for administrators, while professors who actually spend their time teaching earn considerably less.

They have done a poor job of explaining how an average higher education system suddenly is top-heavy with universities.

And their unwillingness to even mention, much less explain, the low graduation rates for many of the system schools is appalling.

I can't believe that Dr. Langenberg would state that all faculty are expected to engage in independent scholarship (often called research). For many, it is a major part of their jobs. Is this the University of Maryland or the National Institutes of Health?

As usual, you can't get a direct answer from the university politicians. The statement being fed to the lay person is that "teacher productivity is either comparable with or exceeds nationally recognized and accepted practices and standards." Wow, what a generality; that is really getting down to the nitty-gritty.

And then the next paragraph of the letter sweeps up the rest of the debris: If anything has been neglected over the past 100 years, the needed reforms will be in place by next October.

Finally, Dr. Langenberg pats himself on the back and seems to indicate that somehow Maryland will be leading the nation in whatever he described in the previous paragraph. I'm sure the public is enthralled with his forecasts for the future.

As with many in education, the UM system administrators are all money conscious. Dr. Langenberg's love of championing the cause of research is an example.

With a daughter remaining to educate I'm more interested in the professors and level of academics.

I still believe that there are some professors out there who love to teach and are not driven by money.

I may be wrong, but I hope not.

D. Bush

Columbia

Television's Images of Ukraine

"Ukraine: Lifting the Yoke," a segment of the "Blood and Belonging" series on PBS, was poorly named.

A nominal yoke of communism was lifted, but this segment put polarization in its place, focusing on issues that are potentially flammable, while presenting a skewed report (according to current news) on the former Soviet Black Sea fleet.

The program would have been more plausible if the interviewer spoke the language. He was, after all, a Ukrainian, even though he seemed to favor Russian ties.

The second issue is religion, always easily inflamed. The Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church are as close as any in basic theology, and no wedges need be thrust between them.

If my knowledge of religious history is correct, Orthodox Christianity flourished in this region before Catholicism; since then changes in ruling governments have fostered both.

My husband is a second generation Ukrainian and of the Orthodox faith. In fact we visited Ukraine last September. The country we saw was quite different from this documentary. Churches we visited were Orthodox, easily identified by the distinctive crucifix.

We visited the village of my husband's family and households in other villages, where we were warmly welcomed.

The prosperity might fall short of the ideal for a middle-class American, but to us the quality of life was most satisfactory.

What we were told, saw and read in news stories support the opinion that supplies in the cities are short and expensive, the government being a greedy middleman.

However, the marketplace in Lvov, where peasants brought their wares (no middleman), was well stocked and prospering.

Nan Jay Barchowsky

Aberdeen

Catholics

Catholics have been put on the "whipping board" of the media. Everyday you hear the news on TV and read the paper, it is always about the negative doings of the Catholics.

What about the good reports like the volunteers that work at Our Daily Bread feeding the hungry, working in the hospitals, schools?

We have all been affected by the media. It is time we stand up to our religion because we are tired of our rights being violated.

The church does what God does -- good works. We are called to make good works known and to stand up to our faith.

Sharon Imwold

Lutherville

Legal Reform

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