As a member of the faculty of the College of Medicine at Howard University, I was interested in a report that found that my department's teaching methods are outdated, its students poor and its faculty members unable to sway their ossified frames in step with the "rhythm" of modern medical education.

With a few notable exceptions, an article The Post ran last fall accurately reflected that report's findings {"Howard University Panel Urges Tougher Standards; Research Stressed; Medical School Criticized," news story, Nov. 26}. It was the report that was inaccurate. The commissioners relied on old data, reported it poorly, injected personal biases and would not allow medical school faculty members on the commission to correct inaccuracies.

Howard President Franklyn G. Jenifer appointed the university commission to initiate a procedure for self-evaluation and to chart a course of necessary and overdue change. The Howard faculty itself welcomed such a study, but, unfortunately, got a report that made recommendations inconsistent with trends in progressive medical education.

Not one of the subgroup of commissioners (which excluded medical school faculty) who reviewed the medical school's program had any expertise in medical education. Even more disappointing, not one took time to review documents (as determined by the bibliography cited) that dealt with medical education -- a shame considering that the Association of American Medical Colleges is just across town and easily accessible for information.

The faculty at Howard offers an excellent up-to-date medical education to a spectrum of international and domestic students. Better than 95 percent of its students pass the National Board of Medical Examiners examination; indeed, they must pass Part I for promotion to the third year and must pass Part II to graduate. A large percentage of those graduating serve the inner cities with dignity, pride, contemporary medical knowledge and expertise.

Before the commission report, Howard was in need of an evaluation. It still is in need of an evaluation. One that would focus on:

Why faculty members are productive and competitive in research before coming to Howard but less productive afterward.

Why hundreds of thousands of dollars the faculty has generated in indirect cost, which is currently 78 percent, is insufficient to provide air conditioned and well heated labs.

Why faculty members have had to throw out experimental results because excrement leaked into their laboratories from the animal facilities above or water from the roof.

Why burned-out lights go unreplaced for weeks or months and then get fixed, too often, only after several phone calls and/or memorandums, and why contracted repairs and renovations take years to complete.

Before placing all the blame for poor productivity on medical school faculty, administrative support and conditions under which Howard's faculty have been forced to work should be compared with that of other medical schools.

Because Howard has not provided the opportunity for many faculty members to engage in the competitive research the commission urged, many faculty members have devoted their efforts to teaching, to the detriment of their research careers. The university has in the past placed a priority on teaching -- something now apparently out of style at Howard but having a resurgence elsewhere. Indeed, some universities are limiting the number of publications that can be counted for tenure consideration in order to show that good teaching also will be rewarded.

Some years ago, Congress said it was going to review Howard's administration. Should it finally decide to do so, it should take the administration by surprise. That way the administration won't have time just to paint the walls and change the light bulbs.

-- Thomas E. Smith