Special Approaches to Women's Education: a model coeducational plan
by Barbara Currier. 1969. Click here to download a pdf of this document.
Think of education for individuals, not for women; for the mind, not the drawing room; for enlightenment, not advantage; and that is its proper scale. What follows is that the purpose of education for women, as for men, is to enable them to lead free and full lives. Education should lead women, like men, into ever new human circumstances, all the while helping their emotions, their intellects, their wills to keep step and pace. It must show them greatness against which they can measure the growth of their personal wisdom. Through education, Beauty may appear to all as simple and rich as fire. Educated women, like educated men, should be good people, with their judgment of "good" depending on the quality of their education. Education should bring men and women enough sight of the past and the future, enough self-knowledge, for them to lead others. It must be ready to give, to both sexes, whatever they want as soon as they find it is also whatever they need.
If such statements of purpose seem arbitrary and personal, they are properly so, for the purpose of education is with individuals rather than sexes. There are many, many reasons to educate persons, but there is really no such thing as a reason to educate women.
There are, however, strategies to improve education for women, and these will be the subject of this report. (p.5-6)
As this report has already suggested, Hampshire's position should be that it values individuality above all, and considers a student's sex to be secondary. Following this, the treatment of men and women in the college will have a certain rationale.
* Generally, men and women should be educated in the same way. They should only be educated differently in cases where sex differences have hitherto been emphasized at the expense of individuality.
* Both sexes should be made aware of the issues of sexuality as an important part of self-knowledge. They should discover the ways in which sexuality has either limited or expanded man's and women's freedom to follow their own talents, and then apply their insights to their own lives. (p.37-38)
Summary of Recommendations.
* All courses should be for both men and women.
* Women should be encouraged to diversify in their choice of courses.
* Every possible course should include material relevant to the issues of sexuality.
* There should be a handful of courses whose primary content has to do with sexuality.
* Each year, one of the seminars on Human Development in the Division I should deal with the issues of sexuality.
* Any student should be able to build his or her "major" around the theme of sexuality.
* The Hampshire librarian should be aware of the needs for material dealing with the issues of sexuality. He should begin to enlarge his collection in this area with a definite budget allocation. He should learn about his neighbors' resources in this subject area and should develop Hampshire's connection with theirs.
C. Sex Ratio
* Hampshire should try to approximate equality in its sex ratio, 50:50, men:women.
* Hampshire should make some statement including the principles of equal rights to opportunity and free choice of roles in its regular publicity.
* Hampshire should aim for students whose ideas of sex roles vary.
* Hampshire should admit older men and women as regular students.
* Hampshire should accept married students.
* In hiring faculty, Hampshire should consider their motivation and ability to deal with the issues of sexuality.
* The Dean of the Faculty should meet annually with the faculty to talk with them about their attention to these issues in their classes and their counseling.
* There should be a Committee on Coeducation to support faculty responsibility in this area.
* Hampshire should set out to hire a significant number of women faculty.
* Women should form no less than one third of Hampshire's total faculty. They should be brought in at all levels. At least one dean should always be a woman.
* Hampshire should hire women faculty who have a variety of life styles.
* Hampshire should plan career counseling for its women. The counsel should begin at the beginning, however, by examining its own assumptions about women's need for a career.
* Career counseling for women at Hampshire should always involve men also.
* Counseling should lead both women and men to consider whatever kinds of work fit their individual talents, without regard to their sex.
* Hampshire should have a significant number of women in high administrative posts.
* Hampshire should not discriminate on the basis of sex in any of its employment policies.
* Hampshire should provide a day care center for the children of all its female personnel.
I. Residential Plan
* Hampshire should begin with one residential unit for men, one for women, and one for both sexes.
* Hampshire should place women as well as men in charge of residential units
* Hampshire should eventually provide housing on campus for married students.
J. Extracurricular Activities
* Hampshire should encourage joint participation in all its campus activities.
* If Hampshire has an athletic program on its own campus, it should emphasize sports that men and women can play together.
* Hampshire should try to make sure that a significant number of women speakers come to the campus each year.
* Hampshire should sponsor a program with presentations and debate among various feminist groups and perhaps academics interested in women's affairs.
Notes on Admissions
by Van R. Halsey. January 1969. Click here to download a pdf of this Planning Bulletin.
The Hampshire admissions process will not be a contest. We will encourage each interested student to become a partner with us in judging his or her readiness for the Hampshire program, and to do this by sharing the responsibility for candid exchange.
