Eckerd College - Logos Yearbook (St Petersburg, FL)

 - Class of 1970

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Eckerd College - Logos Yearbook (St Petersburg, FL) online yearbook collection, 1970 Edition, Page 8 of 80
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Page 8 text:

complete lack of abandon. And I don't think that this occurs. I think one of the problems is that you have everybody running around, messing around with everything and you have chaos and anarchy. What's got to happen is in the very guts of the school, in the very classrooms, something's got to emerge here, at this level, something of an exciting nature. lt's the job of the administration to administer and to' determine the policies and direction of the school. If you get everybody in the College Assembly trying to do it, you're going to go off in a hundred different directions at once, and it's impossible for a small college to survive like this. LINDA: Don't you think the committees can keep us from acting without having seriously considered questions? DETWEILER: Committees usually get in the way instead of solving anything. HEEREMA: What you do when you want long range planning is you form a huge, monstrous committee with everybody represented and what you're going to have is everybody sitting around there talking with a bunch of vested interests, each person making a beautiful argument for his own particular area. You're not going to get anywhere. What FPC needs to say is something like "FPC is going to experiment and innovate in this direction. If you want to climb on board, fine, you're welcome, but this is our direction." We aren't saying that other directions or other things aren't valid or valuable, just that they should be done someplace else, because we're concentrating and focusing on these things. And you have to, if you're going to do this, have a few people in charge who give direction and meaning to the whole thing. You can't let the whole group as a body sit down and decide this. DETWEILEFI: Along these lines too I don't think that one should wait for a committee or the College Assembly or. even the administration to formulate a policy, "project a new direction," and say this is where we're going to go. If you wait for this, you're going to wait for the next ten years. What you've got to do is to start innovating and creating in your classroom, in your dorm, God, even at the Chuga-Lug, and then discover if what you've got is sufficiently valid for other people to get aboard and reinforce your program. LINDA: I was wondering if you as individuals feel as if you are leaving us at a time when we most need you to help us do these things. I know a lot of students are woebegone because here you two, our best innovators, are leaving us. DETWEILER: Nobody's indispensible. lndispensibility is a myth, and that's not a statement to cover up guilt for leaving. l've done essentially what I can do here: had I not had this offer I would have stayed here gladly and remained enthusiastically in this program, but essentially l've done all I can. I find myself repeating myself in the past year or so, in Core lectures and in private discussions, in classroom situations and what not. So I have the sense that my political effect here has reached its limit. The only thing I could do next would be to try to become an administrator and become effective in that manner. But if I were to become an administrator I wouldn't have the kind of effectiveness I have now, so in that sense too I have reached my limit. HEEREIVIA: If I haven't had my say in four years here, I'm not going to say much more in another four years. And I do find myself getting redundant in my argument. I find myself continually going to my same approach to education. Well, if people haven't listened in four years to it, again, in another four years they aren't going to listen any more. Secondly, as one of our faculty members remarked what is far more important is not to look at the faculty members who are leaving, but to look at the faculty members who are staying. Don't worry about faculty members leaving. Part of our game in life is moving around. Nothing flatters a faculty member more than an offer from a new place . . . to feel he's wanted other places, to go to new places. Faculty members are going to move. I think the real danger for an institution is to have no turn over. Then it doesn't cull out the dead wood. DETWEILER: Right. I suspect, too, that in the lit. department, my departure is going to provide room for one or two new people who are going to provide their sort of freshness. And it's time for this. In addition to that, I don't think it really much matters whether or not FPC survives. What matters is whether particular individuals and society itself survives, and my job is not guaranteeing the survival of FPC, but doing what I can to plug in at a particular place where my particular talents seem to be most necessary, and my talents now seem to be more necessary in the program I'm getting into. LINDA: That's one of the things that some people have mentioned to me. They feel that undergraduate level is "where it's at," and going to a graduate school is putting yourself into a place where you're not going to be able to function as effectively, and you're not going to be working with people who are involved. You're going to be working with intellectual scholars who are away from society, rather than working with the lower eschalons of the educational system who are going to go directly into the society and be directly affecting the shaping of society. DETWEILER: This might be true of a traditional graduate school. I happen to be going into an experimental graduate department which is geared toward preparing innovative humanities teachers who will be going back into places like FPC: whose program, in fact, is so crazy that many of them can be hired only by schools like FPC. So in this sense I'm not really changing directions. LINDA: But you are teaching teachers, right? You're teaching teachers to be teachers, to teach teachers to be teachers . . . DETWEILER: Not necessarily. Some of them, yeah, but other people in this program are going into government service, industry, movie-making, that sort of thing. In fact, one

