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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
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
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
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
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
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
Page 7 text:
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
Page 9 text:
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
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
HEEREIVIA: Yes, this is the problem. First of
all Jefferson House just hasn't been around
long enough to evaluate.
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
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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