As a college with a distinctive and demanding program, Hampshire College is necessarily approaching the question of admissions with the goal of identifying those students most likely to benefit from experience in that program. Although the full admissions policy is not yet formed, certain guidelines are taking shape. One of these recognizes a need for a greater flow of pertinent information between the high school student evaluating the college, and the college evaluating the high school student. A second guideline points toward a smoother transition between high school and college, a period which ought to be one of growth and not of apprehension...(p. 1)
One possibility is the admission to college of some students in tenth grade with matriculation deferred until after completion of twelfth grade. This would remove from them the enormous pressure for extrinsic reward that now fills the high school years. Another possibility recognizes that a number of secondary schools have become unhappy with the programs that the students carry in the last half of their senior year after they have been admitted to college. Hampshire is considering a variety of programs which may form a link between the secondary school, the student, and Hampshire College at the midpoint of a student's twelfth grade year. These might include field work supervised jointly by Hampshire and the high school; they might include the beginnings of the Hampshire program itself. There need be nothing pressured or intense about this arrangement; what is important is that a period in the student's life when he may need a different kind of experience, there should be an opportunity by which he can satisfy that need and also grow from one institutional setting to another.
Another set of possibilities also involves breaking some of the habits of American education. It appears that for some of today's high school graduates it would be very useful to leave the academic world for a few months, a year, or two years before tackling college. Where appropriate, some students will be actively encouraged by the College to take time to express their social concern through action, or to gain a degree of purpose. Responsible experience in business or government, in poverty programs or Peace Corps work, or in community development is very much a part of Hampshire's idea of a modern liberal education. The basic intention is to allow the student who wants and can benefit by a break between secondary school and college to have it. (p. 6-7)
Notes on Law Study
by David E. Matz. May 1969. Click here to download a pdf of this Planning Bulletin.
The essence of a...fundamental attraction that [Archibald] MacLeish found in the law lies in his statement: "What law tries to do is to impose on the disorder of experience, the kind of order which enables us to live with the disorder of experience." From this one may infer a most powerful justification for including law in undergraduate study, a justification that grows directly from Hampshire's most fundamental commitment: to study man's efforts to be more fully human. A proper study of the field of law would find many of man's efforts in this direction nowhere more clearly or comprehensively charted. By focusing both explicitly and implicitly on the enduring themes that appear in the legal process, Hampshire can provide the kind of emphasis that is most appropriate to an undergraduate curriculum. Clearly, as will be seen below, this approach cannot eliminate concern for "how the system works", but instead frames that concern so that the basic issues are ones of value, conflict, and resolution. More specifically, law should be included in the curriculum for three related reasons:
* Particularly in this country, law has been the battleground for some of man's longest-playing tensions: between stability and change, between freedom and security, between history and logic, between justice as man conceives it ideally and justice as man is able to effectuate it. It is the place where man has most publicly tried to define in practice his sense of fairness, his sense of responsibility, his sense of enterprise.
* Law is certainly not the only place these themes appear in the culture, and many of them are treated only partially in the legal materials. But nowhere are they treated as concretely, as immediately, as decisively, as they are in the law. The importance of this derives not only from the accessibility of the issues for study, but also from the intellectual craftmanship displayed by practitioners working on hard problems that must be solved...
* The third advantage to the study of law is that the problems faced are so voluminously and articulately documented. Opinions, briefs, court transcripts, statutes, legislative history: all are primary source material available on the public record. The main point, however, is that the law has dealt not only with decisions, but with the reasons for them. Fundamental aspects of the judicial process, including the appellate machinery and the adversary system, work toward a full explication of the grounds for decision. Although full explication can never be achieved, no judge or lawyer can hide from a careful investigator of a full case record the values, biases, and limitations of the people involved. (p.8-10)
If one accepts these justifications for inclusion as adequate, the next question deals with the method of teaching law in college. Indicated above is the tentative conclusion that lawyers and law scholars have not formed and used concepts in quite the way practitioners of academic disciplines do. One inference from this might be that the proper approach would emphasize the use of academic disciplines to study legal phenomena, with lawyers called on as primary source material, to report what happens in the legal system. Certainly many academic scholars use the law this way, but this may well be a serious error for an undergraduate college. The way lawyers and judges think in their profession may not fall under the heading of "conceptual inquiry" as Franklin Patterson uses that term in The Making of a College, but it has been a powerful and effective mode of thought, and--more relevantly--it is integrally bound to the way law operates and therefore to an understanding of law. Thus one or more legal scholars with experience as counsellors and/or judges should play a major role in the design and effectuation of a law program. (p.11)
Notes on Law Study might appropriately close with a caveat: the approach suggested in this paper is intended to be a contribution to general education, not a special preparation for law school. Though the references to the case method and the quote from MacLeish show points of overlap between these categories, their purposes are ultimately different. Hampshire will respect those differences. (p.15)
by Richard C. Lyon. June 1969. Click here to download a pdf of this Planning Bulleting.
The study of foreign languages in American colleges and universities is apt to be an experience of forced feeding. The student is asked to submit with more or less discomfort to a four-semester dose of drills and exercises said to bring cultural benefits which are never quite made clear to him. Too often he remains restive and unconvinced, and soon forgets what little he had had to learn in the process of meeting the catalog requirements.
