by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 11/17/00 6:00am

Academic Addition

With the plan to expand Dartmouth's faculty by 40 members, the College has a great opportunity to improve the quality of academics. With a larger faculty, professors will be enabled to become better teachers while also pursuing more research.

Students often complain that the best teachers are not involved in significant research while substantial researchers function poorly in the classroom. In recruiting 40 additional faculty members, Dartmouth can choose scholars who are both good teachers and good researchers. If there are more faculty members available, that will reduce pressure on present professors to teach several classes; and if professors are teaching fewer classes, they will have more time to conduct research and will be fresher when it comes time to enter the classroom.

This is also an opportunity for the College to improve both popular and less traditional departments. While currently over-subscribed departments should receive the first of the added faculty members, the College should also respond to student desires and seek out scholars who will expand Dartmouth's academic offerings. This initiative, if not accompanied by an enlarged student body, is something we can all rally around.

Projecting Influence

This unbelievably chaotic election will undoubtedly prompt years of analysis in to what went wrong, who is to blame and how it can be corrected. But one element is already clear -- the media must reassess the place of highly damaging exit polls in their election night coverage.

The release of exit poll projections before all the nation's voting stations have closed has limited potential for good -- but much demonstrated potential for harm. Declaring a winner (even if it's correct) in a state may cause some of that state's citizens to change how they will vote or stay home. And a projection in a key East Coast state surely influences at least some West Coast voters.

As the nation has switched to more computerized vote tabulation systems, a move that will surely be accelerated by the Florida quagmire, and actual data can be reported more quickly, the need for exit poll projections for an impatient America diminishes more and more.

The major networks already have agreements about not releasing exit poll data for a state until the majority of polls in that state are closed. If the media can manage this much responsibility, they can surely extend these pacts to also not release any figures until all polls are closed. This will do the greatest honor possible to the day, the country and democracy.