The school's history department recently adopted a policy that says it's OK to consult the popular online encyclopedia, but that it can't be cited as an authoritative source by students.
The policy says, in part, "Wikipedia is not an acceptable citation, even though it may lead one to a citable source."
They basically say that it's a good place to start, but it should not end there. I think that is a fair way to do it. It is a vauluable resource, but there are many other things out there. Besides, in most cases wikipedia will lead you where you need to go anyway. I actually think it will become more acceptable for thisa sort of thing in years to come.