THE EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE
February 17, 1971
To: President McCann
From: Richard M. Jones
Subject: Impressions of The Evergreen State College ‑ February 1971
Dr. Jack Michaelsen
Professor of Economics
UNIVERSITY of CALIFORNIA
Santa Cruz, California 95060
I have been looking for a congenial occasion to commit to paper my impressions of The Evergreen State College at this embryonic stage in its development, although I find it difficult to believe that the planning faculty arrived here just five months ago. As I'm sure you well know it becomes increasingly difficult with time to maintain the clear long view on such ventures, and I've been wanting to memorialize current impressions for future reference, but have not been able to get myself to write to a file cabinet. So thanks for sending "Assessing The Benefits of Collegiate Structure: The Case at Santa Cruz". Not only does it provide your personal commitments to educational reform as points for me to talk to, but it raises many important spectra along which Evergreen may be usefully compared with a similar but older institution. That the comparative institution should be UCSC, in which a mixture of personal memories keeps me interested, makes your five year progress report on Santa Cruz as nice a stimulus to current thinking about Evergreen as is likely to come along. So this will be a long letter. I hope you find it as interesting as I found your paper.
First, an overall impression: where Santa Cruz has sought to adopt positions
of compromise between novel and traditional ways(positions of "dynamic tension" I believe McHenry has called them) with respect to administrative structures and functions, educational policy, teaching and research emphases, student and faculty recruitment, and student and faculty evaluation; Evergreen appears to me to be going for broke on the side of innovative policies and practices. See catalog enclosed. Everything we are planning has been tried before in one way or another, but usually as isolated experiments in otherwise traditional settings. I know of nothing like the particular
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combination we are planning, nor of so total an institutional commitment to new directions. This I think will prove to be at once our greatest vulnerability as an institution and our greatest value as an experiment. We will be especially vulnerable as an institution in that our faculty and staff have a minimum of accumulated positive experience to go by, and will have to lean heavily during the first years on what we can infer from previous hard earned negative experience. We will be especially valuable as an experiment in that our results will have the quality of high visibility. The implications of our positive results will be comparatively unambiguous because they will be produced, so to speak, in comparatively pure culture. Our negative results will be subject to equally unambiguous interpretations. Like the Old Westbury bomb: extremely painful to those involved, but extremely instructive to anyone who watched it. (Five of us on the planning faculty here are veterans of the Old Westbury experience.)
0n the level of this overall impression the first formative chapters of the Evergreen story are, of course, immanent in the person of our president, Charles McCann. Was this ever not so? (If I live long enough as I have been living, I may write a book showing that new colleges are, among other things, fabulously expensive and amazingly accurate projective personality tests for first presidents of new colleges.) So far I feel very good on this basic score, but not altogether sanguine. McCann brings an usual blend of manhood to the position. He is a big, redfaced, square white sideburned, gentle, scrutinous Irishman with mannerisms slightly suggestive of John Wayne and Gary Cooper. Articulate but not talkative. Idealistic but practical down to smallest details. A seasoned veteran of many academic political wars. Completely free of affectation. A bit shy but approachable. Patient, compassionate, and, on occasion, tough. He could, I think, be ruthless if necessary. His office is augmented by three exceptionally talented and exceptionally different vice presidents (academic, executive, business), each of whom complements McCann very well but none of whom relates very well to the other two. There are no doubts on anyone's part who is boss, but McCann delegates a lot of authority and whether he is a good troika driver on the hard turns remains to be seen. Much depends on this, as the three men left to themselves would probably all go in different directions. At present, while each vice president is highly responsive to McCann and to his own staff and constituencies, each is quite guarded in respect to the other two, which sometimes makes working liaison between the three staffs awkward.
My major reservation at the top is the probably unreasonable one that McCann is not ‑ in addition ‑ a Meiklejohn, He has shaped a quite modest legislative mandate of purely local reference (to build a new State College which is not a carbon copy of others existing in the State of Washington) into a sweepingly innovative effort of national significance, in the sense that it will do away with almost all of the obvious traditional weaknesses. But in this McCann is more negatively than positively inspired.
