The University Record, October 10, 1994

Goldenberg shares unsolicited positive comments with faculty

By Mary Jo Frank

As dean of the U-M’s largest college, LS&A Dean Edie N. Goldenberg says she occasionally receives a letter of complaint from students or their parents.

The 10 days before last Monday’s LS&A faculty meeting were memorable, Goldenberg told the faculty, because of the number and variety of positive comments she received from alumni, a parent, a student and members of an external review committee.

The first comment came from members of an external review committee for the Department of Economics. They praised the high level of faculty involvement with students.

“I had heard similar praise for philosophy earlier,” Goldenberg said.

A few days later Goldenberg was talking to a friend who also is a parent of a student who is pleased with his classes, particularly one of the Department of Mathematics’ new introductory courses. The student and his family had considered a number of private schools before deciding on the U-M and are happy about their decision, Goldenberg said.

On Sept. 29, while grocery shopping, an alumnus and local businessman stopped her and talked for 10 minutes about how meaningful a course he took in the Department of English a few years ago has been to him.

While out eating lunch Oct. 2, a retired faculty member who was not in the Department of History came up to her and told her about the wonderful history classes he has been taking for the last three years. The classes have been special, he said, because of the obvious expertise of the faculty.

The next day, Goldenberg received an electronic message from a Michigan Daily reporter who is also a political science major. The student praised his political science courses.

“Who knows what this all means?” Goldenberg asked.

One of the factors considered in magazine rankings, such as those done by U.S. News and World Report, is faculty-student ratio, Goldenberg noted. Such mechanistic measures don’t tell anything about the quality of experience students are having in their contacts with faculty, she observed.

The U-M faculty-student ratio, low compared with most public institutions and higher than many private institutions, “doesn’t begin to reflect the kind of care we see at the U-M,” Goldenberg said.

The dean said that the unsolicited positive comments she received demonstrate the positive results of the efforts of the College to offer a high-quality undergraduate program.