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September 09, 1971 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-09-9

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Thursday, September 9, 1971.


Page Three

Thursday, September 9, 1971 THE MICHIGAN DAiLY Page Three

I Personalizing



0 . .

THE FOUR YEARS that separate an entering freshman from his
undergraduate degree generally loom ahead with a seemingly
never-ending stream of requirements which must be fulfilled.
In recent years, however, the literary college has made some
movement toward providing alternatives for the student who feels
alienated by traditional programs.
PRESSURED by students seeking to end the language and distri-
bution requirements for the B.A. degree, the LSA faculty
created a separate degree, the Bachelor in General Studies, in 1969.
The degree allows students to chart their own academic course of
study, free from the restraints of distribution requirements and a
particular field of concentration.
In August, 1967; the University converted East Quadrangle
into the Residential College (RC). There, for the past four years,
students have lived in some of the old dorm rooms and learned in
others, while working with a liberal faculty in easing degree re-
quirements, introducing new courses and programs, and virtually
eliminating the letter-grading system in favor of the pass-fail
OTHER PROGRAMS at the University have mirrored the innova-
tive manner of RC. The Pilot Program, for instance, has
combined dorm life and learning for underclassmen in a comparable
though less intense fashion for more than ten years.
For the student who may want an occasional taste of the un-
usual, the course mart program offers student-designed courses on
a wide variety of current-interest topics. Like RC and the Pilot
Program, course mart's classes will also be graded under a pass/fail
system as of this fall.

BGS degree: A program to your tastes

"The BGS can be either the salvation
of geniuses or the refuge of scoundrels,"
commented romance languages depart-
ment chairman James O"Neill a year
and a half ago, when the Bachelor in
General Studies degree program was
just beginning its second full term of
O'Neill, along with many other mem-
bers of the University community, had
expressed concern that BGS students
would have more of the "scoundrel" in
them as they found themselves freed of
language, distribution, and concentra-
tion requirements.
However, it is becoming apparent that
O'Neill's "scoundrels" to a large extent
are completing language requirements
anyway, and formulating th e ir own
'concentration' programs.
Moreover, the BGS degree program is
not only gaining stature here at the
University, but is also enjoying wide

acceptance by graduate schools through-
out the country.
The controversial BGS program was
created two years ago by the literary
college faculty in the aftermath of a
long drawn-out dispute with students
seeking the abolition of the college's
language and distribution requirements.
Refusing to remove the requirements
from the BA degree, the faculty in-
stead established the BGS, a new, sep-
arate degree program without language,
distribution and concentration require-
The program's creation marked one
of the first major examples of academic
reform in the literary college brought
about by pressure from the students
The only requirement for the BGS is
that students elect at least 60 hours of
advanced-level courses (300 level and
above), with no more than 20 of these
advanced hours in any one department.

In addition, there is a 40 hour limit
on courses taken within any one depart-
Currently, over 1,000 students are en-
rolled as candidates for the BGS, an in-
crease of over 700 within the last year.
And while m a n y faculty members
have continually expressed concern that
BGS students would be viewed by grad-
uate school admissions offices as being
less qualified than other applicants, a
nation-wide telephone survey made ear-
lier this year by The Daily revealed that
most graduate and professional schools
hold the BGS in as high a regard as any
other University degree.
Although only about 20 students had
graduated with the BGS degree before
April, 1971, an additional 55 were
awarded the degree last April - mark-
ing the first sizable graduating class of
BGS students.
As the program continues to grow
and gain respectability, the number of
BGS students is expected to increase

even more, until the program eventually
involves as much as 15 per cent of the
LSA student population.
The growth of the BGS program
would in itself indicate that a signifi-
cant portion of LSA students are find-
ing the broader and more unrestrictive
nature of the program more to their lik-
ing than the traditional BA concentra-
Although critics have taken the view
that the lack of requirements in the
program makes the BGS an "easy way
out," the BGS candidates themselves
seem to have different ideas.
Although they are not forced to take
language courses or elect a concentra-
tion program, a large portion of the
BGS students have fulfilled the lang-
uage requirement and an even larger
number are "concentrating" their pro-
grams in a selected discipline.
While the programs such students
formulate may thus be somewhat tra-
See CREATING, Page 7

.. _--
......... ..... .. . . . . . . .
The U's newest degree

Residential College: Working an
experimental idea by living it

You're walking down the hall
innocently enough when you--see
the gang approaching. You recog-
nize them by their baggy pants,
wide-label s u i t s and broad-
brimmed hats. As they approach,
you notice machine guns casual-
ly slung over their shoulders.
But others pay no attention to
the sinister groups. Cats walk
by with ardent indifference and
the 24-hour bridge game con-
tinues with hardly a glance. On-
ly a visitor to East Quad would
be startled by the cast of another
student-run movie.
Four years ago, however, there
were neither cats nor movie
cameras at the quad. In the fall
of 1967, engineering students
were bumped out of the dorm to
make room for the University's
most ambitious experiment in
undergraduate education - The
Residential College.
A division of the literary col-
lege, the RC was conceived in the
mid-1960's by a group of Univer-
sity faculty members who envi-
sioned the new college as an ans-
wer to the growing size and im-
personality of the University-a
place where liberal students could
live and study along with faculty
members and staff in an atmos-
phere of mutual respect.
In the summer of 1967, parts of

East Quad: RC's corner of the campus

the dormitory were swiftly con-
verted to a college as trunk
rooms changed to classrooms
and lounges to offices, providing
the University with its first self-
contained, living-learning experi-
Subsequently, the freshmen
who entered the quad that fall
became guinea pigs for a barrage
of programs as yet untried on
such a scale at the University.

