Teaching vs. Research
The New York Times, May 15
"To the editor:
As a professor at Amherst College, I was delighted to hear that Harvard is taking steps to increase the emphasis placed on teaching by its faculty (“Harvard Task Force Calls for New Focus on Teaching and Not Just Research,” news article, May 10). But trying to increase the quality of teaching without de-emphasizing a focus on research is an impossible goal.
Why? Because good teaching takes time — time to plan and prepare for classes, time to grade papers and exams, time to meet with students outside of class, and so on.
I spend a lot of time teaching my students, and each moment that I spend on teaching is a moment that I’m not spending on research.
And unless Harvard, and other similar institutions, make a decision to decrease the emphasis placed on research, any focus on improving the quality of day-to-day teaching in the classroom is doomed to fail.
Amherst, Mass., May 11, 2007
The writer is an associate professor and chairwoman of the department of psychology at Amherst College."