Week #8 - Social and Ethical Issues (due 3/11)

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Many scientists who are employed as professors at universities have become involved in biotechnology ventures outside the university. Companies often set up their laboratories near universities to take advantage of the intellectual resources there. Industries that develop near universities employ nonscientists in the community as well as scientists and are generally looked upon as an asset to the community. The president of a major state university is encouraging faculty members to become active in the development of associated industries, viewing their mission as academics to include community-related activities. But legislators and the public, whose tax dollars fund the university, believe that the professors should concentrate on teaching. Should faculty be encouraged to participate in outside ventures because it is a service to the community and potentially to humankind through development of new biotechnology, or should they be held more strictly to a solely academic, teaching mission?

Comments

Blog 8

I think that this is definetly a catch 22. It would be a great service to the communities if faculty members were able to gain "other experiences" and relay them back to the students, that will be a great thing. BUT on the other hand I can see how many people might feel that if teachers went out into associated industries that they might start lacking as teachers, where a majority of their attention might no longer be focused on the students, (which will not be a good thing). As I said before it is really a catch 22. Having teachers go out into associated industries has its pros and cons, but I think that it will be a good idea as long as they balance their time well.

Week 8

When it comes to being a professor, I believe the first priority that one faces is teaching and devoting time to shaping young minds. That is what students pay for and the more competent, sound, and educated minds there are in the world, the more the community will also benefit. Now as for outside ventures, I believe professors can and should be encouraged to provide some assistance and participation that may lead to development of new technology, however, it has to be made sure that it will not hinder the professor's ability to teach. A healthy medium should be encouraged and performed.

Week 8

I think professors should be able to actively partake in their field of research outside of the classroom. Though teaching is very important and shouldn't be overlooked, having a large team of experts in various fields in one location provides a foundation for 'think-tank' projects that could be very good for the community as well as the world. Further, professors actively involved in the research in their field (and are lucky enough to teach classes relevant to their field) are excellent teachers in that field. So regardless of the time investment of doing research with a third party outside of academia these professors have the right to explore what they're passionate about outside the classroom.

Blog 8

I think teaching should come first for professors. Students pay to attend university to get an education, not to fund research. That being said, I think a lot of professors are able to balance teaching duties with research and that is great. Contributing to scientific progress is a fantastic thing. By supporting these companies in the community, we are both contributing to science and stimulating our community. All in all, I think research is fine and great, but providing students with the best education possible should be professor's first priority.

Blog 8

At a large research oriented university, like Umass, I think it is common to have professors who are both invested in teaching as well as running laboratories on campus. If they can manage both teaching and working in the lab, does it really matter who is funding the research? Lots of research is funded by grants, but it could just as easily be supported by a private biotech company. This might be a good opportunity for students to learn about working in the private sector of research, versus the academic environment of basic research. As long as teaching duties come first, I see no reason to restrict where funding comes from.

Week #8

I think professors should venture outside the university because these industries are actually helping the community. If it was aimed in a negative way then action should take place. It is not like the professor will ignore his students due to his outside work, he or she can share his ideas. In the future, a student may have a huge impact on the new development of new biotechnology due to the professor's influence on the subject. It is always important to stay in your community because within a community you are exposed to new experiences and ideas that will broaden your knowledge. Teaching is only partial understanding, but venturing outside the boundaries allows people to sophisticate their techniques.

week # 8- Social and Ethical issues

I think teachers should be allowed to work and contribute to the companies provided that it does not interfere with their teaching duties. Standard rules and procedures can be put in place to evaluate and make sure that teachers are performing their duties. Perhaps, teachers that are involved in research can benefit from running part of their projects with the industries and students working with them can be allowed to work at the industries. This will hopefully give students a chance to learn more from an industry-working environment and not just from a pure “academic” research environment if you may.

week 8 blog response

First and foremost, professors must be able to demonstrate that their university professorships will be the number one priority. Provided that joint ventures with local biotechnology companies do not negatively impact teaching methods and student learning, the professors should be able to collaborate with companies of their choice. If ventures with such companies could potentially produce new and beneficial advancements in biotechnology, legislators would be foolish not to allow these professors to partake in such ventures.

