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The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

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Date: Apr 06 2001
Major: Biology (This Major's Salary over time)
I majored in Biology and Economics.

While the grad, law, med, & engin schools are well ranked, the largest and oldest college on campus(LSA) has been plagued by serious problems for decades. Keep in mind that the University of Michigan earned its golden academic reputation during the first half of the 20th century. During that time LSA was a relatively small school, comparable in size to other ivy league schools today. However, after WWII the president at the time decided to turn the school into a monolithic beast. While this greatly expanded student body provided increased revenue, the academic infrastructure did not grow at the same pace. This created problems such as not enough resident halls, teachers, classrooms, and resources in general that are need to cultivate young minds properly and thoroughly(i.e. a great mind cannot be mass-produced). These resource deficits continue today. As an economics major we know that money plays a major role in everything. The top ranked UM programs vigoriously guard their financial resources. The President and the university have consistently selected LSA Deans that can be easily manipulated and are weak proponents of the LSA undergraduate plight. As such, LSA funds tend to be dumped into the financial blackhole known as "the general fund." Occasionally, LSA gets some of this money back as a welfare check from the Provost! A perfect example of this misuse of funds is the relatively new and luxurious Media Union building. Several LSA administrators suggested that LSA general fund paid for nearly half of this multi-million dollar building, eventhough LSA students are heavily restricted from using most of its resources. Under these financial constraints the LSA undergraduate education has observed a steadily decline in quality. The current system utilizes a "trickle-down" theory of knowledge(Faculty->Grad students-->undergrads). This idea failed to work for the Regan tax cut plan and most certainly does not work for education. In the spring 2001 LSA Magazine, the new Dean wrote a two page (unconvincing) defense of the college's excessive reliance on grad student teaching. She deftly created an idealistic alternative-reality that many LSA students would find curiously foreign. (example all of our international GSIs take the TOEFL, so that means they can all speak and teach compentently in English…LOL). New students are not completely mislead about class sizes. They are told that the first two years they will encounter large introductory classes. (However with the help of those well trained grad students it will be a breeze!) Further, they explain that junior and senior classes will decrease in size. In reality this is true only for select majors. Popular majors like econ and bio can have large classes throughout their entire college experience. The one difference is that the higher level course often do not have GSIs altogether(No big loss). Keep in mind that there is no substitute for direct interactions with a Ph.D teacher(that has the time and interest). These individuals tend to have an incredible grasp of their fields and are rarely threatened by complex questions that do not have easy textbook answers. I see academics as only a small part of thethis school is not for the faint of heart. The intrinsic value of a UM degree is hardwork, fortitude, and survival skills. The pure academic content is largely irrelvant. Very few students escape with flawless transcripts(think of those bad grades as battle scars!). In addition to the rigorious course work, that most other top schools have, UM students must also overcome a variety of challenging obstacles that make the UM experience truely unique.

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The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
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