He knows what has been wrong, and is intent on correcting it. On the question of what to put in the place of what has been wrong he is sometimes more hesitant than I would like to see. In this connection we are fortunate in having as one of our deans a close follower and demonstrated exemplar of Meiklejohn and Tussman. This man has supplied much of the imagination and
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initiative for much of what we are planning positively to do in the first years. It never occurs to him to doubt that he knows the right things to put in the place of the wrong things McCann has decided to get rid of. Luckily the academic vice president and the other two deans (each in his own way a reflection of McCann in his commitment to remedy wrongs) have so far supported and furthered this influence, and not been threatened by it. This is an unusual leadership situation the success of which so far has been mostly due, I think, to the commonly felt pressures of getting the place open on schedule. Once the worst of the start‑up uncertainties are behind us, some high level interpersonal chickens might come home to roost. Knowing the men, I don't predict this, especially if the first few years with students produce visibly gratifying results. But if more than a few of our first programs hit the fan we might find our positively defined educational commitments so thinly distributed as to invite the kinds of defensiveness and divisiveness that lead you nowhere. On that note of contingent optimism, so much for overall impression.
We are not as integral a part of a state wide system as is UCSC. Our president, for example, is not subordinate to any higher administrative official as is McHenry to Hitch; and we have our own board of trustees. Washington does not have, at present, anything like California’s Master Plan, nor is there anything like your Board of Regents. There is a Council on Higher Education, an advisory group appointed by and responsible to the Governor, which does exert a unifying influence on all taxed based institutions of higher education. This is a group to be reckoned with in all matters of planning that could lead to comparisons with other institutions, not because it has any direct authority over any college president or board of trustees, but because it makes recommendations to the Governor and the Governor of Washington wields more political power than do most state governors. Legal authority for Evergreen is held entirely by the five member Board of Trustees (dominated by wealthy businessmen, for example, Olympia Beer), is delegated to the President and on down the line. But the buck stops with the Board. I mentioned the three vice presidents and the three academic deans (humanities, natural sciences, social sciences). There the resemblances to Santa Cruz end. No provosts in the Santa Cruz sense (although our Academic Vice President carries that as a second title) and no chairmen. My impression is that the top levels of administration have been structured in these traditional ways, in order to provide a legitimizing influence and cover for all the unconventional things that are planned to take place under their stewardship. So let's turn to where the action will be.
Santa Cruz and Evergreen share the same negative objective in that they both seek to avoid the traditional organization of teaching and research by departments. Where the two institutions differ in this respect is in the length to which each is prepared to go, and the risks each is prepared to take, in order to secure this avoidance and find happier alternatives.
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Santa Cruz has sought to weaken the department by giving it another name, depriving it of fiscal powers and expecting it to compete with the colleges for faculty and student commitments. Your report is extremely valuable (and courageous) in showing that after five years the Boards of Studies, with a few exceptions, have produced little in the way of new educational policies or practices; and that the new educational programs sponsored by the colleges, with one exception, are either dead or dying on the vine. Although my position (I should say positions) at Santa Cruz was exceptional, and my experience therefore not subject to easy generalization, I think I can describe two of the factors behind these results. (1) The Santa Cruz cluster college can give moral and logistical support to experiments in undergraduate education, but it can only give administrative support (for example, in matters of faculty recruitment and recognition) with the approval of a Vice Chancellor, and this is almost impossible to gain if a concerned board or board chairman is either resistant or indifferent to the experiment (2) Boards and board chairmen find it difficult to be anything but resistant or indifferent to experiments in undergraduate education, because issues concerning learning and teaching processes almost never appear on the agendas of board meetings. Preoccupation with graduate programs may partially explain this, but I really think it is primarily a matter of unconscious reflex, deeply rooted in the recognition‑giving folkways of the traditional academic disciplines. Almost as if interests in how to teach, and how to teach better, were too intimate (or trivial?) for open discussion with professional colleagues. What I concluded from all of this in my two years at Santa Cruz, and your report increases my confidence in the conclusion, is that a weed is a weed and much too hardy a plant to be much changed by calling it a flower, not watering it, and expecting it to do what it does all too well under any circumstances.
About the only thing we have not done to preclude the emergence of departmentalization at Evergreen is to take oaths in blood. No Boards of Studies, no Institutes, no institutionalized affiliation by professional discipline of any kind. Note, for example, in our catalog, that the list of faculty does not even include disciplinary affiliation; we are simply listed as faculty. Furthermore, although there are more positive reasons for these: no graduate programs in the first two years, no simultaneous faculty involvement in graduate and undergraduate programs at any time, no majors, no courses, no concentration requirements, no breadth requirements.
