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August 25, 1964 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1964-08-25

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

THE MICHIGAN DAILY
CONFLICT WITH COMMUNITY COLLEGE?

TUESDAY, A

rU'Branch Expansion Provokes Controversy in Flint

Area

With the prospect of an addi-
tional 40,000 students seeking en-
rollment in the state's institutions
of higher learning by 1970, Michi-
gan's educators have been faced
with the need to expand.
But for some time now, a good
deal of controversy has raged over
Just how this expansion is to be
carried out. On the one hand,
the two-year post-high school ed-
ucation community college ap-
pears to offer a viable sol-ition--
either to prepare students for
further study at four-year univer-
* sitie s or as terminal education to
develop technical and occupation-
al skills.
At the same time there are
arguments which favor the es-
tablishment of four-year degree-
granting branches of universities
in some of the state's larger com-
munities.
The controversy has loomed
large in recent months in Flint,
a community which has offered
local citizenry the advantages of a
junior college curriculum--offer-
ingfreshman-sophomore instruc-
tion--since 1923 as well as the
benefits of an additional two-year
junior-senior year institution, the
University's Flint College, since
1956.

I

The "two-two" plan has been a
complementary program since its
inception eight years ago. Students
who attended the community col-
lege for two years were given the
opportunity to move up to the
senior college and graduate with a
bachelor of arts from the Univer-
sity.
Over 70 per cent of the current
Flint College enrollment was once
registered at the community col-
lege. The schools also have more
immediate structural affiliations,
including a "cross-over" plan
whereby a student may in spe-
cial cases supplement the educa-
tion he is receiving at one institu-
tion by enrolling in courses at the
other.
In addition, the colleges share
many facilities such, as the ap-
plied sciences building, an ath-
letic building and the library.
Minimize Friction
But the structural ties them-
selves were not of prime concern
to Flint and University officials in
the course of deliberations con-
cerning the viability of expanding
the University branch. Rather, the
chief consideration was whether
the transformation could be ac-
complished with a minimum of

friction and without debilitating
effects upon the junior college.
To determine whether the Flint
community could supply enough
qualified students to stock two
freshmen post-high school classes,
a six-member inquiry group of
Flint and University officials was
appointed last October.
A further task, which was ulti-
mately up to Flint citizens, junior
college officials and University
administrators, was the evaluation
of the roles-conflicting or com-
plementary - which community
colleges and large university ex-
tensions may play in the state-
wide educational picture.
Provide Finances
When Flint residents gave mor-
al and financial support to the es-
tablishment of the University
branch in 1956, they demonstrated
what had been community sen-
timent for almost a decade-the
desire to improve Flint's system of
higher education.
The sentiment took strong hold
in the mid-forties when interested'
Flint citizens and University of-
ficials began talks on the possi-
bility of establishing a four-year
college there. The movement for
quality four-year education pro-

DEAN DAVID M. FRENCH

m i l l- " - i

ATTENTION UPPERCLASSMEN!
SORORITY RUSH
Will Be Explained for You
ataq
MASS MEETING
on SEPT. 1

ceeded to grow when a survey,
taken in 1948-49, statistically dem-
onstrated a "real need" for state-
provided higher education. It cul-
minated when a Board of Educa-
tion study in 1951 took special
note that Flint was one of a di-
minishing number of cities its size
that lacked a four-year state in-
stitution for post-high school
training.
The final catalyst appeared
when a long-time advocate of bet-
ter higher education, Flint phil-
anthropist Charles Stuart Mott,
promised to give $1 million from
his foundation to the Flint four-
year institution efforts if the com-
munity's voters would approve a
$7.5 million higher education bond
issue.
Begin Planning
With the passage of the bond
issue, Flint and University offi-
cials were able to consider means
of going beyond the inadequate
junior college education then of-
fered; the final decision resulted
in the establishment of a two-year

Structurally, Flint College re-
lated to the University like any of
its then-sixteen colleges. But at
the same time, it developed loose
organic ties with the community
college.
With this precarious structural
balance, Flint College opened in
1956 with an enrollment of 167,
under the hands of a nationally-
known educator, Dean David M.
French.
Work To Do
As an "upper division" unit, the
college "found its work cut out for
it," French relates. The Flint
Community C o 11 e g e members
flocked to it, fairly certain of
their major academic interest.
"It was our job," French ex-
plains, "to bring these students to
baccalaureate levels of competen-
cy in the two short years they
were in attendance."
As he set up about his task,
Flint citizens felt confident at
last that their city had a strong
program of four-year college edu-
cation.
Since then, the Flint College
story has been one of continued
growth-from 167 to a current
population of 600. But Flint's im-
pact has been much more than lo-
cal. As the only degree-granting
college institution within 50 miles
of Flint, and affecting 370,000
people, the college enabled stu-
dents to qualify for medical
schools and professional training
who might never have received
any college education at all.
Taking Advantage
Further, it has permitted over
200 students enrolled at other
higher education institutions to
enroll for summer sessions.
In total, French estimates that
more than 2000 individuals from
all over the state have participated
in an educational experience orig-
inally intended for local consump-
tion only.
Yet in achieving the prescribed
task of educating Flint students,
Flint College professors and

:":v:'i: j}Fondtio ad Fin ciizns le.vel to 3000: studentsm~." .".": . . ..r:: v"".: ,;
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WELCOME TO

Initially ,there was a great deal
of optimism for the branch which
was characterized, as one profes-
sor put it, by "the high velocity
of ideas created by a big univer-
sity and the intimacy of contact
found only in j a small school."
But the same professor, as well as
Flint citizens, administrators, and
other professors came to be dis-
,ouraged over the "extreme in-
bredness" of the students.
This dissatisfaction with the
"two-two" plan led them to ar-
gue that to create the proper aca-
demic atmosphere, a student must
live on campus and participate in
a thoroughly integrated education-
%l and activity experience. They
further argued that the "two-two"
commuter principle is stifling this
experience : students arrive by
car, attend classes and return.
This school "inbredness" be-
comes self-perpetuating, marring
the college's attractiveness to out-

side students, it was said. At the
very least, the construction of dor-
mitory facilities was proposed.
With the possibility of expand-
Ing Flint College originally built
right into the academic structure
itself-built for a capacity of 1,-
000 students, with space provision
to expand one wing of the Mott
Memorial Bldg.-the spark which
set off the current plans to expand
Flint College was an incident
which took place last October: a
prominent citizen and member of
;he Charles Seward Mott Founda-
tion asked University Executive
Vice-President Marvin L. Niehuss
if he had considered the possibil-
ity of expanding the University's
branch in Flint.
This led to the establishment
of an inquiry committee consist-
ing of Flint Board of Education
:nembers, University administra-
tors, representatives from the Mott
Foundation and Flint citizens.

A&P

S
ay

The group found it had to pro-
ceed cautiously, appraising con-
tinued local pressure for the Flint
expansion-expansion which had
been stalled by waiting for co-
ordinating educational groups to
assess the needs of the state.
But with the committee's study
completed last April, the Flint
Board of Education issued an in-
vitation for the University to add
freshman and sophomore levels to
the existing branch. Following
unanimous regenial approval, Uni-
versity administrators and board
of education members began draw-
ing up specific plans for the ex-
pansion.
Tentative plans set 1965 as a
target date for adding freshman
and sophomore levels to the Uni-
versity's upper-division college and
call for a gradual rise in enroll-
ment from the current 600-student
level to 3000 students.

THE ECONOMICAL AND
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senior educational.
Flint College.

program at French himself have begun
how limited this task was.

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