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May 24, 1959 - Image 9

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...and The Facult Appraisal
'Seniors Compare Favorably
With Previous Years' Classes'

"'HE UNIVERSITY Senior 1959" may
be a many-sided, paradoxical crea-
ture, but faculty members generally indi-
cated that they are pleased with those
who are about to leave their classrooms
for the last time.
Those departing for the 'outside world'
Compare favorably with their counter-
parts of previous years, are serious-
minded and conscientious. But the
changes since the freshman year have not
all been for the best said the comparative
handful of teachers who replied to The
Daily'sletter requesting faculty observa-
tions about the senior students who've
been exposed to them at least once during
the past four years.
The senior "stacks up pretty well"
against his predecessors, one faculty
member said in generally summing up
the attitudes expressed by his collag ues
who reflected about the past few years.
"In fact, when I look back at my own
generation and my own senior year, I
feel that many of my contemporaries
would have found the scholastic competi-
tion much stiffer if they had to compete
with today's seniors," mused a member
of the history department.
WO ENGINEERING school professors,
however, pointed to the World War II
"veteran bulge" of the late 1940's as a
high point in the caliber of the university
senior.
"Perhaps we had the greatest number
of students doing considerably more than
the requirements, anxious to learn all
they can, right after World War II when
the average age was somewhat higher and
a greater number had some definite ob-
jective, than is the case today," wrote a
member of the engineering faculty.,
Amplifying the comparison, an an-
thropology professor said, "in general,
the present seniors are quite serious, per-
haps more so than twenty years ago. Stu-
dents today are better prepared for col-
lege than they were before World War IT.
"The influx of veterans and older men
after the war changed the complexion of
the University community greatly, and
the result has been a greater degree of
seriousness and scholarship. The former
campus 'hurrah' and what is referred to
as 'spirit' has been lessened, and generally
there is much less social emphasis than
before the war. I would say that the stu-
dent today is in no way more intelligent,
but that the better preparation and the
higher entrance standards of the Uni-
versity make for a more intellectual insti-
tution than maybe 20 years ago."

Concerned with the problems of life

He is aware that the intellectual world
is changing rapidly and appears to be
impatient if University courses are al-
lowed to remain stagnant."
However, a professor of English com-
mented: "A great many seniors appear
to gravitate towards courses which 'they
can handle' rather than courses which
challenge them. In other words, at the
risk of making too gross a generalization,
the really good seniors appear regularly
in the really tough courses in their own
departments, while the run-of-the-mill
fellows mark time filling requirements
in those courses which offer less of a
workout or are taught by teachers who
are less exacting than others."
And still another member of the English
department faculty described seniors as
"sincere and interested students, often
somewhat sleepless and behind in as-
signments, but believing in the value of
literature and having enough maturity
and education to enjoy it pretty fully."

ANOTHER faculty member in discussing
the current level of seriousness wrote LITERARY COLLEGE faculty members
"In the classroom, the present senior is however questioned students' choice of
every bit as serious as his predecessors. courses along other lines.

"People may be job-centered, trying to
pick up a saleable competence," specu-
lated one language teacher.
A member of the mathematics depart-
ment noted that "the past few years have
indicated an apathy to idealistic causes
and much concern with materialistic per-
sonal goals. During this past year there
seems to be a return to idealism, at least,
in a small way."
One of the formerly quoted English
professors said, "If the public has- the
conception that a college is an institution
serving it in a practical way, then most
of its progeny carry on the idea. When
they reach the school's hallowed halls
they think that the end result of their
studies ought to be practical, in the sense
that it should 'fit one for particular jobs
and professions.' There is not enough
evidence here of the adventurous senior,
the man who is open to the attractions
of knowledge in whatever area it may
be. Too many would like to take that
'exotic' or 'esoteric' course, but not enough
really do,"
ANOTHER faculty member wrote: "the
men are personable but I don't think
their backgrounds are well - rounded
enough. There is so much to be crammed
in the space of four years, that they
don't bear the marks of liberally educated,
individuals - a broad liberal arts and
science background."
Other engineering faculty members
generally indicated satisfaction, one say-
ing that seniors are "seriously trying to
learn for the.sake of knowing and using
and a second adding "they are genuinely
interested in obtaining a good educational
background for their chosen professions."
But a third noted "he is apparently
confused about the value of things he
learns and does not have the apprecia-
tion (as the senior of 10 or 15 years ago)
did of the beauty and good duality of
things in life."
Discussimg the problem in more general
terms. ,a member of the medical school
faculty said "the basic desire for academic
excellence must begin long before colle
entrance, and our society, with itsz atler
anti-intellectual values, is possibly the
real source of this problem."

BUT HOW MUCH does the University
alter the products of society? Is the
student who graduates from the school's
environment significantly different? One
of the natural points of' comparison is
that of the University freshman to the
graduating senior.
Faculty opinions tovered a wide range.
"The most obvious change is concerned
with the course content and 'how will it
help me or apply to my chosen career'
as contrasted with the more academic
approach taken by the lower classmen.
If the instructor cannot show how this
material has a practical application, the
seniors' attitude become one of boredom or
'so what?'" said an education school
faculty member.
But a member of the psychology de-
partment compared seniors to freshMen
and said the older students "seem some-
what less utilitarian in their approach to
education, somewhat more interested in
research or scholarship for its own sake.
THE AREA of common consensus ap-
peared in descriptions of what could
be called "social development."
"Many seniors seem to mature tremen-
dously during their last year. They dress
more neatly and act like men." . . . "sen-
iors are much more sophisticated and
smarter in many ways" . . "there's a
vast difference in poise" . . . "they're
more efficient, more responsible, more
intellectually sophisticated" , . . these
are sample opinions
However, in the area of the seniors'
academic d'velop'ment from the fresh-
man stage, faculty members were far
from satisfied.
"Itm inclined to feel that underclass-
men have a keener interest in learning
and in exploring ideas . . . seniors seem
less alert, less inquisitive " said one.
In direct disagreement, another faculty
member noted, "they're more thorough
and conscientious than are their younger
counterparts and they are more iterest-
ing to teach because thoy question the in-
structor to a greater degree."
The distinction between freshmen and
seniors was approached in a different
fashion by another faculty member.
"... can one distinguish a veteran from
a recruit, a fall day from one in the
spring, a new tea bag from a dunked one.
(Conciuded on Page 11)
Page Nine

Getting along with others
SUNDAY, MAY 24, 1959

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