The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 6, 1979-Page F-
EXPERIENTIALICO UR SES, SEMINA RS, A ND FIELD WORK OFFERED
Different class formats enhance 'U'
By JOHN SINKEVICS
Students often complain about sitting
long hours in stuffy lecture rooms day
after day, absent-mindedly taking
notes and often falling asleep.
nBut courses at the University are not
always confined to classroom lectures.
In fact, students here have the oppor-
tunity to register for a wide range of
.classes which offer unique learning ex-
periences such as field trips, special lab
sessions, and community service
THESE NON-TRADITIONAL cour-
ses are offered in nearly every depar-
tment, school, and college at the
lUnivesity. In many cases, the emphasis
is upon "experiential learning -lear-
n ing through work outside the
classroom, graded on a credit/no credit
Perhaps the best example of an ex-
periential course is Project Outreach
(Psychology 201). Outreach students
are given the option of registering for
different service-oriented projects.
Most of the projects are worth two
credits. ome of the classes involve:
* Working at the Child Care Action
Center, a project which focuses on-
studies of early childhood develop-
* Serving as a tutor at the
Washtenaw Juvenile Court, a program
where students work with juveniles
needing academic and emotional ad-
Aiding and providing services for
elderly Jews. Students enrolled in this
section will hopefully develop relation-
ships with the elderly and gain insights
into the experience of aging.
"I LEARNED a lot and changed in
more ways than I can say in the four
years I was involved in the program,"
said Kathy Bohn, a University graduate
who served as a coordinator in
Outreach last year. "I got to see dif-
ferent aspects of different
organizations which are involved in
Outreach, and all my experiences were
Although Outreach will be offered
this term, some changes have taken
place in the program since last year.
Due to financial constraints, fewer sec-
tions will be offered.
Another experiential option open
undergraduates at the University
Project Community (Sociology 389).
"PROJECT COMMUNITY is an op-
portunity for people to have a little
more independence at the University,"
said Prof. Ellen Offen, director of the
program. "It's a matter of going out
and learning in the community," she
Many students taking Project Com-
munity work in the Innovative Tutorial
Experience program where they gain
teaching experience by helping pre-
school to adult students deal with their
The Inmate Project allows students
to work at a variety of institutions in-
cluding the Maxey Boys Training,
School, a juvenile correctional facility,
and the State Prison of Southern
Michigan at Jackson, where students
provide tutoring services in remedial
reading, math, and other disciplines.
Project Community and Project
Outreach certainly are not the only
unusual and creative alternatives to
traditional study at the University.
Most schools and colleges at the
University offer a number of classes for
which students from any college or
program can register, and these cour-
ses often provide experiences rarely
found at other universities.
For example, the School of Art offers
several courses in metalsmithing and
jewelry-making which emphasize skills
in craft rather than art. According to
Art Prof. William Lewis, many of the
lecture courses offered at the school are
"The Origin of Contemporary Design
(Art 111) is not an art history course but
rather gives a design perspective of the
relationship between cultures and the
use of materials," said Lewis. "Many
lecture courses of this type have -ho
prerequisites, often involve slide
presentations, and sometimes allow
students to go on field trips to view art
exhibits in Chicago and Detroit."
AN AREA OF study which cross-lists
courses in the School of Art, the School
of Engineering, and in LSA is Film and
Video Studies. Students in this progrm,
often along with students from other
See 'U', Page 6
,. _ _in craftwrather than, art. According-to
TAs link profs and students
By JOHN GOYEKR
If you happen to wander into your
first class and become alarmed
because your "professor" doesn't look
like he's yet begun to shave, don't fret.
Before you stands nQt an elder, ex-
perienced teacher, but one of the
elements of the University which allows
it to remain so large: the teaching
TAs bear much of the responsibility
for running introductory classes. They
supervise labs and discussion sections,
give quizzes and tests, and often grade
students. For courses that have no
large lecture section, the TA may teach
the entire course with the unseen
guidance of a professor.
The average TA earns about $2,500
per term for 20 hours of work per week,
according to Joseph Katulic, a Univer-
sity labor contract administrator. He
said the graduate students are often
required to teach as part of their
program of study. Graduate students
also fill administrative and research
positions in return for degree credit and
MANY STUDENTS claim they are
more sympathetic to questions from the
class than are professors. Many studen-
ts also say TAs are easier to find and
ask for help than professors, who often
handle classes of more than 300.
"They are willing to help you with
your special problems. They aren't just
going to process you in and out," said
LSA senior Jeff Fleischman.
LSA senior Lisa Amans said she finds
TAs are easier to talk to than
professors. "They're closer to your age.
They're not actually professors, they're
students too. It wasn't so long ago that
they were undergraduates and going
through the same things you are going
through now," Amans said.
BECAUSE THE TAs are still in
school, they teach differently than
professors, according to LSA senior
Leslie Emans. TAs know the material,
Emans said, "but also don't make it
seem as if they are lecturing. They
make it more enjoyable, they make it
seem like they enjoy it instead of like
it's their job."
But students do gripe about TAs. A
frequent complaint is that they do not
have enough teaching experience to ex-
plain course materials to students, even
though they may know the material
"Sometimes I wonder about their
teaching ability," Amans said. "I know
they know their subject, but I don't
know how good they are at helping
others learn it."
IF A STUDENT has a problem in a
class, he should discuss the problem
with the TA before he goes to the
professor in charge of the course, ac-
cording to Associate Dean of
Curriculum John Knott.
"It's always good advice to tell
someone to talk to a teacher," Knott
said. "The good thing about TAs is that
they're more accessible.
