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November 06, 1962 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1962-11-06

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

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

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(Continued from Page 1)

O'Neill

View Graduate

Language Squeeze

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"Historically, this is the mark of
a broadly educated person. There
probably isn't anyone in the aca-
demic world who regrets having
studied foreign languages - and
who doesn't wish he. had greater
mastery of then: " Heyns re-
marked.
In order to acquire this facility,
however, almost all graduate stu-
dents need training-inside or out-
side the classroom-during their
degree programs. Many have had
only one foreign language, due to
the literary college distribution re-

quirements, which include only one
language; and some from other
campus units or from other uni-
versities have had none at all.
For the past 12 years, the Uni-
versity has offered courses in
French and German as a special
service to impart a reading knowl-
edge in these languages, which
comprise the bulk of languages
used to satisfy the requirement.
Lack of Space
Last year, however, students
were denied enrollment in French
and German 111 and 112 (the

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special courses), and this year 67
had to be turned away from
French 111 due simply to lack of
facilities.
This was attributed by Heyns to
problems in staffing and finances,
which in turn were influenced by
the rock-bottom priority ranking
'given to the service courses by
the departments themselves.
In both the German and ro-
mance languages departments, the
priorities are roughly as follows:
List Priorities
1 Courses that satisfy the lit-
erary college distribution require-
ments.
2) Courses that satisfy concen-
tration requirements.
3) Courses that fulfill require-
ments for graduate students en-
rolled in the departments.
4) Service courses.
Thus, when budgets are tight
(as is the case), the 111-112 level
programs are the first to feel
the pinch and the last to receive
extra faculty and financial aid.
Faculty Available
"It is not the case that the
University doesn't have money
that could be used to expand these
courses," Heyns explained. "If the
graduate school and the various
departments were to say that fac-
ulty men are available and the
courses are of high priority, then
money could be found. The money
so used would not be available
for other purposes.
"This is a question with real
educational issues involved, and
it would be unfortunate if they
were to bebdecided on non-educa-
tional grounds."
The vice-president pointed out,
however, that there has been no
"cutback" as such in these courses;
"what we haven't done is to fill
the gap" between the amount of
students who have enrolled in
them in the past and the rapidly-
increasing number now desiring
entrance.
Although the basic problems in
the courses are common to both

the German and romance lan-
guages departments, there is some
difference in how they are admin-
istered.
Prof. Clarence K. Pott, chair-
man of the German department,
noted that, despite a sharp upturn
in enrollment, no students had to
be turned away from German 111-

ROGER W. HEYNS
... provides justification

in the department have to be
made by August, and any reshuff-
ling during registration time is
therefore dependent on having
staffmen able to handle the extra
courses and getting emergency
money from the administration.
Special Treatment
"There was a time when stu-
dents in these courses could get
special treatment, as the instruc-
tor was able to devote individual
attention to each student," Prof.
Pott said.
In 112, for example, the student
would read two books--one in his
field, one outside. The faculty
member would check his progress
and help him through portions
difficult to translate.
However, this meant the faculty
had to become "universal gen-
iuses" to keep up with each spe-
cialization, and as a result the
department found that a consid-
erable percentage of its budget
was being devoted to the service
courses, Prof. Pott said.
Therefore, some streamlining
was instituted to meet pressures
of finances and the ever-increas-
ing enrollment.
In 111-which attempts to ham-
mer home the principles of Ger-
man structure-the students now
get aid only if they ask for it, and_
can also obtain help at the lan-
guage laboratory.
In 112-which concentrates on
promoting reading facility-stu-
dents now read two books, one in
the social sciences and the other
in the natural sciences.
Personal Responsibility
"I can't prove it statistically, but
my feeling is that students are
doing just as well" as they did in
the old courses, when they had
less personal responsibility for
learning, Prof. Pott said.
There is no chance that grad-
uate students could fulfill the
language requirement better in
German 101 or 102. "The objective
in these courses is much broader,.
as speaking and writing skills are

112, except those with course con-
flicts.
Last fall, there were 113 stu-
dents in German 111; this year
there are 177. Last fall, there were
62 in German 112; this year there
are 82.
Second Day
Although the graduate school
had informed his department that
enrollment, if anything, would be
smaller, "by noon of the second
day of registration we had to add
anotherdsection for 111," Prof.
Pott said.
"At present, there is serious
overcrowding in the four 111 sec-
tions and the two 112 sections,"
he continued. "Some 28 students
per sectton are too many, espe-
cially when the classrooms should
contain only 20 students (an ex-
tra table has to be crowded in),
and the ideal load for a 111 class
is 20 and a 112 class 16."
Worse yet, teaching assignments

