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August 27, 1968 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-08-27

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Tuesday, August 27, 1968

Page Six


Page SIx FHE MICHIGAN DAILY Tuesday, August 27, 1968

Individual iniative forms
core of honors program

RC scores victories despite obstacles

The literary college's honors program is
designed to offer the qualified student spe-
cial opportunities and challenges. It is
geared toward the upper. 10-15 per cent of
the student body and features small classes
with a higher percentage 9f professors
rather than teaching fellows conducting the
"Discourse is the prime method of in-
struction in seminars of 1o-20 students,"
explains Prof. Otto G. Graf, honors pro-
gram director. "Honors courses stress theory
and incorporate a greater degree of critical
analysis and more writing of a critical na-
ture to enable the qualified student to en-
gage in independent study and research."
The honors program began as an experi-
ment nine years ago, in its initial stage
consisting of only 21 courses. It is now the
largest and most comprehensive program
of its kind in the nation, with over 200
courses and sections in all 'departmfentsof
the literary college, in addition to 22 inter-,
departmental courses. Over 1,500 students
will be enrolled in the program this fall,

including over 400 entering freshmen.
Flexibility and lack of structuring are
features of most honors courses, with a
definite stress on individual initiative. Inde-
pendent Study (colloge honors 290) is an
elected course in which a student plans with
a professor a course of study that will be
worthwhile to the student and acceptable
for academic credit. The student does not
attend classes, but confers regularly with
the professor to dicuss important problems
and aspects of his studies.
Individual, initiative is also' an integral
part of the honors colloquium (college
honors 190). The colloquium is an open
course number allowing a group of stu-
tents interested in a particular specialized
field of study not covered in regular Uni-
versity courses to set up such a course with
an interested professor.
Honors students also have the opportun-
ity to take many of their courses as sum-
mer reading programs. Students may, ar-
range with a professor to read the texts
normally used in one' of their courses on
their own over the summer.

Dean Robertson meets students informally

Try us for that "Hard to Find" Book

The Residential College, fav-
orite child of educators and
students seeking a reedy for
mass-production learning at the
big U, is having a birthday.
After a year of painstaking.
self-discovery, coupled with fi-
nancial, disappointment, the col-
lege, situated precariously amid
brick dust and wet' paint in a
corner. of remodeled East Quad,
is awaiting its second crop of
Decisions made and direction
taken in the next year will de-
termine whether the college will
crystalize into the exprimental
laboratory and model intellec-
tual community it was conceived
to be, or whether it will. become
simply a mechanism for' relieving
LSA enrollment pressures.'
Indications are good: that the
college will fulfill its' mission,
if the enthusiasm and innovative
spirit now present in the Col-
lege prevails.
Academically, the college
breaks all, the rules in the book.
Curriculum is more fixed than
in the rest of the University. All
students take eight-hour "core"
courses in logic and language,
and western man. In addition,
all students take something call-
ed freshman seminar which is a
sophisticated version of that
eighth grade Unified Studies
course you had before they
started dividing culture up into
history and English.
In some courses students write
a paper each week. Seminars are
limited to 10-12 students and
grading is ,on a pass-fail basis,
with a 60-70 word evaluation
written by the instructor for every
student in every course, at the,
end of the term. *
Contact with professors is not
lin ited to the classroom. Faculty
are frequent visitors at the col-
lege at mealtimes, and impromp-
tu bull sessions at professor's

'homes occur often enough to
be worth mentioning. With a
student body totalling slightly
over 200 and approximately 35
faculty members, such face-to-
face meetings are possible.
Not all of the college's inno-
vations in academics have work-
ed, however. James H. Robert-
son, Director of the College and
Associate Dean of LSA, asserts,
that some changes in curriculum'
will be made next year. But ex-
periments, after all, do not lose
their value if they don't confirm
the hypothesis.
One change Robertson would.
like to instigate is more flexi-
bility for students in math and
science. At present students take
all their4 core courses within their
first, four semesters at the ol-
lege, with a comprehensive eiam
at the end of this period. "This
makes it difficult," Robertson
says, "for math and science stu-
dents to get at some of their
basic pre-requisite courses."
This means that these students
are forced to go to summer.
school or change their major,
which is "hardly fair," Robert-
son says.
The college staff has also run
into difficulty interpreting their
pass-fail grades for the honors
program and scholarship offi-
cials. At present the translation.
is being done by Robertson's own
office staff.
Students Robertson has talked
with are "quite adamant about
keeping pass-fail grading", he
says. Many have suggested that if
the office must compile grades,
they be made known to the stu-
dent only if he requests then.
Robertson feels this issue is an
extremely important one for the
college's 'future, and may put it
to a college-wide referendum in
the fall.
The college's system of govern-
ment, which gives students a high
degree of control over all affairs