But while professors may rarely be
seen by many students in their classes,
Knott said it is general policy that a
TA's course supervisor has final say on
In addition to complaints about
teaching inexperience, students say
that they often get non-American TAs
that can't teach effectively because of a
"THE WORST TAs are the foreign
TAs because you can't understand
them and they can't understand you. I
think there are too many foreign TAs,"
LSA Associate Dean Robert Holbrook
said that the University is in a bind with
respect to TAs. The University is un-
willing to deny them support, he said,
especially when TAs are in such
demand in certain departments.
Knott said the University ad-
ministration recognizes the problems in
a system that has graduate students
teaching undergraduates. Recently, he
said, the University has been putting ef-
fort into persuading senior professors
to teach undergraduate courses.
In some departments, such as chem-
istry and mathematics, students
demand for courses is so great that the
University is having a hard time fin-
ding enough qualified TAs, according to
Knott. He added that several of these
departments are instituting programs
and seminars for TAs in order to
strengthen their program.
Tom Flagg, a psychology TA, has
some advice for undergraduates: don't
be afraid to approach a TA.
"A lot of us are just wishing someone
would aks us a question. Don't be afraid
to ask for clarification on an assign-
ment or something like that," Flagg
LSA SENIOR Amans said the only
time she has ever been afraid of ap-
praching a teacher was "when I was
totally lost in the subject and I didn't
know what was going on."
"When you're totally lost, you go up
to the TA, and, you know, where do you
start? I didn't want them to think I was
stupid," she said.
Flagg said TAs feel the same way
about asking students whether they are
having problems in a course. "I feel
sort of weird about that unless it's
someone I know or something," he said.
"I feel like it's up to them to look me
MOST UNDERCLASSPERSONS will find that a large share of their instructors
will be graduate student teaching assistants (TAs). Although frequently the target
of complaints, TAs can usually offer more personalized attention than a professor.
PROGRAMS S TRESS LIVING-LEARNING EXPERIENCES:
Pilot, RC offer educational alternatives
By VICKI HENDERSON
One of the more frequent complaints
muttered by students across campus is
that the immenseness of the University
stifles individuality. But two programs
do exist which may counter the "feel-
like-a-number" syndrome new students
r These two options, the Residential
College (RC) and the Pilot Program,
both emphasize the "living-learning"
experience, combining the dormitory
housing experience with communal
learning. They also offer many of the
benefits of smaller institutions as well
as those of the mother institution.
The Residential College, located in
East Quadrangle, was designed with
a the small college atmosphere in mind.
It was established by LSA faculty in the
fall of 1967 to "provide a congenial
learning environment for un-
dergradutes," according to Prof. Carl
Cohen, who was a member of the RS
RC DOES NOT cater to students in
any particular field. Any student accep-
ted into LSA may be admitted to the
"In the early years of the College,
competition for spaces in the Residen-
tial College was much greater than it is
now," said Razelle Brooks, assistant to
RC Director John Mersereau. "Since
the decline in enrollment in liberal arts,
- anyone interested in Residential
College is accepted."
One of the objectives of Residential
College, said Cohen, is to keep
enrollment in the college stable. Ap-
proximately 100 students were enrolled
in the 1978-79 academic year.
Students in the Residential College
take some classes in East Quad, but
they may also elect classes outside of
SINCE RC CLASSES are taught in
the Quad, many RC students are
"YOU REALLY GET to know a lot of
people" since LSA students also take
RC classes, junior Laurie Esler said.
"It's convenient having classes in the
Esler said the language requirement
"isn't really great." Many Residential
College students are disenchanted with
..the environment also cultivates outside
activities such as poetry readings and political activi-
ties simply because they're easy to organize.'
-Residential College Prof. Carl Cohen
class-a one credit course composed of
panels, films, and lectures centering
around a major theme-and English
Composition 125, which is required for
all LSA students. These are the only
two required courses.
Outside the academic realm, the
Pilot Program offers counselling,
minority programs and special interest
corridors where students in the same
field of study or with the same interests
live on the same hall.
The Pilot Program will be un-
dergoing some changes that will be im-
plemented in the fall, according to Rene
Radcliffe, Student Advisor for the Pilot
Program. A new director from
Berkeley, California, new resident staff
and teaching assistants are part of
Pilot is "improving and expanding
the number of offerings so there's more
to choose from," said Radcliffe. She
said a "lot of time and effort" has gone
into finding out the opinions of students
and "upgrading the quality of TA's."
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familiar with each other. And after
class "study goes on together," Cohen
said. "It carries over into ex-
tracurricular activities of the students.
The physical proximity advocates not
only studying as a group, but the en-
vironment also cultivates outside ac-
tivities such as poetry readings and
political activities simply because
they're easy to organize," Cohen said.
Pam Applebaum, an RC junior, said,
"It's nice having classes with your
friends. Also, you get to know your
professors more and are more comfor-
table with them to go and talk."
According to Cohen, studies have
been done involving students and
faculty during both their years as un-
dergraduates and after their
graduation. "The responses have been
remarkedly supportive and positive,"
the RC's language requirements, which
demands that those in the program
pass a foreign language "proficiency
test." One course of study RC students
may follow in an effort to pass this
exam is to take RC intensive language
classes. These eight-credit classes,
which are well-respected around cam-,
pus, culminate in the proficiency exam.
All RC students must pass such a test to
The Pilot Program is another small
college program offered by the Univer-
sity. Pillot was initiated by Profs.
Theodore Newcornb and Don Brown in
response to interests of faculty mem-
bers and the University housing office
ALICE LLOYD dormitory is Phot's
home base, and its 250 participants are
required to live there for one year. The
program requires a 'theme experience'
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