In place of these familiar forms we plan to offer two kinds of programs: Coordinated Studies and Contracted Studies, each of which may run for as short a time as one month or as long a time as two years. Coordinated studies programs are multi‑disciplinary, and are organized in such ways as to make it unlikely that the faculty member will be teaching in the content area of his expertise more than a small portion of the time. These programs require students and teachers to develop the skills necessary to work effectively toward common objectives as members of groups, and will encourage the generalizing aspects of the learning process. Contracted study may be undertaken individually or in small groups, on or off campus. These programs are designed to meet the more specialized needs of students and faculty and will, accordingly, focus on the specifying aspects of the learning process.
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The catalog describes these two kinds of programs in much more detail. (pages 19‑30 and 89‑103). It is important to bear two things in mind about this plan of curricular organization from the point of view of its commitment to the discouragement of departmentalization: (1) The requirement that students and teachers will commit their full time to whatever it is they have signed on for at any given time. There will, of course, be some shiftings from program to program as expedient solutions to unforeseeable administrative and personal problems, but whatever a person's programmatic responsibilities at any given time, they must be total and may not be divided. (2) The assumption that no program will be repeated. Not that some kinds of contracts won't cluster into patterns, and not that certain coordinated studies programs of similar format won't be offered successively. But we are committed to the assumptions (a) that no coordinated studies program will be offered twice by the same faculty team, and (b) that individual faculty will alternate over the course of their stay here between participation in coordinated studies and contracted studies.
We have yet to formulate a set of guidelines for faculty evaluation, from which will evolve some kind of institutionalized faculty incentive system, but I will be very surprised if, when we do, we don't all easily agree to include these two assumptions among our criteria.
I can foresee that we might fail to achieve almost any of our other objectives at Evergreen but I cannot imagine how, under these conditions, we can fail to prevent the growth of departmentalization. Can you?
The price we are prepared to pay for this curricular structure is pretty clearly less research and less publication. Blocks of time for intensive work in a faculty member's own field will be hard to come by when about half of his time is being devoted to teaching outside his field, and when upwards of forty hours a week are taken up in activities directly related to teaching. There is some talk of keeping this price to a minimum by way of a more liberal sabbatical system or by some imaginative allocation of "up time" and "down time", but with the severe belt tightening likely to be expected of us by the State of Washington in the foreseeable future this is almost wildly wishful thinking. My own estimation is that even in times of economic abundance we would still have [o pay this price. As I see it, this follows from one of the basic conditions of undergraduate education in the 1970's (I can't bring myself to try to see further): A given institution cannot have it both ways; it can give strong support to its undergraduate teaching function or to its research function, but it cannot strongly support both. In some research‑oriented institutions the quality of "second program" (after Tussman), or upper‑division, teaching may remain good as a consequence of happy meetings between specialized faculty interests and specialized student needs. However, if an institution chooses to commit its best resources as much to "first program” or lower‑division, teaching as to second program teaching, as Evergreen intends to do, it must expect to do so at the expense of its research function. I have no qualms about this myself, believing as I do that our society is presently in greater need of more good teaching than of more good research. My main fear is that our second programs may suffer as a consequence of minimal faculty involvement in research. We are relying heavily on our contracted studies programs to insure against this possibility,
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but at this writing, as a close reading of the catalog will show, much more thought has gone into Coordinated Studies; and, in the minds of many of us, effective contracted studies programs will be difficult to maintain with a 20 to 1 student‑faculty ratio. Meanwhile, I take some cold reassurance from the Santa Cruz experience. If anything could have made it possible to eat this particular cake and also have it, it should have been the cluster colleges, plus boards of studies, plus a minimal commitment to graduate programs. But, after five years, what have you got? Still one of the best published faculties of its size in the country. And still, as your report concludes, looking unsuccessfully for ways of effectively encouraging and supporting innovative undergraduate teaching, especially first program teaching.
The attendant risks of our curricular organization are several. The main one is at the level of administration. Obviously, two authority vacuums (I shall be idealistic and not speak of power) are being created here: 1) the authority of expertise traditionally exerted by departments and department heads, which has traditionally ordered faculty responsibilities; and 2) the authority of rule as carried by curricular requirements which has traditionally ordered student responsibilities. How these vacuums are eventually filled will tell the Evergreen story more than any other contingency. It is easy to say what must first fill them if the educational programs are to be tested as educational programs and not merely as launching sites for typical academic fun and games: lots of communication, lots of good faith, lots of flexibility and lots of tolerance for diversity on the parts of everybody ‑ until some imaginative new forms of authority sanctions emerge, hopefully from the successes of the new educational programs. (An interesting immediate question is whether the current economic squeeze will take its toll of these qualities or make them more accessible to us. A very interesting question.)
