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February 27, 1964 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1964-02-27

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Seventy-Thir'd Year
Truth Will Prevail"
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in als reprints.

Honors Program Needs Reevaluation

Corporation Exec Attitude
Hurts Higher Education

WHATEVER ITS MERITS in the business
world, the corporation-executive atti-
tude spells disaster in higher education.
Yet precisely this way of thinking seems
to dominate the present relations between
Michigan's universities.
The corporation executive's concern,
first and foremost, is to build up his own
company. True, he has a certain interest
in the general welfare of business but
competition is his lifeblood. For a busi-
nessman, the justification is clear: his job
is to make money for his company. His
stockholders hired him for precisely that
a corporate executive - as many in
Michigan are doing-such justifications
no longer hold. First and obviously, his
aim is not profit. Much more importantly,
his "stockholders" are the taxpayers of
the state: the same people who are "stock-
holders" in all the other state universities.
Thus every ounce of effort one adminis-
trator expends in competing with his
counterpart at a sister institution is, to
the taxpayer, totally wasted.
An educator's responsibility is to the
state college system as a whole. Specifical-
ly, his job is to see that every citizen seek-
ing an education gets the best possible
one. In this essential statewide perspec-
tive, the purpose of a particular institu-
tion and its leaders is not to be an isolated,
self-concerned corporation but to make
the maximum possible contribution to the
entire state system. The "best interests"
of a university are precisely the same as
the "best interests" of the statewide sys-
tem-even when these "best interests"
call for that university to lose money, stu-
dents, standards, faculty or facilities.
still act like competing corporation
executives. Current examples include:
-The Delta College controversy, in
which universities' scrambling for new
territory has led to an impasse. As a re-
sult, a college-starved area of the state
still lacks a degree-granting institution.
-The medical school battle, in which
Michigan State University appears to be
breaking an agreement not to set up a
four-year medical school.
-Competition for the state's top stu-
dents, in which MSU is bribing potential
Merit Scholars to come to that campus,
.and the University may be preparing to
respond. Every school is doing its best to
raise its admission standards as high as
possible. Meanwhile, what becomes of the
qualified but unspectacular student?
-The eternal battle for money from
anywhere. This .Involves innumerable
gimmicks: expensive and sometimes silly

public-relations programs, the creation of
institutional images calculated to show
how "we" are more worthy than "they,"
and even professionalized athletics to
wow the alumni into contributing. A prev-
alent theory at the University holds that
MSU President John Hannah is deliber-
ately packing Michigan State with cheap-
ly-educable freshmen so that he may
claim an immense financial need in legis-
lative requests. MSU officials undoubtedly
have equally unkind theories about the
University's intentions. And the real ca-
tastrophe comes when these fights end
up in the Legislature, many lawmakers
have said such quarreling wins enemies,
and loses funds, for higher education.
AND SO IT GOES: every university
# wants more students and faculty, so it
can get more money, so it can get more
territory and functions, so it can get more
students and faculty. And the ultimate
,reason for the whole vicious circle? Only
one possibility remains: the personal ca-
reer ambitions of individual administra-
tors. Intoxicated with' the corporate-
executive idea, every administrator wants
to be the leader of education's General
Motors. Consequently, in the words of
one Regent, "every college in the state
wants to be the University of Michigan."
Simply eliminating administrators' cor-
poration-executive attitude, and replac-
ing it with a genuine statewide perspec-
tive, would do away with the most asinine
90 per cent of Michigan's inter-institu-
tional conflict. The other 10 per cent, in
which men unselfishly disagree on what's
best for state education, could then be
settled by voluntary coordination.
If the corporation-executive attitude
persists and continues to take its toll, the
only answer is some surrender of individ-
ual autonomy to some conflict-resolving
authority. The best answer probably would
be a "court" of out-of-state educators,
chosen by agreement of Michigan's tax-
supported junior and senior colleges and
universities. It could act only when state
schools brought a conflict to it for settle-
ment, thus preserving most of the bene-
fits of institutional autonomy. Its au-
thority to enforce its decisions would be
recognized in the state constitution.
Even this court, though, is at best a nec-
essary evil, especially since a simple
change of administrators' attitudes could
render it unnecessary.
Calling for a statewide perspective is
not simply wishing that everybody love
everybody. It is not asking for meaning-
less altruism from state university admin-
istrators. It is simply asking that they do
their job.