A part of the trouble lies in our failure to introduce the student to language study in and through his active concerns. His teachers should seek ways of making it clear that knowledge of a given language may open to him stores of information and insight about the matters that touch him nearly. The philosophy student challenged to discover Unamuno in the original, the student of film led to study of Italian through his interest in Italian films, the student of international monetary reform introduced to French in the course of pursuing the theories of Jacques Rueff: these connectings of ongoing curiosity with language study are sometimes made, but could and should be made far more often than they are through the guidance of faculty alive to the international dimensions of their studies. Foreign languages will be regarded at Hampshire College as tools useful for the study of any subject, and as tools indespensable for the study of many subjects when explored deeply. (p.5-6)
...Students who take a language on compulsion and without aptitude gain too little from the experience to justify what it costs them and the college. Hampshire College will not, accordingly, make the demonstration of competence in a foreign language a requirement for graduation; the study of a language will be entirely at the option of the student. The entering Hampshire student will normally have had three years of instruction in a foreign language in high school or preparatory school, and it is our belief that increasing numbers of internationally minded students will, without our insistence, want to continue to study a language as a means of escaping the provincial or widening their comprehension of the world. (p.7-8)
One of the prominent features of the Hampshire academic program is its intention to offer intensive language training in special summer programs on the Hampshire campus. These will be designed to serve Hampshire's own students, those who may be interested from the other four institutions, and students from elsewhere (ranging in age from their early teens or younger to late adulthood, and including independent students as well as those who may be enrolled in regular institutions). (p.9)
Hampshire College intends to have the most modern and well-equipped language laboratory it can develop, for use during the regular academic year as well as in summer. The electronic systems and instructional materials will be expressly designed to foster self-teaching. It may in time be possible to make available to students self-instructional materials in exotic languages such as Chinese and Arabic; experiments at several Midwest colleges have proven the feasibility of such arrangements. (p.12-13)
Hampshire College is convinced of the great value to the college student of time spent in other countries. Language learning as well as understanding of alien peoples usually proceeds abroad at a pace that cannot be equalled by classroom or laboratory study or through time spent with tutors...Those with high-level proficiency achieved through Hampshire's intensive-training programs will be encouraged to spend a year abroad, in a foreign university or in work with a government or business agency. Every effort will be made to assist such students in the procurement of fellowships or scholarships for overseas study. (p.13-14)
Redesign of the Liberal Arts Education; Evaluations and Records; and Strengths and Weaknesses of the Academic Program
In: Self Study Report. January 1974. Click here to download a pdf of the entire Self-Study Report.
Redesign of the Liberal Arts Education
Some difficulties have been experienced...which must be corrected. Specifically, major problems are:
* orientation of new faculty, administrators, and students to the new roles they must fulfill in the Hampshire program.
* providing relief and redress for students and faculty for whom the advising relationship is inadequate.
* inadequate modes of communication for keeping each other informed.
* constant difficulty with scheduling activities whose time requirements overlap.
* program and materials budgets which provide far less support than creative ideas can absorb.
* a certain degree of rigidity and separateness in School planning and procedures. This makes difficult creative cross-School collaboration by faculty and students.
* variation in standards applied by examiners to examination performance, especially at the Division II level of concentration where the need to demonstrate achieved competence with a body of scholarship is paramount. (p.5)
Evaluations and Records
Hampshire's early planning included the idea that students would not be given grades for course work, but would receive written evaluations instead. In the first year of operation, the Academic Council voted that all students in Divisions I and II would be required to write evaluations of their work in each course or independent study project. These evaluations were to be given to the instructor or supervisor, who would also write an evaluation of the student's work. Both evaluations would be sent to the student's adviser, who would discuss them with the student and then send them to the student's Academic File in the Central Records Office. It was also voted that these evaluations would be for internal use only; students who wished to have evaluative statements for use outside the College (the Placement File) would ask their instructors and supervisors to write separate statements.
When students began to ask for these separate statements (often a year or two after the work had been done), it became apparent that the system was inefficient and cumbersome, and faculty were asked to do evaluations on a two-part form which allowed for a statement for the Placement File (to be sent outside the College only at the student's request) to be done at the same time as that for the internal file. These course evaluations were often requested by other institutions for purposes of calculating transfer credit or for graduate school admissions.
Problems with this system have been numerous. Many students never completed their evaluations for some of their courses and projects. Although Academic Council legislation says that in such cases advisers will call into question the academic good standing of students who do not complete evaluations, that was almost never done. Courses or projects for which no evaluations exist may not be listed on the student's transcript; when transcripts are needed, the evaluations are sometimes written long after the course was done.
Some faculty members have been derelict in completing evaluations of student work, even when the student's own evaluation has been turned in promptly at the end of a term. Evaluation which comes a term or a year late, or never, does not give adequate feedback to students who want to know where they stand. In many cases, the faculty evaluations were inadequate either for feedback to students or for use outside the College, sometimes consisting merely of "I agree with Mary's evaluation". Faculty have complained that writing evaluations for every student's work is both overly time-consuming and tends to become meaningless; the same vague phrases are used repeatedly, and in larger classes it is difficult for the faculty to know each student well enough to write meaningful evaluations. (p.66-67)
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Academic Program.