The kinds of communication patterns and attitudes of mutuality that develop between our academic and service staffs (admission, registration, counseling, etc.) will be particularly critical. I don't see how the custom making features of the curricular structure we have devised can be given a fair test if we develop the kind of armed truce situation that exists at Santa Cruz between the student services staff and the teaching faculty. While social relations between faculty and students at Santa Cruz are closer than on most campuses, this being, as you note, one of the successes of the collegiate structure, the typical degree of student‑teacher intimacy in the Santa Cruz classroom is much less than we assume it will become in our coordinated studies seminars and contracted studies office hours. If, therefore, our service and teaching staffs become as insulated from each other in function, and in knowledge of each other's problems and responsibilities, as is typically the case, the contrast in the student's experience will be all the more disconcerting. The average Santa Cruz student learns to grin and bear Peggy what's her name in the Registrar's Office, as does the average Santa Cruz teacher. So she becomes increasingly ignorant of what goes on in the classrooms and increasingly rigid in applying her solutions to administrative problems that only she appreciates. At Evergreen, I predict,
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the average student will see nothing odd about expecting his seminar leader or contract sponsor to accompany him to the Registrar's Office if he runs into a communication problem, and that will add a whole new dimension to the lives of everyone here. Happily, we all acknowledged this problem early and there have been many efforts at real mutual education and mutual involvement on the parts of individuals from each side. But this is extremely time consuming, and the clock may undo us when we start tripling ourselves every year. Unhappily, the two vice presidents involved are so utterly different in personal temperament and style that they have to work at being friends, so we lack the model that is helpful in such situations when people get tired.
We are already at work on ad hoc committees (we call them "Disappearing Task Forces") trying to anticipate the implications and ramifications of our educational plans for such key matters as college governance, program evaluation, student evaluation, faculty evaluation, registration, accreditation, etc. This is partially to prevent ourselves from being tempted in the direction of participatory democracy when the students arrive, and partially because all kinds of decisions have to be made, and all kinds of constituencies dealt with, before we have any hands on experience with our new educational programs. My fear here is that in the process, with the best of intentions to the contrary, we will become preoccupied with issues of governance as such, to the point of diverting our energies from the programs before we even get a chance to try them. This fear has already been strengthened by the observation that we plunge all too easily and emotionally into matters of governance in faculty business meetings (e.g., the role of program coordinators), while in faculty seminars devoted to matters of educational theory and policy we sometimes find it hard to get up. But then all of us here wear some unbecoming scars from former conflicts over governance issues, and maybe we are just exercising these particular tissues to be sure they will bear strain if necessary. I am hoping that's all there is to it.
Another risk, hardly less serious, is at the level of faculty recruitment. The woods of higher education are full of talented but inexperienced anti-authority types with unresolved Oedipus complexes who are looking for an "experimental college" to use as a hobby horse. Lots of them are nice guys with PhD's, and are popular teachers. Evergreen is soon going to look like Shangri‑la to many of them. The publish or perish system, while it tends to screen in many a non‑teacher, does do a pretty good job of screening these out. We have got to develop an alternative kind of screening system. Right now we are fairly safe in that we are still small enough to do our faculty recruitment on a mostly personal basis, and are therefore in position to rely on educated intuition. The planning faculty is surprisingly free of this element, and most of us have had sufficient experience in ,”experimental” setups to know the type. But eventually we'll probably have to program this intelligence into some kind of mechanism or procedure. I don't think I will feel confident enough to make any tough predictions about Evergreen until we have successfully put that test behind us.
There are three risks at the level of student life that are worth mentioning. One is that we may have a special appeal for the do‑your‑thingers in the early years, which could bode ill for our town‑gown situation.
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The Town of Olympia is almost a carbon copy of Santa Cruz in its anti-youth temper ‑ ameliorated only by having to live with Dan Evans rather than Ronald Reagan. I feel hopeful on this score that as soon as we generate a word‑of‑mouth communications network among students and potential students things will balance out. We really do intend to be a "hard" school.
Another is that with no requirements other than having to earn a sufficient number of credits to receive a Bachelors Degree, some students will opt for too broad or too narrow an education. I myself can't sweat much over this one, having been convinced by Margaret Mead and others that any adult who feels sure of what too narrow or two broad an education consists for people who are going to live half their lives in the 21st Century, probably has his own head screwed on wrong.