Week 8

I believe that professors should definitely be encouraged to participate in outside ventures. If it can better the community and help with breakthroughs in the scientific world then professors should be allowed to do that. Of course professors should dedicate a minimum amount of time to their academic priorities and always remain available to help their students, but if that professor has knowledge that could better humankind then they should be allowed to share that.

Week 8 blog response

University faculty should most definitely be encouraged to participate in outside ventures. This has a two fold advantage. Firstly such a venture will help accelerate the development of key breakthrough technology which will in return help the humankind. Secondly such ventures also expose the faculty to commercial application of technologies. This second aspect has a tremendous benefit when the faculty member is teaching as they can now better understand how a technology breakthrough in academics can be scaled to a commercial success. Once they have gained this knowledge they can incorporate these learnings in their classes.

Week 8

I believe that faculty should be encouraged to participate in community-related activities. There should be a standard, however, to the time and commitment they must put forth in regards to teaching. I think that the purpose of a strong education is to use that knowledge to better society in anyway possible. Professors who hold an abundance of knowledge in their fields but who are discouraged from sharing this knowledge and using it for good outside of a University setting are stunted themselves and are also hindering the progression of a community.

I think that it depends on

I think that it depends on the situation. I think that it is important for a university to be connected to the community. In that sense, I believe that encourages professors to get involved in these biotech ventures as bettering the community is both a good service as well as potentially beneficial to the university. However, I do think the stipulation should be that this work should not be detrimental to what the professors are able to do for the students and as employed professors. If they cannot do both effectively, their priority should be to the school as that is who is employing them and if the academics at a school are negatively effected inevitably the university's ability to maintain students and professors will be inhibited too and the community will no longer be able to benefit from its resources.

Week 8 reply

First off i think it is important to look at whether the state university is a research institution like Umass is. Almost all of the professors at universities like this are already involved in pursuing their own interests in the lab as well as teaching. Its my belief that a good portion of these professors have a strong desire to teach and put more than enough time and effort into their classes. When it comes to professors working with outside companies regarding biotechnology i see no difference than if they are working in the lab for grants and doing research. How the professor chooses to pursue his interests in the area that he has put in the time and effort to learn about is his choosing. However if their teaching duties are hindered by these interests i believe the tax payers and legislators would have a basis for arguing their money is not going to good use in teaching the students.

Week #8 Response

Faculty should be encouraged to participate in outside ventures, but I believe that it should be their choice as to what they pursue. While the main purpose of being a professor is to teach, they are also involved in research which is affiliated with the universities. If they want to do research outside of the university and it doesn’t negatively affect their teaching, I see no problem with that. Some professors most likely prefer one over the other, so they should be able to stick with whatever they want as long as they make themselves available for the roles of being a professor.

Blog 8

There are different positions that faculty members can obtain and they vary in the degree of teaching that is associated with them. Some faculty positions are generally focused on research whereas others are focused on teaching. If an applicant cares about teaching then they should apply for a position that focuses on that. If they do not they should not apply for a teaching position because that won't be in the best interest of the students. That being said it is important to see real world applications of the concepts and procedures one sees in a class. Therefore if a faculty member collaborates with a nearby industry they will have nearby and up to date applications of some of the materials covered in their course which can be a helpful learning/teaching tool. Having a focus on teaching is important but that does not mean that the faculty should not also be able to collaborate with industry and offer their study to further service the community. If a faculty member is going to be teaching they should care about that aspect of their position and should work to make teaching a priority but that should not keep them from also working in the field as well.

Week 8 Response

Faculty should be informed of all research opportunities that are available both within and outside the university. Consequently, they will be able to make a knowledgeable decision about whether they want to conduct research in either sector. Professors should ultimately be able to participate in their own research because they have great potential and can contribute many new ideas to the development of biotechnology. The public’s tax dollars are certainly not being wasted by allowing professors to participate in research because they will likely benefit from such advances. However, there should be regulations to prevent inadequate teaching that may result from too little time devoted to academics. Professors should be required to maintain a standard of teaching, preventing students from receiving improper instruction. The university should essentially ensure that the education for the next generation of scientists receives substantial attention. The future of science is just as important as its current state.