O THE student who honestly
believes he belongs in -honors
and yet is denied acceptance, the
whole honors program may wrong-
Ily seem to have a philosophy and
method of operation which the
student thinks are contrary to all
correct educational values. Most
of the criticisms of the honors
program center around some argu-
ment to the effect that honors
chooses the wrong people, that
the most creative people are de-
prived of the most challenging
faculty members and that honors
wrongly discriminates against stu-
dents in extra-curricular activi-
What seems incongruous is that
many people who do not measure
up to the present standards want
to be in honors, even though they
would not be taking very many, if
any, honors courses. It is almost
as if honors in some fields meant
to them that some "honor" had
been bestowed on them, rather
than that they had agreed to fol-
low a curriculum requiring them
to devote more time to studies.
CLOSER analysis would seem to
indicate that belonging to honors
is more of an indication of what
a person is rather than what a
person does. At the underclass
level, honors is usually associated
with the honors sequences, such
as the unified science program, the
math sequences and the great
books substitute for English. These
students are picked by the Honors
Council from incoming freshmen,
with some entering and leaving
later to make up for uncertainties
in the selection process.
The upperclass levels of honors
are completely different, though.
Students majoring in most fields
who are felt by their departments
to be qualified are put in the de-
partmental honors concentration
program and their records are
moved to the honors office. An im-
portant adjunct to the honors
program is the Unified Science
HARVARD University has an
honors program whereby anybody
can try for a departmental honors
degree if they fulfill certain mini-
mal requirements, which most do.
And at Harvard being an honors
candidate does not mean that the
student has been identified and
certified to be pedigreed, but that
he intends to and indeed is work-
ing more than he had to if he
had followed the regular curricu-
lum. Ideally, everybody gets an
honors degree.
The philosophy there is that a
more difficult, rigorous and better
educational curriculum should be
offered to those who want to pur-
sue it. Thus those who want to
learn more than is offered in the
basic curriculum are given the op-
portunity-they are given access
to the faculty resources necessary
to use up their excess academic
Honors there means senior
theses, junior and senior tutorial,
directed reading, more stringent
distribution requirements and
sometimes special courses. Natur-
ally, not everyone wants to under-
go such an ordeal. But a surpris-
ing number do.
AT THE University, such a plan
of offering faculty resources to
anybody who wanted to work
harder is not seen as being prac-
tical. The honors program assumes
that not every student at the Uni-
versity has the capacity to get
anything extra out of such a pro-
gram. Thus, to conserve faculty
resources, minimum standards are
At the University, however,
some fields, like math and physics,
have no upperclass honors courses,
and being in honors means merely
that students are given counseling
which is consistent with their
backgrounds. If there are no hon-

ors courses involved, how does one
legitimately differentiate between
those who belong and those who
The point is that if honors in
certain fields is to mean anything
beyond what departmental coun-

selors call it, then there must be a
definite upperclass program. Fur-
ther this program must be out-
lined more clearly. Some depart-
ments presently do not delineate
to any degree what they want out
of their upperclass students. De-
partments should outline specific-
ally what they want from their
upperclass honors students in the
way of grades, time devoted to the

program if departmental honors
counselors are to be able legiti-
mately to set up any criteria what-
soever for membership.
At the underclass level, honors
consists mostly of special sections
and courses, so that the criteria
for staying in honors is merely do-
ing well enough in these classes.
The Honors Council then faces
the problem of avoiding the grade-

