Eckerd College - Logos Yearbook (St Petersburg, FL)

 - Class of 1970

Page 12 of 80


Eckerd College - Logos Yearbook (St Petersburg, FL) online yearbook collection, 1970 Edition, Page 12 of 80
Page 12 of 80

Eckerd College - Logos Yearbook (St Petersburg, FL) online yearbook collection, 1970 Edition, Page 11
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Page 12 text:

really meet their needs, then they've got a legitimate complaint. I would like to add one thing about this school that I'm really going to miss, because I don't know if l'lI find it anywhere else or not. First of all this school has for its size a fine faculty. Secondly, it's a humane school in the sense that I've really felt that I could really engage in discussion and argument here which was never personalized. In other words we could disagree and discuss and argue points, and it was all at a level where people did not take this as a personal affront. I think this was true with students, faculty, and administration. This is something FPC should regard as one of the things it should never lose, because it's a very valuable aspect of the college. DETWEILER: Along those lines I have become broadened here much more intensely and rapidly than anywhere else. I'm not sure if this is primarily the FPC mystique or the whole accelerated nature of modern living. I think it's a combination. But in any case it's happened to me while I've been at FPC. And this indicates that there is something going on here that very significantly changes people. HEEREIVIA: I think that the Core program, to me at least, has been a fantastic success, I really achieved an education while I was here with the Core program. DETWEI LER: Same here. HEEREIVIA: And I think people who have not participated strongly in Core around this school have reallv missed something. DETWEILER: In spite of the quasi-disrepute that Core now Ianguishes in, this still remains the basis of the college. And if the Core concept goes, then you might as well move the college up to Grinel or Oberlin, because then you're going to have a second or third rate traditional liberal arts college. LINDA: Thank you both very much. I really enjoyed it. DETWEILER: Amen. HEEREIVIA: Peace.

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HEEREIVIA: FPC is so built in the groove of these directions. For example there is in the catalog what is required for graduation: thirty two courses or their equivalent. But nobody pays any attention to those words or those equivalents. You get students going out and doing something in the community, the first thing they want is academic credit for it. But why? This might be something that academic credit has nothing to do with. Why don't they say: "Look, l've had an experience here, I'd like it to be accepted as the equivalent of a course." DETWEI LER: Yeah. Back to Boggs' criticism. One thing that you can safely say nowadays is that much-maybe most- significant learning does not take place in the classroom, and we had damn well better start looking for ways of implementing efficiently a college education apart from the classroom situation. HEEREIVIA: So kids go down, two or some students, in the ghetto area. How do you assign a grade to that? They go out and clean ducks. How do you assign a grade to that? That's absurd. DETWEILER: l have an image that occurred to me a couple of days ago while preparing a Core lecture that contrasts the old concept of higher education in terms of the image of an assembly line versus the new concept of a college as a "switchboard." The old assembly line process, which is a very academic thing, puts a student into the machine, sends him through, fills him with knowledge, processes him, polishes him, packages him and sends him out into society. This is the well-rounded individual. Whereas I think the modern college ought to be a switchboard, where you use the college to plug students in and out of various institutions in the community, get him a job with Honeywell for a semester, let him work in a hospital, let him go to USF, let him do courses here. There are tremendous possibilities for a variable education that we haven't even looked at. The university goes wrong, I think, in that it doesn't try to plug the student into society in the way l've suggested, but it tries to duplicate society. The multiversity becomes a society of its own in which it tries to offer the student everything that he ought to be getting outside of the institution. This is self-defeating. FPC at least can't make this mistake. lt's far too small. lt's impossible for us to duplicate society, so that maybe this concept of switchboarding could be done more efficiently at FPC. LINDA: Have you any specific suggestions about what FPC should do? DETWEILER: I don't know what's happening in terms of formal structure. Do you? HEERENIA: No, I don't. The students have a lot more power than they think they do. One area of power that they should take seriously is faculty evaluation. The students had faculty evaluation forms but they told nothing. Not enough students filled them out to make it meaningful. DETWEI LEFI: Same here. HEEREIVIA: If students are really going to get a grasp here, they have to say, "Look, we want the college going in certain directions and there are certain people here that we feel we really Iike." And students should really bring pressure to move these people who have power! Now the students are only one pressure group, but they haven't even operated as a pressure group so far. LINDA: Do you think it is wise to get students intimately involved in deciding their education? In the past people haven't thought students intelligent enough to know what he needed. DETWEILER: This is a prejudice that is disappearing very fast. You can't expect very many students at this point to be aware of the main problems and configurations of American higher education, because it's been in just the last few years that the faculty and administration have themselves gotten a very sophisticated oveniiew. I think this has happened to both Doug and me in the last five to six years. Before I came here, during my one year at Hunter College, I was beginning to become, I suppose, radicalized in the sense that I was developing a political, social, cultural awareness outside of my field of teaching literature, teaching English. And this has intensified at FPC, so that now I feel myself very involved in the whole process of higher education, not necessarily as an English teacher, but as an educator, capital E. And I suppose students ought to become educators themselves in a way, even while they're being educated. HEEREIVIA: The student shouIdn't expect to have the sole say because there are many different ways of evaluating, say, a faculty member, but theirs is an important one. The problem is that they haven't taken their role seriously enough. DETWEILER: Yeah. Here's something that has bothered me lately about the concept of student power. Students want the right to decide and direct their own educations. Good. They ought to have it. But students are around a school usually a maximum of four years, at least a school like this, so that any one person is going to have a four-year influence. So what's going to happen to the concepts they've initiated later? Where's your guarantee of the continuity that's going to give the institution some kind of direction and valuable self-identity? It seems that this hasn't been thought out much. HEEREIVIA: There is a different time perspective in regard to this. The faculty member, even though he might be around a shorter time than the student, tends to think this is the school where he is going to be ten to twenty years from now. With this different time perspective the student must realize that he is only one force in determining his education among a number of forces. Now he's got to take himself seriously, but he's also got to be content with the fact that he can't run the whole show. And too, they try to take over everything, and if they can't have the total say, they kind of give up. Students must get involved, and if they don't, they have no one to blame for the drift of the school but themselves. If they get actively involved and try and then the school doesn't

