Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 07, 2010 7:30 AM

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Support well-rounded education

We share the concerns expressed in the Open Letter about the Report of the Task Force on Graduate Education, signed by 138 members of the faculty and published in The Daily Iowan on March 11.

We share the belief that a robust Research I university must have strength across the disciplines. We believe that the physicians, dentists, accountants, CEOs, engineers, nurses, and lawyers of the next generation need an education that enables them to understand why waterboarding is torture and that torture is anathema to democratic values.

We want them to be sensitive to the ethical implications of the scientific, medical, and technological advances in which they will participate. We want them to have an education that includes Homer, Shakespeare, Mozart, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thomas Jefferson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King.

We want them to understand the complex cultures that human beings have made on our planet. We want them to have the basis for adding to the centuries-long cultural achievements of humanity, to live the “examined life” that, from Socrates onward, we have known to be the most worthwhile life to live.

For more than a century, American medical schools’ admission requirements have presupposed a college degree, usually from a college of liberal arts and sciences. This ensures that physicians will have acquired not only preparation in the biological sciences, but — because we expect physicians to be leaders in our communities — also in the entire range of disciplines that have long been at the core of a liberal education, an education that has been and remains appropriate, indeed necessary, for a free people.

We urge that these concerns be borne in mind by the university as the task force recommendations are reconsidered.

François Abboud, UI professor of internal medicine and molecular physiology and biophysics
Richard Kerber, UI professor of internal medicine

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