RC, Pilot programs:
More than a classroom
By MITCH CANTOR
Amidst all the bureaucracy and
confusion of this big University are two
academic programs designed to make
new students feel more at ease in their
new surroundings. Emphasizing a
more intimate and comfortable at-
mosphere within which to study, the
Pilot Program and the Residential
College (RC) offer a different approach
to standard University life.
Both programs serve as alternatives
to a traditional Literary College (LSA)
education, encourage participation and
involvement with others as part of the
THE PILOT PROGRAM, now over 16
years old, is a two-year-long venture of-
fering "an alternative eductional ex-
perience while providing the academic
standards of the University," accor-
ding to Betty Skandalis, last year's
Pilot programming director.
Pilot Program students are asked to
try to apply everything they learn to the
"real world." It is hoped that this will
help them become more innovative, to
help them see things from a slightly dif-
"Students are made not to look just at
the course contents but also the social
and moral implications," says Skan-
PILOT STUDENTS, which numbered
approximately 375 last year, are
required to live in Alice Lloyd Hall for
one year. In addition, each student
must select one section of Pilot
English Composition 125, and one.
"theme experience" course which is a
one-credit class composed of panels,
films, and lectures centering around a
Pilot classes vary greatly from their
LSA counterparts. They are taught by
teaching assistants who live in the
dormitory and are molded by the TAs
who hope to provide a more informal
setting for academics.
WHEN THE RESIDENTIAL College
(RC) was founded in 1967, many saw it
simply as an elaboration of the Pilot
Program. RC, however, goes much fur-
ther in stressing a "living-learning"
RC is a complete four-year program
which offers its own degree as well as
concentrations unavailable to non-RC
students. But at the same time, its
allows its participants to benefit from
all LSA courses and activities.
As with the Pilot Program, RC
students are strongly encouraged to'
Residential College Director John Mersereau scrutinizes the work of April Fool's
take part in extra-curricular activities,
to take a look at what's going on around
them. This is one reason East Quad,
where RC students are required to live
for two years, has gained a reputation
on campus as an activist stronghold.
ANOTHER SIMILARITY between
Pilot and RC is the close rapport among
students and teachers which small
classes help to form. The average num-
ber of students per class for both
programs is 15. A major difference,
however, lies in the fact that the great
majority of RC instructors are
professors as opposed to TAs. The op-
portunity for students to come in close
contact with their professors is rare
anywhere on campus.
RC Director John Mersereau -said
this closeness between teacher and
pupil is one of the more unique features
of the Residential College.
"It is an advantage to anyone
studying who doesn't want to be
anonymous," Mersereau said.
RC STUDENTS are graded on a pass-
fail basis for the first two years. Later,
they may opt for traditional grades. An
RC "pass" includes a written
evaluation which is a personal report
by the professor on a student's
academic accomplishments. Though
evaluations have long been criticized for
being too subjective, RC faculty mem-
bers see them as a clearer way 'to
present what the student has done.
Aside from the living requirement,
RC students, who number about 650,
must meet LSA requirements, com-
plete a freshman seminar (equivalent
to Composition 125),} become
"proficient" in a foreign language (ac-
tually a more strict requirement than
LSA) and participate in an "arts prac-
ticum," such as taking part in a play or
belonging to a group of singers. Again,
the key idea is involvement.
According to Mersereau the stringent
RC language requirement is a problem
for many students.
"THE LANGUAGE requirement is a
bugaboo for many people because it's
one of the toughest in the country,"
' The RC is picking up in enrollment
following a sharp decline in the early
seventies. Originally, many students
had to be turned away from the college
due to lack of space. Now, anyone ac-
cepted to LSA may be admitted to RC.
Mersereau said the shift is due to
recent student demands for a more
defined education. "We are especially
concerned with humanities-liberal ar-
ts education as opposed to *a pre-
vocational education," Mersereau said.
Neither program professes to sui9 it-
self to the socially complacent student.
"We don't encourage people- to come
here and stay in their rooms lay and
study," Skandalis said.
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