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For eight hundred years Western societies of turn to universities for the teaching discovery and preservation of advanced knowledge from small beginnings in Bologna and Paris men have built giant educational complexes to serve not only students but governments industries and the general public as well. The huge American Multiversity these are the subject for this series the Multiversity today. The programs were produced in the studios of WRAL the University of Illinois Broadcasting Service. Dennis Corrigan is your host for today's program about what's going on inside the Multiversity today. What am I doing here. We are all thoughtful we've asked ourselves that question today as university students probably spend more time asking themselves that question than any other group of Americans.
Well what are students doing. The primary purpose of a university experience is education formal education. But the experience doesn't stop there. It includes dating football games midnight Bowl sessions and lonely nights wondering if it's all worth your effort. Except for commuter campuses where the situation is somewhat different. University life centers around a fairly soft contained academic community with its own social circles. Government needs paper and so on. On a Multiversity capice the student community runs the gamut from the shy coed from a town of 80 who's never been away from home before. To the sophisticated multi lingual student from a cosmopolitan Asian capital. War.
What are students doing in Multiversity. They are concerned about the same things that students all over our nation are concerned about. Student power civil rights their classes exams foreign policy the draft their Friday night date. Marty super-PAC is from Enid Oklahoma. He's an upperclassman at the University of Illinois and not particularly happy with Multiversity environment during lunch at a campus pizza an Italian sandwich place Marty explained why he chose a large school instead of a small one. I don't know a lot about small schools most of the small schools I do know about are more backward than I are you know even more with. More oppressive and more backward than big schools I think. A big school more exactly approximate the conditions of the larger society. And this is good. I think there's more opportunity for. Students to
coordinate themselves to. Demand their right on a larger campus. I think that the students and obviously generally have a better quality certainly the professors are. I'd rather be in a large university small. We ask Marty had problems adjusting to a large university. I really wasn't aware that I had adjusted what. I think I would hate to think that I felt that I had a head. I know that during my freshman year I was I think I told you this before but I was a one time walking back to my room from the canteen and thanking him. How miserable it was and. A generally lousy The conditions were here. And I said to myself at least I have one thing at least at heart.
And then I noticed as a sophomore. Thinking that I was rather content. How contained I was and then remembering the stepson of my freshman year. And feeling kind of upset. But now I even lost what I had. FRESHMAN. The process of adjustment is the process of tolerating structure. This is always the process of dying. And. I think what we need is probably less adjustment. Eric Roberts is a senior in radio and television at the University of Illinois. He's popular outgoing activities of included cheerleading. We asked Derrick why he chose to come to a multi versity. Well.
This to me was something that came to the forefront of my mind when I was choosing colleges. A lot of kids don't really think about that. They say that you don't really think about the problem that much. But I did because I had a chance to go to a smaller school because I played football and I could have gone to a smaller school on a football scholarship but I chose not to take the scholarship and to go to a larger school where I would not be able to play football because I'm not that big because I wanted to go to a larger school. And the reason I wanted to go to a large school is because Barger schools to me offer a lot more than some our schools do in the way of let's say getting to know more people just from the simple physical fact because there are more people at a large school than there are at a smaller school. But now only that it seems that at larger schools there's so many more activities and so many more things going on in a much broader base is that one can get into then one can at a smaller school. So I chose you know the university don't I since I am from Illinois and it was a large school that there was every cad little trouble making his way when
he started as a freshman. I knew how it was going to be at a large school I knew that at a large school to me it seemed that one must be an extrovert and one must get out and try to you know meet people because as far as I'm concerned and at a large school the main difference to me at a large school between it and the main difference between a large school a small school is that they both offer about the same amount except that at a small school it's more or less handed to you. You know in a big school you have to go out and get it. And so I realize that this was the way it was going to be so I just jumped right out and went after it you know and I didn't have any real problems because I was ready you know to go out and get it. Eric feels it is important that students out of all diversity have some idea of what they want to do with their lives and how they're going to do it. Yeah I think that one could get in a problem where they don't know which way they want to go. That's why I think that to me you know the decision for going to a large school was better. You know for myself because I understood what I wanted. If one doesn't understand what they want