For the students at Hampshire College the following strengths of the academic program may be noted:
* Being responsible for the design and pace of one's academic studies can produce rapid and enjoyable academic progress. Preliminary survey work by the Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation on the impact of Hampshire on its students shows that a sizable proportion report enjoying their studies, having frequent intellectual discussions with their peers, and being deeply engaged in their program of study.
* The basic goal of becoming self-educating is being accomplished increasingly by our students in the judgment of our faculty who supervise them.
* Students frequently report a genuine sense of enjoyment with their work.
The weaknesses of the program for students are as follows:
* Students encountering difficulty with the program may not be identified early so that supportive and remedial assistance may be given.
* Students who design programs which are beyond the capacity of the College or the Five College area may not learn this in time to avoid having to transfer or take an extra term.
* Students failing to take seriously the need for sound transcripting materials may suffer permanent loss of some aspect of their performance record.
* A student may be greatly frustrated and angered by the unavailability of faculty for individual consultation.
* The student who does not become engaged with intellectual life may become isolated in the community to the point of being totally unproductive personally and wasteful of the College's resources.
From the point of view of the faculty the strengths of the program are:
* The question of pedagogical success of course offering or other instructional mode must be constantly addressed with consequent strengthening of teaching.
* The appeal of the teacher's offerings is in competition with that of all similar faculty in the Valley with a consequent heightening of awareness about one's offerings.
* The steady demand of students for tutorial advice enhances the opportunity for maintaining breadth and involving students in one's own areas of scholarship.
* One's research and scholarship may be directly reflected in course instruction.
* The School structures provide many opportunities to be engaged in teaching and scholarship with persons from other fields.
The weaknesses of the program from the point of view of the faculty are:
* The demand that formal and informal instruction be modulated across the divisions requires new and different skills and ways of thinking about teaching which must be essentially self taught.
* The cost of participation in the academic organization places heavy demands against one's teaching.
* Faculty report personal satisfaction with their own teaching and work and a high degree of dissatisfaction with the accomplishments of the program, suggesting that there are standards of excellence and objectives possible which are not yet being realized.
* Many new faculty, for whom this is their first post, have little or no basis for comparing the quality of their work and that of their students against performance in more traditional comparable settings.
* Faculty find it difficult to be facilitative and supportive of the students' intellectual life when it may not be of sufficient interest to themselves.
* The absence of curricular structures creates confusion and conflict around the designation of scholarly areas for the recruitment of new appointees.
* There are not many guidelines for deciding what type of faculty skills should be recruited next.
The strengths of the curricular offerings may be summarized as follows:
* The emphasis on inquiry at the Division I level is successful in encouraging students to attempt subject areas and subject matters to which they are not immediately attracted.
* The variety of scholarship offered by the faculty provides a high degree of modernity and an extraordinary breadth of possibility.
* The use of independent study and field study as a normal part of one's college options proves a rich source of experience and work which may contribute directly to academic progress in the Divisional II and III examinations.
The weaknesses of the overall curriculum may be summarized as:
* The dependence on other Valley institutions for curricular strength in traditional courses may produce a greater outflow of enrollments than originally anticipated should the students become highly committed to such traditional courses. (p.72-75)
The Human Development Program
[This is an example of an experimental curriculum planned and begun with high hopes in 1965-70, that did not succeed. What follows is an excerpt from the original planning bulletin for the program, an evaluation written for the Educational Policy Committee, and a look back by John Boettiger, originator of the program.]
Perspectives on Human Development, by John R. Boettiger. August 1969. Click here to download a pdf of this Planning Bulletin.
Hampshire College is committed to a conception of liberal education as designed--most of all--to improve a person's chance to be more fully human: to discover and rediscover within himself and among others whose world he shares that which genuinely nurtures human freedom and integrity. Such a commitment, if it is to be one of substance, must pervade the College's life, finding expression in its architectural design and setting, its program and community. To express an intention to redesign liberal education so that it better serves the growth in every human dimension--intellectual, emotional, intuitive, sensuous, enactive--of those who comprise its community, is to express the College's collective responsibility and that of each of its members whatever their disciplinary or professional concerns. The programs sketched below are thus conceived within a larger context: the College itself as an experiment in human development.
This is not--at least not in the conventional sense--to view the College as a therapeutic community. Nor is it to couch the College's responsibilities in terms of preventive medicine. Psychological counseling and mental health programs in educational institutions continue very largely in narrowly therapeutic and preventive veins: isolated, often forbidding enclaves of professional sevices for the sick, preoccupied with the anticipation, diagnosis and short-term treatment of psychopathology. The weakness of such programs is largely contextual: they are working parts of larger institutions that demand too much of our tolerance and too little of our imagination...In such a context it should come as no surprise that counseling and other psychological services are too often merely perfunctory agents of adjustment to prevailing social conditions.
