February 8, 2002

Staff Editorial

No triumph of technology

This year, for the first time, the process of applying for a Metcalf Fellowship has been completely automated, a change the CAPS staff has made in order to streamline the application procedure. However, the inattentiveness this change shows to the technophobia of some faculty members may pose a problem.

More specifically, the requirement that all letters of recommendation be submitted electronically is somewhat worrisome. Some professors don't have the time or inclination to learn to use a computer to perform this task. Many, in fact, will continue to prefer the suddenly old-fashioned way of submitting letters of recommendation — that is, with a hard copy. In short, allowances must be made for those professors who do not like to use computers.

We suggest that CAPS set up a system for professors to submit hard copies of recommendation letters that could then be uploaded onto the Web site. This would combine the advantages of an entirely Web-based system with some additional flexibility for instructors who, after all, are sacrificing their time to write letters of recommendation for students in the first place. The drive to improve the efficiency of the internship application system is, of course, a change for the better. But CAPS should keep in mind those who like to keep modern technology at arm's length.