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August 24, 1965 - Image 42

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1965-08-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


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Trimester Evokes Mixed Reaction


Trimester is an innovation at
the University, yet since its ini-
tiation only two years ago, it
has had noticeable effects upon
Trimester was initiated by the
University to enable it to use
its facilities to the fullest ex-
tent. This fall will mark the be-
ginning of its second year in op-
It features the 15-week term,
exams before Christmas vacation,
an exam period lasting from one,
week to 10 days, and final ex-
ams lasting two hours.
Previously, the term was two
weeks longer, final exams lasted
three hours each, and students
faced the last week or so of the
semester -followed immediately
by exams--upon coming, to Ann
Arbor after their Christmas va-
Three Terms
As conceived, the new tri-
mester system would offer three
terms, equal in length. of which
students would attend two.
However, the plan was altered
somewhat last year. Because ad-
ministrators realized that few
students could immediately ad-
just to the new system and take
a full term during the summer,
the summer term was divided in-
to two shorter periods, IIIA and
Each period lasted seven and
one-half weeks with a break be-
tween the two for exams and a
short vacation. Some courses
still ran through the entire sum-
mer, while others were offered
only for one term. '
The courses which were of-
fered for lIlA or IIIB met four
or five times a week, but were'
only worth two, rather than
three, credit hours. Courses run-
ning the full summer were worth
the same numb'er of credits as
during the fall and winter terms.
Study Period
A new addition in the coming
winter term -will be a three-day
study period prior to exams.
The University is still adjusting
to trimester. Incoming students,
theoretically, should have less dif-
ficulty because they are not used
to the old system, but still must
undergo a drastic change from

Some Just Can't Face the Pressures of Trimester

high school semesters to the Uni-
versity trimester system.
Last year during beginning of
trimester, freshmen who had nev-
er gone to school under another
schedule were enthusiastic about
it, according to a Daily "-urvey.
The most popular, aspect of ,it
was that exams were held before
Christmas vacation. Most fresh-
men responding to The Daily sur-
vey, said they felt they had done
as welltas they would have un-
der another system.
Caught Short
Many upperclassmen, however,
reported that they, were caught
short and forced to do an ex-
traordinary amount of work in
the two week period after
Thanksgiving and before the start
of exams.
However, most felt they had
mastered the material as well as
they had the previous fall, when
the University was not on the tri-
mester system.
The biggest complaint the up-
perclassmen had was that profes-
sors didn't seem to have allowed

for the shorter semester and the'
same amount of material had to
be mastered as during.the old 18-
week semester.
Professors disagreed. Most indi-
cated that they either had or
were in the process of revising
their presentation of material to
accommodate the 15-week semes-
Despite favorable replies in The
Daily survey; there has been some
indication that the trimester has
not been universally popular.
Little Free Time
One administrator expressed
concern over the lack of free time
for students to do outside read-
ing and reflect on what they were
studying. It was pointed out by
one respondent that it was diffi-
cult to find time to do anything
but cram the course material into
his head.
While the results have not yet
been determined there is also, an
indication that some of the Uni-
vesity's extracurricular activities
have been affected by and may be
curtailed because of the trimester
When the new system becomes
firmly established, students will be
in Ann Arbor for only two out of
the three terms. Therefore, it will
be extremely difficult to main-
tain a consistency in extracurricu-
lar activities.
Under the semester system, most
students attended the fall and
winter semesters and had their
vacation during the short sum-
mer term. Under the new system,
students will attend any two of
three full terms, including a full
term in the summer.

Until then, the problem how-
ever, seems to be more difficuit.
While there are quite a few stu-
dents attending the summer ses-
sion, there are not enough to
maintain active student rgani-
zations. Yet these organizations
will be needed and wanted by
those students who wish to express
themselves outside of the class-
room situation.
Currently studies of the prob-
lem are being conducted by Stu-
dent Government Council and The
Daily, as well as other organiza-
tions on campus.
A more humorous aspect of the
trimester is the reaction of the
student body to what University
administrators called "vacations"
last year. The Thanksgiving holi-
day lasts approximately two days.
Students also registered at the
one day spring "vacation."
The fact that these days are
labelled vacations gives students
the excuse to cud classes at least
two days prior to its arrival and
create a mass exodus toward
The trimester system, as it was
conceived offers numerous oppor-
tunities. Once it becomes fully
established, administrators plan
that students will attend the Uni-
versity two terms out of the avail-
able three. This would spread the
facilities of the campus farther.
This enables students who wish
to complete their education in
three years to do so. In fact one'
feature of the proposed residential
college is to make three terms of
study each year manadatory for