If such conceptions are out of place in any community committed to nurturing the free and disciplined energies of its members--and how else is liberal education to be defined?--the problem takes on special consequence in conditions of extraordinary social flux. A conventional wisdom suggests that the exploration of identity, the nurturance of human growth and relationship, is so intensely personal and problematic that it cannot usefully be addressed explicitly by the College and its program. There is little doubt that it requires a special care in preparation and leadership: that it may be, indeed, the realm of responsibility in which it is most difficult for the College to respond creatively. When student generations are said to succeed one another at intervals of three or four years, the communication gap between students and faculty may take on appalling dimension.
But such rough terrain is also the area in which the adequacy of our traditional educational conceptions and forms deserves the strongest challenge. Precisely because of the vexedness of such issues in social conditions of unparalleled volatility, a person's sense of himself, his development, his openness to relationships with others in the communities of which he is (or might be) a part, must be more carefully and cooperatively sought than in the past. Old ideologies and old role models, whether parental or professorial, tend to irrelevance or to ephermeral and conflicted relevance. The ends they once served are, if anything, more pressing. The search for identity, intimacy, and ideology are now more complex and more consuming, and for that reason can ill afford to be left to precipitate out of other more manageable preoccupations. (p.5-7)
Fall Term Division I Seminars in Human Development
Beginning with the issues raised during the Fall Colloquy and extending through the fall and early winter of the first year, the Seminars in Human Development will offer the student a range of opportunities to understand and explore aspects of the individual life-process, the ages of man and woman from birth through death and the echoes of a life in the succession of generations. (Such a seminar will constitute one-third of a normal full term Division I program.) Students will be offered a common ground of experience through lectures, demonstrations, films, and some common readings, but the basic unit of the program will be the small seminar-workshop: accommodating about a dozen Division I students, student- or faculty-led (sometimes both), varying in their specific focus, style, and materials, but all attending more explicitly than is common in the academic idiom to the personal experience and relationships of the participants as they confront themselves, others, and the materials in hand. Whatever the focus and leadership, students will be engaged in the integrative application of different skills and disciplines to complex subjects: persons in their total living situation.
One workshop, for example, might be concerned with the experience and conditions of childhood: the cultural history of children's lives and the evolution of popular conceptions of childhood: the interwoven social, psychological, and somatic dimensions of growth in children; the nature of childhood in other cultures, and the experience of American children, portrayed in fiction and the literature of social science, to reveal something of the quality of life in the students' own culture. Members of the seminar would work with children in a variety of roles and social circumstances, seek access to the children in themselves, and join in reading from Philippe Aries, Jerome Bruner, Robert Coles, Erik H. Erikson, Jan Piaget, and others. (p.11-12)
Seminar themes and styles of inquiry and expression will be developed to facilitate those processes of encounter and reflection by which the student may gain a richer sense of himself, his movement through time and in his environment, and his relatedness to others in the past, present, and anticipated future. The range of disciplines that bear upon problems of human development--and thus the range of Hampshire faculty who may be attracted to prepare and conduct a seminar--is large. While the core of the seminar program may well be anthropological and psychological, it is expected that its faculty will be drawn from such diverse additional fields as history, sociology, biology, literature, folklore and mythology, religion, philosophy, dance and drama. The challenge to the program's planners and faculty might be put in these terms: to combine manageable coherence and intellectual responsibility with devotion to unusual diversity of style and theme; to offer the College's faculty and upper-division students a chance to explore new modes of teaching and learning in a program whose basic interest is the generation of coherence and facility and meaning in the pursuits of Hampshire's first-year students. (p.14-15)
Leadership and Training for Human Development Programs
Leadership for the Division I Seminars in Human Development will be drawn from the College's faculty and from the community of its upper-division students...They will be working on difficult and sensitive ground, and for their student's sake, their subjects', and their own, it is important that they come to that work and pursue it with careful preparation and continuing support and review. The same point, of course, holds for those members of the faculty teaching the seminars.
It is necessary to face these matters at the outset, for the pitfalls of such a collection of seminars may seem on preliminary glance as great as the opportunities. Three problems, in particular, should be mentioned:
1. In attempting to combine a self-analytic and expressive perspective with the critical or scientific mode more common to the academy, there may be danger of losing the matter at hand in a welter of subjectivity; danger of manifesting what William Arrowsmith has called "the turbulence of the actual disorder of experience" without adequately turning the arts of teaching and learning to its transmutation into order, form, judgment--in a word, comprehension. If programs in human development serve only to turn the person more thoroughly in upon himself, or upon a small group of similarly-initiated and common-minded fellows, or if such programs teach him new modes of experience only to discredit clear and disciplined thought, they will not serve well the ends of liberal education. The challenge, as ever, is one of integrity: the enlargement of one's field of vision and action, not the substitution of one narrow gauge for another.
