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INTEGRATING TEACHING AND RESEARCH

Deborah Coppula’s article on integrating teaching and research (ASEE PRISM, December 1997, p. 18) appeared at almost the same time as an article by Alan Hale titled “Shattered Hopes and Dreams: The Dim Prospects for Careers in Science” (December 12,1997, Chronicle of Higher Education, p. B7). Hale’s article discusses the stratification that appears to separate successful researchers’ attitudes from those of the rest of society, and focuses in particular on the issue of scientific literacy.

As Coppula noted, most programs involving undergraduates in research often select only students with higher academic standing as participants.

Hale argues that the real goal of promoting student participation in research should be to inculcate an appreciation for the scientific method, not to prepare every student for a research career. We should work to develop such an appreciation in students who are not engineering or science majors, and more importantly should see such development as a key part of students’ education at all academic levels. If most students do not understand the concept of research, then their literacy level concerning its importance will be predictably low.

At the State University of New York at Binghamton, we have sought for more than a decade to develop students’ research skills and their appreciation for the scientific method by requiring all students to take an engineering laboratory course (average enrollment is approximately 40 students). The effort has generated very positive results.

We support both the general intent of Coppula’s article and Hale’s advocacy of the need to involve more people in scientific inquiry to generate a higher level of appreciation for research in society at large.

JAMES A. CLUM

State University of New York at Binghamton

PRAISE FOR BUSINESS INCUBATORS

Beth Panitz’s article on university-based business incubators (ASEE PRISM, January 1998, p. 24) is terrific. It very clearly and accurately states the benefits of university incubators to universities themselves, the businesses, and the community. I believe this is the best and the most accurate article that has ever been done on this subject. Thanks for the good work.

DINAH ADKINS

National Business Incubation Association

I very much enjoyed Beth Panitz’s article “Hatching Successful Businesses” in the January issue (p. 24). It’s always good to see positive reports about business incubators. Most incubators are currently run as nonprofit organizations. However, some forprofit incubator programs do exist. Readers interested in getting more information about how the for-profit side of these programs works should check out the collection of material available on line at Genesis Business Centers’ Web site at www.KnowledgeFrontiers. com/genesis.

HARLAN T. JACOBS

Genesis Business Centers, Ltd.

POLLUTION PREVENTION UPDATE

The nonprofit National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education (NPPC) is updating its Directory of Pollution Prevention in Higher Education: Faculty and Programs. The directory is a great tool for faculty members who want to identify and locate colleagues with whom they can share information on teaching and research. It describes the activities of faculty members involved in integrating environmental concepts into the curricula of various disciplines, including engineering, science, business, agriculture, and architecture.

If you are a college educator or affiliated with a pollution prevention center, please contact NPPC by June 1, 1998, to be listed in the fall 1998 edition of the directory. Send entry information to: NPPC, University of Michigan, 430 East University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1115; (734) 764-1412; fax (734) 647-5841; e-mail: nppc@umich.edu.

NANCY A. MILLER

National Pollution Prevention Center

ALTERNATIVE FUELS

The March On Campus section featured a piece about a vehicle that runs on liquid nitrogen designed and built by researchers at the University of Washington (“Fill ‘Er Up with Liquid Nitrogen,” p. 16). In the article team leader Abe Hertzberg asserts that air liquefaction enables one to “remove pollutants such as carbon dioxide from the air and dispose of them in a benign manner.” Really now. I have to ask: With what will we power the plant? How much carbon dioxide and other pollutants will be generated? The Department of Energy’s money would have been better spent teaching thermodynamics instead of supporting such an assault on its second law.

WILLIAM A. MYERS

University of Arkansas

AWAKENING CREATIVITY

The lead sentence in Kate Gibney’s article “Awakening Creativity” (March, p. 18) is preposterous: “When asked to identify creative individuals, people like Henry Ford, Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Stephanie Kwolek spring to mind.” It is demeaning to Ford and the Wright brothers to mention them in the same sentence with the relatively unknown Kwolek. Such a blatant outrage of feminist revisionism is unacceptable. The staff of ASEE PRISM has obviously bought into the postmodern tripe that it is impossible to be objective and that we are therefore free to write our own myths for the purpose of advancing a political agenda. Equality for all people is a noble ideal. Equality for all ideas is not. ASEE must soundly reject the idea that we should rewrite history and communicate this rejection to the editorial staff.

CLAY BELCHER

University of Kansas

President, National Society of Architectural Engineers

Send letters to: Editor, ASEE PRISM, 1818 N St., NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036; k.gibney@asee. org. Because of space limitations, not all letters can be published, and those that are may be abridged.

Copyright American Society for Engineering Education May/Jun 1998

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