then they have sort of like a small problem because it's like going into a candy store and you have seen so many kinds of candy you don't even know which one you want. Then the person gets frustrated and of course society is in on the whole deal too because mommy and daddy are pushing and saying Well my you you take you get you know. And then the impersonality of a large school no one sitting up there holding your hand and saying well this is what you should do and this is what you shouldn't do or here I hope you go along you just have to do it on your own. So then if you don't if you don't know and you're not sure then it could get real bad. While preparing for this program Louise guys Alair is our producer discussed student problems with three other undergraduate students. My name is Nancy Goodman. I'm a senior in Las majoring in sociology. I live in Alpha Epsilon pi. And I just finished being president and they are and I
and various other student activities. I'm Bob Strong from Woodstock Illinois my senior in journalism and I manage an editor of The Daily line and. The other bar. My name is Bob Goldstein I'm a senior in political science from Bethesda Maryland. My major formal activities Student Senate in recent days I've been involved in a group concerned with educational reform. You know from far this way by now. Why did you come from someplace else. There's really no rational reason Basically I put Illinois down as a reserve school. Pick to get out of a hat I was the only one I got into. Right. Nancy haven't you and I come from your champagne and my parents have always been partial to to the university. I originally had wanted to go to Michigan but I didn't get accepted until too late I already had my housing here so I decided to come here. What about you. My sister it's the year older was down here when I was a senior in high school and I stayed on here a couple weekends with her friends an MRA each and I liked the lifestyle
here. I assume the wife during the week was like on the weekends and so I thought I'd come down here. I know. You were disappointed. Though I was really disappointed it was just different I think. Nobody ever studied over there I don't know if this is them our age or this is true all over but it's not I'm not disappointed it's just different. It's a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Well I didn't really know anything at all about the school before I came down here. I think I explained before I do I am disappointed in the school mainly because I don't feel I'm getting very much out of the classroom. Like almost from the beginning I've been involved in extracurricular activities and in general I found that whatever I've learned down here has been from activities outside the classroom and most of the classroom life down here is really very sterile very little communication very little meaningful education that really relates to what people are interested in or what's going on outside. And outside the prescribed
curriculum which which really doesn't adjust to what's happening outside. I feel much the same way except. I feel that it's possible for this student to get a great deal in the classroom except that this one has to expend a great deal of effort. Maybe more so than in other universities that we've all been hearing about. In the centennial year. I think that there are a great many things have been happening and I you know I hope that they continue but I feel that up until this year you have been my extracurricular activities have far outweighed my educational activities far as interest in benefit to me. What about these. Huge classes you hear about. You've got three four hundred people of any of that 30 or 40 discussion sections. Have you had to have many of them. And. What's your reaction to the lecture first. Well I think the classic one is psych 100. I don't know
I think more people have taken it than any other one I can think of. And I found it very I liked it very well because the subject matter was so interesting. It was a first experience I had with a TV lecture. I. Found of course beneficial However I think I would have benefited several times more having. Personal contact in a small learning situation than walking into a large place like you know the TV on and going into a discussion section you know. Not really hitting on the topics in the lecture. And it wasn't just an exam seem to be just a game and guessing. I've never put much stock in how big classes are and I'd rather have a good teacher. And I've had some good teachers and lectures of several hundred people that I learn a lot more from. I had many small classes with under 12 people with a lousy teacher and I realized dialogue back and forth is important but I think the starting point has some good material and so I would rather have a
good teacher first. Yeah I'd agree there's nothing so facto wrong with a large class but the problem is that there are so many really bad lectures. I've had lecture classes where the teacher gets up and reads from a book that I was have in front of us. You know and I don't think there's any doubt that as a cumulative experience when you have these classes want to after another it really does have the effect of stifling your ability to communicate and stifling interest and really encouraging people to get bored and to sleep in class. And I mean you know you go through the whole year the teacher has no idea what your name is of who you are. He just. Stands out there and faces the sea of faces and. Reads out what he's been reading for the last five years and so many courses. I do agree there is a possibility of some good lecture courses and I have had them. Huge lecture and discussion classes are characteristic of multiverse of these
not all classes are large. Many classes have fewer than 15 students but Multiversity have been faced with the problem of teaching such required courses as rhetoric and introductory science courses introductory history courses and other basic classes to hundreds of students out of time in order to handle this many students and at the same time provide reasonably equal instruction to all students. The multiverse cities develop a lecture discussion system. They've also turned to television computers and other electronic teaching aids to provide flexibility in scheduling the huge classes as we have heard. The results are not always favorably received but they are not always denounced either. Eric Roberts has found many of his large lecture courses rewarding. Well I've been in several large lectures of over 300 400 people and I think it all depends on what kind of graduate assistant you get