A third risk at this level, one which does give serious pause, relates to issues of large scale community building. The kinds of social coherence and patterns of mutual identification that you describe as developing within the Santa Cruz colleges are enviable. We will have no comparable enduring social structures. Moreover, only a minority of the students will live in campus housing. In the early years we will probably all rally round commonly felt pangs and joys of birth, as you did at Cowell in the trailers. Beyond that, my best guess is that Evergreen students will have a quite different kind of socialization experience than Santa Cruz students. Instead of a four year home base from which one can venture out and back, there will be a series of intense, more or less lengthy but abruptly terminated experiences of commitment and identification, followed either by a purely individual project or a similar identification with an entirely different group of students and teachers. This is not a part of our conscious design, but it may turn out to be one of the more interesting ripple effects to watch as Evergreen grows. It could prove to be a hidden weakness or an unexpected strength. Again, who knows what will make for social health in the 21st Century?
Educational Policy and Objectives
One of the most enlightening parts of your analysis to me was the section, "An Economist's View of Undergraduate Education". It never occurred to me to think of educational objectives in economic terms, so I welcome the opportunity of using your vocabulary to articulate Evergreen's educational objectives.
Again, I see little evidence of compromise. An almost total expenditure of our resources will go into the production of human capital of the kinds you discuss under the headings "Private Consumer Capital", "Discovery of Talent", and "Social Capital‑Citizenship". Whatever we produce in the way of new knowledge, or "Private Producer Capital", and whatever we do in the way of "Certification" will be more or less incidental or indirect. Not that we are opposed to these latter; rather we view them as being more appropriately achieved through individual choice and effort and less appropriately sought through institutional choice and effort. Thus, our rhetoric has us seeking to prepare students for an adult life about which all that can safely be predicted as regards the forms human subsistence
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and human fulfillment will take is that they are largely unpredictable. We shall only be specifically concerned with what a student learns to the extent that it may enable us to enlarge his general capacity to learn. We want to serve the student Who wants to come to college to learn how to think, not what to think. And one of our recruitment pitches to new faculty is that Evergreen will give unusual opportunity for continued learning. Indeed, I can easily see us lifting verbatim for rhetorical purposes your statement on page five. "... we shall give considerable weight to the development of social capital which, while not enhancing directly the private returns to individuals in whom it is embodied, nevertheless can produce social returns in the form of improvements in the quality of political and community life…”.
I wish you had not refrained (your page five) from treating more fully what you see as "the problems associated with challenging the legitimacy of established authority, both educational and civil", because, however tactfully and quietly we may seek to go about it, that is what I see us doing straight out. That this time for such a challenge is awkward, and this place improbable, was what was back of my caveat, when last we sauna-ed together, that we shall probably fail, that the only questions were when and how. (I'm sure you sensed that I would love to be proven wrong.) Here, for example, are two clippings from the local newspaper, which is a carbon copy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Although it is gratifying that the Contris column appears on the same page, it is the editorial that reflects the outlook of the majority of those who must support us with their taxes.
Not that I am the only one here who is mindful of your precautions (your page 13) against assuming the Community's cooperation as we set out to meet societal needs rather than to satisfy societal demands. Our public relations blurbs are characteristically couched in terms of the ultimate practicality of an Evergreen education. And our President has himself and his Vice‑Presidents out every week impressing Rotarians and Kiwanians with straight looks and tough talk. Sometimes, it seems to me, we get almost paranoid about the possibility of our programs appearing impractical or soft. Meanwhile McCann and the veeps are all well cast in their mediative roles and, barring unlucky town‑gown incidents, they may succeed in buying us enough time to show results. In the end, of course, it won't be PR that will turn this corner for us, but the solid reality that creating human consumer capital requires a hell of a lot more hard work of teachers and students than does creating human producer capital. And, although the hardness of the work may not be terribly relevant to what we're up to, it may, when it becomes apparent, have a conciliating effect on the local newspaper editor.
