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January 20, 1984 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-01-20
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ECB: Has it helped?

Page 1

Six years ago the University made a commitment
to upgrade the writing skills of its liberal arts
students by establishing the English Composition
Board (ECB). This week's cover story looks to see if
student literacy really has improved. Cover photo by
Doug McMahon.

Too much blood Page 4
Scarface was making news long before its release,
thanks toits graphic violence and the resulting near
X-rating. But now Scarface makes news in the Daily.
Just in time for Spring break in Miami, Scarface is
the movie of a greasy, violent Cuban who makes it
Happenings Pages 5-7
Your personal guide to fun times for the coming
week in Ann Arbor. Film capsules, music previews,
theater notes, and bar dates, all listed for you in a
handy-dandy, day-by-day schedule.
Gray's play Page 8
The Michigan Ensemble Theater is presenting.
Butley, Simon Gray's comedy about a professor

whose life is rapidly falling apart. Alumni Nicholas
Pennell returns to the University to star as Ben
Music galore! Page 9
Looks like another music-filled weekend in Ann Ar-
bor. On Friday night at the Union, there is a musical
tribute to George Gershwin, the man who helped
legitimize jazz. On Saturday, Ida Kavafian is the
guest violinist with the Ann Arbor Chamber Or.
chestra. Ida and the AACO will be jamming at the
Michigan Theater.
Almost funny Page 12
Not Quite the TV Guide is not quite the funniest
book ever published, but it has its moments. Some
former National Lampooners collaborated on this
parody of the TV Guide which is reviewed right in this
very magazine.

English 125 that require individual
meetings with instructors for half an
hour in each of the first seven weeks of
the term-are foreign students and
dialect speakers. .
"We get a lot of athletes. We probably
know half of the football and basketball
teams," she said. "They're dialect
speakers. It doesn't mean they're
stupid. It' only means that they're not
writers of standard English and to sur-
vive at this University you've got to use
standard English"
To Varonis, a quote from a former
student that is taped to the wall above
her desk illustrates much of the problem
in student writing: "You mean it's not
just the form, it's the content that coun-
Teaching methods at ECB focus on the
content rather than the form, Varonis
says. "The least important thing is pun-
ctuation and spelling. "We work at the
level of ideas-organizing the ideas to
say what a student wants to say. Then
we worry about punctuation and
Their philosophy extends to the
program's other offerings, including
writing workshops that ire open to all
students. Students also can ask ECB in-
structors to review a paper or just sit
down for a while to talk about writing.
Cheryl Johnson, another ECB lec-
turer, says the program's services are
essential because students have few
places to turn for help with their writing.
"There are fe#' instructors at the
University who are willing to spend time
to help students. That's the response
I've gotten."

led to other schools copying most or
parts of the University's program for
their own use. Robinson said that the
ECB receives several calls each week
from other universities that are setting
up their own programs.
'At the University of Arizona, a school
of about 30,000 students, a plan similar to
the ECB is being established. According
to Charles Davis, Director of Com-
position at Arizona, the school is taking
writing seriously. "When the students
come in the summer for orientation, the
first thing they do is meet the student
body president. The second thing they
do is write an essay," he said.
Before Arizona established its upper-
level requirements, its program resem-
bled the ECB's first year component.
The upper level program at Arizona
now includes a writing proficiency test
to be taken late in the sophomore or
early in the junior year-not to fail
anybody, Davis says, but to identify
those students who still need extra help.
A second major difference between
the Arizona and Michigan programs is'
that Arizona's requirements are cam-
pus-wide, while the University's are
restricted to liberal arts students.
A second Arizona school, Arizona
State University, is using the ECB as a
model for a possible program there.
Robert Shafer, an English professor in
charge of establishing a program there
cites several reasons for studying the
"It was one of the first programs along
those lines. There aren't many in
existence," Shafer says. The idea of in-
cluding faculty members from all
disciplines is also attractive. "It's much

'There is no doubt in my n
quality of writing has impi
ECB is responsible for some of
-Chemistry Prof. '

Raunchy records

Page 3

Be forewarned. Both John "Cougar" Mellencamp
and Billy Idol have brand new discs at out. The pride
and joy of Indiana, Mellencamp once again explores
life in the heartland and other equally thrilling topics
in Uh-huh, his long-dreaded follow-up to the
frighteningly successful American Fool album. And
ex-Generation Xer, Billy Idol sells out with varying
degrees of success on Rebel Yell.

better to put the burden of responsibility
for improving literacy on the whole
faculty instead of expanding the English
At the University of Wisconsin's
Stevens Point campus, Don Pottow, the
director of freshman English, says he
"stole unmercifully from Michigan" in
setting up a program.
"I looked around the country, and the
program I liked best was Michigan's.
They had their heads screwed on
straight," he says. ECB Chairman
Robinson says his own program seems
to be getting positive signals right at
home, too. He says the ECB has
achieved many of the goals it set out to
attain six years ago.
"There's a lot more writing going on
around campus," the chairman says.
"The students are more aware they
have to work on their writing. If atten-
tion is being paid to that, then they
probably are better writers."

With the r
Litsa Varoni
going to be a
aren't ea;
traditional u
"After al
philosophy d
is improving
The answe
as far as stud
ned. No o
never enroll
the ECB is d
in the colleg
at one time
likely to be d
Says Varoi
table in some
everyone nee
to believe we

IFridoy, January 20. 1984
,VoI ,itIssue 13
Magazine Editors... Mare Hodges
Susan Makuch
Sales Manager ........................ Meg Gibson
Assistant Sales Manager ........... Julie Schneider

Weekend is edited and managed by students on the
staff of The Michigan Daily at 420 Maynard, Ann Ar-
bor, Michigan, 48109. It appears in the Friday edition
of the Daily every week during the University year
and is available for free at many locations around the
campus and city.

Weekend, (313) 763-0379 and 763-0371; Michigan
Daily, 764-0552; Circulation, 764-0558; Display Adver-
tising, 764-0554.
Copyright 1984, The Michigan Daily.

Miller is





Michigan Ensemble Theatre
Ben Butley
jan. 25-29, Feb. 2-5
Wed. thru Sat. at 8 pm
Sun. at 2 pm
P.T.P. Ticket Office, Michigan League Building
For ticket information, call 764-0450.

You fly high, live free, and dive deep.
You're an activist. An innovator. You are involved.
Your wristwatch, of course, is Rolex. Like this tough,
timely Submariner-Date, with its 30-jewel
chronometer movement, housed in an Oyster case
of surgical stainless steel or solid 18kt. gold,
guaranteed pressure-proof down to 660 feet.


2 Weekend/January 20, 1984

ECB: The symbol of a commitment

11 EV

. .

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