whether or how much you learn. But I still say that the student is the one who is going to give the student himself the kind of now is it the student wants. What kind of education do undergraduates feel they are getting in Multiversity as well. Have you heard. It depends on who you talk to and what experiences they pat. There are many areas both on individual campuses and on Multiversity campuses in general that need improvement only be academically short sighted would suggest that all Multiversity courses teachers and practices were excellent. However it would be equally shortsighted to suggest that all teachers were poor or that all large classes were sterile that all programs of study were outvoted are irrelevant. Then what's all the noise about and
why are students complaining in the first place and there are times when students have a perfect right to gripe and they often can offer creative suggestions for improvement. To be realistic however we must realize that students tend to be idealistic and impatient in their demands for improvement. They too often have too little experience to appreciate the progress that is being made because of an almost universal human weakness. Complaints are usually so much more interesting than compliments and so we hear the complaints of the vocal whether legitimate or not and overlook the compliments. Certainly though a majority of Multiversity students feel that the education they are receiving is worthwhile. Eric Roberts I think the university is providing the kind of education that I want because my definition of education is not necessarily a technical one but much more on a broader sense of developing my mind. And I think it's
definitely helped to develop my mind and help me think. And this is what I think education should be so that I can go out and if there's anything technical that I have to know I can easily find it out without any kind of you know hang ups about what I should know and what I should know I can think these kind of things out. And I think I think that depending on what kind of person you are you can find this either in a large university or a small university except for the fact that it is a small university I think there's much more of a helping hand to try to figure this kind of thing out. We're a large university you have to be more or less independent on your own in that you have to figure this out yourself. Student life at a Multiversity is not a vacation if you plan to stay in school you have to work at it for many years one guideline is suggested
three hours of study for every hour in class. If he follows this rule a student taking an average load of about 15 hours of classes a week actually spends 60 hours a week with schoolwork. Marty super-PAC described the life this way. You go to classes in the morning you come home that most people are sleeping and you get up in the evening and ecstatic. Now I was like you do this day after day except one week. When you when you go out it. Would be you know not all students are caught up in the grind this much. At the University of Illinois there are over 100 in 50 student organizations groups organized and supported by students. There are political groups social groups bridge clubs social service groups. There are however a few students who for one reason or another find Multiversity life intolerable like overworked executives nervous
wives frustrated clerks students can and do have emotional and physical problems that result in all serious suicide attempts. Running away. Multiversity counseling and health services that can help such students either adapt to their situation or find a more suitable place elsewhere. No survey of today's Multiversity life would be complete without at least some mention of student demonstrations. It is a well publicized fact that college students are demonstrating on such issues as student power. The war in Vietnam. The draft freedom of speech. Their own civil rights and many local issues students support demonstrations for many reasons.
Generally they're one of the most effective ways you have of going to you know and getting some kind of response on this campus. Maybe very unfortunate but it's true. And students get together and I demonstrate because they've learned. And when you make a lot of noise people answer mostly because they're embarrassed by the noise and they don't want to they don't want to continue. On on a matter of principle. Approach any kind of demonstrations because it gets people generally doing things that they haven't been doing before. And thinking about things they haven't thought of before. I may be risking their risking to a certain extent their academic career. Ah. Risking getting your picture taken by the FBI. Ah good. Security risk in getting it now is a very good thank you. It. Helps to. Create economist people
like me individuals instead of robots. I think they've been beneficial if nothing else. I've got a long standing frustration here that students come about 90 on the list of priorities of the university. They don't talk about research they'll talk about service to the state they'll talk about service to the government. Talk about putting teachers and scientists and helping with everything like this. And then they'll say oh yeah we you know we have some students you know if you read into that on this and I I mean I think it's just really frustrating to be a student here and knowing that you just saw just about last on the list. Only a minority of college students usually participate in demonstrations at the University of Illinois demonstration leaders usually feel they've had a successful
day when they get the active support of one in 30. The largest recent protest attracted approximately one tenth of the student body. There is however no way to accurately measure the sympathy for any particular demonstration. At least outwardly most students pay little attention to them. Eric Roberts had this to say about the situation in town and if I was good like I used to but I think the problem is much further than that I don't think it's just necessarily with the university and the students. I think there's much more on a social level too because students don't want to and if I with anything anymore like they used to I mean they're not to write anything anymore you know they'll carry the fan you know in a demonstration or whatever it is and they want to be along to this path and that path and the other path and they don't want to commit themselves to anything.