There is a regrettable tendency in the academic world, with its thinking man's filter, to believe that non-cognitive processes are intrinsically soft and sloppy, and that self-regard is of its nature solipsistic. And to the extent that such a bias informs institutional definitions of curricular legitimacy it takes on the character of a self-fulfilling prophesy...
2. The second danger is that we will cope with the first, and its attendant apprehensions about "softness," by a hardening of the pedagogical arteries. Joseph Katz has remarked that the language of the emotions "is by no means easy to decipher, and is subject to misinterpretation even by qualified observers. It would be regrettable if, in paying more attention to the affective domain, we allowed a hardening of concepts such as has taken place in the cognitive domain with its IQ's, SAT's, and GPA's, which force people into ill-fitting abstractions."
3. Finally, there is the danger of putting inadequately trained or poorly chosen or simply inexperienced people into a position to influence (and be influenced by) aspects of the lives of others that are volatile, unpredictable, and full of an energy both powerful and resistant to control. The line, for example, that tells a teacher or counselor that "this is a dangerous thing to press on with" is often faint and tortuous and subject to illusion.
It is with these thoughts in mind that the College must choose with care its faculty and Hampshire Fellows for leadership in the human development seminars and establish supportive pre- and in-service training and review programs. Such programs, in turn, will reflect and draw from a college-wide interest in the assessment and improvement of teaching. (p.16-18)
December 9, 1975
To: Educational Policy Committee
From: Richard Alpert
Subject: Human Development
I have been struggling in the last few days to sort out my ideas about Human Development. They are still tentative but I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts with you before our discussion on Wednesday.
As far as I can gather, the original notion for a program in Human Development was quite ambitious and potentially far-reaching. The program was to be broadly based intellectually. Its focus was to be on the life-process "...to understand and explore aspects of the individual life process, the ages of man and woman from birth through death." The purpose, however was not simply to develop a new program, but to change the prevailing definition of a liberal arts education...Liberal education was to be redefined as "...having to do with (students) as people, with the sources and impediments and tools of their own realization, with self and others and society, and the commerce between them that best serves the quality of each."
As with a number of the College's original programs, Human Development never fulfilled its original promise. After an initial attempt for required participation of each student in the Human Development program, it was dropped. The program, moreover, failed early in developing a broad cross-School basis of faculty support, and by Fall 1972 Human Development was essentially a program in the School of Humanities and Arts. In addition, the broad set of intellectual and conceptual concerns which underlay the original design for the program gave way necessarily to a more limited set of concerns. The program, in as far as I can figure out, now deals primarily with either issues in the field of psychology which relate to psychotherapy and counseling or with issues of personal grown and personal development.
The fate of Human Development as a cross-School program is not unique. The primacy of the Schools as the focus for curriculum planning, evaluation for reappointment and for colleagueship proved an insurmountable obstacle for a number of efforts at developing cross-School programs. Human Development, however, suffered from an additional burden. To many it lacked conceptual clarity and academic legitimacy.
The most frequent question asked about Human Development has been, "Is it really academic?" I assume that most of us know what is meant by "academic" when we ask such a question, but at the resk of belaboring the obvious, let me sketch out what I mean.
The College as an "academy" is distinguished from other institutions by its focus on ideas, that is, on intellectual abstractions and constructs. Ideas are the institution's most important activity. Developing, generating, evaluating, and criticizing ideas is the peculiar work of the academy. Educating students--as well as each other--in the skills, attitudes, and methods for dealing with ideas is the particular purpose of a College.
This central activity of the College, moreover, must be public, in the sense that the ideas which are developed, and evaluated, must be available for others to share in, to learn from, to build on, and to criticize. And the activity should be detached. This is the sense for which the term "academic" is most often maligned. But, the basic nature of a community for which a concern with and for ideas is central is that that concern be basically detached...
This is the sense of "academic" which I sense most people share and mean when they ask whether or not the human development program is "academic." It is also the meaning of academic work for which most people believe students ought to be awarded a degree. A liberal arts education may involve many different kinds of learning experiences from Plato to Kayaking, but the eligibility of students for a degree rests upon their having demonstrated sufficient competence in academic work.
The issue that Human Development puts before us is the one which John Boettiger defined in his paper in Spring 1969. Is there a broader conception of "academic" for which we want to award a Bachelor of Arts degree? If not, is there nevertheless a non-academic educational experience for which the College should award such a degree?
The Human Development faculty seem to argue for what some call a more wholistic educational experience which they believe is more in keeping with the idea of a liberal arts education. They want at least to see concentrations and Division III work that deals not only with ideas but also with the relationship of those ideas to the personal growth and experience of the individual student.
When the discussion moves in this direction, I find myself getting lost. When I finish reading the concentration statements available to the Committee, I get even more confused. I simply don't understand what it means to award someone a degree for working toward becoming more fully human. What would it be like to fail such an undertaking? What does becoming more human mean? Who among us is qualified to judge?