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The only discount textbook
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The University of Michigan's
involvement in research dates
back to the 1930's, but the broad,
complex research program that is
now such an integral part of this
institution, $42 million worth last
year,.really got underway during
and immediately after World War
The teams of scientists and en-
gineers that had been put to-
gether for war projects were kept
together afterwards as the fed-
eral government continued to sup-
ply support for defense-oriented
The Michigan Aeronautical Re-
search Center was established dur-
ing this period at Willow Run
Airport to carry on ballistic mis-
sile and radar surveillance studies.
The BOMARC missile was named
after Boeing and the center, both
of which developed it.
One product of the research, and
development efforts fostered by
the war was Prof. Ralph A. Saw-
yer, one of many University fac-
ulty members who were involved
in war projects with the govern-
Sawyer was one of the super-
visors of the Bikini Atoll atomic
bomb tests before he was brought
back to the University to become
dean of the graduate school.
As dean, Sawyer was mainly re-
sponsible for guiding the Univer-
sity's research program to a multi-
million dollar level. Increasingly
large amounts of federal money
available, first in the "hard"
sciences and later in more and
more fields, was attracted by the
University's excellent faculty and
put to use in strengthening Uni-
versity facilities and graduate
In 1958 Sawyer's-and the Uni-
versity's-involvement in research
was recognized through his ap-
pointment to the newly created
post of vice-president for research.
In the summer of 1964 Sawyer re-
tired from this position and the
deanship and was succeeded in
the research vice-presidency by
A. Geoffrey Norman, another fac-
ulty member who was intimately
involved in the nation's scientific
efforts during World War II.
Under Norman the University's
research is continuing to expand,
though at a somewhat slower rate
-10 per cent this year, to about
$48 million, as opposed to 15 per
cent and more in previous years.
The University is continuing to
set the pace in its research con-
tributions. Discounting the special
laboratories run for the govern-
ment by some universities the
University of Michigan's program
is the largest in the country for
a single campus.
While Washington politicians
continue to complain about a geo-
graphical maldistribution of re-
search funds, a combination of
excellent, experienced faculty,
good administration and increas-
ing government generosity in more
and more areas of-basic research
will continue to draw research
money here. The budgets of the
National Science Foundation, the
National Institutes of Health and






' Aerospace Researchers Helped Build This Satellite for NASA

the Department of Health, Edu-
cation and Welfare, to name a few
have been increasing rapidly, and
the University is sure to benefit.
Such a massive infusion : f
money into an institution is
bound to necessitate readjust-
ments, but most changes have been
subtle and have usually been ig-
nored-it's much easier to accept
money than to turn it down.
There is little doubt among most
administrators and faculty mem-
bers that the principal benefi-
ciaries of the federal largess are
graduate students and the fac-
ulty themselves. Research money
allows the faculty to draw high
compensation for nonteaching
Research at the same time
leaves less time for less desirable
teaching, so that universities are
forced to pay higher salaries for
less time in the classroom.

At the same time, much of the
research money that comes into
the University is tied into gradu-
ate work in some way. A profes-
sor's research projects often pro-
vide fertile ground for thesis proj-
ects among his students. They also
provide fairly lucrative work for
both graduate and undergraduate
Of course research has spawned
many problems. Once underway
smaller projects become consoli-
dated into large program that
often tends to acquire a great deal
of momentum. Equipment is pur-
chased, building space is filled,
often new- administrative units
spring up in practice if not in
organization charty and person-
nel are hired. The University soon
finds itself with an ongoing pro-
gram with accompanying admin-
istrative machinery that doesn't
really fit into an overall reseach

program or that creates faculty,
graduate, salary or other im-
The old departmental organiza-
tion system is also severely tested
in many ways. Chairmen, drawn
from the faculty, must become ex-
pert administrators, large pro-
grams, especially interdisciplinary
ones, are almost impossible to fit
into the old structure. Faculty
tend to lose their loyalties to the
University first and to their de-
partments second as they see
more and more of their money
coming from Washington or a
At the same time undergradu-
ates must be accommodated, class
rooms and office aid lab space
juggled, research administration
provided and a fantastic network
of financial arrangements and
commitments kept in order.




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