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This Webpage offers a transcription of a pamphlet written by JMC Dean D. Gordon Rohman.

The publication date for this pamphlet is not given. However, Dean Rohman refers to one year having passed since JMC's doors opened (fall 1965) and 1.5 years having passed since the College came into existence (possibly referring to April 1965). This would seem to place the publication date no earlier than early fall 1966 and no later than spring 1967.

The hardcopy original was kindly submitted by Cynthia Freeland. Thanks, Cynthia!

The original consists of 7 unnumbered pages, including two comprised wholly of photographs (as noted below).

The contents of this pamphlet have been transcribed for Web presentation. Aspects of the specific layout, formatting, etc., therefore diverge from the precise appearance of the material in the printed pamphlet.

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




After a year and a half of existence, it is clear that there are three Justin Morrill Colleges: an ideal one, a real one, and a fantasy one. Upon the ideal college we fix our hopes and dreams; upon the real one we spend our days; upon the fantasy college we spend our explanation. Because we are still a young college, we are inevitably more ideal than real - and because we are a new idea, we are inevitably saddled with a variety of fantasies which never were, are not now, and never will be Justin Morrill. The gap between our real and ideal identity, we seek daily to close. But the gap between the ideal and fantasy, we hope to eliminate by better information and explanation of who we are, what we have been, and what we hope to be: a small college with a big idea in a small corner of a large university.

Justin Morrill was suggested, investigated, debated, approved, planned and opened in less than a year although the idea for such a college at Michigan State University had been around for a decade or more. JMC -- as we quickly came to call it -- was another way in which Michigan State faced the facts of its size and the consequent physical, psychological and intellectual gaps that often threatened to make such multipurpose universities into faculties of independent scholars loyal to a central heating plant.

One alternative was the coeducational living-learning centers, but no new curricular designs accompanied the new locations for courses. It remained for Justin Morrill to present the next step: a program unique to the college setting and theme.




When it was ready, the University moved rapidly. On November 1, 1964, the Provost appointed a faculty committee to study the prospect of such an experimental college, and by February 1, 1965, it reported favorably. On February 24, the Educational Policies Committee unanimously approved the report; on March 9 the Academic Council followed suit. Thereupon a committee of administrative leaders drew up guidelines which were approved by the trustees on April 22, at which time I was appointed dean. The college was named for Justin S. Morrill, father of the land-grant act -- as a recognition by MSU of its past and as a sign of the continuing innovative significance of the land-grant idea in American higher education.

A new faculty committee drew up the actual working curriculum in the summer of 1965 and that fall, with 400 freshmen and with offices and classrooms in Snyder-Phillips hall, we began.

We were to make a fresh start on an old problem: how best to use the four years of an undergraduate's time to serve the ends of a liberal education. Our guidelines established that we should weave study in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences around the integrating theme of international understanding and service. We were to take advantage of the living-learning setting to do this on the premise that environment and program are inseparable in liberal education. Our size was fixed at 1,200. We were to stress independent study for students, and innovation in administration, teaching, and curriculum. In addition, we were presented with two new problems: what best use to make of a shared faculty and a shared curriculum because, although the college was to have its own dean and its own budget, it would draw upon the rest of the University for half of its curriculum and for most of its teachers.

We responded with a different approach to the use of teachers and to the design of a general education curriculum. We relinquished common subjects in humanities and social sciences and partially in natural sciences in order deliberately to recruit the interests of our shared faculty and our students. Our program tries to emphasize instead the competence and the person of a teacher in his work, and the person and the interest of a student in his study. We encourage teachers who give a share of their time to the college to present topic-centered courses in areas of their special interest. By this, we hope to make teaching in a general education program attractive for professional university scholar-teachers. Out of their enthusiasm and commitment to special areas of their disciplines, in addition to their special competence in these same areas, we hope to bring about an unusually high degree of involvement in their college teaching -- higher at least than we might expect of a part-time faculty assigned a section of a "core" course in which they would have no experience and little interest. We want, above all, to make the presence of teachers felt in our classrooms.






For our students we seek a corresponding involvement. We let them use their "college time" to sample the variety of talent, temperament and topic thus brought into the college by our recruiting

(A page with four photographs taken by travelers to Europe and Russia)

"The cross-cultural theme of JMC is apparent in the hundreds of student pictures taken in Spain, Switzerland and Russia. Students also participate in domestic field study programs."



philosophy. We believe we are being realistic about the facts of a student's growth -- intellectual and emotional -- as well as humanistic, in allowing for growth as a good and necessary part of a liberal education. Beginning college students have not had much chance to "case the joint" before settling in on a program, as David Riesman put it to Justin Morrill students in a lecture to them last year. So they go through a good deal of uncontrolled sampling and switching around among programs in their first years at the University. Our college curriculum capitalizes on this and strives to keep a student moving within the world of his expanding consciousness as he searches for knowledge, for form, for self.






Too often, Alfred North Whitehead lamented, we confine education to the Stage of Precision when students stop exploring in order to master knowledge by disciplines. We wanted to precede and surround that with something of what Whitehead called the Stage of Romance -- the first apprehension of a subject when it exists in all the vividness of its novelty. To be sure, education must eventually set in order the ferment of the mind. But as Whitehead observed, it cannot take place in a vacuum. You must first have something disordered that needs ordering. And the high school experience -- intellectual and emotional -- is simply not a rich enough disorder to provide a base for liberal education; college students have more to discover in the immensely greater riches of a university-wide spread of knowledges and in an environment of greater emotional and intellectual freedom.






