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Old 01-23-2008, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
957 posts, read 3,096,417 times
Reputation: 139

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Quote:
Originally Posted by schertz1 View Post

Don't get me wrong; I like UT. It is a good school, just not the best. Trinity and Rice are better, practically Ivy League.
Again you make me smile

I didn't know until after I started at Trinity, but apparently it's called "The Harvard of the South" and this is by those NOT attending. I would never go so far to say that it's up there with the real Ivy leagues, but it's nice to know we're that regarded.
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Beautiful New England
2,412 posts, read 6,471,090 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LookingtoLeave View Post
I didn't know until after I started at Trinity, but apparently it's called "The Harvard of the South"
Many schools have attempted to lay claim to the title "Harvard of the South," including: Rice, Emory, Vanderbilt, Duke, Tulane, and Sewanee (U of the South).
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
957 posts, read 3,096,417 times
Reputation: 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by professorsenator View Post
Many schools have attempted to lay claim to the title "Harvard of the South," including: Rice, Emory, Vanderbilt, Duke, Tulane, and Sewanee (U of the South).
All of which are great schools so I have no issue being put in a league with them.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:23 PM
 
454 posts, read 373,390 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LookingtoLeave View Post
Personally, I don't see why a research institution would be perceived as being of better quality and I have never heard this theory before today either. I never went to one, so I truly don't know, but I have heard people complain that their professors are always too busy for them and/or TAs are the ones really teaching. I'm sorry but that's not what I'm paying for.

I just wanted to chime in and say this is not something professorsenator has just come up with, what he/she states is very true for academic circles.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's a *good* thing, it's just the way it is. In academic circles a 'good' university is such given its research capabilities, not it's teaching. In fact, many of the top ranked schools ignore teaching altogether when considering tenure, much to many academics' dismay.

As an undergrad wanting a liberal arts education, a small liberal arts school without a graduate program is likely to not only be sufficient, but probably very good as its staff will focus on teaching. For a graduate student or faculty person, however, with an eye to career advancement, they're better off in a major research institution. That said, the IVYs are all about getting to know people - I don't think the quality of the education is necessarily better (I went to a UC state school undergrad, an IVY for my master's and another elite private uni for my PhD so I've experienced the range), but the environment is very different, and there is something to be said for that.

I gathered the OP was looking at universities from an academic's perspective (i.e. as a place to work) rather than as a student.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:31 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & San Antonio, TX
790 posts, read 3,623,440 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professorsenator View Post
Many schools have attempted to lay claim to the title "Harvard of the South," including: Rice, Emory, Vanderbilt, Duke, Tulane, and Sewanee (U of the South).
That may be so, but only one of them - Trinity - has been ranked the #1 comprehensive undergraduate institution in the West by US News & World Reports for the LAST 16 YEARS. #31 undergraduate engineering program in the nation. #1 "best value" higher education. News from Trinity University

As a previous poster mentioned, your repeated emphasis on research and grants as the primary indicator of a university's academic importance is off-base and outdated. Carnegie (whose own ranking criteria you referenced) completely changed their system several years ago to reflect differing academic focus at different schools, rather than ranking schools in tiers based on research, etc. Click back to your own link and you will see their explanation that changing the classification criteria was necessary to reflect the outdated methodology.

I have no beef with UT and think it is an excellent school in many respects. However, to dismiss institutions such as Trinity and Rice, which are nationally renowned for their undergraduate excellence, simply because they don't play the "major research university" game misses the entire point that universities exist to provide excellent education and training experiences for students. Research is merely one aspect of that education.

To the OP - I would concur with previous comments that Trinity does offer the most prestigious and highest quality educational environment in San Antonio, however, I cannot speak directly to the working environment there. I have heard from colleagues that since the arrival of President John Brazil, morale among staff and faculty have greatly improved and there is significantly more interdisciplinary collaboration, but that is only second-hand knowledge. I'd say your best bet is to identify employees in the respective universities you'd like to target and take them to lunch. Academia has its rewards but great pay is not always one of them, so a free lunch could be the key to some great information.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
957 posts, read 3,096,417 times
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I'm just curious as to why a research school would be more highly regarded that say one that focuses on academics? In order to turn out bright students, don't you need to actually teach them? I truly don't know, but I would think that like you said they focus on their own research and not the student. As a student myself, this is exactly what I would want to avoid. I don't want to be taught by a TA, nor would I like have my professor somewhat assessable should I need help. I'm not saying students at research schools are not bright or they're neglected, but it just seems a bit backwards to me. Just my thoughts.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
957 posts, read 3,096,417 times
Reputation: 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by CelesteDF View Post
That may be so, but only one of them - Trinity - has been ranked the #1 comprehensive undergraduate institution in the West by US News & World Reports for the LAST 16 YEARS. #31 undergraduate engineering program in the nation. #1 "best value" higher education. News from Trinity University

As a previous poster mentioned, your repeated emphasis on research and grants as the primary indicator of a university's academic importance is off-base and outdated. Carnegie (whose own ranking criteria you referenced) completely changed their system several years ago to reflect differing academic focus at different schools, rather than ranking schools in tiers based on research, etc. Click back to your own link and you will see their explanation that changing the classification criteria was necessary to reflect the outdated methodology.

