VOL. 9 NO. 2 THE MAGAZINE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH FALL 1999
Over and Out
by Ted Capener
The University of Utah should be-and is-a remarkable institution. It has been an integral part of my life for nearly two decades. I loved my student years here. And the past l4-plus years as a staff member have been, to say the least, challenging and highly rewarding.
To be involved with one's "own" magazine, alumni association, radio and TV stations, athletic program, public relations operation, government and community relations endeavors, magnificent garden, academic press, theatres-and more-has been, for me, the "perfect" job.
This is the flagship of Utah's higher education system. Students are not the only ones receiving an education. So, too, are we who labor here. What have I learned?
Much has changed since I obtained my bachelor's degree some 46 years ago. Enrollment has nearly tripled, as have the number of courses offered. Parking has obviously become an even bigger problem. (We badly need east-west light rail and more car pooling.) There are many more buildings on campus. (But the annexwhere journalism students and others spent many long daysremains, and continues to be fully occupied.)
Ours is still a "commuter campus," but the number of students living on campus, experiencing a full university life, will hopefully increase with construction of new student housing that will also be used as the Olympic athletes' village.
Opportunities for out-of-classroom activities are increasing. The Bennion Center provides hundreds of students a chance for meaningful community service. The newly organized student presenter's office is bringing entertainment and educational programming to campus. Pioneer Theatre Company offers students ongoing opportunities to see the best possible stage productions at little cost. And the newly renovated Kingsbury Hall (yes, it is now air conditioned) is the new home for student operas and ballet department performances, as well as a variety of other theatrical engagements by national touring companies and for noted speakers, and a venue for Homecoming activities and commencement exercises.
Opportunities now exist that did not during my halcyon student days. So, too, do new challenges. Entrance requirements and classroom competition are tougher. As the University has become recognized as one of the nation's major research institutions, an often heated debate has arisen regarding teaching vs. research. Has teaching suffered because many professors spend a majority of their time doing research rather than teaching? Academic leaders here have seriously looked at this question. Where imbalance has occurred, efforts are being made to pull the pendulum back into balance. In many disciplines, teaching and learning are greatly enhanced by opportunities for students to work closely with some of the world's best research professors. But more needs to be done to recognize classroom performance when annual reviews consider retention, promotion, and tenure.
During my 27 years in commercial broadcast news, I always felt my U of U training served me extremely well. During my nearly 10 years as a Washington, D.C., correspondent, I competed with journalists who graduated from some of the nation's elite schools of journalism. I found great comfort in knowing my college education and training served me very well.
And so I leave knowing that alumni and friends of the U will continue to appreciate and support the magnificent contribution this great institution makes to the people of our state and, yes, to the nation as a whole. Indeed, I am proud to be a Utah man and will be 'til I die.
Copyright 1999 by The University of Utah Alumni Association