Colleges Column

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To help alleviate the nation's shortage of mathematics and science teachers, four Texas colleges and universities--with financial backing from the Carl B. and Florence F. King Foundation--will forgive tuition loans for students who promise to teach math and science in the state's public schools.

The foundation will distribute five $2,000 awards a year to each of the following institutions: Texas A&M University, the University of Dallas, Austin College, and Texas Wesleyan College.

Beginning this fall, students registering at Wayne State University in Detroit will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English and mathematics by the time they have earned 60 semester hours toward their bachelor's degrees.

Students will be required to pass two two-hour examinations. In the English exam, students will have to write an essay on one of several proposed topics; in math, they will have to answer 50 multiple-choice questions covering arithmetic, algebra, and basic geometry.

"Along with the tests, we are encouraging high schools and community colleges to place a greater emphasis on English and mathematics and strengthen their requirements for courses in those areas," said Marie Draper Dykes, associate provost of the university.

Videotaped lectures, in use at Stanford University for more than 10 years as a tutoring device, could help high-schools relieve problems created by teacher shortages in many academic areas, believes James Gibbons, an engineering professor at Stanford who is working to persuade school districts to try "tutored videotaped instruction (tvi)."

tvi uses unrehearsed, unedited videotapes of regular lectures, recorded live in classsrooms. The tapes are viewed by groups of four to eight students, who are encouraged by a tutor to ask questions and interrupt the tape.

The tutors are not expected to teach the course but to "help stimulate instruction" and "call the instructor when help is needed in answering questions," Mr. Gibbons says.

He notes that college students and volunteers from industry could serve as tutors in the schools.

Mr. Gibbons has experimented with tvi at the Hewlett Packard Corp. since 1972 and with several other corporations since then. tvi has been used at the Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Florida, the University of Lowell, and at Aston University in Birmingham, England and Britain's Open University.

For more information contact James Gibbons, Electrical Engineering Department, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. 94305.

The market value of endowment funds at the nation's colleges increased 71.1 percent during the 10-year period from 1971 to 1981, the National Center for Education Statistics (nces) reports.

Endowments of public institutions grew from $2.2 billion in 1971 to $4.2 billion in 1981, while endowments of private institutions increased from $11.6 billion to $19.3 billion, according to nces statistics.

Despite these increases, however, when adjusted for inflation, the real value of endowments declined about 15.8 percent during the 10-year period.

A sign of the times?

In announcing a $350,000 grant to Clark University in Worcester, Mass., to establish a new faculty-fellows program, Robert N. Kreidler, the president of the Charles A. Dana Foundation, said the foundation's long history of support for construction and renovation projects at growing private institutions had run its course and that the foundation's trustees think colleges need more help in the area of ensuring "the future quality of the faculty."

A survey of some 300 students who graduated from Pittsburgh's Carnegie-Mellon University in May indicates that while liberal-arts majors received 20 percent more job offers than 1982 graduates had, offers to engineering majors plunged by 40 percent over the previous year's total.

Those findings appear to run counter to those of an annual survey of 251 corporations conducted by placement officers at Northwestern University in January. It predicted an 11-percent decline in job offers to college graduates and indicated that 11 percent of the corporations who hired graduates in 1982 had laid some of them off.

Career counselors at Carnegie-Mellon say that liberal-arts majors are taking advantage of the "boom in interest" in computer careers, but recently graduated engineers are not being hired because of the nation's economic recession and slumping industries, particularly in the Northeast.

"Business has been increasingly interested in hiring liberal-arts graduates with the quantitative tools necessary to succeed in a world becoming more technologically oriented," according to Robert H. Nelson, assistant director of career services and placement at Carnegie-Mellon.

Mr. Nelson said he was encouraged by the interest in the liberal-arts majors, but also noted that the decline in job offers to engineering graduates is only "a shortlived phenomenon" that will improve as the economy recovers.

And engineering students still earn higher salaries than liberal-arts majors, the survey shows. The average starting salary for a chemical engineer with a bachelor's degree was $27,500; for an electrical engineer, $26,200; for a computer-science major, $25,000; for an English major, $21,600; and for an economics major, $21,400.

The number of organizations that recruited at the college dropped from 427 in 1981-82 to 373 in 1982-83.--sr

Vol. 03, Issue 02

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