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Alfred North Whitehead, in the Aims of Education, presents perhaps the best definition of the educational process when he says "There is only one subject-matter for education and that is Life, in all its manifestations." lNew York, 1929, p. 6l For Whitehead there is not and should not be the division of the curriculum into descrete units, there is no place for unrelated ideas presented and not used. These inert ideas, which are neither used, nor tested, nor even tied to one create an another in meaningful ways, ' education which, in Whitehead's words, "ls all things not only useless, it is, above harmful . . ." lp. 1l Whitehead believes that there should not be teaching for the sake of teaching, that the teaching of facts should be subservient to the teaching of reasoning. There is a distinction to be made between the acquisition and the application of facts, "education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge." lp. 4l Knowledge, to Whitehead, is almost peripheral to its use. Although he does not advocate non-learning l"where attainable knowledge could have changed the issue, ignorance has the guilt of vice" lp. 14ll, he is more concerned with being able to learn when it is necessary. Realizing that youth by its very nature concerned with absorbing all that is presented to it, Whitehead is anxious that the educator provide a framework for the sometimes unrelated information acquired. "Education must essentially be a setting in order of ferment already stirring in the mind, you cannot educate a mind in vacuo." lp. 18l This, above all, is Whitehead's concern: that the educational process be an orderly one, be one which supercedes itself in regard to its immediate and long range applications. Robert Maynard Hutchins, the former president of the University of Chicago, goes one step further than Whitehead in the requisites for education. Although a series of lectures delivered at Yale University in 1936, The Higher Learning in America lNew Haven, 1936l, speaks about problems still facing higher education today. The financial problems of maintaining a university, the dilemmas of professionalism, isolation and antiaintellectualism are considered. It is his address on general education, however, which is an extension of Whitehead's remarks on the purpose of education and, more importantly, ways to achieve this purpose. Hutchins believes that all men, whether "formally" educated or not, must have a common means of expression, a "common intellectual training" lp. 59l. For Hutchins, any plan of general education must first of all develop clear thinking. Prudent or practical wisdom selects the means toward the ends we desire. lt is acquired partly from intellectual operations and partly from experience. But the chief requirements for it is correctness in thinking. lp. 67l This correctness in thinking cannot be developed rapidly, nor can it be left to students to develop. "Educators cannot permit the students to dictate the course of study unless they are prepared to confess that they are nothing but chaperones . . lp. 7Ol ln developing the curriculum for his general education, Hutchins depends on the classics, the great books of Western Civilization, and acquiring the skill to read them. "I add to grammar, or the rules of reading, rhetoric and logic, or the rules of writing, speaking and reasoning." lp. 83l To these he adds mathematics. "Correctness in thinking may be more directly and impressively be taught through mathematics than in any other way." lp. 84l Hutchins, like Whitehead, believes that the development of technique is more important than the accumulation of fact. When the FPC curriculum was devised by John Bevan, it incorporated much of what Whitehead and Hutchins had described as necessary to the education of students. To Bevan, the FPC community, both faculty and students, was "involved in the pursuit of learning." lExperimental Colleges, Their Role in American Higher Education, Tallahassee, 1964, p. 91l lVluch of Bevan's plan involved independent study work, and many of the learning traditions, e.g. no required class or chapel attendance, open stacks in the library, were begun to facilitate almost complete independence on the part of the students. This independence did not make chaperones of the faculty, students worked in connection with, and under the direction of, a faculty member who was most of all personally excited about learning. However, it is the Core program which is directly related to what Whitehead and Hutchins see as essential to education. The objective of Core is: "to equip the student for the formation and articulation of informed, independent responsible judgments of value." lp. 92l This is, in essence, following Whitehead's idea that education is a "setting in order" of the thoughts of men. Hutchins belief that clear thinking is most necessary is acknowledged: "the development of skill in analysis, dialectic and writing receive attention as necessary preparation for value judgments." lp. 92l In addition to the attention paid these skills in Core, the required math or logic course also developed the talent for analysis necessary to the educated man. For FPC, the mandate, as stated by Bevan, is "the engenderment of a wholesome and critical enthusiasm for inquiry and reflection that will extend beyond the period of formal education." lp. 92l FPC, has, I believe, rejected, at least in part, the philosophical base on which it was founded. The emphasis has shifted from value to quantity, passing Core means reading and not relating. The objective tests do nothing but create "inert ideas" in the minds of students, at no point do all of these thoughts even approach utilization. No longer does a Core comp help students see an overview of their knowledge. By doing away with the mathilogic requirement, the necessity for "correctness in thinking" has been minimized to too great an extent. By packaging knowledge into 14 week bundles la required 33 courses to "graduate"l the wisdom of life is clouded. lf we are to accept Whitehead's definition of education, FPC cannot be included. lf conventional methods should be disregarded, as FPC says they must, are we offering anything new? Are we, in reality, any different from the multiversity we scorn? Warren Nlartin, during the self-confrontation in November, 1968, called us innovative-"seeking new means to established ends, where the basic values of the educational system are assumed to be sound". Perhaps we are rejecting even this, and falling back on established means, the means we were protesting. Anne Noris

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