Living and learning
in the Pilot Program
Supplement Co-Editor
"Too often, a first year student taking introductory courses is
unchallenged. His classes are too large, the teachers boring or un-
available and the subjects stilted and irrelevant," says Tom Lobe,
coordinator of Pilot Program, a division of the Literary College.
For a freshman anxious to avoid this route but somewhat hesi-
tant to immerse himself into the Residential College's (RC) total
living-learning experience, Pilot Program at Alice Lloyd Hall offers
underclassmen an equally intriguing, though not "total," alternative
to the traditional freshman year.
Selected on a first-come, first-serve basis, the some 450 freshmen
who enter Alice Lloyd each fall find themselves in an RC-like atmos-
phere where nothing is unusual-from the painted bust of Alice
Crocker Lloyd in the lobby to the coed bathrooms on the sixth floor.
Unlike the RC however, Pilot participants are not obligated to
participate in any Pilot course or activity and are free to take advan-
tage of as much or as little of its academic program as they choose.
Throughout its ten year his-
tory, the most prominent aspect
of Pilot Program, has been its
cluster of unconventional course
offerings taught by resident
graduate students and conducted
in the dorm.
These seminars, limited to en-
ff N irollments of 15, are usually inter-
'''.$ ' {."°;r .;:rdisciplinary approaches to a spe-
r%.;"F f ;cified problem such as Aliena-
tion and Meaning, Imperialism,
Anarchism, or Death.
Pilot classes are taken as elec-
tives by Pilot students and start-
{.ing this fall, all classes will be
graded on a pass-fail basis.
In addition, these classes are
open to non-pilot students where
Tom Lobe room allows.
Pilot also promotes various
non-credit classes and lecture series on topics of current concern.
Recently Pilot instituted a program of one- and two-credit directed
reading seminars where a student may research a subject on his own,
with the approval of a resident fellow.

The brashest of these programs
-The RC's blanket use of the
pass-fail grading system;
-The small, rather unstruc-
tured seminar where student
voices are heard equally or more
than the professor's;
-The "core" curriculum which
all students were required to take
during the college's )--ginning
years but which was later re-
duced considerably.
Last May, some 100 m-iembers
of the RC's first class graduated
from the College, thus presenting
the University with the first real
"results" of the experiment.
In tapping these results. most
RC students and those involved
in the college speak with pride
about the program's first four
years citing its faults along with
its achievements as examples
of its rapid growth and change.
Yet critics of the college point
to the RC's informal, unstruc-
tured attitudes towards lfarning
as an "easy way out" for stu-
dents who are unwilling to un-
dertake a disciplined course of
study and instead pursue their
own whims without real direc-
In order to more thoroughly
understand the experimental col-
lege, one may look at the RC
students' reactions to the major
aspects of the program as fol-
While ranging in topics from
Comparative Revolutions to Silk-
Screening, the RC courses most
all have one characteristic in
common-lack of structure.

'I'll never forget the cay I
walked into my first RC class
and the teacher said, 'Well. 0hat
do you want to do this semes-
ter?' " remembers one senior.
"I was floored."
As RC students explain, scmi-
nars and classes in the college
are of an informal nature, al-
lowing the student to more eas-
ily take an active part in the
As a result, students say they
feel less pressured to "per-
form" than they might have to
in "highly competitive" literary
college classes.
0 PASS - FAIL. Perhaps the
boldest program to be -instituted
in the RC is its pass-fail evalua-
tion grading system. Under this
system, a student receives eii-her
a pass or a fail and, in addition,
a written evaluation of his pro-
gress and involvement in the
"The removal of grades, I
think, kept most competition
from the school. You can't com-
pare grade averages here and a
pass doesn't mean anything to
anyone but yourself, says a
senior majoring in urban affairs.
The RC's pass-fail grading sys-
tem is vulnerable to outside crit-
icism because RC teachers tend
to fail only two or three per cent
of their students.
While RC students recognize
this opportunity to shirk their
work, faculty members say that
very few of them abuse the sys-
* CURRICULUM. With the
hope of enhancing the iitellectual
community of the college by ex-
posing students to a common aca-
demic program, the Residential
College at its inception, required
all of its students to take a basic
"core" curriculum.
The core program consisted of
a sequence of specially-designed
liberal arts courses which would
fulfill all of the college's distri-
bution requirements - including
English composition, a foreign
language, social sciences and hu-
However, the Residential Col-
lege disbanded the program last
winter term following complaints
from students and teachers that
the required nature of the pro-
gram did not take into account
the needs of individual students.
At present, only the freshman
seminar and language require-
ments remain, but efforrs to do
away with these are currently

-Daily-Tom Gottneo
Learning the traditional way . .