I have no beef with UT and think it is an excellent school in many respects. However, to dismiss institutions such as Trinity and Rice, which are nationally renowned for their undergraduate excellence, simply because they don't play the "major research university" game misses the entire point that universities exist to provide excellent education and training experiences for students. Research is merely one aspect of that education.

To the OP - I would concur with previous comments that Trinity does offer the most prestigious and highest quality educational environment in San Antonio, however, I cannot speak directly to the working environment there. I have heard from colleagues that since the arrival of President John Brazil, morale among staff and faculty have greatly improved and there is significantly more interdisciplinary collaboration, but that is only second-hand knowledge. I'd say your best bet is to identify employees in the respective universities you'd like to target and take them to lunch. Academia has its rewards but great pay is not always one of them, so a free lunch could be the key to some great information.
In regards to Dr. Brazil, you are correct. He has strict guidelines as to who he will hire as a professor and does not bend them. I know this for a fact as one of my favorite adjunct professors did not get hired on full-time as amazing as she was. The first thing he did when he was brought on boards was literally fire anyone without a PhD. As a matter of fact, in one of the reports I read (not published by TU), TU has one of the nation's highest professor rates with PhDs. I believe it was literally 99% and the other 1% are the few adjunct professors needed to teach foreign languages.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:57 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
25 posts, read 63,453 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LookingtoLeave View Post
I'm just curious as to why a research school would be more highly regarded that say one that focuses on academics? In order to turn out bright students, don't you need to actually teach them? I truly don't know, but I would think that like you said they focus on their own research and not the student. As a student myself, this is exactly what I would want to avoid. I don't want to be taught by a TA, nor would I like have my professor somewhat assessable should I need help. I'm not saying students at research schools are not bright or they're neglected, but it just seems a bit backwards to me. Just my thoughts.
The thought does take some getting used to. I'm a student at Dartmouth (one of the eight Ivies) and we're the only school in the Ivy League that has firmly stood by its commitment to undergraduate education. We're also the only one that still calls ourself a College instead of a University, but that's a different story.

I believe the idea that Harvard and its kin have been following is similar to what you see in today's political races - Who can raise the most money? Who can get their name out there the most? Who can attract the best and the brightest to work for them? Whoever can do those things wins the race to be the best. So you see this intense competition to steal the best faculty and researchers away from other schools so that you can place your name next to theirs in that national academic journal. For example, Harvard works hard to attract the best researchers (the ones whose findings will be published in national and international journals) who bring their research grants with them, which allows them to attract even better faculty, which then allows them to raise more money to construct buildings or to solicit larger donations from alumni allowing them to endow scholarships and professorships. It's a cycle that feeds itself.

Inevitably, students at research universities do get lost among the many priorities of the researcher professors. That's why you get complaints from students at Harvard and MIT about the need to hire more professors and cut back on TAs. But the idea (or hope rather) is that the knowledge and wisdom of the professor will trickle down to the TAs and then from the TAs to the students. Then there's always the possibility that a student might just be lucky enough to work with the world-renowned professor that cures cancer or the like.

Last edited by WorldTexan; 01-23-2008 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
957 posts, read 3,096,417 times
Reputation: 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldTexan View Post
The thought does take some getting used to. I'm a student at Dartmouth (one of the eight Ivies) and we're the only school in the Ivy League that has firmly stood by its commitment to undergraduate education. We're also the only one that still calls ourself a College instead of a University, but that's a different story.

I believe the idea that Harvard and its kin have been following is similar to what you see in today's political races - Who can raise the most money? Who can get their name out there the most? Who can attract the best and the brightest to work for them? Whoever can do those things wins the race to be the best. So you see this intense competition to steal the best faculty and researchers away from other schools so that you can place your name on it. For example, Harvard works hard to attract the best researchers (the ones whose findings will be published in national and international journals) who bring their research grants with them, which allows them to attract even better faculty, which then allows them to raise more money to construct buildings or to solicit larger donations from alumni allowing them to endow scholarships and professorships. It's a cycle that feeds itself.

Inevitably, students at research universities do get lost among the many priorities of the researcher professors. That's why you get complaints from students at Harvard and MIT about the need to hire more professors and cut back on TAs. But the idea (or hope rather) is that the knowledge and wisdom of the professor will trickle down to the TAs and then from the TAs to the students. Then there's always the possibility that a student might just be lucky enough to work with the world-renowned professor that cures cancer or the like.
I'm sure being taught by one of the greats would be awesome, and I do believe a TA at an Ivy League would be VERY well educated. However, at other state research schools not highly regarded, this may not be the case. With that being said, I'd be pissed if my tuition $$ went to a school where I was being taught by one of them.
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:19 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
944 posts, read 2,808,220 times
Reputation: 263
The U.S. News and World Reports ranks Trinity #1, but in a completely different category than it ranks the truly best schools in the country. Trinity is ranked in the REGIONAL category, so the #1 distinction is quite misleading indeed. In other words, it's number one among a much lower tier of schools. I'm not saying that it is not a prestigious school--it is--but this needs to be put in perspective.
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