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August 27, 1968 - Image 38

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Michigan Daily, 1968-08-27

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Page Six


Tuesday, August 27, 1968

Page SIx VilE 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 of professors
rather than teaching fellows conducting the
"Discourse is the prime method of in-
struction in seminars of 15-20 students,'
explains Prof. Otto G. Graf, honors pro-
gram director. "Honors courses stress thepry
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 departments of
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-_
dents 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 .

- II

Try us for that' "Hard to Find" Book

The Residential College, fav-
orite child of educators and
students seeking a remedy 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.

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 their core courses within their
first four semesters at the col-
lgwith a comprehensive exam
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.
'iStudents 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 them.
Robertson feels this issue is an
extremely important one for the
college's future, and may put it

of the college, is as innovative as
its curriculum. The main deci-
sion-making body is the Repre-
sentative Assembly, which ,-on-
sists of eight students, four fac-
ulty members, four administrators
and two resident fellows. It is
chaired by Dean Robertson, who
has a tote.
This Assembly is vested by the1
college constitutions (adopted in a
college-wide vote early in the
winter term) with final authority
for decisions within the college.
It is responsible only to the Dean
and Executive Committee of the
literary college, and the Regents.
All administrative committees,
including building, a c a d e m i c
standing and curriculum commit-
tees, must report to the Assembly.
Robertson feels the government
has worked very well, "So far the
Assembly's decisions have not
broken down on student versus
non-student lines. I think this
indicates a great deal of mutual
trust and understanding.
A comment made by one stu-
dent in response to charges of
"selling out" by having faculty
members on the governing body
is revealing: "Surely," the stu-
dent said, "the faculty members
have as much vested interest, rele-
vant material and feelings to be a
part of our government as does'
any student."
,So far the Assembly has taken
no action that would excite an
outsider hoping for dramatic evi-
dence of student power. Curfew
regulations, always a prime con-
cern of students, were abolished,
in the first month of the fall term
by a vote of the student body as
'a whole, and later endorsed by a
pro-tem government of student,
faculty and administrative repre-
This done, the new Assembly
has been concentrating on work
which is less dramatic, perhaps,
but essential nonetheless; care-
fully' drawing the lines of auto-
nomy for the various planning
committees of the college.
"The students recognize," Rob-
ertson says, "that if they give a
mandate to an administrative
committee, the committee must be
able to exercise it with some de-
gree of responsibility, and .aot.be
second-guessed on major issues."
In the fall the Assembly will
begin to make more visible de-
cisions on the structure and con-
tent of life within the college.
Besides proposed grading and
curriculum changes, a primary is-
sue of 1969 will ,be where to house
the colleges' sophomores when
they become juniors - whether

the College should provide a few
apartment houses outside the
dormitory, house upperclassmen
in apartment suites within the
dormitory, (with present plans,
the quadrangle could accommo-
date 700 students) or let upper-
classmen find their own housing.
The options open to the college
may be, narrowed considerably if
finances remain as shaky as they
have been in the past.
Originally, the Residential Col-
lege was. to be located in two
buildings on what is now the Ann
Arbor Municipal Golf Course. One,
a classroom dormitory unit, was
budgeted at $11.8 million.. A sep-
arate library and science facility
was priced at $5.2 million.
In 1965, the Legislature offered
planning money for the library-
science building. However the
University refused the money, be-
cause it was felt that a provision
in the 1965 capital outlay act re-
quiring state supervision of build-
ing planning interfered with the
University's autonomy.
Since that time the University
has tried unsuccessfully to get the
act dropped, even challenging it
in the courts. In April, 1966, how-
ever, the Regents approved a fi-
nancing plan for the classroom
dormitory building, even though
financing was insecure.
In June the Regents approved
as "sources of funds" for the pro-
posed college $7.5 million in reve-
nue from a bond issue to be re-
paid from student fees, $1.1 mil-
lion from refinancing South Quad,
$1.4 million from other residence
hall: income, and $1.8 million in
gifts from the $55 million alumni
fund drive.
Unfortunately the plans never
materialized, because only $35,000
in gift money came in, leaving the
project almost $2 million short of
funds. Other University funds
were tied up in construction of a
niew .admninistration building and
an events building, leaving the
Residential College low on the last
of priorities. That was when the
decision was made to move the
college to East Quad.
There is little hope now that
the present Residential College
will ever move to North Campus.
If the University ever succeeds in
its fight over the capital outlay
act, or substantially changes its
priorities, future Residential Col-
leges (original plans called for
four within four years) may have
a separate location in which to
develop, away from the melee of
central campus. The present Col-
lege, however, must find its fu-
ture under handicap.


336 . STATE


I ______________

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Contact with professors is not to a college-wide referendum in
limited to the classroom. Faculty, the fall.
are frequent visitors at the col- The college's system of govern-
lege at mealtimes, and impromp- ment, which gives students a high
tu bull sessions at professor's degree of control over all affairs

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