Now to what is relevant. Your discussions of Tussman, Bell and Kauffman provide an excellent frame of reference:
The basic structure of our coordinated studies programs follows Tussman's model almost to the letter: multi‑disciplinary, theme oriented, total engagement of five faculty and 100 students, small intensive seminars, common reading list and schedule. However, in using this structure over a much wider range of thematic areas, we expect it to achieve a wider set
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of goals. Also, by committing a major‑part of our resources to this model, we hope to avoid some of the problems that Tussman has at Berkeley. The Experimental College at Berkeley is really one coordinated studies program, functioning as a tiny enclave in a large traditional setting, as was Meiklejohn’s Experimental College at Wisconsin. We will offer thirteen coordinated studies program options to our 1,000 students when we open next September, and as our population increases so will the number of coordinated studies programs. Tussman seems almost to prize the substance of his program more than its structure. While we like the substance of his program, and plan to offer one much like it, it is the pedagogical power of the structure that we prize most, and are therefore applying it over a wide range of substantive areas. As a consequence, our statement of goals sounds more like Bell than Tussman: "The emphasis in the college must be less on what one knows and more on the self‑conscious ground of knowledge; how one knows what one knows, and the principal of the relevant selection of facts". (Bell, your page 19) However, the methods of inquiry that we shall emphasize are much less narrowly scientific than those that Bell seems to stress (see for example, our Coordinated Studies program, "Time, Space and Form.") As a further consequence, we plan to be able to emphasize cultivation of emotional and aesthetic development and to offer many opportunities for extra‑mural field work, which the Kauffman report encourages, and of which neither Tussman nor Bell speak. (See for example, our Coordinated Studies program, "Human Development".)
And so, when one considers the added opportunities for specialization, mastery of technical skills, and the integration of academic work with worldly work that our Contracted Studies programs will be designed to provide, we emerge as aspiring to not only [meet] all of the major goals espoused by all three of these spokesmen for educational reform, but to some traditional goals as well. In only one respect have we not sought to have the best of all these new worlds, that of increased student participation in decisions concerning their education, which Kauffman favors and Tussman discourages. We are closer to Tussman than to Kauffman in this matter, although, once again, because we are planning a whole new institution and not just an experimental component of an institution, we may, I think realize some of what Kauffman is after too. Our students will have much more room for choice than Santa Cruz students in decisions affecting their living conditions (housing, eating arrangements, etc.). Prospective students are presently on our Governance Committee, so it is likely students will have an effective voice in decisions of campus governance. And, of course, Evergreen students will have complete choice among the coordinated studies programs offered and will be expected to take as much initiative as the faculty in proposing study contracts. It is noteworthy, however, that students have not participated at all in designing the coordinated studies programs. Nor, to any great extent, are they likely to in future. With Tussman, we view this to be a responsibility that can only be competently met by an experienced teacher, or group of teachers, possessed of a high degree of knowledge and skill, and not one for which a high school education should be expected to qualify anyone.
As for the problem of finding effective incentives to induce a professionalized faculty to make serious commitments to a general education program, which plagues Tussman at Berkeley and the College programs at Santa Cruz, maybe we are being incredibly naive but we aren't expecting any such problem at Evergreen.
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We simply propose not to offer any enduring alternatives. Therefore, faculty members who need special inducements to make this commitment will either not come to Evergreen or not stay. Indeed, in this respect, we expect to have more problems with the structure of our buildings than with the motives of our faculty (unfortunately, the first phase of the physical plant was designed and locked in before even McCann was appointed).
But we are not relying only on faculty recruitment and self‑selection to maintain this commitment to the teaching arts. We expect that continuous in-house teacher training will occur as an integral part of the programs. We have so designed the programs as to commit the faculty to the processes of learning by teaching, and to regular in‑house consultation. Unlike most team teaching arrangements, in which each specialist is primarily responsible for teaching his specialty, the faculty members of our coordinated studies programs will be engaged most of the time in leading seminars and in supervising student explorations in subject areas outside their spheres of expertise. In the Human Development program, e.g., the psychologist will spend most of his teaching time leading explorations in biology, anthropology, philosophy and literature; the biologist will spend most of his teaching time leading explorations in psychology, anthropology, philosophy and literature; the man of letters will spend most of his time leading explorations in biology, psychology, anthropology and philosophy; etc. Obviously, under this arrangement each individual faculty member's expertise will be as much in demand among his colleagues as among his students. In support of this arrangement we expect the coordinated studies faculty teams to meet as a group from three to six hours a week to prepare each other to lead subsequent seminars, to discuss individual teaching problems, to view and discuss video tapes of each other's seminars, to criticize individual teaching efforts, to consult with each other as to how the program seminars can be made more emotionally alive, more personally interesting and more socially satisfying as well as intellectually stimulating, and in general to reinforce individual faculty commitments to the teaching arts. Faculty engaged in contracted studies will be organized into groups of five and expected to hold weekly faculty seminars for similar purposes.