also demanded," he said.
Although Prof. Pott considers
it a "pity that a graduate student
should have to spend time picking
up a elementary knowledge" of
German, t h e department has
placed some of its best teachers
in the service courses.
Pattern Practice
This is due, first, to the "pretty
high level of student" in 111-112,
Secondly, pattern practice (a maj-
or portion of the primary content
of 101-102) is "fine, but hardly
challenging intellectually. Ex-
plaining the what and why of
grammar structure (as is done in
111-112) certainly does have in-
tellectual value," Prof. Pott de-
clared.
"For next semester, we have
planned for two sections of 111,
and four of 112. We are doing our
best, and are looking at other pos-
sible means of instructon," he said.
If the situation is serious in
the German department, it is
downright critical in the romance
languages department.
Unexpected Rise
Not only was there a flood of
students desiring entrance into
French 111-112, but also into the
entire curriculum. An unexpected
increase of 275 students necessi-
tated the establishment of 17 more
sections during registration, Prof.
Janes C. O'Neill, chairman of the
department, said.
As a result, the department was
able to add only one more section
for French 111, making a total of
four sections for 137 students.
There are 20bstudents in French
112, which is being offered for the
first time in a fall semester.
Last fall, there were only 90
students in 111. But in 1960-61,
there was a corresponding total of
170 enrollees. In the spring of
1961, the department was ordered
not to exceed its budget of the
previous year, thus necessitating
the cutback in number of sections.
6-7 Sections
Nevt year's budget request will
ask for six or seven sections -
which would be sufficient to
handle the number of students
(about 200) expected to desire
enrollment.
These service courses, however,
are outranked in priority by two
other items: the department wish-
es to furnish one more counselor
for its honors program, and free
another professor to direct the
play traditionally given by the
French Club..
In addition to the distribution
courses, concentration courses and
regular graduate courses, the ro-
mance languages department is
"asking for staff and means to do
all these things," Prof. O'Neill re-
ported.
JESSE FULLER
The Last of the
One-Man Bands
This Saturday
Night;
Only 90C

The service courses are parallel
to those in German-structure in
111, intensive reading in 112. The
French classes are somewhat
smaller, however, because the in-
structors "have to spend quite a
lot of time as it is reading and
grading papers."
Also, the French service courses
are taught by experienced teach-
ing fellows, rather than higher-
level professors as is done in Ger-
man. "If it becomes impossible
to staff these courses adequately,
we will look into other methods,"
Prof. O'Neill said. "It was with
great reluctance that we increased
the size of the courses.".

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4 r

PROF. CLARENCE K. POTT
... German courses
Prof. Roy J. Nelson, who sup-
ervises French 111-112, explained
that they are taught primarily by
grammar-translation techniques,
rather than as a "series of habits
to acquire" through patterns as
it the case in French 101-102.
Fastest Method
Two general textbooks are used
in 111, and in 112 there are gen-
eral texts and a book from the
student's own field. This is the
"fastest method I know of to teach
a reading knowledge of French,"
Prof. Nelson said.
However, the results are not al-
ways perfect, he said. "While
graduate students are highly mo-
tivated and intelligent individ-
uals, they do not all have lan-
guage talent."
In both the German and French
courses, there are several mitigat-
ing factors:
List Factors
1) Many students find a 111
course sufficient preparation for
the language examination, which
is taken along with preliminary
tests before a student is permitted
to pursue his thesis work. There-
fore, enrollment tends to be lower
in the spring.
2) Numerous tutoring services
are available, as is a University
correspondence course in French.
3) Substitutions and exceptions
are often made to the require-
ment. Associate Dean Robert S.
Ford of the graduate school said
that it "has been liberalized con-
siderably in recent years."
Individual Basis
Previously, only French and
German were acceptable; now;
upon request from departments
and doctoral committee chairmen,

the graduate school executive
board approves applications to
substitute other languages for
French or German. Not enough
requests for these other languages
come in, however, for them to be
handled except on an individual
basis, Dean Ford said.
Other policies include certain
provisions for foreign students
and an opportunity to be exempt-
ed in one of the languages by
means of a nine-hour sequence
which, in the opinion of the stu-
dent's doctoral committee chair-
man. would be useful in research
for the thesis.
On the other hand, for many
departments the reading-knowl-
edge requirement is only a mini-
mum, and they may impose addi-
tional standards. Several academic
units, for example, require that
any student beginning work for a
master's degree be proficient in
two languages.
Language Exams
Dean Ford attributed the sharp
increase in enrollment in the
special courses to the overall
climbing of enrollment in the
graduate school and to the fact
that "students are taking the lan-
guage examinations sooner than
they used to.
"We encourage this, because the
earlier a student completes his ex-
amination, the quicker he is able
to use the language in study and
research."
He anticipates no lessening of
the requirement in the future,
and in fact noted that "there has
been some discussion on the board
of tightening it up." Although it
will certainly be a number of years
before any changes are probable,
action conceivably could be taken
to require spoken and written fa-
cility as well as a reading knowl-
edge in one of the two languages,
Dean Ford said.
Better Effect
"I hope that as more and more
students ;come to the University
with better language skills, we
can use these skills to better effect
in undergraduate education,"
Heyns said.
"As language skills improve all
along the line, from elementary
school on up, it will be fair and
justified to ask competence in
one language"as a condition for
admittance into graduate school.
"r realize there are areas where
some special arrangements at the
undergraduate level will have to
be made. This might have to be
done by fields, most probably the
technical ones."
Some Grounds
He defends the across-the board
nature of the requirement (hav-
ing it for all fields under author-
ity of the graduate school) on the
same grounds as the requirement
itself: any student leaving the
University with a doctor's degree
should be a scholar, regardless of
field, and as such should possess
competence in foreign languages.
As to the present setup, Heyns
said he is "not a strong advocate
of how we administer the lan-
guage requirement at the graduate
level. I think we should have the
requirement-and use it.
"The requirement should come
early in the student's career so
that he can use the language and
is required to do so. At present,
it has too much of an aura among
graduate students as only an ob-
stacle to be overcome."
DAILY OFFICIAL
BULLETIN
(Continued from Page 5)
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Also recruiting for Juniors for bummer
(Continued on Page 8)
0

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