Point/Counterpoint

It is impossible to be great at everything you do. Very few people have the ability to devote the time and energy needed to excel at every task they take on. This is why we specialize and pick one career to go into. Why, then, does the University of Vermont try and focus its limited resources on so many different topics? Of course, it may seem great that UVM offers so many options for undergrads, but what good are they if they are mediocre? To help center the disciplines taught and advanced at UVM, the school will be funneling much of its external funding toward research. Many may argue that this will hinder UVM’s proud liberal arts tradition and favor some subjects over others. However, perhaps we should be looking at the problem from a larger perspective. For a century, the United States was the technological and scientific epicenter of the world. Unfortunately, in the past few decades we have been falling behind several countries, such as Germany and Japan, in making new industrial and scientific discoveries that shape the market. The blame for this slippage can be placed upon the mass appeal and lack of exclusivity of our colleges. Because many universities are pressured to focus on all aspects of knowledge and the professors are expected to only teach and not research, the innovation-producing systems of our country are crippled. The University of Vermont is at a crossroads. It can either continue on its path to becoming a large liberal arts school with a general focus. Or it can swing to the path of higher focus and research in a smaller setting. This new focus will bring more out-of-state students who in turn pay a higher tuition, which can help fund the research that needs to be done. In addition, it will help reduce class sizes by stemming the overflow of students not interested in the more specific disciplines and allow UVM to hire more professors due to increased tuition revenue. The question of turning UVM into a major research university may seem counter to the all-accepting-vibe that emanates from its campus, but in order to survive, tough decisions must be made. The point of the research initiative is not to make money or create prestige but to advance the cause of the country and give the students a tremendous and specified education, as opposed to the educational blob they are given now.