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September 08, 1994 - Image 34

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-08

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Page 4C


LSA adds requirement to promote quantitative thinking

Daily Staff Reporter
"Taking responsibility for education." For the more
than 3,000 students entering the College of LSA this fall,
this phrase will take precedence above all others. It is the
theme behind recent LSA curriculum changes, as the
University attempts to make its offerings for undergradu-
ates more personal and student-oriented.
The changes come as a result of a 1989 report con-
ducted by the LSA Planning Committee on Undergradu-
ate Education. The report, titled "Michigan Education,"
found that while the University takes its graduate students
and undergraduate concentrators seriously, it does not
give the same attention to those undergraduates who are
still searching for a concentration.
"We are responding to public pressures," said LSA
Associate Dean Michael Martin, commenting on the
curriculum changes.
The report highlighted the University's need to recognize
the diverse needs of graduate students, undergraduate con-
centrators and undergraduates who are undecided about a
concentration. It urged that the University be "aware that
(there are) three clienteles, not two," Martin said.
Curriculum Changes
First-year LSA students have one more graduation
requirement to complete than their predecessors. In Janu-
ary, the LSA faculty unanimously approved the new
quantitative reasoning requirement.
To complete the new requirement, students must com-

What studies show is that in college, students actually get
worse in quantitative or computation skills."
- Michael Martin
LSA associate dean

plete three credits of classes dealing with mathematics
and logic. The college has come up with a list of classes
that meet the requirement.
The rationale behind the new requirement stemmed
from the recognition of a nationwide lack of quantitative
thinking skills, Martin said.
"Math phobia is almost a badge of honor," he noted.
However, the new requirement is not specifically a
math requirement. Rather, it can be satisfied by classes in
many departments, from physics to sociology: Some
classes willrmeet the full requirement, while others will
meet only half, meaning that a student would have to take
two such classes in order to graduate with an LSA degree.
"In general, what studies show is that in college,
students actually get worse in quantitative or computation
skills, or they remain the same," Martin said.
"There are a number of students who avoid math
classes. That is a very self-defeating, unhelpful attitude,"
Martin said. "We saw the quantitative reasoning require-
ment as an opportunity to introduce students to math in a
less threatening way.-

Martin added that approximately 77 percent of students
already take a class that would fulfill the requirement.
New Wave Calculus
Another significant curriculum change is in the intro-
ductory calculus sequence - Math 115 and 116.
Students in Math 115 were introduced three years ago
to "New Wave" Calculus in which classes are smaller and
students use graphing calculators. Emphasis in the New
Wave Calculus is placed more on group work and student-
professor interaction than straight lecture-examination
The program was tested in a few sections of Math 115
and 116 classes. Due to positive feedback, plans are being
made to expand the New Wave curriculum to all introduc-
tory calculus classes.
Change is also underway in introductory chemistry
classes. Collaborative learning is emphasized in those
classes as well, with the goal of "pushing more of the
responsibility of learning onto the student," Martin said.
With these revisions, said Martin, "the University is
seen as a leader in science and math reform."

Expansion of First-year Seminars
Another change currently taking place is the expan-
sion of first-year seminars. These seminars, in which
professors teach classes of 20-25 first-year students, have
been in place for the past 10 years, but with only a handful
taught every semester.
This fall, however, LSA will offer 50 seminars with
more planned in the future. The University hopes to hav
200 seminars each year and make teaching a first-year
seminar part of regular faculty responsibilities.
"We are working toward making it possible for all
first-year students to have a low-enrollment class with a
regular faculty member," Martin said.
Languages Across the Curriculum
Students who have already passed the language profi-
ciency requirement will be able to participate in a new
language program that expands foreign language use to
regular LSA classes. Modeled after a program at Carleton
College, the new Language Across the Curriculum pro*
gram will allow students to take regular LSA classes in
their second language. Students will add on an hour to the
class for discussion in the language, and will be able to
read course material in that language.
Psychology Prof. David Winter, who is in charge of
the Language Across the Curriculum program, said the
goal is to make second language proficiency more useful
within the University.
"The idea is that people should be using their second
languages," Winter said.

'U' installs CRISP
from home system.

Profs., TAs split teaching duties
Meeting your r _ ,- d,

Daily Staff Reporter
CRISP, a good word to describe a
potato chip, is also a common word
heard around campus when it is time
to register for classes. CRISP, which
stands for Computerized Registration
Involving Student Participation, is
known to be a simple process for
many, a nightmare for others.
Students receive random com-
puter- generated time slots through
the mail. The times are given accord-
ing to how many credits a student has.
Seniors get to register for classes first,
juniors second, and so forth. Students
wait in lines labeled with their par-
ticular time for the next available com-
puter terminal. The computer allows
students to register for classes by find-
ing out which of their course selec-
tions are available or closed.
Students are able to check open
and closed classes on computers prior
to the actual registration by using
CRISP-INFO on MTS. This program
provides students with up-to-date in-
formation on the times and days that

classes are available, as well as how
many spots are still open in a particu-
lar class.
But the registration process, cur-
rently marred by long lines and fraught
with inefficiencies, is undergoing a
significant change.
The University has hired
Periphonics, an electronics company,
to help install a telephone registration
system. Random CRISP times will
still be assigned to students, the only
difference being that students will not
have to wait in long lines to figure out
their schedules.
Lynn Adelman, a CRISP adminis-
trative associate, said the phone sys-
tem will be more accessible.
"Students can register from any
touch-tone phone, even from out of
state," she said. In addition, there will
be longer registration hours and more
phone lines than the number of com-
puter terminals the University pres-
ently has.
Adelman said the University hopes
to begin the new system very soon.
"We are planning on using the last

