Rough SEAS – Staff editorial

Most students groan when they are assigned a 10-page paper for a class. Two students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science turned the usual reaction on its head – they wrote a 30-page memo to faculty members, not because they were looking for a good grade, but because they cared enough about SEAS to put myriad thoughts, criticisms and suggestions on paper.

At a University that constantly bemoans its students’ apathy, it is impressive to see two students write 30 pages on what they view as necessary improvements to ensure their school’s survival and success.

The students – Vijay Vanguri and Engineers’ Council President Sergio Yanes – wrote the memo with the hope of reinvigorating SEAS faculty members’ “passion for engineering education.” And the memo does not focus only on the problems, it also lists nine specific recommendations for improving SEAS. The memo details the problems SEAS faces as it goes through a months-long reorganization aimed at improved the school’s financial and enrollment pictures. Morale among SEAS faculty is low and student apathy is generally high.

One of the students’ concerns is that professors have lost sight of their main reason for being at SEAS – to educate students. That is made all the more difficult by outdated curricula in fields that change daily. It remains to be seen whether administrators take seriously the 30-page memo by putting their ideas to work, or if the students’ work was in vain.

In the memo, the students compared the SEAS reorganization to trying to fix an engine with a new coat of paint. Once again, the University must decide what is most important – making money or giving students a quality education. The SEAS reorganization might make the school more profitable, but it won’t fix the underlying problems.

These two dedicated students have worked hard to urge improvements in the engineering school – not quick fixes, but serious solutions to deep-rooted problems. Now the University must follow their lead.

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