Weekly Blog #8

I think the faculty should be encouraged to participate in outside ventures that would benefit humankind in general. However, the faculty also has an obligation to the university to provide instruction to the next generation of scientists. Since the funding for the university also comes from the community, it seems only right that the teachers at the university "pay it forward" to the worldwide community as opposed to limiting their contributions to private sectors of the economy. I think a balance can be found between the world of academia and private biotechnology companies. The best solution I can propose is if the biotechnology companies could only profit from lab techniques, syntheses, developments, etc. that are first developed in universities by their faculty and students.

Week 8

Faculty should be encouraged to participate in outside research because they are often already involved in their own research at universities. Many faculty members consider their research to be their primary focus, not teaching, and these outside companies would not affect that. Good professors would still dedicate time to teaching in addition to their research. These outside ventures could also benefit students, not only by giving their professors more experience to share, but possibly by opening up new student research opportunities.

Week 8 Blog

I think the faculty has every right to do what they want. The public has no right to tell other what they need to do. Research and teaching can go hand in hand so there is no reason for someone to make the faculty to choose one over another. It is also beneficial for the students as well since they can get a job or intern in their professor’s lab which will help them in future. In my opinion, encouraging a faculty to participate in outside ventures is good. It not only help the faculty to get extra financial support but also good for student’s future.

I believe that faculty

I believe that faculty members should have the right to do as they wish. If a member of the faculty wishes to teach more rather than concentrate on research development and vice versus that is their choice entirely. Each individual has their own preference in what they like to do. For example If one member is able to teach well and research is slow during the period and the pay is well then they should do it and vice versus. Those tax dollars paying faculty to teach partial come from the teachers as well so for the public to believe that they should concentrate on teacher, I would like how they would feel if they were forced to do something they didn't want to do.

Blog 8 Entry

In this case I believe faculty member has the final say in what he or she wants to do. In my opinion I feel like the faculty member needs to decide if they want to do one or other. In this way the faculty member won’t need to juggle around more than one responsibility and commitments for these two different opportunities. In this way the faculty member will be able to put more effort towards this one duty instead of trying to put effort in both. In this a believe the faculty member should decided if they will stick solely on academics as there main focus or branch out in the community in order to help develop new biotechnologies that further advance human kind.

Week 8

First I would like to mention that most professors are hired based on their credentials and research topic, not on any sort of teaching abilty or certifications. Therefore, they are brought in to do research and whose grant money helps to keep their research and the school running. It seems that teaching is in fact secondary to research. There are professors usually entitled senior lecturers who "held to a more strictly academic teaching mission". This is the well-entrenched status quo, not that I particularly agree with it. I believe that professors should be teachers who research, not researchers who teach. I would certainly invite outside ventures as industry is very much limited by what suits the bottom line. It is evident that academic research feeds industry Where else are would Novartis have gotten its data on kinase inhibitors? BiogenIdec can't poke around chemotaxis proteins just to explore biological space whereas academics have that freedom. I believe that there should be a distinction between teachers and researchers under the title of professor ie John Doe, teaching professor in Enzymology and research professor, respectively. I also believe that teaching professors should be certified or at least formally trained. This is afterall a school. And there are countless instances where a good teacher vs a bad one can make all the difference in someone's life/ career.

Week #8 - Social and Ethical Issues (due 3/11)

The universities should treat each professor on a case by case basis. If the professor is able to efficiently balance teaching with outside research then they should be allowed to continue to do so. If their teaching is of insufficient quality because of a preoccupation with outside research then their ability to do said research should be limited. The reason being if the professor is able to balance both tasks then the university and its students can only benefit. For example the professor may bring aspects of his own research into the classroom, supplementing his lecture with real world examples. This method would serve to spice things up and make for a much more engaging lecture. Furthermore any discoveries that the professor may make would serve to enhance the prestige of the university. This in turn would also aid the students when they apply for a job and use the university name. To conclude as long as the professor can balance their tasks there should be no restrictions on what they can do.

