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September 07, 1972 - Image 80

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1972-09-07

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Page Six


ThursAy, September 7, 1972

'Ptli HEMCIA DIYfusdi,5peme ,17

BGS: to
your taste

the unchained

"The BGS can be either the
salvation of geniuses or the re-
fuge of scoundrels," commented
romance languages department
chairman James O'Neill two and
a half years ago when the Ba-
chelor in General Studies de-
gree program was just begin-
ning its second ful term of oper-
O'Neill, along with many other
members of the University com-
munity, had expressed concern
that BGS students would have
more of the "scoundrel" in them
as they found themselves freed
of language, distribution a n d
concentration requirements.
However, it is becoming ap-
parent that O'Neill's "scound-
rels" to a large extent are com-
pleting language requirements
anyway, and formulating their
own "concentration" programs.
Moreover, the BGS degree pro-
gram is not only gaining stature
here at the University, but is
also enjoying wide acceptance
by graduate. schols throughout
the country.
The controversial BGS p r o-


gram was created three years
ago by the literary college fa-
culty in the aftermath of a long
drawn-out dispute with students
seeking the abolition of the col-
lege's language and distribution
Refusing to remove the re-
quirements from the BA degree,
the faculty instead established
the BGS, a new, separate de-
gree program without language,
distribution and concentration re-
The program's creation mark-
ed one of the first major exam-
ples of academic reform in the
literary college brought about
by presure 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 de-
In adition, there is a 40 hour
limit on courses taken within
any one department.
While many faculty members
have continualy expressed con-
cern that BGS students would be
viewed by graduate school ad-
missions offices as being I e s s
qualified than other applicants,
a nation-wide telephone survey
made by The Daily two years
ago revealed that most grad-
uate and profesional schools hold
the BGS in as high a regard as
any other University degree.
Although critics have taken she
view that the lack of require-
ments in the program makes the
BGS as "easy way out," t h e
BGS candidates themselves seem
to have different ideas.
Although they are not forced
to take language courses or elect
a concentration program, a large
portion of the BGS students have
fulfilled the language require-
ment and an ever larger num-
ber are "concentrating" their
programs in a selected disci-
While graduate schools admit
students with BGS degrees, they
sometimes look more favorably
on students who have taken a
language or havedgained exper-
tise in some field.

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course mart:
new class options


Supplement Co-Editor
Despite the numerous avail-
able classes listed in official
University catalogues, you just
may find the selection inade-
If this be the case, Course
Mart is the place for you.
Initiated nearly four years
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ago, the program offers interde-
partmental and unclassifiable
courses with imaginative titles
and creative syllabuses: Courses
like "Directions: The Future of
H u m a n Evolution", "History
and Philosophy of Non-Vio-
lence" and "Dimensions of Re-
ligious Experience."
Course Mart is ac"stockmar-
ket" for ideas of courses not
offered by the University itself,
according to Pete Jacobson, Di-
rector of Course Mart and coor-
dinator of the LSA Counseling
During the 1969 Winter term,
the first -four Course Mart
courses were offered. Since
then, the program has expand-
ed with an estimated 1,000 stu-
dents registered for at least 20
Course Mart courses last term.
Credits received from the
courses range from two to three
hours and anyone from sopho-

mores to professors are permit-
ted to teach them.
The courses are not depart-
mental and therefore will not
earn credits toward a major,
but all credits are valid toward
a degree.
Resulting from a review last
spring of the Course Mart pro-
gram by the LSA faculty, the
project's courses are now taught
only on a pass-fail basis. Per-
mission to teach a graded
Course Mart course may, how-
ever, be obtained by individual
sponsors, as did two Law
courses last term.
Controversy arose two years
ago when six sections of a
Course Mart course being of-
fered for the first time, Inde-
pendent Political Action (Col-
lege Course 327) were denied
credit by the Course Mart Com-
mittee, a student - faculty re-
view group for the program's
Committee members cited
"iriregularities" in the course's
formation as reason for the ac-
Among other things, they
claimed the section's instructors
-mostly undergraduates and
people from outside of the Uni-
versity - had not been given
proper clearance to teach the
The course itself included a
weekly lecture on general topics
involving political action and
15 seminar sessions on such
diversified topics as radical
journalism, sexism, and ecology.
The subsequent dispute in-
volved on one side those who
argued that the sections in
question were undeserving of
University credit and on the
other side those who argued
that the sections and instruct-
ors were ligitimate and that the
committee had no right to de-
lete sections of an approved
course for which students had
registered and were currently
Following much debate and
further investigation, the LSA
curriculum committee (the fi-
nal authority on all LSA cours-
es) reinstated credit to the sec-
tions and Independent Political
Action was held without further

reach out
Supplement Co-Editor
Challenging the rigidly de-
fined format of most University
courses to a greater extent than
even Course Mart, is the Pro-
gram for Educational and So-
cial Change (PESC).
Initiated last winter by a
group of professors, teaching
fellows, students and members
- of the Ann Arbor community,
PESC opened both an assort-
ment of regular University
courses and two original courses
to the gen'eral public for free
No sooner had classes begun
than PESC was confronted with
severe opposition from the Uni-
versity administration.
Vice President for Academic
Affairs Allan Smith released a
statement charging that the
PESC. free-auditing policy was
in conflict with established
University policy.
Not all PESC instructors last
term were University professors.
Rainbow People's Party mem-
ber John Sinclair directed a
course called "Community Con-
trol of Prisons," and Charles
Thomas and Hank Bryant of
the Black Economic Develop-
ment League instructed anex-
ploration of the social and po-
litical makeup of Washtenaw
Students who desired aca-
demic credit for these courses
were allowed to elect them as
independent reading courses
under the direction of a PESC
Many PESO courses empha-
size independent study and of-
fer a variety of means for Uni-
versity students to incorporate
them credit-wise.
Following numerous meetings
and hours of debate between
PESC organizers and the ad-
ministration, the University of-
fered a position of tolerancy.
Smith announced that he
would allow PESC to continue
if conditions remained relative-
ly stable.
A PESC spokesman assured
that no "duly registered stu-
dent" would be excluded from a
class because it was filled with
Although the administration
decided not to discontinue
PESC, this is not necessarily
an indication of their approval.
Admittedly, it would be very
difficult to control the number
of free auditors in University
A lack of administrative sup-
port of PESC was shown last
April when a request for fund-
ing was denied.
PESC submitted a request
for $4,600 to the Executive
Committee of the literary col-
lege - who had at their dispos-
al $52,000 set aside from the
college's budget as "nnovative
funds." Allocations were made
instead to various professors
and programs, to be used pri-
marily for equipment pur-


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