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Archive for Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Consequences

August 15, 2006

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To the editor:

The lame reaction of the chancellor and vice provost for research to the humiliating termination of a $17 million research grant by the National Science Foundation is striking in contrast to the reaction to possible sanctions by the NCAA. Over a dozen athletic and academic luminaries, including the chancellor, flew by private jet to Baltimore to plead for leniency for admitted athletic department infractions.

The consequences of the NSF action for the university and the state are enormously more significant than anything the NCAA will do. KU's reputation among scientists, scholars and business investors is besmirched. Its reputation at NSF and other funding agencies is sullied. Recruiting faculty could be damaged. Who would want to teach and do research at a university with such slipshod standards and incompetent, negligent and lackadaisical administrators?

The new provost, Richard Lariviere, and the dean of liberal arts, Joseph Steinmetz, were not here when this debacle grew, but they should take immediate steps to prevent another. In the Aug. 12 Journal-World, Lariviere stated, "Our goal here is to contribute to the world's knowledge, to educate our students and to help Kansas economically." He is right. Now, for him and Steinmetz, the first order of business to meet these goals should be to change the administrative procedures and personnel responsible for this disgrace.

Heads roll when coaches don't win; this is many times worse than a losing season - or the denial of postseason play.

Edward Quick,

Lawrence

Comments

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

In fairness, comparing athletics and science is comparing apples and oranges. It is not common practice to appeal a decision on a research grant, and there is no established mechanism for it. Generally, when a research grant is denied, the scientists take the comments into consideration, work hard to address the weaknesses, and resubmit the revised application for consideration.

While KU has been building research infrastructure (buildings, etc.), it is not enough. KU will need a major investment to get its research infrastructure to the level of its peers. Right now, KU is using research overhead money that comes with research grants. They need to start spending university money (state funding, tuition, fees) on building research infrastructure.

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