limits itself to capable student;
who are academically oriented.
Under the more liberal criteria,
extracurricular activities might re-
gain the status in the campus that
they deserve.
THE UNIFIED Science Program
offers courses for a purpose differ-
ent from that of the regular hon-
ors program. Certainly the courses
offered are intended to be more
challenging. But to a greater ex-
tent they are designed to match
the level of the student. By the na-
ture of the program, then, criteria
must be as much background as
capability and devotion to the
field; and this seems to be the
It is perfectly sound to base se-
lection of students for honors sci-
ence curricula on background
along with capability and devotion
to the subject.
Nevertheless, although the se-
lection criteria for science pro-
grams are sound, the cost to stu-
dents of making wrong choices
should be lessened.
At present the unified science
curriculum begins the first semes-
ter with a physics-chemistry se-
quence which cannot be entered
easily after the first semester. Stu-
dents in the honors sequence begin
with physics, whereas students in
the regular curriculum start with
chemistry. It is difficult to make
the switch. This also applies to
the math sequences, but to a much
less extent, since it is easier to
make correct choices about who
has the proper background for the
* s
ONE OPEN question facing the
math honors people is whether the,
purpose of the early honors math
sequence is to ferret out and ad-
vance quickly those who are go-
ing for doctorates in math or to
offer a solidly based program for
all capable students.
The difference is in the course
contentdand selection of students.
One complaint, expressed most
often about the math honors
courses, is that the grading is so
much harder that many students
would rather take the regular se-
quence, just for the grade. Other
honors courses have notoriously
easy grading. Clearly, the grades
in all honors courses must be con-
sistent with grading in regular
courses. Also, one questions the
justification of an underclass math
course which requires such an
overwhelming majority of avail-
able time on the part of students

that their work in other courses
* * *
RISING out of the very exist-
ence of a selection process is the
creation of intellectual snobbery.
There seems to be no consensus
on campus as to whether honors
students are all-right guys or
grinds. However, recent events, in-
cluding the introduction of honors
housing, indicate that they are a
pampered lot.
Theoretically, they get profes-
sors who are less boring, give less,
busy work and are more challehg-
ing. They are couched in an inner
society which at times seems sep-
arated from "the masses." They
are counseled in uncrowded rooms
in a special office where peace
But all-in-all, this deference to
talent does not necessarily reflect
on honors students themselves.
Intellectual snobbery has not been
generated to the extent that hon-
ors students shy away from the
general stream of campus life,
thinking that it is too coarse or
vulgar. Hopefully, both sides will
avoid the elitist or anti-elitist at-
titudes which can so easily be
fostered by such a selective organ-
ization as the Honors Council.
THE HONORS program has not
been without its self-studies, but
most of them are informal and
will never ' reach publication. It
has its problems, certainly.
Criteria for belonging to honors
should be capability, the will to
do original and independent work
outside of the classroom and the
devotion of time necessary to an
increased load and more challeng-
ing education. Departmental hon-
ors programs should be far more
specific in telling students what
they expect from them."
Eventually, the financial sup-
port of honors courses mustube
changed if more upper-level hon-
ors courses are to be offered. To-
gether with increased course' of-
ferings at the upper levels, each
department must develop substan-
tive programs above and .beyond
existing regular curriculum offer-
ings if they are to justify the se-
lectivity of the honors program.
Departments and the Honors
Council, which oversee the honors
director's work, have expressed
some knowledge and concern with
some of these problems. Unfortun-
ately, no attempt has been made
to counter a developing and un-
necessary separatist trend in the
honors program. Hopefully, there
will be.

Honors Student: A New Approach?

field and outside work. Then they
would avoid dropping a student
from their program because he did
not measure up to some unwritten
THE PROBLEM of developing
more upperclass honors courses,
for majors or as cognate courses,
is one which the HonorsCouncil
has been trying to solve ever since
it started in 1957. Some fields, like
physics, haven't bothered with any
honors program, figuring that
their regular courses were meaty
At present there are 12 college
honors courses, and the office
would probably like to see more.
But one of the hindrances facing
the honors office in getting more
courses is that the financing for
such courses as are given by de-
partments comes through the reg-
ular department budgets. And de-
partments would probably not be
too enthusiastic about diverting
some of their best men to teach a
special honors course, especially
if such a course were used pri-
marily as a cognate for honors
students in another field. For in-
stance, it is felt that the English
department, although it has one
of the most thorough honors pro-
grams, does not necessarily put its
best faculty in honors courses.
Clearly, if the honors courses at
the upper levels are to be advanced
and if honors is to mean more
than just a qualitative ensignia,
then the financing of honors
courses must be restructured to
put the ability to create or abolish
courses more in the hands of the
honors office.
* * *
TUE PROBLEM remains,
though, that honors must provide
an honest-to-goodness upper class