To the extent that the concentrations, and the discussions, emphasize the opposite end of the spectrum of human development concerns--those which are more fully rooted in psychology--I don't understand how they differ as intellectual inquiries from psychology concentrations. What distinguishes them conceptually as human development concentrations? What are the peculiar concepts, paradigms, principles, or framework which distinguishes human development from other disciplines?
In the concentrations I read which had a more central focus on the personal growth of the student involved, I didn't understand what was being studied and evaluated. What does someone end up knowing about other than one's own personal journey? This is of course something crucially important to know about, but where is the detached, reflective, and public character of the study? What other than the student's own feelings and experiences constitutes the student's curriculum?
I also don't understand how one studies Human Development by studying oneself. Is a study of one's own life-cycle a sufficient empirical basis for studying the human life cycle? Where in these concentrations is there a concern for history, anthropology, and biology?
My most serious questions arose when I was struck by the unabashed pretension of some of the concentrations and Division III contracts.
One student, for example, proposed to study the question: "What does it mean for man to exist in the fullness of his being?" Not simply Western man, or Twentieth Century Man, or oppressed man, but all men, and I presume in all times. How does a student study this? He studies philosophy and religion--a total of six courses, psychology, six courses, and psychology and experiential workshops (3). The concentration is both pretentious and meagre. It is also unclear. What does it mean to "...study man's relationships to himself and to his external world and the religious significance of that?"
Another student proposed to study humanistic education, psychology, and personal growth by taking a few courses in education, a few in psychology, doing classroom teaching, and participating in the Human Development module. This strikes me as a very thin curriculum and, again, quite pretentious.
Having heard all the discussions and having read all the available material, I have serious doubts about what is going on, about whether or not it is to be judged differently than "normal" academic work, and, if so, how. Most importantly, I don't understand the conceptual basis for what is happening. It is clear that there is no program, if by that, we mean a clearly defined, philosophically coherent, and conceptually interrelated array of studies. There are courses and related experiences as there are in a wide range of other areas. But, not much more.
I feel that an important and exciting program in Human Development--or some such titled program--could be developed at Hampshire. It could emphasize the personal growth patterns of its students. Few colleges have taken these problems seriously. These problems are taken seriously only when they can be defined as a "sickness" in need of special care from the psychiatric or counseling personnel. But, most personal growth problems for students are not special. They are the normal problems of a particular age group. For a very large number of students, these problems constitute the most important and compelling "work" they do while at college. It is possible for colleges to take that "work" more seriously, to give it appropriate status and support, and perhaps, to integrate it with the academic program. I think such an approach would be exciting, rewarding to both students and the College as a whole, and would potentially develop new approaches to undergraduate education. For such a program, however, we need a clear and well-developed plan, which we now lack.
Interview with John Boettiger, conducted by Amy Mittleman, June 17, 1986.
John Boettiger:...I think that Pat [Franklin Patterson] had begun to think through some of the content issues of what a college might do academically and had begun to think interestingly--and, of course, these dimensions were further developed by the rest of us as we came on--about issues of community and the relationship between intellectual/academic development of students and their personal development. I think Pat had a sense that the two were intimately linked--that optimum development intellectually and academically had something fairly critically to do with the degree of satisfaction and stimulus a student found in his or her living circunstances and his or her relationship with other students in a subculture called a college. I thought that that was very exciting--the idea that a college could be something more personal, less impersonal, caring more integrally about the whole development of the human being, rather than in as unbalanced a way as I had seen at Amherst College and elsewhere about the intellectual processes, which had a danger of producing sophistication without a kind of comparable integration of emotional, social, and spiritual development. And I think that what happens then, of course, is that the intellectual development undergoes a kind of desiccation--what Pat used to call "micro-scholasticism," I think, and I've forgotten whether that word was in The Making of a College or just in his conversation. But he was also suspicious of--another one of his phrases--sort of the other end of the spectrum--suspicious of what he called "sloppy agape"--of the tendency in the sixties in what used to be called the "human potential movement" [that] now seems to be gathered around the phrase "New Age," of a kind of touchy-feely personal growth, Esalen Institute sort of approach to education. I was much more inclined myself to see potential in those quarters--not sloppiness, God knows, but for disciplined inclusion within the college of what was being learned about human relationships within any kind of community and systematic attention to their quality. So early on I was doing and bringing people who were more skilled and more experienced at leadership than I, doing, in effect, some experimental T-groups with the staff and building into my own field, my own sort of embryonic and developing field in the course of those early years of human development a kind of approach that I've thought of as a disciplined subjectivity--that is [an] approach that included one's own, the students' own, whole human development--social, emotional, spiritual, as well as intuitive, as well as intellectual. And as I said, I think that from the beginning although Pat was very responsive, very warm and generous in his response to my notions about a human development program at Hampshire--in effect, we redesigned what was a kind of third tier of the Division I Program to incorporate a commitment to seminars and workshops in human development...And at the same time that that generosity existed and...I saw Pat's interest in it, I also saw his wariness about it and that...more than slightly schizoid institutional attitude towards what I'm going to call for shorthand, "human development", the kinds of things about which I've been speaking--was built into the college from the very beginning, and had a lot to do with the subsequent history of that as a field and my own professional history at the college...(p.4-5)
Amy Mittleman: Maybe we could talk a little more specifically about the Human Development Program and how you planned that, and then how it actually worked.