In addition to providing a spread of courses, we permit our students the necessary freedom to choose among them. Choice itself, as well as the freedom to make it, is rich with educational reward. The more frequently you involve a student in fashioning his own education, the more often you may actually enlist him in the cause of his own self-culture. We wanted involved students, not bench-bound listeners. So we opted for freedom, recognizing the danger of this double-edged razor: freedom might as often confuse as liberate. Yet if we define a person as one who has won through to his own uniqueness by the exercise of free choices, we cannot flinch from what Emerson called "the terrible freedom" within which a person makes his moves. Liberal education is concerned with a person's identity , as distinct from his role which is other-directed.

In the same spirit, we also built individualized study into our program in several places. Each humanities and social science course requires that one of its four credits be earned in independent study to prepare everybody for special programs to follow apart from courses, in the field or overseas. Each student must choose one of these programs for at least a term of study. A third of our first class went overseas in the summer of 1966; more will go over this year. Many students are planning field study this coming year in many parts of the country.

Our natural science program begins with an adaptation of the University College natural science course and moves to two special open-ended courses defined by those who teach them and freely elected by our students. Our purpose is to increase the literacy of non-specialists in the natural sciences and, in such a course as our International Issues in Science, to bring that literacy to bear upon real problems of today's world that involve scientific knowledge.






All freshmen take a course called Inquiry and Expression. Once a week the entire class gathers for a lecture on a theme of international significance. This year a philosopher, a social scientist and a natural scientist are developing the theme of Human Community. Students meet twice more each week in seven-man writing labs with a writing coach for intensive review of topics and writing. Each little group may pursue any aspect of the general theme. Within each group each member receives a copy of everyone's essays for common critique. Coaches do most of their criticism in class; comments are made on the spot, clarified, exemplified -- or challenged.

Each freshman elects a foreign language to study intensively for a year. Currently the college offers French, Spanish or Russian. Students are placed in "tracks" according to tested competence and spend from a third to a half of their time increasing it. On the average, they do two years' work in one.

In the senior year, each JMC student will take a capstone course designed to involve him in some way -- a thesis for example -- in summing up his college experience and his understanding of himself and the world before he launches into it.

So much for "college time." It spreads, as you will have noted, throughout the entire four years, heavier in the beginning, lighter at the end but with some dimension of liberal education in each year.






In his "university time" -- Whitehead's Stage of Analysis -- our students will pursue what we call a Field of Concentration. This may be an inter-disciplinary program or simply a collection of courses within a single department (the traditional major). Our students will work out their plans with JMC advisers depending upon their interests and their needs. We have left time as well for free electives to permit more exploration of the breadth of a university spread of courses.






Our international theme threads this entire fabric in a variety of ways. We interpret the word "international" as "cross-cultural" because we are more interested in the relations of mankind than in the relations of nation-states. The college requires the foreign language not only to equip students for cross-cultural study abroad, but also to set a global tone to the succeeding years of college from the very first week of classes. We wanted to get our students quickly inside another major foreign culture, and we assumed the fastest way to start this was through language study. Whether our students go abroad or not, all will have had this liberalizing experience. In addition, all will have had the chance to be taught by a faculty which, in almost every case, has had significant international experience. Many JMC teachers have chosen to give courses with specifically international and cross-cultural topics; some are themselves foreign nationals. And some JMC courses have been and will be taught in one of the foreign languages of the college. In addition, our field study program in the U.S. brings cross-cultural education as close as a migrant labor camp in Saginaw or an Upward Bound project in Snyder-Phillips.

Our total program, then, starts with an open-ended vision of what each student can become, and measures his progress not only in terms of his accumulated knowledge, but also in his developing ability to comprehend himself and the world with wisdom, discipline, and some wonder.






There is no inevitable magic in educational shuffles, including the new deal at Justin Morrill. But I am convinced, nevertheless, that there are many alternatives to our present ways of schooling undergraduates in universities just as there are many alternatives to our present ways of using teachers, courses, and settings. The exciting possibilities of the cluster-college idea like in the variety of fresh starts on old problems thus permitted. Since nobody can point to the route to a liberal education, since all the big and many of the little questions remain perennially open, and since the questioning attitude itself lies at the heart of the uniquely human experience, we in JMC have gloried in our heady privilege to dream up new courses, new programs, new administrative designs.

But more important is the college setting we have been given in which to demonstrate the old truth that in liberal education, environment and program are inseparable. Living in a college is learning; and learning in a college may be living more abundantly than we and our students have yet imagined. Not many universities have much experience with the college setting for undergraduate education and we at MSU are breaking new ground in this area without much precedent to help us. We know we have only begun to pursue or ideal college, yet we in the real college eagerly search for clues to success in creating a sense of common enterprise. But it is as hard to come up with a satisfactory litmus test for "community" as it is for "good teaching." I think I have detected one however. I call it the Great Justin Morrill Pronoun Shift. A year ago, when we opened our doors, we heard constantly about the impersonal "they" that seemed to be running things: "they" say that you must take this course, "they" have decided that that is against the rules, "they" closed that section yesterday, "they" say that we should study more efficiently, and so on. "They" bore the burden of every intellectual, personal, and moral complaint. But by the end of the year, not always but every once in a while, in the office, in the grille, along the corridors, during committee meeting with students, I began to hear another pronoun: "we." And with the gradual emergence of the first person plural, I take heart that indeed "we", together, have caught the first glimmer of a hint of the idea that persons discover their humanity not in isolation but in encounter with other persons in community.

Maybe in the long run the ideal way we will serve our concern for the family of man will be by serving the needs of this college as a community. If properly interpreted and nurtured, our community might dramatize the interdependence of all men in all communities. Among all the other kinds of things that Justin Morrill students will discover about ideas and themselves and the puzzling world outside in our journey together, this discovery may outrank them all.

(A page with three photographs of JMC students working in a television studio)

"Student produced reports over closed circuit TV are an important part of the field studies program of JMC students."