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September 21, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-21

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I

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, September 21, 1983

The Michigan Daily

. ..... . . ...... ............. ------- . . ..... .

Communication department mask

By Barbara Misle
I'm really glad there are classes at"
this university like Communication
101. It is comforting to know that I'm
paying out-of-state tuition to be required
to take a four-credit course to learn
which of my "selves" is sitting in Nat.
Sci. Auditorium.
In lecture Monday, 300 students lear-
ned the concept of "who's on now," or
which self was sitting in class. The
professor wasn't talking about multiple
personalities or anything pathological,
but the "briefcase of selves" we all
carry around. There's the social self,
the work self, and the intimate self
you'd only want to share with your
grocer.
The class, interpersonal com-
munication, is a synthesis of every self-
help book available on the shelves at
Kroger and has a reputation for being a.
"blow-off." But the professor quickly
dispelled that outrageous rumor during
the first lecture. "Despite what you
might have heard, this is not a "blow-
off" course," she said. She backed up;
her claim by pointing out that last
semester the average grade was a
B-minus. But grades aren't the only
criteria for earning the class a title of'
"blow-off."
It's what you do in class. For instan-
ce, the first day discussion sections
met, we all went around the room in-,
troducing ourselves by linking an.
animal to our name. Each person had
to recite his or her name and all others
that preceded; Donna Deer, Lisa Dog,
Ted Aardvark, and me, Barbie Bear.

Although such activities were barely
tolerable while going through sorority,
rush my sophomore year, I was really
disturbed to find this in what is sup-
posedly a college-level course.
"Blow-off?"
The logical question, then, is why am
I, now an esteemed senior enrolled in
this so-called class? Well, another
wonderful attribute of this University is
CRISP, and I've been on the wait list for
101-no lie-for three years.
Even when I made the fatal mistake
of declaring myself a communication
major (double major in psychology so
control the giggles) and needed 101 as a
prerequisite, no one seemed to notice I
hadn't fulfilled the requirement. Oh
well, concentration prerequisites
always look impressive on paper.
Perhaps you think I'm being narrow-
minded, or unfairly slamming the
communication department. Ob-
viously, with scroll-like waiting lists for
classes, sending students overflowing
out of classrooms in the Frieze
Building, there must be some worth-
while courses. But take time out from
reading your comic books to look at the
course choices in the time schedule.
There's group communication,
organizational communication, per-
suasion, advanced persuasion, and big
winners such as analyzing the media.
After one class you can pretty much
sum up the goal of these courses:
People gossip lots in groups. In
organizations bosses assume their em-
ployees are idiots and shouldn't yell. And
the $10 million question in persuasion is
whether there's a difference between
social influence and persuasion.

s fluff
"As you can see, I'm the hardass of
the class," he said. Feeling like
wearing a uniform when I returned to,
the studio for the next class, I was ex-
pecting some rigorous work, and boy,
was I in for it. Learning how to count
down 10 seconds from any position on
the clock, spinning background music,
and running through practice drills
called "Meet the People in Your Neigh-
borhood," is just as rigorous as the"
professor warned.
At least he succeeded in scaring away!
the 10 desperate communication
majors on the wait list.
There is value in this class for those -
future Bill Bonds and Jessica Savitchs.
who must master the complicated con-.
trol board for job training.
Some classes like Statistics 402 or
Business Law, maintain enough
credibility to be demanding of students.
But courses like 421, in which the
professor lists his credentials by
peeling off a jean vest allegedly from a
motor cycle gang, and then t-shirts
from his former schools-including
MSU-are masquerading as glorified
high school fluff.
For those not familiar with the
bowels of the communication depar-
tment, maybe only getting your feet,
wet with an introductory speech class,
don't be discouraged by my bitter wor-
ds. I have liked my newswriting
classes, and intro speech was pretty
fun-I got an "A" on a five-minute
speech on creative things to do with cot-
tage cheese. Yes, this is what,,
education is all about.
Misle is a Daily staff writer.

Interpersonal communication: The sleeping self.

Another popular course with a
gruesome-looking wait list is Com-
munication 421, or intro to radio and
TV. To quiet class the
professor/producer/director yells,
"Stand by,...Cut!" After we all found

our marks the first day of class, the
video sargeant went over a list of rules
and regulations for working in the
studio.
No gum, no pop, no smoking, man-
datory attendance, and dress ap-

propriately when working in the studio.
Students who violate the rules will be
expelled, he said. Don't touch any of
the expensive equipment without
asking because there are important
things to be done in class.