of the college, is as innovative as the College should provide a Icw
its curriculum. The main deci- apartment houses outside the
sion-making body is the Repre- dormitory. house upperclassuien
sentative Assembly, which son- in apartment suites* within the
sists of eight students, four fac- dormitory. (with present plans,
ulty members, four administrators the quadrangle could accomnmo-
and twoyresident fellows. It is date 700 students) or lethupper-
chaired by_ Dean Robertson,i Awho, classmen find their own housig.
has a vote. The options open to the college'
This Assembly is vested by the may be narrowed considerably if
college constitution (adopted in a finances remain as shaky as they
college-wide vote early in the have been in the' past.
winter term) with final authori ,y Originally, the Residential Col-
for decisions within the college. lege was to be located in two
It is responsible only to the Dean buildings on what is now the Ann
and Executive Committee of tne Arbor Municipal Golf Course. One,
literary college, and the Regents. !a classroom dormitory unit, was
All administrative committees, budgeted at $11.8 million. A sep-
including building, a c a d e m i c arate library and science facility
standing and curriculum commit- was priced at $5.2 million.
tees, must report to the Assembly. In 1965, the Legislature offered
Robertson feels the government planning money for the library-
has worked very well, "So far the science building. However the
Assembly's decisions have not University refused the money, be-
broken down on student vexsus cause it was felt that aprovision
non-student lines. I think Lhis in the 1965 capital outlay act re-
indicates a great deal of mutual quiring state supervision of build-
trust and understanding. ing planning interfered with the
A comment made by one stu- University's autonomy.
dent in response to charges of Since that time the University
"selling out" by having faculty has tried unsuccessfully to get the
members on the governing body act dropped, even challenging it
is revealing: "Surely," the 'stu- in the courts. In April,'1966, how-
dent said, "thie !faculty members ever, the Regents approved a fi-
have as much vested interest, rele- nancing plan for the classroom
vant material and feelings to be a dormitory building, even though
part of our government as does financing was insecure.
any student." In June the 'Regents approved
So far the Assembly has taken as "sources of funds" for the pro-
no action' that would excite an posed college $7.5 million in reve-
outsider hoping for dramatic evi- nue from d bond issue to be re-
dence of student power. Curfew paid from student fees; $1.1 mil-
regulations, always a prime con- lion from refinancing South Quad,
cern of students, were abolished $1.4 million from other residence
in the first month of the fall term hall income, and $1.8 million in
by a vote of the student body as gifts from the $55 million alumni
a whole, and later endorsed by a fund drive.
pro-tem government of student,!Unfortunately the plans never
faculty and administrativerepre-materialized, because only $35,000
sentatives. in gift money came in, leaving the
This done, the new Assembly project almost $2 million short of
has been concentrating on work funds. Other University funds
which is less dramatic, perhaps, were tied up in construction of a
but essential nonetheless; care- new administration building an'd
fully drawing the lines of auto-anentbuliglavgth
cousplanlege Residential College low on the lit
committees of thecollege., of priorities. That was when the
"The students recognize," Rob- decision was made to move the
ertson says, "that if they give a college to East Quad.
mandate to 'an administrative There is little hope now that
committee, the committee must be the present Residential College
able to exercise it with some de- will ever move to'North Campus.
gree of responsibility, and not be If the University ever succeeds in
second-guessed on major issues." its fight over the capital outlay
In the fall the Assembly will act, or substantially changes its
begin to make more visible de- priorities, futur6 Residential Col-
cisions on the structure and con- leges (original plans called for
tent of life within the college. four within four, years) may have
Besides proposed grading and a separate location in which to
curriculum changes, a primary is- develop, away from the melee of
sue of 1969 will be where to house central campus. The present Co!-
the colleges' sophomores when lege, however,;must find its fu-
they become juniors - whether ture under handicap.

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