After registration
move to frustration
While the University has introduced a number of innovative
programs, there is one aspect of academic life that has seen little
reform-the registration process. From counseling appointments
through exams, you will discover that getting in and out of classes
involves coping with an endless bureaucratic maze. However,
there are ways of making the process less painful. Following are
some ways to cut through the red tape.
Registering for courses is easiest when you are a freshman
and have gone through an orientation session. You find yourself
shunted in and out of offices and through lines and in the end
somehow, you have a small piece of green flimsy paper with a
The next semester is not so easy. The most essential point
is to get up early (and 5:30 a.m. is none too early) on the first
day you are allowed to make an appointment with a counselor
for your next term's schedule. If you sleep too long, you are liable
to get a late appointment and spend the next term studying
Chaucer to Milton when you wanted Vonnegut.
When you first make the appointment (through the freshman/
sophomore counseling office, 1213 Angell Hall) they will give you
a booklet which lists courses along with their places and times.
Check this schedule and construct a program for yourself that in-
cludes relevant courses, at the times that you can live with.
Explain politely but firmly to your counselor exactly what
you want to take. Chances are he will nod and sign your slip and
you can leave. However, if he raises an objection like "but that
course is only for secon semester senxors with seven credits
in Advanced Sanskrit", be ready with a pre-arranged clever
answer like "but the professor said I could take it." Usually this
will suffice. You have now preclassified.
Once you have properly preclassified, registration is just a
boring hour or so of long lines to walk through while you pick up
some papers, hand in some papers and show your I. D. card at the
proper places.
If you haven't preclassified, add several hours to registration
time, and prepare to spend one day at the beginning of the term
at little desks labeled "Sociology 100-350". You will be kept busy
filling out little cards for courses you really didn't want but have
to take because all the good courses are full already.
or "I've got to get out of this place"
The first day of classes you are bound to find one you don't
like-the professor expects five papers, two projects, is giving
three hourlies and isn't covering what you want to learn anyway.
Don't panic.
You can legally drop courses anytime within the first four
weeks but the later you try to drop, the greater the chance a
Good Excuse will be required by someone along the line.
Adding courses is done the same way in reverse, but is a
little harder. First you must convince the professor that you are
dying to take his already overcrowded course and will prove a
great asset to the class. Then fill out the drop/add card and
you're in.
Adding classes can only be done legally within the first two
weeks of school-the earlier the better as it's sometimes hard to
catch up if you've missed the first few weeks.
After the first week, you will probably be able to tell which
courses are skippable and which are not. Lectures usually are,
especially if you have a friend who takes good notes. Seminars
and recitations are different, and should probably be fairly regu-
larly attended, as the teaching fellow may recognize the absence
of your smiling face and take it personally.
Find someone who has taken the same course from the same
professor and ask how many footnotes per page the prof likes,
and whether "about five pages" means he wants four and a half
pages or eight pages and a bibliography. It's almost always pos-
sible to turn in a late paper. But, It is good form to ask the pro-
fessor first-a minor excuse will do for most professors.
If you absolutely cannot finish a course on time, there is a
marvelous opportunity to put all your powers of creativity to a
test and try for that lifesaver known as The Incomplete. Find
a Very, Very Good Excuse, or maybe even two, -and go see your
If he agrees to give you an incomplete, celebrate, but
remember that all good things must end, and incompletes are
due within the first four weeks of the next term. If you can't
manage that, there are always Extensions. Write a note to the
Administrative Board, including the course title, the professor's
name and your Never-Fail Good Excuse and turn it in to the
counselor's office with your professor's signature,
Yes, it happens, but not very often, so don't worry. The

-Daily-Tom Gottlieb
. . or striking out on your own


Creating a class of your own

supplement Co-Editor
Ever want to take a course in non-
violence and pacifism? Or one entitled
"Comics in American Society"? Or did
you ever want to form your own course?
All are possible - that's what course
mart, the literary college's program for
"miscellaneous" courses, is for.
Course mart was formed almost three
years ago to provide interdepartmental
or unclassifiable courses that did not fit
,,ndp, .nv nth , r a,. ~+orv

graded on a pass-fail basis only, unless
the sponsor has received special permis-
sion for a graded course.
In the last few years, several c o u r s e
mart courses have been taught by under-
graduate students under the sponsor-
ship of a professor or a teaching fellow
under professorial supervision.
However, in January, six sections of a
course mart course being offered for the
first time, Independent Political Action
(College Course 327) were denied credit
by the onurse mart committee a student-

ing political action and 15 seminar ses-
sions on such diversified topics as radical
journalism, sexism and ecology.
The ensuing upheaval became a battle
between traditionalists who said the sec-
tions in question were not deserving of
University credit, and advocates of the
sections who argued that the sections and
instructors were legitimate and that the
committee had no right to delete sec-
tions of an approved course for which
students had registered and were cur-
rently taking.

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