getters who are always good at
filling the class requirements and
yet who never are able to produce
anything from their experience in
honors courses. These students
can get the necessary 3.00 until
doomsday. The Honors Council,
must first decide if they are gain-
ing anything from honors and
then, if the answer is no, figure
out how to 'get rid of them, It
isn't easy.
Ideally, the sole criteria for de-
ciding if a student belongs in hon-
ors, besides the necessary capabil-
ities, is whether the student has
ever shown any initiative to do
something on his own, perhaps
something academic or perhaps
something social, but nonetheless
It is on this basis that one must
disagree with the criteria of the
present Honors Council, which

Firebugs' a Fatal Attempt

SOMETIMES a play will go so
badly that nothing can save it.
The University Players opened
"The Firebugs" last night at Ly-
dia Mendelssohn and it was one
of the worst productions they have
attempted in my three years here.
The pace of the play was agon-
izingly slow. Generally, the acting
lacked any kind of spark, although
there were bright moments. The
play should have been cut for
production (repetition does not
always insure the captivation of
an audience). And whatever con-
tinuity there originally was was

lost by the black-out technique of
an off-key barbershop quartet
(who incidentally were the funni-
est part of the evening).
Not even the imaginative direct-
ing-Dr. Bender employed every
possible device of blocking, exotic
costume and properties-could
save the play.
MAX FRISCH'S play is a socio-
political satire that grinds too
many axes. The play is difficult
because it attempts to damn all
the evils of all societies. Frisch
attacks many groups: the appeas-
ers; those who shun responsibil-
ity because "it's none of my busi-
ness'; those who believe in ethical
relativism-"I've been good, at
least compared to other people";
and the upper middle-class social
mentality--"I know of no classes
and I regret that the lower classes
still talk about class distinctions."
Those brighter moments in the
acting were generated by Robert
McKee who pl yed Sepp Schmitz,
an ex-wrestler! whonever had a
chance because of his (sob, sob)
coal-mining origins. He picked his
nose, snorted when he laughed,
wore a dirty undershirt and com-

plained about the way his three
minute egg was cooked. McKee
stayed in character and was en-
joyable throughout. However, the
laurels for acting stop there.
David Anderson, who played
Gottlieb Biedermann of middle
class mentality, delivered every
single line with the same inten-
sity: he screamed.
Jeanne Lucas is capable of a
much better performance than
this one. However, she was better
than three-fourths of the cast.
The chorus of firemen--com-
plete with axes-should have
spent more time rehearsing to-
gether. They really dragged.
* * *
PERHAPS in hopes of distract-
ing the audience,_ there was a mir-
ror on-stage that reflected the
main spotlight right into the eyes
of the middle 20 rows of the first
Some of the lines were funny;
but this hardly saved the evening.
An alarming number of people left
at the intermission, thus missing
the second act, which was much
better than the first-it was
-Malinda Berry

Student Opinion on College Plan

'Island': Private Beauty

Unnecessary .. .
SOME STUDENTS feel the lack of any
student-faculty committee discussion
of student problems posed by the residen-
tial college proposal is a serious drawback
to real knowledge of the academic diffi-
culties and problems the college might
This is an understandable fear; but it
is unnecessary.
A student-faculty discussion of the
problems would be unfruitful for two rea-
First, students, unfortunately, are not
concerned about plans which will not di-
rectly involve them while they are at-
tending the University. Thus the number
of students who would turn out for such a
discussion would be pitifully small.
SECONDLY, Monday's meeting between
faculty of the literary college and the
Hay committee showed real concern on
the part of certain faculty members for
the welfare of the student under the new
college. And the problems they raised-
creative intellectual thought v e r s u s
"spoon-feeding," practical concern for lo-
cation--show the concern of certain fac-
ulty members for the student's welfare.
These problems are pertinent to the stu-
dent. Faculty members are in a position to,
-judge academic difficulties of students in
the new environment of the residence col-

