Learning vs. Teaching in Today's Universities

I am disappointed with your editorial "Put Scholars Before Dollars," April 12: The purpose of a university is not teaching; it is learning. Faculty members at outstanding universities learn by doing research, giving papers, attending conferences, and consulting in their field. They do this in order to help students learn. Recent discussions of higher education have omitted the students' duty to learn. Treating the student as a consumer whose success is the full responsibility of the faculty has led to gr ade inflation and a consequent decline in the quality of education. If students and parents give teaching a priority, let them spend their money at a small liberal arts college or a teaching university. Virginia Davis Nordin, Lexington, Ky. Associate Professor, Higher Education Policy Studies University of Kentucky

At the University of Hartford this year, we have bucked national trends by holding tuition constant, and we are focusing our resources on improving teaching and learning. We believe strongly that helping students learn is even more important than formal teaching. We expect our professors to focus on outcomes - on how well students learn and how well they apply that knowledge.

As a primarily undergraduate institution, we do use graduate students as teachers. We expect senior professors to teach at all levels and to be available to support and consult with students. Humphrey Tonkin, W. Hartford, Conn. President, University of Hartford NAACP and gay rights

Thank you for the Opinion page article "Black Leadership Is Ripe for Reform," April 20. It is always important to make sure leaders follow up on speeches with action. I am disappointed, however, by the author's allegation that the NAACP's endorsement of the gay rights agenda shows little regard for the black community. His reasoning is that it can't reconcile this endorsement with the "thousands of local ministers and churches that constitute the heart of communities from Harlem to East L.A...." How woul d he justify withholding that support from thousands of black gays and lesbians and gay and lesbian ministers who also constitute the heart of communities from Harlem to East L.A.? Caryn-Amy E. King,,Hopkinton, Mass.

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