Women's History- Monk

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Research Log #2

Filed under: Uncategorized February 6, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

Unattributed photograph, from the February 17, 1969 issue of The Bullet

I have gotten through all of the 1968 and 1969 editions of The Bullet that were available on microfilm. I wanted to continue in these later issues to track the 4-1-4 issue, and I did find some answers. Unfortunately, all my questions about this change were not answered.

Here’s a refresher on what 4-1-4 means: This was a proposal set forth in the 1960’s to change the term schedule to three terms of four months and a one month “intersession” in the middle. This intersession could be used for independent study or further study in one’s concentration. The plan also included recommendations like making exams and class attendance optional.

In February of 1969, the SGA Curriculum Committee approved the proposal for the 4-1-4 plan. The plan then was to face the Faculty Curriculum Committee and then the whole faculty for a vote. Some highlights recommended in this plan were a Liberal Arts Seminar to be taken by freshmen (the precursor to FSEM classes here, maybe?), 3 hours a week of a required extracurricular activity of the student’s choice, and required foreign language. 120 credits were needed for graduation. As for Intersessions,”The credit for work done during intersession varies according to the project. One course usually will be accorded 4 credits. Intersessions need not be taken in residence.” (Tomalonis 1969)

Unfortunately, this is the last mention I saw of the plan for the rest of 1969. I am going to go to Special Collections after class tomorrow to ask advice on how to find more about this and to look at the card catalog for more info on classroom policies.

Another article that interested me was called “Room for Scholars?” in February of 1969. This article was an opinion piece in which the author criticized her peers’ lack of intellectualism. “Among social happenings, grade grubbing, and campus activities, the student who learns for learning’s sake, who has a mind like a hungry man, is too often considered abnormal.” (Antley 1969) The author refers to a study that was conducted in the psychology department on the habits of psychology students. The study found that “half of the students did not complete the material assigned last semester; although…their reading load was no heavier than for the regular sections.” (Antley 1969) Sounds familiar!  She closes the article by saying that if there was more of a spirit of learning in the college, “national newsmen [wouldn’t] refer to us as ‘Martha Washington College.'” I guess that actually happened, which is kind of funny. I think this article paints a fuller picture of the classroom experience because it brings to light the perception of students in this decade. At least for this one writer, her peers seemed to be uninterested in pursuing learning for the sake of learning. This could be an important nuance for piecing together the classroom in the 1960’s.

My next course of action is to go to Special Collections to figure out what happened to the 4-1-4 proposal and to select articles for the remainder of the decade. I also plan to skim as much as I can of the rest of the 1960’s Bullet, as I think it gives a definite sense of what student life was like in those years. I found a lot of interesting information, but most of it was not directly associated with the classroom. I really enjoy looking through the Bullet, even though I tend to get sucked in for hours and end up with Microfilm machine-induced motion sickness.

From the Feburary 24, 1969 issue of The Bullet. Citation below.


Antley, Tracy. “Room for scholars?.” The Bullet, February 17, 1969.

Tomalonis, First. “Committee approves 4-1-4.” The Bullet, February 24, 1969.

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