TOPIC: ISSUE50 - "In order to improve the quality of instruction at the college and university level, all faculty should be required to spend time working outside the academic world in professions relevant to the courses they teach."
WORDS: 593 TIME: 0:36:05 DATE: 2007-4-2
The quality of instruction at the college and university level has been a hot point for a long time and people are asking higher quality to meet the need of this swift-developing society. But should all faculty be required to spend time working outside the academic world in professions relevant to the courses they teach? I think this varies from case to case, and should be determined due to different academic fields.
In some academic fields, working outside the academic world plays an important part in keeping a high quailty of the teaching of the faculty. An example lies in the computer science. Computer science is a technique which doesn't have a long history and is somehow user-oriented, also it is developing very fast, sometimes too fast for the faculty only spend time in academic world to keep up with. By spending some time working outside, the faculty get better understanding of what type of computer technology and students of computer science the outside world need. As a result they can keep their teaching fit for the desire of the outside technique world.
But in some more traditional academic fields or fields not so directly related to the outside development, the work outside the academic world might not be so useful, or even hard to be taken into operation. These fields include math, theorical physics, etc. My brother is a assistant professor of theorical physics in a university, and his major is string. This is a theory about the basic foundation of the world. Though it is a very important and fast developing field, there are few outside working opptunities directly related to this field. And my brother spends most of his time in the labortory, doing analysis and math, or discussing problems and new ideas with other professors and students, which he and other professors think is the most effective way to help them do research and teach students.
When concering to some fields such as art, the effect of working outside varies in different cases. To some degree, art is about expressing human emotion and the beauty of the world. Using some time working outside can bring the teachers creativity and help them to get new ideas in teaching students. But in some cases, the teachers should take heart into the inside searching of theirselves or the nature.
On the other hand, we should be aware of the protencial danger of over emphasis on working outside the academic world in professions. Spending too much time working outside might scatter the teachers vigor. Considering that teaching courses needs a lot of preparing and effort, it is hard for a teacher to keep a balance between the teaching and the work outside. If the teachers have to spend so much time working outside that they don't have enough time and energy to prepare the teaching and contacting students, this method might turn to be a counterproduct.
In sum, in some younger and faster-developing fields, the work outside academic world will help the teachers to keep up with the quick pace of the society and teach better, while in some more traditional fields or fields not so directily related to the outside working fields, the teacher may not need to work outside. And in some fields as art, this may vary in different cases. Nevertheless, no matter which field the teachers work in, they should always keep an eye on keeping the balance of the outside work and the teaching. Anyway, developing the quaility of the teaching is the primary reason of working outside.