Critical Variable .,.
does not accept the concept of the pro-
posed residential college, then why have
it? While faculty members discussed the
proposal in lively debate at a Monday
meeting, to date nothing has been done to
poll student opinion.
The residential college is going to be a
costly item to finance. Its aim is to offer
the student a "new avenue of education,"
that of a small, 1000-man living-studying
area apart from the rest of the campus.
The plan is offered to the student, but
will it be accepted by the student? A good
many people are not in the market for a
small group-living approach when they
apply to a university of 27,000.
OBVIOUSLY, this factor should be look-
ed into before further recommendations
are made. How many high school seniors
would consider experimenting with four
years of what could easily turn out to be
a continuation of a high school environ-
ment? How many would try this for two
years if not for four?
How would this be received by stu-
dents presently on campus? Could it nec-
essitate a choice between entering the
honors program or the residential col-
lege? The success of the residential col-
lege depends on many variables but the
critical one, after all, is the student.

At Cinema Guild
A MAN and his wife toiled the
summer through on a tiny
island which pokes through the
surface of the sea like a bare stake.
Each day is spent trudging great
pails of water up'its steep slopes,
irrigating the couple's sparse Corp
of wheat, winding manure from
the sea on bamboo poles. But the
days shimmer in the heat's haze,
the water has to be drawn from a
mainland ditch, a long row away

Affairs And

We Should Stay
We Should Make
Do As We Say"

Out Of Foreign
Other Counties

from the island, and the crum-
bled earth tumbles around the
vanishing water like sand.
Kaneto Shindo's "The Island" is
a beatification of labor. But it
betrays none of the typically 19th
century romanticization of the
"noble savage" that has trailed
through to our century in socialist
films, and Brecht.
The Japanese couple is tight-
lipped and hardened but not em-
bittered by the privations of toil.
The wife stumbles under her load,
and a pail rolls down the slope.
She saves the other pail, but her
husband climbs down to her, and
with all his force, strikes her
across the cheek.
This is not cruel. The wife has
been careless. She knows it and
expectsaher husband to punish
her. Yet he is gentle, or weak,
enough to help her carry the re-
maining pail the rest of the way.
This sequence illustrates, as well
as any other, the intense and pri-
vate beauty of this film, which
delineates with startling honesty
every intricate skein of emotion.
. .
ONLY TOWARD the end does
the film drift from its austere
gaze at this bond between labor
and feeling. And the latter part
of the film, is, for this reason, the
weaker. A deeply moving climax
is built up with the sudden illness
and death of the couple's elder son,
but this seems almost to be an-
other story - perhaps another
film. Yet it has the same integrity, '
the same private beauty.
No one sneaks in this film. The

Teresa Berganza:
Why Only 3 Encores?

MAC' ~E$~
*1 1

ON THE TOP of the program for
last night's recital at Hill Aud.
was printed "Teresa Berganza,
Mezzo-Coloratura." This ambigu-
ous title is supposed to denote
some sort of limitation in the
range of Miss Berganza's voice. It
doesn't. Her voice is fantastic.
The woman can do anything ex-
cept sing at the Met. For some
strange and mystical reason
known only to Rudolph Bing, the
American opera scene, which is
for all practical purposes the Met-
ropolitan Opera Company, has
been deprived of some magnificent
artists, Miss Berganza leading the
Last year she did appear in a
concert performance of Rossini's
"La Cenerentola" given by the
concert Opera Association in New

THE FIRST part of the pro-
gram consisted of arias by Haydn,
Handel and Rossini, and two songs
by Donizetti: all of which proved
perfectly beautiful, and one of
which, "Nacqui all'affano," from
"Cenerentola" proved Mezzo-
Coloratura. Miss Berganza's lower
register is loaded with ripe plum-
like notes that make you turn and
smile at the person sitting next
to you.
Particularly stunning in the first
half was Handel's "Verdi prati"
from "Alcina," in which she closed
her eyes and seemed to be singing
to herself. No mean feat of intro-
spection, especially in big, bulby
The second set was taken up
wit gna nnxcbTntia

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