John Boettiger: Sure. Well, it was, as I say, it was initially something that had grown out of my experience and training in the field of...psychology and human relations. It was grounded in the assumption that one could usefully, with real complementarity, pay attention in students' education to their own developmental processes, as one paid attention to wider subjects having to do with human development in an inter-disciplinary kind of fashion. So it was not simply psychology. It would have to do with issues of political socialization, issues of culture and history. The Human Development Program was an effort to blend attention to personal processes--students' own experience of family, students' experience of their own relationships, students' experience of their own history--with systematic academic attention to those processes in more conventional ways. And my thought from the beginning was that we could build this collection of workshops and seminars in Human Development, offer it as part of the core curriculum in the Fall term to all entering students as part of an initial experience of socialization and an embodiment of the college's commitment to sensitizing and developing sophistication on the part of students into their own processes...So we designed it in such a way to offer something like fifteen or twenty such seminars the first year and offered a program of core lectures that students who were in all of the seminars were required to attend that were essentially organized to present the sequence of the human life cycle. And we got an interesting, lively psychobiologist from Harvard named Frank Irvin to come and offer them. I think we should have had somebody in-house do it, because I think that to have a visitor do it made for less coherence in the program as a whole. The program worked, I think, reasonably well for a year, although that commitment to disciplined subjectivity, to really seriously including the development of students' skills in discovering and attending to and becoming more differentiated, sophisticated students of their own development was something that not a lot of people were interested in doing, so for me it was...a kind of sad learning, but, a necessary one that, you know, no matter how interesting your vision is to you and no matter how successful you are in selling it to the leadership of your institution, in this case a college--unless you've got people who are prepared to staff it, it's going to be undermined. And there was no way to sustain [it]...our initial faculty was not hired to do that work and to pursue that sort of human development perspective on education. They were no necessarily unsympathetic to it, but they didn't come to do it. And they were prepared to join in it, but their hearts, a lot of their hearts, were not in it. So that the program existed in that form for two years, and then it became clear to me that we simply hadn't the staff to continue it...And so the next stage in its development after those first two years, I think, was an effort to keep a large array of seminars and workshops, but to make a number of them sort of semi-curricular and some of them even extra-curricular, that is to turn to house courses, house staff for leadership, other people in the wider Valley community for leadership, and it became a kind of in-house growth center...An opportunity for students to be seriously self-reflective in a wide variety of ways within the context of a couple of dozen term-long [courses], some of them in January, some of them in the regular term, so that the program continued to exist in quite an ambitious scope, but in a less central place in the curriculum than had been the case in the first two years, probably for the next three or four years in that form. And gradually there, I think, the commitment on the part of a sufficient number of people to sustain that scope of a program with its increasing sense of marginality to the college's central and formal curriculum was such that it became increasingly more modest, and I became over the course of time less interested in administering a program and more in developing my own teaching, and there was really nobody in that sense to take my place. So, we had then for a time--I guess this sort of a third stage in the evolution of Human Development at Hampshire--a core of maybe six or eight people of whom I was the only full-time faculty member--that interestingly was true from the very beginning and should have been a kind of signal to us of the limited degree of institutional support for this program...We had at various times an additional half-FTE in H&A, but in that third stage of the Human Development Program in which we essentially had a collection of courses and workshops and programs, some house-based, some H&A curriculum-based, offering, in a sense, an opportunity for concentration in studies in Human Development through the three divisions, staffed by me and then primarily by the house staff who had adjunct faculty appointments but some good training: Ellie Skinner, Dick Spahn, people of that sort. So that that third stage of the program existed again for several years throughout the late seventies in that form and provided students, who would then take our work, but would also with our advice and collaboration, would take more conventional, straight forward work in particular disciplines or inter-disciplinary areas of their interests, in psychology, for example...And then, with sort of the fourth stage, I suppose, which is really the last, with the gradual attenuation of substantive connection between the Houses and the educational program, the leadership of the Houses increasingly becoming purely administrative...the house staff for my human development efforts dried up...And so the fourth stage of Human Development then at Hampshire really was as my own specialty within the School of Humanities and Arts, and was then one of the opportunities for students to work within the School of Humanities and Arts and again to sustain some linkage between their work in psychology or in other areas and pursue then a program at all three of the divisional levels that incorporated a kind of human development dimension to it. So it's continued to exist, but it's gradually moved through those four stages, I think...I've never conceptualized it that way before, but they seem reasonable to me. And whether or not with my departure there will be any remaining fragment of that perspective at the college, I think is a very real question. (p. 15-17)