Wasserman

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIV - No. 12

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
A natural success story

F SOMEONE AT the University is
looking for a budget cut that seems
to be working, look no further than the
School of Nautral Resources. The
school is the best model of how not only
to survive, but possibly to grow
stronger, after a major budget cut. It
is a model the schools of art and
education should take a good look at as
they face up to large cuts.
No one likes the prospect of having
large chunks of financial support cut
from under him. How would you like it
if the University decided you could get
by with one quarter less money than
you have now? The natural resources
school's faculty and students didn't
like it either.
They didn't like the 25 percent cut
they got, or the way that cut was
made-especially the way the cut was
made.
They had the collective finger of the
University pointing at them declaring
"low quality." They suffered through
a year-long examination by professors
who were not natural resource experts.
And they had to deal with ad-
ministrators looking to save money at
every turn.
But they have survived, and possible
managed to scrape up some benefits
for themselves in the process. Today,
professors- in the school ten-
tatively-and they stress the ten-
tatively-say their school has a bright
future.
There are several reasons why the
school has been able to turn a bad
situation to its favor.
Near the top of the list is an excellent
dean. As newly-appointed dean,
James Crowfoot has excelled in the
tricky job of working closely with cen-
tral administrators, while still main-
taining the integrity of the school. He
has been able to gain concessions when

they had to. Facing a major restruc-
turing of their school, they were
quickly able to dampen internal
bickering, agree on new focuses for the
school, and come up with a plan to
make the changes.
Nobody wants a budget cut, but early
on they realized there was no choice.
They made the best of it. With a great
deal of time and energy, they twisted
the devisive leverage of change into a
cohesive force. Without that cohesion,
the school would never have been able
to keep the professors it needed. The
best ones would have left.
Now the art and education schools
are entering the same dark tunnel that
the School of Natural Resources just
pulled out of. The art school's 18 per-
cent cut and the education school's 40
percent cut will force just as many
changes as in the natural resources
school. Yet these schools seem to be
apprehensive about confronting the
changes.
The art school has known a major
cut was coming for nearly a year, and
have known the exact level since July.
Yet, only in the last week has the dean
formed a committee to plan changes.
Does the art school lack the
aggressiveness that boosted the natural
resources school ahead?
The education school's professors
are frustrated and, in.many cases,
angry over the budget cut and new foci
recommended by central ad-
ministrators. Several have even
challenged the dean's right to set up a
special transition committee. Will the
school's faculty be able to set aside
personal gripes in time to prevent a
morale decline that will send the best
professors fleeing?
These are only early warning
signals. Whether they snowball into
serious threats remains to be seen.
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LETTERS TO AILY
Hart misdirected on Central A merica

To the Daily:
When will America's political
leadership come down from their
collective ivory towers and face
some realities about Central,
America? Sen. Gary Hart is just
one more in a long progression of
American political leaders who
thought they knew just what was
wrong in Central America and
just how to fix it ("Presidential

candidate brings '84'bid to Cam-
pus," Daily, Sept. 20).
The last thing Central America
needs is idealistic, preachy
volunteers invading their coun-
tries under the pretense of
helping them. We do no more
than alienate proud and often
quite self-sufficient people.
Sen. Hart is correct in saying
that poverty is the number one

U'

sports selfish greed

problem among the people in
Central America. But what he
fails to realize is that the leader-
ship of the people is centered
among those with the military
arms and if
Marxist/Leninist/Communist/
Whatever-you-want-to-call-them
revolutionaries take over, pover-
ty will still be the number one
problem and we won't be able to
help them any more.
One of the better moves this
country has made in recent years
was to vote Jimmy Carter out of
office. The linking of human
rights and foreign aid was the
most ludicrous farce of foreign
policy this country has ever wit-
nessed. On top of that, it didn't
work. The last thing we need is to
support another candidate who
thinks along these lines.
Don't get me wrong, human
rights is a key issue and one that
deserves attention. But, I firmly
believe that people are more

willing to respect others rights'
when they have a job, a home,
pride in their country, and food in,
their belly, not admonishings',
from a far off capitol where,
people are guarded and well fed
and always making decisions
about other people's lives.
Sen. Hart must be admired for
his campaign ability and drive.
As the "issues" candidate, he
probably has many more facts
than his opponents. Unfor-
tunately, Sen. Hart has not been
able to put the facts together in a
coherent and valuable form,
neither in terms of history or
social reality. I think support for
such ill-fated views is a waste of
our precious time at this univer-
sity and across the nation and I
'sincerely urge everyone to take a
hard look at the facts and realize
we cannot repeat our mistakes.
- Karl J. Edelmann
September 20
by Berke Breathed

4

To the Daily:
I was shocked by a recent ar-
ticle in the Spokane paper's sports
section on the University of
Michigan athletic department
funds. It is certainly hard to
comprehend how a group of
people with that amount of
money at their fingertips could be
so ignorant and selfish in spen-
ding it. If they didn't see reason
to put it in the University's
general fund, why not make a
-t* P,_. : Z-A __a......+..:4. --

real value of sports in our society
that it is downright terrifying.
If the folks in Michigan have so
much money that they're willing
to spend $14 to see a game and $7
just to park, why don't they at
least put the excess to some
humane use and make the world
a better place for someone less
fortunate?
Caryn L. Alley
Spokane, Wash.
September 15
BLOOM COUNTY

4

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