Blog Entry Week 8

While this decision is that of the professor, the professor will likely perform better if he or she devotes all of his or her resources to one venture or the other. Interestingly, this is not what happens in the real world. Most science professors conduct university sponsored research along with teaching. Alternating between these two separate jobs causes one to take away from the other, making equilibrium between the two difficult to achieve. In fact, I have had professors who became far too caught up in research, less interested in teaching, and seemingly uncaring towards students.

I understand that a science professor's job is to balance teaching and research. They are often leaders in their fields and essential for the development of scientific knowledge. This is the nature of their work. However, there is something to be said about how the quantity of their work affects the quality of it. It is the responsibility of the professor to work as an efficient researcher and teacher. The demands of outside parties should not change this.

Week 8 Comment

I believe that only the professors should individually make their own choice in this matter, and others should not interfere with that decision unnecessarily, be it the legislators or the public. I understand that the public is concerned about this as their tax dollars fund the university, but just for that reason, they can’t control everything a professor does. Professors have the right to choose what they can (and have the time to) do. They are moral and responsible people, and I’m sure they realize that teaching is their priority. However, if they think they have extra time and energy that they can spend working on something that could potentially benefit the humankind, then why not?! If the public is really worried, we can rely on student feedback to see if the professors involved in biotechnology ventures outside the university are doing justice to their primary job i.e. teaching. If they are consistently getting significantly poor feedback from students, then their outside ventures should be limited. But if their performance as professors is not negatively affected by such ventures, they have the right to continue as they please.

Week 8

I agree with the previous two comments. I think that it depends on what the grant or job description of the professor specifically states. Professors should neither be encouraged or discouraged to participate in work outside of the university but should be encouraged to do what their job description requires. That being said, I personally believe that it is important for professors to participate in studies and research outside of their jobs. Not only can it be beneficial to the community, but it will also require professors to be better themselves- by staying up to date with cutting edge scientific advancements, and working on a research project that they are interested in or in a lab will make them better teachers. They will be better informed, and more excited and invested in their areas of study, and will therefore teach a new generation of well informed, interested and aware students.

Week 8

I think that the legislators should explicitly state what resources the grant money they are giving the university should go to. If the tax dollars that are given to the university are part of a grant to help the development of local industry, then I think the faculty members are mandated to use the resources given to them to do so. Conversely, if the money given to the university is part of an educational grant, then I think those tax dollars should only be spent on resources associated with teaching. If there is money given to the university without any declaration on where it should be spent, then I think the university should have full autonomy on how it uses it, and should decide for it's own whether or not to use it to develop local industry.

Week 8 Alice Trei

Teachers should neither be encouraged nor discouraged to do things outside of teaching. If you are hired to perform a task and are no longer able to do so to quality then you are reprimanded or replaced, in any profession. Teachers should be no more chained to their jobs or to "the public good" than anyone. If they wish to do research for these companies and can continue teaching as well as they were, or to a level determined by the university they are employed at, then that's wonderful. However, no University should encourage facility to do research outside of their work any more than they should be encouraging them to do community service or visit the local High School's theater department- if you are not paying your employee to do extra work you should not encourage it because they will almost certainly feel pressured to do what you suggest.
It comes down to the teacher: What do they want to spend time doing? What work do they want to do? What are they best at? How much of one could they do without it affecting the other? Or their sanity? But in the end the choice should always be theirs.

-Alice Trei

Week 8 Blog

I believe that professors should be held strictly to their academic position. If they are able to research alongside their teaching, without complaints, then they should be able to do research as an extracurricular. Although may professors can be strong in both professions, not all are, which should be monitored. If a professor seems to concentrate more on his research and the quality of his class should suffer, there should be a set of rules enacted to ensure that teaching will again receive top priority.

This,however, should be enforced with high schools and middle schools. There are many teachers who focus on their extracurricular activities more than their courses. Teaching is an important profession that has its own value outside of research and extracurriculars such as athletics. It should be treated as such and if an individual would like to become a teacher or professor, teaching their students should be considered their primary occupation.