Friday, May 20, 2005

Teaching vs. research universities revisited

In blog-time, this is slightly old news, but I'll post it anyway:
MOE Grants 90M to THU

May 7, 2005

90 million NT dollars was granted to Tunghai University by the Ministry of Education. THU ranked no. 3 after the MOE reviewed the Teaching and Learning Plans from 54 universities. Twelve other universities benefited from the 1 billion NTD subsidy.

THU President Haydn Chen thanked Dr. Cheng-Tung Lin, Dean of Academic Affairs, as well as, all faculty and staff for the work and effort that was put into producing the Teaching and Learning Plan. President Chen said, "Education is an ongoing affair. At present universities are putting too much emphasis on research, leaving the teaching and learning facet as secondary. Our school cares for general education emphasizing on holistic education for the development of the ideal student."
(Source: Tunghai's website)

Does this relate in some way to the issue of classifying Taiwan's universities into research universities and teaching universities? It seems to--judging from this May 8 China Times article that mentions that some schools had already received grants from a plan to promote research universities (「推動研究型大學整合計畫」), so they were disqualified from competition for the grants that Tunghai and the other 12 universities got.

Interestingly, the same article concludes,
The MOE complains about the overemphasis on research at the expense of teaching, but it seems to be talking out of both sides of its mouth here, considering its hand in encouraging the heavy emphasis on research. (As Scott has mentioned, the MOE plays a major role in the promotion of faculty members of Taiwan's universities.) It's nice to see an attempt at establishing a balance, though. On the other hand, I'm a little worried that the balance will be between research universities (with their more easily quantifiable results) and teaching universities (with their less quantifiable, potentially more subjective results). In the long run, where will more of the money go?

[Update, 2:42 p.m.: Perhaps that last question doesn't get at the real issue, which is the role the MOE should or shouldn't have in promoting universities as places of high-quality (undergraduate) education as well as institutes of high-quality research. Direct injections of money to support innovative teaching plans are one approach, but not the only one.]

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