The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 7, 1989 - Page 3
Dept. changes format for 201
BY FRAN OBEID
Thinking about taking introductory mi-
* ctoeconomics in the fall? Maybe you
should think again. The Economics De-
partment is changing the format of how the
class will be taught next year, and the deci-
sion has caused some students to reconsider
*The change in format is a one-year ex-
periment that will affect about 3,000 stu-
dents. Microeconomics (Economics 201) is
one of the most popular courses offered at
Currently, Econ. 201 is taught primar-
ily by teaching assistants in small classes
of about 30 students. The students meet
with their TAs in discussion sections for
three hours each week and attend a 500-seat
lecture, given by a faculty member, for one
hour a week.
The format of the course will be reversed
next year: the lecture will meet three hours
a week and the discussion sections for one
"As a student in the Residential College
I have taken small classes and I know from
experience that I learn a lot better in a
small classroom than in a large lecture
hall," said RC sophomore Heather Byrne.
"In an economics course, it is vital to
have close interaction between students and
a teacher," she said. "A large lecture hall
doesn't foster the kind of environment that
Byrne said that she was reconsidering
whether she should take the class after
hearing about the proposed change.
"Many of my friends have told me that
lectures are ineffective and they don't learn
anything from them," she said.
Lynn Talaski, a Business School junior,
agreed. "I think the quality of the class will
definitely go down. When I was taking mi-
cro, I found that I learned everything from
the TA and nothing from the professor. In
fact, I stopped going to lecture because it
was so frustrating.
"The nature of the subject is such that
you have to be able to ask questions," she
said. "You can't do that in a lecture of 500
plus. When there is not that close interac-
tion, it is not much better than watching a
State Sen. Joe Conroy (D-Flint), a
member of the Senate Appropriations
Committee, expressed concern about the
change. "We have the highest public tu-
ition in the country. It would greatly dis-
turb the parents and the public if they knew
about this, and they would change it," he
"It amazes me how they try to wholesale
kids through classes because they are
popular. I am frequently disappointed at
this approach to education," Conroy said.
"We encourage kids to go to college to get
a better education; maybe they would be
better off reading books on their own."
Economics Department Chair-elect Ed-
ward Gramlich said the change is designed
primarily "to make the graduate students
better off. Under the current system, gradu-
ate students must spend a lot of time
teaching and it takes them away from get-
ting their thesis done."
In addition, Gramlich said the present
system, in which TAs teach the majority of
the course, makes it difficult for first-year
graduate students to get TA positions. This
places the University at a disadvantage in
comparison with peer institutions, which
are able to offer TA jobs to entering gradu-
ate students because their introductory
courses are taught primarily by professors.
But Economics TA Chris Georges said
the new system could hurt TAs because
their pay will be cut. "The new format of
201 will reduce the number of jobs that pay
an adequate subsistence and force TAs to
seek external funding," Georges said.
"I'm skeptical how well it will work if
students are suppose to get most of the
course material in huge lecture halls," said
Dean Baker, who recently received his
Ph.D. after five years as a graduate TA. "It
has been my experience as a TA that stu-
dents almost have generally complained
about the lectures."
Economics Chair Richard Porter said
that the new system would only be advan-
tageous to students if their choice was be-
tween a large lecture and a mediocre TA.
New BSU president hopes to
unify Black Students at
BY JODY WEINBERG
Newly-elected Black Student
Union President Francis Matthews
hopes to unify Black students on
campus through cultural identity.
"I would like to continue working
nmore for cultural identity and unify-
ing the Black African-American stu-
dent population on this campus,
moving a little further in working
against racism and for BlackAfrican-
American enrollment," said Mat-
thews, who was elected Wednesday
Matthews, a fifth-year LSA stu-
dent, served as Community Outreach
chair and BSU records officer before
being elected as BSU president.
He says he plans to "reach out to
Black African-American communi-
ties near us and give and get help
f om these communities."
In addition, Matthews said he
hopes to create a Black student
lounge - "a place that would be ac-
knowledging Black American her-
itage, and anyone could come in."
'The idea of segregation
of Black students is a
false one because most
Black students interact
with white students.'
- Francis Matthews,
new BSU president
"We want some place where it
could be convenient for students to
get food in the Union, chat and relax
between classes," he said.
The aim of the Black student
lounge is to create an inviting envi-
ronment in which Black students
would feel more comfortable. "The
atmosphere would be less European-
American oriented as the rest of the
University," Matthews said.
Many Black students "feel as if
they are coming on others' terms"
because many grew up in predomi-
nantly African-American environ-
ments, as opposed to the predomi-
nantly white environment at the
University, Matthews said.
The proposed lounge in the
Michigan Union has been debated by
both students and the administration
in recent months. Opponents of the
lounge argue that it will segregate
Black and white students.
"The idea of segregation of Black
students is a false one," said Mat-
thews, "because most Black students
interact with white students."
MSA President Aaron Williams
said he favors the lounge, but
"instead of a straight Black lounge,
the proposal will be known as a mi-
nority lounge." Williams said im-
plementing only a Black student
lounge "will set a precedent with
minority groups. There is a possi-
bility that all minority groups will
start pushing for their own lounge."
"I want to do something that ev-
eryone will be happy with, and the
Union doesn't want to side with one
group," said Williams. "The object
is to accommodate as many people
Ob sess d JESSICA GREENE/Dolly
The Residence Hall Repertory Theater Troupe presents a dramatization of advertisements in Cosmopoli-
tan. This scene recreates the Calvin Klein Obsession commercial. The purpose is to show sexism and gen-
der stereotyping in ads - all as part of Rape Awareness month.
The last University president to speak at a commencement ceremony was
former President Harold Shapiro, who addressed graduating seniors May 1,
1981. The Daily incorrectly reported this information in yesterday's paper.
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