Research has plenty now

In a university community, research is a vital facet. Here it flourishes. Here it survives. Here it belongs.

But when research gets in the way of basic instuction—the supposed mission of a university—something needs to give. Since 1980, the amount of money spent on teaching has slipped almost 11 percent while money used for research jumped nearly 45 percent.

This disparity can be viewed in a good light. A university should encourage its staff to be active in research. Faculty research advances knowledge, attracts respect for the university and and provides an inimitable environment to stimulate young minds.

Unfortunately, this aspect is being allowed to take over here. While only a 10.6 percent drop is disconcerting, but not alarming, the trend it signals could become frightening. Another decade of these tendencies would make this a pretty useless school.

J. Carroll Moody, executive secretary of the University Council, said NIU “set out very deliberately to increase the amount of research done here.”

Moody said the push was in response to a request from former Gov. James Thompson. But Thompson is gone, and Gov. Jim Edgar—the supposed education guv—seems to be shifting away from research.

As long as this state is in a budget crunch, money for teaching isn’t coming. Research funds could be diverted to it. Research is important, but not at the expense of teaching.