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Published: Friday, 11/3/2006

Science and tech won't affect arts, UT leader says

Amid distress about a proposal to emphasize the natural sciences and technology at the University of Toledo, President Lloyd Jacobs announced yesterday that "under no circumstances" would programs in the arts and humanities be eliminated.

"We've grabbed hold of the wrong tentacle of the octopus," Dr. Jacobs said about the campus debate sparked by his proposal. "This is not about English versus biology."

The UT envisioned by Dr. Jacobs would resemble a mountain range with peaks of excellence in several academic disciplines.

By devoting resources to science and technology, some mountains would be higher than others, he explained to a crowd in excess of 100 at a town-hall meeting on the main campus.

Dr. Jacobs identified the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as his model for a university. The acceptance rate at MIT, whose alumni have dominated the financial services and computing industries, is less than 15 percent. By state law, UT has open enrollment.

Daneen Buschmann, a senior theater major, asked if Dr. Jacobs intended to turn majors in fields such as women and gender studies into programs that could complement a major. Dr. Jacobs said there is no plan at the present time to delete any majors.

UT is considering whether to shrink its core curriculum. Undergraduates currently select 10 out of 317 available classes to fulfill requirements in English composition, mathematics, the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and multicultural studies.

Robert Sheehan, the university's interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said the volume of core curriculum courses prevented UT students from having a common experience.

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