University, Bowling Green State University. New. “A Manifesto.” Digital Gallery. BGSU University Libraries, 18 June 2020, digitalgallery.bgsu.edu/collections/item/19851. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.
|Subject||Bowling Green State University -- Administration|
|Bowling Green State University. New University|
|Bowling Green State University -- Students -- Political activity|
|Description||A list of recommendations for the creation of a series of teach-ins at BGSU called the "New University."|
|Creator||Bowling Green State University. New University|
|Source||William T. Jerome presidential papers; UA-0002f; Center for Archival Collections; University Libraries; Bowling Green State University|
|Spatial Coverage||Bowling Green (Ohio)|
|Rights Holder||Bowling Green State University|
Dialogue vs Dictatorship
of recommendations to faculty and to the student body for the improvement of classroom situation at BGSU.
IN ORDER TO make the University a more efficient and sensible opportunity for learning ani in order to stimulate real learning—self-motivated, interest-oriented learning— and to reduce the wide chasm between instructors and students, to reduce the dictator¬ial situation in the classroom and produce a dialectical environment, in order to lessen the inequalities between students and instructors, similar to those between kings and feudal vassels, which has conditioned students since the first grade elementary school to depend entirely upon the Instructor, to never question the instructor's judgement or learning, and to fear the instructor because he, like a father-figure, may discipline the student with the grade book, in order to allow students to behave like the adults they are--often they range in age from seventeen to thirty, and many pay their own tuition and fees--and in order to increase the quality of education at Bowling Green University, we the members of this class, after weeks of research and discussion, strongly make the following recommendations to the faculty and students:
1. We recommend that the entire University, all fields, all departments, adopt a Pass-No-Pass system in place of to letter-grade system which is both an inaccurate record of the student's knowledge or ability, and is also the primary inhibiting factor in the liberalization of the classroom. Grades give the student a false sense of having achieved knowledge, they stimulate a competitive attitude which often exclusionary pleasure in learning, and they focus the importance of the classroom situation upon the game qualities of scoring and faking. We believe that if a Pass-No-Pass system were adopted, businesses and educational systems--not to mention graduate schools--would be forced to adjust to it and would infact adjust by finding new ways to evaluate prospective employees without the accumulated average. We also believe that, on the whole, the quality of education would be raised, not lowered, because instructors would new be demanding satisfactory work—which means a more complete, committed effort b y the student--instead of the mazework of C D grades, where good grades balance out poor grades and poor grades during the start of one's education, say the first two years, can cause a student to flunk out as a senior, even if he has been doing A work for his last year. We recommend that avenues to effect this change be sought by the faculty.
2. We recommend the elimination of all mandatory class attendance requirements and attendance-taking policies. Instructors are hired to advise and guide the students as well as to grade them. If a student feels he needs no advice, no guidance and can do mere meaningful work outside the classroom, and if he performs satisfactorily on papers and examinations, there is no reason why he should come to class. The classroom should be a situation where those who are interested or who reed help can cone for informal, friendly discussion. It is not a Chataqua tent.
3. We recommend the elination of the instructor's power--via the grade—to control where his students sit, what they wear to class and whether they are free to vocally disagree with him or not. We recommend informal classrooms, as opposed to formal, stiffly structured, elementary-school-type classroom environments.
4. We recommend the elimination of all television lecture courses, replacing them with small classes, taught by the individual professors and the drill instructors. There is overwhelming agreement among students, according to a poll made by this class, that television lectures are a total waste of time and money.
5. We recommend that mid-quarter evaluation sheets be given by each instructor to his classes and that these unsigned comments be used by him to adjust classroom technique, the style or quality of examinations, the use of textbooks, etc...
6. We recommend the restriction of all multiple-choice, true-false, short answer type examinations or quizzes to those fields in which they prove--by student agreement instead of faculty consent--to be most effective. We further recommend that all examinations in the Humanities courses be essay-type instead of short-answer. These examinations are often employed only because they are easy to grade, they give objective, indisputable--albeit often worthless--results, and they save the Instructor from having to read student work or confront students as individuals. Instead of articulating or integrating his own thoughts, the student is participating in a sport, a game with the instructor, the object of which is to "win" a certain number of points, the preparation for which is rote memorisation, and the very answers themselves, the "results" remain fragmented, forgettable and lost.