The first authority that usually confronts student demonstrations is the campus police. Joe blaze supervisor of traffic and security at the University of Illinois feels demonstrations are a major problem. Another problem is we are increasing problem arising from our various ethnic groups together with student ministrations and so forth. We have to pretty much as everyone were in the stands as a balance wheel between the various groups involved. It's a rather difficult position. I believe that every policeman should have it was them it was Solomon or do his job right. It's a real tough one but it's one that we work on the whole time we try to do a good job. John Strong is a prominent American editor. Four of his sons and daughters have attended the University of Illinois including Bob Strauss who was hurt earlier in this program while talking with him in his home. We asked John strum how he
felt about today's students. Very good about 98 percent I'm a little upset about the other 2 percent. I think in general that today's students are much smarter and wiser than we were at that age. I think much more mature. There really and yet more honest I think less sanctimonious and more in search of really fundamental human values. For example I don't always agree with my son's columns in The Daily alliance but I must confess that I think he's digging for something far deeper than the stuff I used to write in my column from barnyard to the boneyard. The 2 percent I'm upset with are the chronic protesters who I think protest as a way and Rife who march for the sake of marching who are vaguely dissatisfied but I think probably too lazy to find a positive way to express their feelings. Dr. Norton long Professor of Politics at Brandeis University expressed his
feelings about student power in student demonstrations during the symposium. Man in the multitude held on the University of Illinois campus in 1967. Now I'm not in the position of buying the notion that a university is a town meeting or can be run as a town meeting or that one should negotiate with students as if they were a labor union. But we certainly ought to be in the position of thinking about what do the students have that is their right. As then meet in growing up and being adult and playing adult roles in an institution that they have a very great concern with. In France students were turned to be passive manipulated objects in their four best years. We have no one to blame but ourselves. If then they get out of here they do nothing but sit on the sidelines and bits and not get in and help to try to run the civic route. If they confuse this
folly of protest with politics. And which by again I have been affirming my side the world is evil its much worse than I thought my father has feet of clay I've been robbed. And then saying. J It has no right to be that way it's awful I protest. Was No your idea about responsible democratic action and some of the kooks have. Protest about Vietnam but do nothing about changing the administration. Now as far as I'm concerned it is absolutely absurd in a constitutional democracy to protest and not to affect the political action. And have people down under don't want anything more than protest about all a when is a form of science righteous exhibitionism which doesn't move the Democratic Society one inch towards an effective goal but it's a very effective means for the people who want a copout to feel that they've been noble but who don't really want to accept the Java run on the Round
Rock. Knowing it citizens who by the job of running their own Iraq and we need them. Desperately. What am I doing here. Students are particularly aware of this question and they should be. But their primary job is preparing themselves for adult responsibilities in an adult society. During the past half hour we've tried to give you some idea of how students are preparing themselves for their future responsibility. The survey is necessarily incomplete or no group of people can be thoroughly explored and only a half an hour. In closing this program we'd like you to hear whatever Rick Roberts had to say about what his fellow students are doing and should be doing inside the Multiversity today. I think students should stop looking at the university as a huge block and start looking at it as
a group of people who are trying to achieve a common goal and that is educate students. During the past half hour you have heard the Third Programme in a series about what's going on inside the Multiversity today next week at this time. Graduate students will explain why some of them say I feel like I've been here forever. Your host for today's program was Dennis Corrigan. The music was performed by the University of Illinois somebody's Orchestra under the direction of Charles Delaney. The program was produced and directed by Louise Geissler is in the studios of WRAL the University of Illinois Broadcasting Service.
The multiversity today
What Am I Doing Here?
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University of Illinois
WILL Illinois Public Media
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3648. This prog.: what Am I Doing Here? Undergraduate students talk about their education, their goals, their lives on the multiversity campus.
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Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Producing Organization: WILL Illinois Public Media
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-38-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:55
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Chicago: “The multiversity today; What Am I Doing Here?,” 1968-09-20, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 29, 2022,
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