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you were just a faculty member in there and were expected to keep the conversation going, that much of the initiative in the Core program was supposed to come from the students, something I have found almost a complete lack of. Secondly at this school, one of the fine things about this school is the fantastic freedom each faculty member and the students have to design their own courses. No one really tells you what to teach or how to teach or anything, you're given a kind of free reign to go. And it's terribly hard to really appreciate this, especially if you haven't experienced other schools. What with this freedom, this ability, why hasn't a more innovative approach to education been generated. To ask solely the faculty to do it is to fall into the whole trap. If you want to make an innovative and experimental school this means that the whole school has to be innovative and experimental, not just the curriculum and not just the faculty. DETWEILER: Students have the opportunity and the power to turn the school totally upside down, and don't do it. LINDA: I don't think we've had quite that opportunity until this year, or at least haven't realized it before. DETWEILER: You may not have realized it. I think it's always been there, latent. LINDA: lt's possible, but I think a lot of kids are waking up this year and realizing it. Do you think the College Assembly is going to be effective in reshaping curriculum or do you think that maybe it isn't the way we should go about reshaping the school? DETWEILER: I think the College Assembly is the most effective instrument at this point for the college. And it ought to be exploited. HEEREIVIA: Well, I would totally disagree. It seems that the College Assembly is again falling into what I would term a sort of romantic fallacy, namely, that by getting everybody together in a big community, we can sit down and discuss our problems and as reasonable people arrive at a decision. Hopefully, we can find that magic structure into which suddenly everybody will throw themselves with

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of my efforts there as far as I can project will be to look for alternatives to teaching for students in graduate school. HEEREIVIA: It seems to me that this is alittle bit harsh on graduate schools, a bit snobbish towards them. Education occurs at all levels of a human being's existence. It can occur at the level of graduate school as well as at undergraduate level. You get back to this argument of people going back into society, going back into what?! There's no mystical or magical real world, and then a bunch of little unreal worlds. Academia is a real world, industry is a real world, government is a real world, and all of them are different. LINDA: Don't you feel that academia tends to be a self-sustaining real world and that it isn't a part of the total picture enough? HEERENIA: No more so than industry is, or no more so than government service is. DETWEILER: If you want a justification for what I'm doing, look at it along these lines: practically every student I talk to has heard nightmare stories about graduate school and how difficult it is for an FPC graduate to do well in a traditional graduate school. All right, so l'm trying to reform the graduate school, to prepare a place for FPC students. Really! LINDA: Can you give some suggestions as to what can be done here to help the student get into remaking his educational process? Do you think Jefferson House can be extended to a larger number of students, do you think that that much freedom is good for students in general or only for the few who take the initiative to get themselves into it? DETWEILER: I don't know who it is good for and who it isn't good for, and how do you know until you try it out? LINDA: How has Jefferson House worked so far? DETWEILER: I think it's worked better than we deserve in terms of time and money-or lack of time and money- we've put into it. We've got a better deal than we ought to have but we shouIdn't push our luck. You talk about expanding Jefferson House. l'd say at this that we should first give the professors who are in the program some time to do their job well. Jefferson House is now in danger of turning into a grand scale independent study, because the fellows are so busy doing their regular thing that they don't have time to see their students. So you've got seventy to eighty people running around who, according to the script, should be in close contact with their advisors. They aren't. Their advisors don't have time to see them. How are you going to expand a program that is already pressed for personnel? We've been squeezing blood from a turnip in Jefferson House and in other programs around here and this is becoming dangerous. HEEREIVIA: Yes, this is the problem. First of all Jefferson House just hasn't been around long enough to evaluate. DETWEILER: True. HEERENIA: Secondly, you don't only have Jefferson House, you have the Institute of International Education, the program of Jackson House, and on and on and on, and I think the school's spreading itself too thin. DETWEILER: So do l. HEERENIA: It should really concentrate on saying, "Iook, if you want to do Jefferson House, fine, let's do it, and then let's evaluate it as an experiment before we move on to other things. What we find valuable out of Jefferson House we will keep." Secondly, I think Bob is entirely right: whether it succeeds or not depends on the individual level of the relationship between the faculty member and the student. If you have good faculty members who are concerned and interested in the students, if you have concerned students, you're going to have a success almost regardless of what structure you're in. Now, does the structure of Jefferson House produce this or not? I think that at the present time the college is spreading itself too thin. There are too many programs to really give Jefferson House a real chance. DETWEILER: FPC is still trying to compete with universities. It's offering a proliferation of courses and programs, even a number of curricula. We're getting in way over our heads in terms of personnel and finances. And sometime soon, like yesterday, the school must decide where its priorities are and do them and stick to them. Maybe FPC ought to cut down to a half a dozen majors and do these well, and have a couple of experimental programs on the side, instead of going out in x different directions and hoping that the faculty's flexible enough and resiliant enough to absorb them all. HEEREIVIA: You can't be experimental and innovative and not hold the total school open to experimentation and innovation. You can't set up experimental curriculum and then hold everything else fixed. A good example is the fact that you have three people in each department or four in some, but basically we say we have to have a balance in each one. This was created at a time when FPC had a tremendous amount of requirements, the year of science requirement, the math-logic requirement, the language requirement, the Core program, which means that you could disperse students all over the place. When you start eliminating requirements you're going to get heavy concentration in certain areas. This means that you might have to give up this ideal of a balanced faculty across the board. I don't know if you do have to give up this ideal or not, but nevertheless, this should be open for question. Also there should be one big question: When you eliminate a language requirement do you have to be willing to accept the repercussions in other areas? What we're trying to do is to confine it to experimenting with the curriculum and now these other areas are really getting in our way. There are many exciting areas you can move into: there's been a big demand, for example, for a communications major. DETWEILER: Hear, Hear! HEEREIVIA: But you can't move into communications unless you're going to draw resources out of certain other areas and put them into communications. Also as an economist, I see things like this: The college has to decide what it wants to do

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