7. We recommend that students be given more opportunity to express their feelings on and participate In the restructure and preparation of the cirriculum in their major field.
8. We recommend that whereve r possible, in-class essay examinations be replaced by "take-home" essay examinations, more on the order of term papers. We have these reasons: 1) the in-class examination is often unfair because of its time limitation pressuring the student into giving only sketchy, mediocre work, if the student is not fortunate enough to be able to compose quickly on paper, 2) that not only will students not cheat if given take-hone exams, but that the very act of writing the words down will be a learning procedure oven if they do copy the answer right out of the book (as they would copy it on their sleeve for an in- class examination), but moreover there will be less tendency to study "for the instructor" or "for the test" and more of a tendency—since most students do enjoy learning when left to themselves—to study "for himself" and ponder, reflect, integrate, struggle with and discover his own answers to the questions. Only self-motivated learning is lasting learning, so we recommend that the student be trusted to act like a mature adult and be given real responsibilities to learn on his own as much as possible.
9. That students be given t he option on all tests or paper assignments, to accept a topic from the instructor, to work out a topic with his approval, or to develop their own topic entirely, beyond his guidance (though still with his consent).
10. We recommend that students be given the opportunity to change each class into an independent study course, with the consent of the instructor, thus putting them entirely on their own to concentrate upon the course in t heir own fashion, having occasional conferences with the instructor in lieu of examinations or to devise the examinationdand agree on paper topics.
11. We recommend that all large classes (15 or above) be broken into small discussion groups which would meet once a week instead of every day for intensiv e coverage of the material in an intimate personal situation. Instructor and students should mutually decide upon this. This would give students more time outside of class and a more personal relationship within the classroom.
12. We recommend that student evaluation be used in the hiring and firing of instructors (including full professors) and in the structuring of the cirriculum. Student knew which courses benefit them and which are m waste of time. Why should they pay money for courses and ins tructors who are inefficient, dull and valueless?
13. We recommend the continuation of the New University, in whatever shape or form it may continue. If it is impossible to continue in the present form, then we recommend the adoption of a minor field of study in Contemporary Problems consisting of action workshops similar to those at present, which would allow students to receive credit for their participation.
14. We recommend that during Orientation Week, incoming freshmen be required to read Jerry Farber’s essay, "The Student as Nigger," and that discussion be centered around tho way the previous twelve years have conditioned students to be entirely dependent upon teachers instead of co-existing with them as equals and friends.
15. We recommend that a course in Progressive Education be initiated, either by the College of Education or by the students themselves, in order to familiarise every¬one with the inadequacies and insanities and the necessities of the present system of authoritarian, formal education and to give an awareness of viable and sensible alternatives to the structured classroom situation.
16. to students
1. We recommend that students set up, with participation of facility if they are willing, a Board of Appeals to hear student grievances against individual instructors. This Board will 1) investigate the validity of the charges, 2) contact the instructor privately and inform him of the charges, mentioning no names, 3) contact also, if necessary, the head of the instructor's department, and 4) if all these measures fail to reach a workable agreement, make public in the B-G News the charge against the instructor so that students may be aware of what they will meet in his courses.
2. We recommend the formation of a student union ready to strike or boycott in order to obtain demands. Without the power to actually cause a visible, nonviolent disturbance, students have no effective power whatsoever to change anything without faculty consent, or to force faculty consent. This will be effective only if there are great numbers of committed student participating en masse.
3. We recommend that students adopt guerilla tactics in the classroom, individually and as a class. Students should organize within the classroom to confront the instructor politely but firmly with complaints if infact they have complaints. Instructors who are insensitive, dull or dictatorial can be met with continual questioning, demands for clarification, attacks upon their arguments, corrections if they make mistakes, etc. Students should not be afraid to stand up and confront the instructor as an equal if necessary. Students should demand a voice in deciding the kind and content of examinations they are to take. Students should organize and work together within the classroom in case the instructor takes recriminative measures against isolated individuals. If the class is too timid to do this, the student union should publicise the action, and the Board of Appeals be notified.