Dec 072003
 
Authors: Colleen Buhrer

With finals here in some classes and on the way in many others,

my brain, like most other people, is somewhat fried. For that

reason, today’s column is a snip-it of a few different topics

instead of one 800-word piece on one thing. All of these snip-its

should inform you in some way about some things that are going

on.

Freshmen Seminar

 

The Faculty Council has rightly agreed to make freshman seminars

optional.

These seminars were introduced in an attempt to fulfill many

goals. According to Scott Moore, professor of political science and

undergraduate program coordinator for the department, there were

the publicly given goals and the private goals.

The publicly given goals were to solve the problems of students

not feeling connected to the university and improper socialization

into the university experience and to reduce frustrations that lead

to dissatisfaction with the university.

Before freshman seminars were adopted several voluntary, pilot

programs were tried with great success. Faculty and students

thought they were great, Moore said.

The private reason was that there was a need for CSU’s ranking

in the US World News & Report to go up, according to Moore. One

category that schools are ranked in is how many classes are offered

with 19 or less students. Thus the magic number 19 as the

enrollment in Freshman Seminars.

The theory behind the seminar made sense. The intentions were

good. So why did the freshman seminars not achieve their goals? For

many reasons.

There was no funding for the classes when it had been promised

there would be. The huge amount of undertaking and resources needed

for each department to teach enough classes of 19 students to

accommodate 3,000 incoming freshmen and some transfers was just too

much.

Some students don’t want the close relationship with a teacher

and the roots to the university the freshman seminars want to force

on them. In Moore’s experience, around 20 percent of students come

to a big university so that they can disappear. As a result,

attendance in freshman seminars did not tend to be high.

Feedback from students as a whole was not very positive. Some

seminars were more academic in nature with students taking tests

and writing papers while other classes spent their time finding the

Lory Student Center and making friendship bracelets. This

discrepancy made many students resent the teachers that were making

them work harder than everyone else.

“Students feel a breach of faith has occurred,” Moore said.

Thus, the Faculty Council has realized that their experiment has

failed at achieving the necessary goals and is doing the right

thing by making the classes optional.

I for one am happy that nobody else will have to spend an entire

semester writing good-sized papers about the flood of 1997. It was

interesting, of course, but how much can you learn about one

event?

“Malvo defense alleges Muhammad grudge”

This is the subhead for a Washington Post article about Lee Boyd

Malvo’s capital murder trial. He is charged with killing FBI

analyst Linda Franklin during the sniper slayings in October

2002.

According to the article, Malvo’s attorneys are arguing “that

John Allen Muhammed gradually developed a grudge against ‘the

system’ and against white people and subtly converted his young

protege into a killer.” The article goes on to say, “The defense

hopes to convince the jury that Muhammed’s domination of Malvo made

the teenager temporarily insane and not responsible for his role in

the shootings.”

OK, I understand that the defense is looking for anything to get

this kid off – and that an insanity plea would be worth trying. But

last time I checked, just because you are upset at the system it

doesn’t mean you are allowed to go out and help kill 10 people.

Lots of people in this world are mad at the system and don’t

like people of other races but they don’t all go out shooting and

killing people with rifles.

I fully believe that if the evidence shows that Malvo did in

fact shoot the gun that killed Franklin then he deserves to go to

jail. Period.

Graduate School

For any person who ever wishes to go to graduate schools I have

a tip for you. Don’t bother trying to turn your application in

early in the hopes of getting accepted early so you know where you

are going and what you are going to do with your life.

Schools are in no hurry to accept you. I sent my application out

to schools one and a half months ago in the hopes of getting them

back by now.

All that most of them need to do is have three people look at

the application, give it a grade (essentially) and then compare the

grades. I just don’t understand why it takes six months to figure

that out.

Enjoy finals and the holiday break.

Colleen is a senior majoring in technical journalism and

political science. She is the managing editor for The

Collegian.

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