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February 23, 1971 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-02-23

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Tuesday, February 23, 1971

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Tuesday, February 23. 1971


f ree


From obscui

-.Daily-Andy Sacks
GROUP of student sit-in at the LSA Bldg. in January, 1969 to protest University language and dis-
ibution requirements. In the wake of such protests, the Bachelor in General Studies degree was es-

rity to
basis of all communication and
Mathematics Prof. Wilfrid
Kaplan agreed with Seligson,
saying "I h a v e never known
anyone of stature who was not
well acquainted with other lang-
Even many faculty members
not overly optimistic about the
BGS program, however, regard
it as a "respectable" college de-
"I generally believe in mnore
structured curriculum and re-
quirements," says O'Neill. "I
think there is a certain risk
with freshmen and sophomores
in giving them too much lati-
"But," he adds, "since the de-
gree was designed by the fac-
ulty, it is satisfactory."
Morris, the author of the re-
port on the BGS, believes the
degree is not without its short-
comings. He says the BGS is an
obvious temptation to students
"who cannot come to terms with
themselves," and adds that
some students try to avoid arca-
demic difficulty by electing the
BGS and only taking courses
which.are easy and untroubling
to them.
He also says the BGS tends
to obscure the existence of a
growing number of less-struct-
ured programs within the scope
of the BA. These include indi-
vidual concentration programs,
where a student selects his own
specific field of concentration,
such as urban studies or arts
and communications.
In addition, he says, there are
other opportunities for individ-
ualizing the educational exper-
ience, such as the LSA Course
Mart, tutorials, summer reading


(Continued from Page 1)
As well, there is a 40-hour max-
imum limit on courses taken
within any one department.
The skepticism was in part a
result of the way the BGS pro-
gram came into being - emerg-
ing from the dispute over the
language requirement in the BA
At that time, BGS candidates
were required to complete four
semesters of a language at the
University if they were unable
to pass a proficiency exam upon
In Winter, 1969, a joint stu-
dent-faculty committee recom-
mended the adoption of a sep-
arate degree prog'am which
would not require proficiency in
a foreign language.
After considerable debate, ac-
companied by a four-day vigil
in the office of then LSA Dean
William Hays by students op-
posed to the BA's language and
distribution requirements, the
literary college faculty approved
the BGS degree.
But the requirements for the
BA degree did not remain in-
tact. A week later, the faculty
approved a change in the BA
language requirement, making
it possible for students to com-
plete it by taking four years of,
language in high school. In ad-
dition, students could now elect
languages at the University on
a pass-fail basis.
Since it sprang from student
opposition to the language re-
quirement, the' BGS was consid-
ered by many to be a "cop-out"
for those who elected it, and
this view obscured consideration
For the student body:
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of the merits of the new degree
Although only about 20 stu-
dents have graduated with the
BGS degree to date, an addi-
tional 200 will be awarded the
degree this April - marking the
first sizeable graduating class of
BGS students.
Moreover, the report on the
BGS states it is probable in the
next few years that the literary
college will grant more than 300
BGS degrees annually, a figure
which, the report points o u t,
compares favorably with the
most popular departmental con-
centration programs.
Despite the obvious attract-
iveness of the BGS program for
students who are not particu-
larly fond of foreign language,
the program's effect on enrolĀ±-
ment in the language depart-
ment has been less than might
be expected.
French Prof. James O'Neill,
chairman of the romance lang-
uages department, s a y s there
has not been a "dramatic drop"
in language enrollment since
the BGS was initiated.
"There has been a perceptible,
but modest decrease in enroll-
ment for the past four or five
years," O'Neill explains. "This
amounts to a reduction in ele-
mentary and basic languages of

about three to five per cent, but
we have no way of telling how
much of this is due to the gen-
eral studies program."
"The only sure thing," O'Neill
continues "is that the existence
of the BGS, and the new LSA
language requirement has ,erv-
ed to remove part of the 'cap-
tive' audience from the depart-
ment, particularly from the sec-
ond year. But everyone is hap-
py about that."
O'Neill says the reduction in
language enrollment has not
forced a cutback in the romance
languages department's staff.
He adds, however, that while
there have been no staff dis-
missals, there are usually a few
sections each year that do not
While the BGS report has as-
suaged the doubts of many at
the University concerning t h e
academic quality of the program,
a number of faculty members
remain disturbed that the BGS
provides students with a way to
avoid languages.
"A person m u s t necessarily
have acquaintance with anoth-
er language besides his own in
order to attain the goal of true
culture and education," Latin
Prof. Gerda Seligson told the
faculty after t h e BGS report
was presented. "Language is the

courses a n d correspondence
However, probably the most
serious problem which Morris
and others see with the BGS
concerns counseling.
Since the BGS students vir-
tually plan their own courses of
study, they might not receive
adequate guidance on their pro-
,grams, and concerning graduate
schools and careers.
For example, Morris points
out that the current wording of
the BGS program permits stu-
dents to complete a regular de-
partmental concentration, al-
though it would not be cited on
a transcript.
Morris' report advocates the
establishment of a BGS couni-
selor to take c a r e of student
guidance as well as administra-
tive concerns like late drops and
reduced course loads.
Despite the optimism of the
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report, the LSA faculty ecenty
decided that the BGS program
should be watched closely in the
future, and a follow-up repot t
should be issued in a year or
Right now, however, the fu-
ture of the BGS looks secure, as
LSA officials expect an annual
increase in the number and aca-
demic orientation of students
entering the program.

1421 Hill


f ree


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- - ---------







The Five Piano Concertos
The Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell, Conductor
Leon Fleisher, Piano
A Critical Favorite
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You are eligible to vote if you:
(1) Are a citizen of the United States (naturalized
citizens must bring their papers)
(2) Willbe 21 yearsoldonor by April5, 1971
(3) Have lived in Michigan since October 5, 1970
(4) Can establish that you are a resident of Ann Arbor
(see below)
You are likely to be considered a resident
of Ann Arbor:
(1) You must not have a fixed intent to return to the
home of your parents after graduation;
Also, some of the following criteria must be met:
(1) If you're married, you're sure to be registered
(2) The more your total support is derived from
employment, savings, scholarships, fellowships, or
loans in your name, the more likely you will be
(3) It helps to be employed in the Ann Arbor area
(4) If you do not intend during the current academic year

Special Registration Hours
At Michigan Union and
North Campus Fire Station

February 25, 26 and

March 3,4, 5


5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Spring vacation begins on Friday, February 26
At City Hall:

Sat.. Feb. 27-8 a.m.

to 5 p.m.



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