Once the new phone registration
system is in place, Reuben Peterson
will never again deny you access to
the CRISP room in Angell Hall
because you forgot your student ID.
week of Orientation to test it."
The phone registration system is
slated to being operation in time for
winter term registration.
Once in place, students will regis-
ter by calling a special number at their
scheduled CRISP time, enter an iden-
tification number and begin the te-
dious process of typing in their class

professor takes
time, effort
Daily Staff Reporter
You've heard the horror stories:
Michigan is a big school. Really big.
Which means that during your first
year here, unless you get yourself into
some special program like honors,
you have about as much chance of
interacting with a real professor as
you do of winning the lottery.
So is it true? Well, sort of. Profes-
sors at Michigan are busy. And they
frequently seem untouchable, stand-
ing at the podium in a lecture hall that
holds 500 students. But the sheer size
of Michigan doesn't mean you'll have
to wait until you're a senior to actu-
ally interact with a professor. It just
means you have to work a little harder
at it.
"If you really need to talk to a pro-
fessor, you can call the office they work
in. See if there's a number where you
can call them at home. I've been so
desperate that I've looked up one of my
professors in the Ann Arbor phone
book," said senior Darilyn Laird.
For those who don't have urgent
questions, many professors are avail-
able after class to answer quick ques-
tions. Many professors are also ac-
cessible through e-mail, and will re-
spond to questions in this format,
also. Overall, though, you will be
most successful communicating with
your professors during their office
hours. This time is specifically set
aside for student questions.
"Many professors don't like to get
phone calls at home, or don't check
their e-mail often enough," Laird said.
Contacting a professor, especially
for the first time, can be intimidating.
Always remember, though, that all those
tuition dollars you pay contribute to
their salaries. It's part of their job to
answer your questions, and most will
be more than willing to do so. Who
knows, you may bond with yourprofes-
sor and some day ask him or her for a
recommendation letter to law school.

Teaching assistants, who are usually graduate students, get some training
before stepping into the classroom.
Teaching assistants are

studentsj*ust like you


I!I AA A -
For answers to these and other computing questions,
stop by the Angell Hall Courtyard Computing Site
during Welcome to Michigan Week in the tall.
There will be information about computing resources,
demos, free workshops on e-mail and writing papers,
and more-!

Daily Staff Reporter
A tardy student enters the room
but rather than taking her seat among
her comrades, she confidently strides
toward the board. Picking up the chalk,
her name is etched with a screech,
from dust into words. She is the TA.
Teaching assistants are graduate
students who aside from their classes
are employed by the University to
help professors teach their courses.
Their duties can range anywhere from
correcting papers to leading discus-
sion sections.
While the professor may present
the material to hundreds of students
in a crowded lecture hall, most intro-
ductory classes include 15-20 person
discussion sections led by TAs. Here
students can expect to review mate-
rial, discuss issues with their own
opinions, and ask questions about the
assigned reading or lecture material.
"Sometimes you get a TA who is
better with students than the profes-
sor so it's great," said Sara Smith, an
LSA junior. "But often you get a TA
who doesn't really know how to teach

and that doesn't work out so well."
Such is a drawback to the TA
system found in most large universi-
ties. TAs are not extensively trained
to teach class.
"If they know the material it is
assumed they can communicate the.
material," said Thomas Senior, as-
sociate chair for academic affairs in
the Department of Electrical Engi-
"The philosophy is that the ability
to teach will follow if you are knowl-
edgeable about the subject and enthu-
siastic," Senior said.
Some students question the use of
TAs to teach in place of professors,
but others point out that professors'
have generally not been trained to
teach either.
"There's nothing about a doctor-
ate degree that makes you a good
professor," said Tom Jones, a TA in
the history department.
"Sometimes you get a good pro-
fessor, sometimes you get a good TA.
There's nothing wrong with the TA
system as far as training goes," Jones*
Continued from page1C
take organic chemistry, calculus-
based physics and math, say their
predecessors, and some will take For-
tran. Not an easy load.
The program offers study groups"
led by tutors for most of these classes,
and about half of WISE participants
attend them.
Last year was the first year for the
group. Fifty-four students partici-
pated, and 22 of them are returning to
join the 70 first-year students who
will be new to the program in the fall.
Sophomore students will serve as
"mentors" to the first-year students,
according to Mary Hummel, director
of WISE.
The program isn't just about tak-
ing classes and pulling all-nighters
together. The program seeks to intro-
duce women to the often male-domi-

Men outnumber women
3-1 in science majors

Male students are
represented in the
College of Engineering
Daily Staff Reporter
One of the main reasons people go
to college is to meet people. Transla-
tion: meet people of the opposite sex.
As of the winter 1994 semester
there were 11,590 men and 10,444
women enrolled as undergraduates
on the Ann Arbor campus. Excellent
gender balance, it would seem, until
one looks a little closer at what sub-
jects men and women have decide to

sector of the job market, yet for men
it is still doctor or nothing. Eighty-
two people are studying dental hy-
giene, two of them are men. For the
557 Michigan undergraduates study-
ing nursing, only 44 are men - and
this represents a significant improve-
ment from previous years.
The Art School as a whole has
fairly good balance: 319 women to
196 men. But again a closer look at
subspecialties reveals men and women
going their own way: graphic design
has seven men and 30 women while
industrial design has 12 men and only
three women; photography, where
men have plenty of great role models,
has just two men out of a group of 15.

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