Monday, May 23, 2005

Quin Sullivan's Letter

To the Editor of the Oshkosh Northwestern:

I was insulted by your editorial of Sunday, May 22, 2005. It was a slap in face of hardworking UW Oshkosh faculty and staff. I will comment only on one issue in this brief note, i.e., research and its cost to the taxpayer. Your editorial asks faculty to increase the number of classes they teach, without doubt this will come at the expense of scholarship.

Faculty are required to be scholars – or they will not be tenured and will be asked to leave. In other words, they must sell their house, uproot their families, and move to another university and start over. The scholarly accomplishments of faculty are many and varied, but let me give you one example of research in my discipline (social work) that I hope will summarize the importance of research and how short-sighted indiscriminate funding cuts can be.

Cohen, in a 1998 article entitled, The monetary value of saving a high-risk youth, carefully estimated that, “The present value of saving a high-risk youth is estimated to be $1.7 to $2.3 million. These figures have been adjusted to account for the fact that the three categories (crime, drugs, high-school dropout) are not mutually exclusive. For example, a career criminal may also be a heavy drug user." Do you think we should invest public funds in research that develops knowledge to understand the problems of high-risk youth? Do you think we should invest in the most effective and efficient programs and services to serve these children and families? Do you think we will save money by not doing so? Who do you think does this research?

Quintin Sullivan
Department of Social Work
University of Wisconsin Oskosh

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