Before leaving the subject of our commitment to teaching I should mention our attention to the affective and enactive as well as cognitive components of the learning process. This has been all the more gratifying to me as an old champion of these causes in that it has required no special prodding on my part. The catalog will make it appear that we are planning, in the jargon of today's youth, some pretty heavy "head trips" at Evergreen. We are indeed. Moreover, we do not plan to offer alternate routes into meditation, sensitivity training, body awareness, consciousness expansion, group encounters, etc. Rather, when appropriate, we plan to offer these as side trips and interesting detours, the better to make the destinations of our head trips satisfying to the maximum possible number of individuals. We are committed, in other words, to the position that these techniques and exercises can be useful means to the achievement of educational ends, but that they are of little educational value as ends in themselves. Moreover, and more importantly, each of our programs includes in its design regular opportunities for students to bring associated emotions And relevant actions to bear on their more thoughtful responses to books and assignments.
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This by way of self expressive activities, real world work‑oriented activities, individual research activities, field trips and outward‑bound type ventures. We shall be hard pressed, under the most favorable of circumstances, to make these promises good, as they presume qualities of faculty skill and commitment that are usually in short supply on college campuses. However, the commitment we think we have, and the skills we hope to develop.
Student Recruitment (See catalog statement, page 158)
In short, all a student has to do to enroll at Evergreen is (l) be in the upper half of his high school class (and this can be waived) or in good standing in his present college; (2) demonstrate that he has read and understood our catalog; (3) indicate that he wants to enroll and (4) (except for minority students) get his application in early. So here too we shall clearly be on a course very different from that of Santa Cruz. Where Santa Cruz is, as you note, elitist, our disregard of previous academic achievements may actually cause us some eventual trouble with accrediting bodies.
My hopes for this policy are (1) that we will gain more in maturity, motivation and independence in our student population than we will lose in native intellectual power; and (2) that we will be reinforced in our commitments to the pleasures of teaching, since it is unlikely we shall often have the pleasure of basking in the reflections of students who happen to be spending time with us in between their National Merit scholarship and their Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. My particular past experiences at Smith, Brandeis, Santa Cruz and Harvard make this aspect of Evergreen particularly exciting. In these elite institutions there were each year a few brilliant Roberta Goldbergs whose developmental pace was such that everything I did as a teacher was highly rewarded and then some. There was also that large middle group of youngsters who did more or less well, more or less in response to my teaching efforts, but whom I never got to know well enough to be certain to what they were responding when they took two steps forward and to what they were responding when they took one step back. Finally, there were always those few student. who just weren’t digging the scene at all and who were unreachable through the Kinds of contacts that courses — even small courses — allow. What always impressed me in this was that the intelligence factor, which was uniformly high in all these institutions, was about evenly distributed over the three groups. The kid who wasn't cutting it at all was as likely to have an IQ of 140 as 110. And Roberta Goldberg is no genius; she is just confident, enjoys learning and loves life. At Evergreen we will have fewer students with IQs of 140 than you have at Santa Cruz and we will have nTore students with IQs of llO than you have at Santa Cruz. jut I bet we will have the same three kinds of students in about the same proportions in our entering classes. I will also bet, and this is the exciting part, we have more opportunities to affect upward movement because of our departure from the course format. Whether we do or not, however, we will damn sure be able to tell when we have had an influence on a student's development and when we have not, and in both cases we should be in a favorable position to ask why.
Impressions of The Evergreen State College ‑ February 1971 13.
We are going even further in the direction of qualitative evaluation than Santa Cruz with its system of pass‑fail plus written evaluations. At Evergreen a student will either receive credit for a given unit of coordinated or contracted study or he will not. If credit is not awarded, no record will be made of the unit of study. Moreover, each unit of credit, or block of units, will be represented by at least three documents: (1) the Coordinated Studies Program description or the contract; (2) an evaluation of the student's performance by his seminar leader or sponsor; and (3) a statement by the student, commenting on what he feels he has learned and evaluating the guidance and support he received. Whenever possible, samples of the student's work ----written, photographed, drawn or taped --‑ will be included.
