The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 28, 1988 - Page 5
Seminars offer small
classes for new students
BY NICOLE SHAW
Entering its tenth year, the University's "Freshman
Seminar" program has given incoming students a
chance for more personal contact with professors.
These courses emphasize writing, unusual topics,
and small class sizes.
The seminars of under 20 first-year students are.
taught mainly by emeritus professors - professors
that are retired but are still interested in teaching. The
topics range from "Current Issues in Sport Sociology"
to "Comedy as a View of Reality."
The seminar instructors, who are allowed pick their
own course topic, are typically as enthusiastic about
teaching as their students are about learning.
One such instructor is psychology professor Bob
Pachella. Hid course, "Alienation, Identity and Free-
dom" exemplifies the uniqueness of the seminars in its
He bases the course on recommended readings and a
journal - there are no exams, papers, or required read-
Pachella wants to "experience the first fifteen weeks
of college" with his students and "reduce their general
sense of alienation." Discussions in class range from
the transition from high school to college to problems
"Each student has their own profile as to what they
are doing- I try to guide them," said Pachella.
His goal is to positively motivate his students to
read and write, without the traditional pressures of a
college class. He wants his students to see themselves
as decision-makers, with real responsibility for what
Students seem to be very encouraged by the format
of the class. Sagel Shah, an LSA first-year student,
enjoys the class because,"We talk about anything and
The "Freshmen Seminar" program has been so suc-
cessful that University officials say they will launch a
similar Collegiate Seminars program, which will offer
four new courses for first-year students and sopho-
mores. The program will begin in the winter term.
The Collegiate Seminar program will also have
small classes taught by senior professors. The only
prerequisite is English 125.
Hopefully, the program will be expanded next year
when students are more aware of the courses, said LSA
associate dean Jack Meiland.
The "Freshmen Seminars" have been a popular
course selection for both faculty and students. The
courses give "students an opportunity for critical
thinking while they participate more and learn more
about a topic," said David Schoem, LSA assistant dean
of first and second year students.
Jonathan Selbin, an Amnesty International campus group coordinator, addresses a crowd of
interested students at a mass meeting yesterday.
Computers aid visually impaired
Amnesty to expand
rights activities this year
BY M. ANNA SCHLOSSBERG
More than 100 students attended
Amnesty International's mass meet-
ing yesterday, where they heard
speakers from both the year-old
;campus chapter, and the Ann Arbor
Amnesty members write letters to
authorites and conduct public aware-
ness work and fundraising on behalf
of people whose human rights have
The campus group's activities
this year include a bi-weekly nfor-
mation table in the Fishbowl, bene-
fit concerts, vigils, bucket drives and
continuation of a "children's cam-
paign" to educate young people
about human rights abuses, said co-
ordinator Julie Rancilio, an LSA ju-
nior. The group also hopes to in-
crease efforts opposing the death
"The death penalty is very arbi-
trary and racial, and there needs to be
more public awareness about it,"
The Ann Arbor group differs from
the campus group in that it "adopts"
a prisoner who Amnesty feels is be-
ing detained unjustly, and focuses on
obtaining that person's release.
They recently achieved that goal,
and await a new "adoptee," said
member Lindsey West. Meanwhile,
the group is focusing on problems
in Columbia and the Andean region.
Last year, the Ann Arbor group
presented speakers from the Soviet
Union, South Africa, and Chile.
They will continue such events, and
will join the campus group in cele-
brating the 40th anniversary of the
United Nations Human Rights Dec-
laration this December.
Neither group will join in the ac-
tivities of the United Coalition
Against Racism, Free South Africa
Coordinating Committee or similar
groups, Rancilio said.
"We would like to do events with
them, but a feature of Amnesty is
that it is apolitical. This gives us
credibility with governments across
the political spectrum. If the oppor-
tunity arises where we can work
with them without violating that
mandate, we will," Rancilio said.
The next campus group meeting
is Monday, October 3 at 7:30 pm in
2413 Mason. Call 761-7527 for in-
formation. The Ann Arbor Group 61
meets the second Tuesday of each
month at 7:30 pm in the Michigan
Union Welker Room. Call 761-3639
Students can also join the Urgent
Action Network, where the only ac-
tivity is writing letters on behalf of
victims of human rights violations,
and there are no meetings. For more
information, contact Bob Hauert,
Michigan Union Room 2408, 764-
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S325 E. Liberty
BY MARK KOLAR
Try reading a computer screen
with your eyes closed, or typing a
paper when the letters on the screen
are too fuzzy to see.
That's what most visually im-
paired computer users have faced at
the University, until now.
In the second week of August, the
Low Vision microcomputer User
Area was relocated from the North
University building to the fourth
floor of the UGLi, near the rear of
the computer cluster there.
The Low Vision center contains
equipment specially designed to aid
visually disabled and learning im-
paired persons. One Macintosh and
one Zenith computer with a giant-
screen monitor comprise the main
hardware for the user area. Both
have connections to MTS, and both
sport speech synthesizers that let the
computers read screen data aloud.
"The machines are very easy to
understand," said Donna Fischer, the
UGLi computer cluster supervisor.
A braille printer will be ready for
use when some'minor bugs in the
machine are fixed. Thompson said
he feels the braille printer especially
will be a big help to vision impaired
The machines' enhancements use
special software that expands on-
screen characters to allow easier
readability. The software is avail-
able at the front desk of the UGLi
The Computing Center staff will
train individual users of the special
equipment, according to Fischer.
Anyone interested in receiving the
training should contact the Office of
Disabled Student Services in the
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