March 31, 2014

"The modern university doesn’t believe in a curriculum."

But then there is the idea of the Experimental College...
[F]ounded by educator Alexander Meiklejohn in 1927, the program presents itself on its website as a “college within a college” that fosters an “integrated understanding of the great themes of human inquiry and expression” through its interdisciplinary courses and certificate program—a “more cohesive alternative” to the traditional approach of earning a degree....
Here's the full text of Meiklejohn's book "The Experimental College." More here:
[A]s intentional communities organized around specific learning objectives, LLPs [living-learning programs] had their beginning with Alexander Meiklejohn’s experimental college... at the University of Wisconsin.... LLPs took hold during the expansion of higher education in the 1950s and 1960s, and a few of the early comprehensive programs still exist today, notably the University of Illinois’s Allen Hall/Unit One and the University of Michigan’s Residential College. 
I attended the University of Michigan's Residential College. That was back in 1969.


MadisonMan said...

professor of Educational Policy Studies

Wow. Right down the hall from the Professor of Navel Gazing?

An interesting study would be to correlate ILS graduates with success compared to, say, Engineering Majors, or English Majors, or Sociology Majors, or Chemistry Majors or Kinesiology majors.

I will define success as employed in field of study and making a living.

I try to remind people that a truly rigorous integrated education has never been mass education

..and yet you're on a campus of 40K undergraduates. Do the Economics of Scale mean anything to you?

carrie said...

I was an accounting major at the UW in the 1970s. When my oldest son went to the UW and obtained his business degree, I encouraged him to get an ILS certificate, which he did. My younger son is now in the business school and I am encouraging him to do the same thing. An ILS degree may not lead to a career, but an ILS certificate is great way for someone obtaining a degree in a field like business or engineering to leave college with at least some knowledge of the history of literature, science and the arts. When I retire, I am going to audit the ILS courses at the UW because the classes that I took to obtain my accounting degree (and my law degree) may have prepared me for a job, but they did not do much to broaden my understanding of the world.

madAsHell said...

helps provide a more cohesive coursework for students struggling to synthesize the knowledge between their general education requirements and areas of study.

That's gotta be expensive!!

Roger Sweeny said...

I'm curious. How does this relate to the University of Chicago of Robert Maynard Hutchins (1929-1951)?

Richard Dolan said...

"The modern university doesn't believe in a curriculum."

Well, if so, doesn't this disprove one of the pillars of the Gov't's case in Hobby Lobby., since the 'modern univesity' can be a profit seeking entity? If it doesn't believe in a curriculum, maybe it believes in something else.

SJ said...

I notice this is modern as in "1920s modern".

Which might (or might not) be considered modern now.

What should we call it? Retro-modern?

K in Texas said...

I lived in Alice Lloyd Hall at Michigan for my freshman and sophomore years (79/80, 80/81). Alice Lloyd had the "Pilot Program" (now called the Scholars Program:), which focused on community and classes within the dorm itself. About 1/3 of the residents were like myself, we lived in the dorm but were not in the "Pilot Program". Course offerings were things like creative writing, art, literature.

Alice LLoyd Hall, being the most "progressive" dorm on campus always hosted a reception for any left to far left of center speakers on campus. Gloria Steinem and her entourage came to the dorm after she gave a speech on campus and stayed for over 2 hours for an unscheduled question/answer session. Being the good Republican that I was (and still am), I wanted to go see what it was all about. There were probably only 15 people in the living room area, so I was able to sit fairly close to Ms. Steinem. I found her to be articulate, engaging, fun, intelligent, and it was a great 2 hours. Of course I did not agree with a lot of what she talked about, and when a young female student said she hoped to get married and have kids some day, along with a career, some in the entourage hissed (really, hissed), but Ms. Steinem let the student talk and said as long as it was her choice, that was OK with her.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Among the people who came to read and talk to students in our Residential College dorm, East Quad, in 1969-1971 were Jorge Luis Borges and Gary Snyder. And just down the street at Canterbury House in 1969, Neil Young gave a folk performance. The dorm was also quite interesting on a typical Friday or Saturday night.