sitemap JMC TODAY (Dean Rohman, 1975)
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This Webpage offers a transcription of an article by JMC Dean D. Gordon Rohman published in the 1975 JMC 10th Anniversary tabloid paper.

This anniversary tabloid was created and distributed during the JMC 10th Anniversary celebration in April 1975.

Photocopies of selected pages were sent in by Stewart Lachman, a photocopy of the entire tabloid was sent by Cleo Parker, and an original specimen was submitted by Cynthia Freeland. Thanks, Folks!

The contents of this article have been transcribed for Web presentation. Aspects of the specific layout, formatting, etc., therefore diverge from the precise appearance of the material in the tabloid (where it was segmented among multiple pages).

If anyone has additional 'hard-core' data on JMC, its operations, its performance, or its outcomes, please Contact the Editor.




On the occasion of our tenth birthday, it is fitting that we pause just long enough to look back and see what we've created and where we go from here.

JMC was created in 1965 mainly because students were being turned off by the impersonal environments of the emerging multiversity of MSU. As one solution to all that bigness, JMC brought some smallness in the form of the residential college.

As the evaluation of the college in 1973 makes clear, the residential college idea works to produce more personally-rewarding environments for both students and faculty. In JMC, a community of shared values grew up resulting in its formative years in high morale in the college among both students and faculty. So in its first objective -- to create a more humane and stimulating learning community -- JMC got high marks.

But I wanted something else for the college. In addition to problems of size in the 60's, brought on by the unprecedented growth in higher education, other questions were being raised about the very nature of the educational system. Critics inside and outside the educational establishment, faculty and students, were disturbing the sleeping dogmas of the academic way of doing things. Identifying itself with this substantial and thorough-going philosophical criticism of education, JMC chose to ride the currents of possibility in curricular innovation instead of staying close to shore in the relative safety of the residential college idea.

As a result, the college underwent some of the most searing of internal and external controversies that often divided students from faculty, faculty from dean, college from university, and so on. The price we paid for a commitment to change, innovation, and continual development has been high.

The point now is that we have survived into 1975 with a college still intact. What came out of our first ten years? Where do we go from here?

The evaluation of 1973 makes 15 commendations of parts of the former JMC program, among them our learner-centered, interest-based, open-number curriculum, our use of independent study, our wide variety of types of teaching strategies, or interdisciplinary courses, the new subject matter we introduced (from human sexuality to problem-solving), our use of off-campus persons in JMC programs, our field study -- including the innovative ways we train persons to learn from experience -- our involvement of students in volunteer work, our experiments in affective education, our writing program, our former intensive language program, our written evaluation system and our field of concentration idea.

Although no one of these ideas was or is absolutely new (what is absolutely "new" under the sun?) no college at MSU and very few nationally have concentrated so much newness in one place before, and fewer still have made the continual introduction of newness college policy. Creativity, open-endedness, open-mindness -- these have become so common at JMC that they now constitute our style. Not all persons should or can live the creative life, and not all colleges either. But it is one possible and legitimate -- and valuable -- lifestyle. And it is the one JMC developed on top of, in addition to, and sometimes in conflict with its original identity as a residential college.

Where do we go from here? The evaluation recommends that we continue our identity:

  • as a significant educational college model, and

  • as a primary university focal point for innovation.

In response to our charge to provide an undergraduate alternative, we have entirely re-shaped our curriculum around a new theme, The Life of Inquiry. We retain many proven features of the JMC experience such as writing instruction, special-topic courses, interdisciplinary programs, independent study. We add to these such innovations as a new freshman program containing instruction in problem solving, decision-making, values clarification and group skills, new emphasis on career interning in field study, a graded series of independent studies, and a re-shaped senior program all designed to increase a student's self reliance and preparation for an entire lifetime of inquiry.

In response to our charge to be a center for innovation, we have underway several additional projects. The largest at the moment is a competency-based degree program for 30 non-traditional students financed by a Ford Foundation Venture Fund grant. Running for three years, the project will develop ways to become certified for an AB entirely independent of time constraints, campus residency, or classes. Students will be asked to demonstrate their competence in six areas we identified as essential to liberal education. In addition we are developing new upper-division programs for Lansing area firemen and nurses.

In both parts of our mission, we intend in the next decade as in the past, to exemplify the Life of Inquiry ourselves as an institution and in ourselves, to continue to make creative change our style so that we will never become as old as we hope to be.