Professors, known for teaching, find new niche to excel in

by Amy Semet | 10/25/95 6:00am

Dartmouth professors, widely known for their superlative teaching ability, also say the College provides an excellent atmosphere for top-rate research.

Many professors said the Dartmouth Plan gives them flexibility that makes research easier.

"It is possible to arrange your teaching schedule so that you have a fairly substantial amount of time off when you are working on a major project," said Film Studies Professor Joanna Rapf, who said the teaching load at Dartmouth is lighter than at other universities.

Rapf wrote a book called "Buster Keaton: A Bio-Bibliography," which is about the great film comedian, his life and his art.

Rapf said she wrote the book over seven years and has dedicated it to her research assistant who died unexpectedly of cancer.

"The book appears in 1995 because it is the 100th anniversary of Buster's birth," Rapf said.

Professors also have a wealth of funds to draw upon to help them in their research.

"A professor can use the stipend for a student research assistant, who may help by getting needed books and articles from the library," English Professor Blanche Gelfant said. "If the professor uses the money to travel to a conference, that leaves less time to support a writing project."

Economics Professor Alan Gustman, who said the College's teaching load is "designed to allow time for research," said economics professors can use a research fund that was provided as part of the Rockefeller Center for the Social Sciences.

The fund "allows a faculty member with a continuing research record to take leave for research for one quarter about every three or four years," Gustman said.

Gustman co-wrote a book titled, "Pension Incentives and Job Mobility." In the book, he explains why mobility is lower from pension jobs and why people who hold jobs that offer pensions are less likely to leave their jobs that are people who hold jobs that do not offer pensions.

"Our results show that it is on the higher wage in pension-covered jobs that reduces mobility, rather than the effects of the pension itself," Gustman said.

Gustman said he has worked on the book for three years. He said economics professors at Dartmouth can accomplish just as much as economists at larger universities.

"We have created an environment where we can do good research without graduate students," Gustman said. "My view is that we would not be able to attract graduate students of sufficiently high quality to be helpful to our research in economics."

Economics Professor William Fischel wrote a book titled, "Regulatory Taking: Law, Economics, and Policy," which he started writing in 1989.

The book uses economics and other social sciences approaches to help decide when compensation should be paid for the owner when property is taken for public use, Fischel said.

"Some regulations, such as zoning laws, habitat preservation and rent controls cause some private property to lose much of its value," Fischel said.

Associate Dean of the Faculty Mary Jean Green just finished her book on the life of Marie-Claire Blais, a Quebec writer. The book is part of a series on Quebec writers.

Green, a French professor, said she had to go to Ottawa and Montreal to do research for her book.

"Dartmouth provided funding for me to go to conferences to present chapters of my book and to get feedback," Green said.