Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, April 29, 1998

An Academic Bill of Rights
A New Report Recommends That Research Universities Guarantee a Quality Education for Every Undergraduate Student
By KENNETH R. WEISS, Times Education Writer


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America's research universities may be the envy of the world, but they all too often fail to properly educate their undergraduate students and need "radical reconstruction," according to a new and strikingly critical report.
     The report, issued by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, suggests that these universities could improve their educational role by involving undergraduates in research, starting in the freshman year.
     The ideal, as outlined in "Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities," would change the university culture that has fostered a long-standing division between research and teaching.
     Undergraduates would spend less time taking notes in lecture halls and regurgitating what they know on exams and more time joining with faculty and graduate students to "share an adventure of discovery."
     The report, developed over three years by some of the nation's top academics, suggests that students who pay tuition often "get less than their money's worth" from research universities that, the document alleges, are guilty of deceptive advertising.
     "Recruiting materials display proudly the world-famous professors, the splendid facilities and the groundbreaking research that goes on within them, but thousands of students graduate without ever seeing the world-famous professors or tasting genuine research," the report says.


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