The Santa Cruz student graduates with something more enlightening to prospective employers or graduate school admissions committees than do most college graduates: a record of courses passed and failed and a series of written evaluations by the instructors with whom he worked. The Evergreen student will graduate with a portfolio containing descriptions, evaluations and samples of creditable work done, which he takes with him. For purposes of encouraging and facilitating self‑evaluation and intrinsic motivation this system has obvious merit. Prospective employers will probably quickly see its advantages. Some graduate school bureaucracies may balk at the beginning, but these will be hard put to explain why on rational grounds. The good luck you have had at Santa Cruz in respect to graduate school admissions is comforting on this score. The hard problem, recognized but yet to be solved, will come in relation to those students who will want to transfer in mid‑career from Evergreen to other institutions. We have been assured by the opinions of the Registrars at the University of Washington and Washington State University that it should be possible to translate Evergreen program credits into conventional course credits. And in some instances, this should be fairly simple . The first year of the Human Development program, for example, is pretty obviously, in quantitative terms, the equivalent of 6 quarter hours of Social Science and 3 quarter hours each of Biology, Literature and English Composition. But there are other, more idiosyncratically conceived programs where the quantitative equivalencies will not be as obvious. In any event, this will put one hell of a bookkeeping burden on our Registrar, which again points to the crucial need at Evergreen for faculty and staff to be knowledgeable about each others work.
Where this System of student evaluation may fail is, and I am serious, at the level of stenographic support. The amount of typing and duplicating that will be involved, if the system works well, will be staggering. Originally, we budgeted for one typist per five faculty and 100 students and I thought that was pretty thin. The legislature has given us one typist per ten faculty and 200 students. We might have lost the kingdom right there for lack of a god damned nail.
This excerpt from the President’s opening letter in our first catalog says what we are looking for in faculty: "The Prospective faculty member will
Impressions of The Evergreen State College ‑ February 1971 14.
appreciate working and thinking with students, being able to bring his professional abilities and discretion fully to bear on the problem at hand, encumbered by the least possible red tape. Before he considers coming to Evergreen he should look beyond, to whether his energies will allow him to remain current in his field of competence and to learn other new things along with his students, at the same time spending long hours in the presence of students and fellow faculty members. He should think whether he will be comfortable without departments, in frequent]y changing combinations of colleagues. Evergreen's commitment to improving undergraduate studies cannot leave aside improving the art of undergraduate teaching, and he will also be subject to much more stringent and public evaluation of his teaching." What this has translated into, in terms of working criteria for faculty selection is: (1) Does the person understand what we are planning? (2) Is he willing to assume the professional risks involved in coming here? (3) Has he shown himself to be a talented teacher and at least as interested in his teaching as in his other professional activities? (4) Has he either already broken out of conventional teaching formats or shown that he wants to do so? Interests and achievements in research and publication are secondary. The market being what it is, we could probably have this both ways if we tried. However, and this is one of the more remarkable of my first year impressions, we can hardly be said to be even trying. All of us on the planning faculty have PhDs', as do most of those we are considering for next year; and most of us have also published, as have most of our serious prospects. But not once in our discussions of recruitment policy, or in the actual hard business of choosing this person over that, have I heard the issue of publication even raised. Recalling how I felt when my colleagues on the Psychology Board at Santa Cruz prevented Dick Mann's appointment (ostensibly because he had only published one book) only to see him go on to receive a Danforth Distinguished Teaching prize, you will understand that I sometimes feel like pinching myself to be sure this is real.
Still, looking down the long road, there are dangers. I've mentioned one: our predictable appeal for the sandbox set, those who perceive in an experimental college a place where they can groove without having to grow. The other, less apparent now than it will become, is the person whose commitment to teaching is by default, being a way of hiding from fears that he could not cut it as a scholar if he tried. I am not as impressed as you seem to be (your footnote on page 5) with the widely touted assumption that effective teaching and research go together, having known too many widely published researchers who were not worth a rat's ass as teachers. On the other hand, I've never known a really good teacher who didn't regularly find time to produce something of his own in his field of competence. Recognizing the difficulty of spotting teachers by default among young candidates who haven't had time to face this conflict much less resolve it, we had hoped to guard against this second danger in the early years by bring in a goodly number of seasoned people. A recent budget cut (approximately 50% for the first biennium) has made this hope unrealistic. For the most part, we are now forced to go for younger people, so we will have to trust intuition to protect us in this regard.
Impressions of The Evergreen State College ‑ February 1971 15.
This brings up the matter of recruitment procedures. The 18 of us who are here now were, for the most part, hand picked by the President, Provost and the three Deans on the basis of personal knowledge; and the whole routine was pretty informal and therefore flexible. On balance, this effort seems to have been highly successful ‑‑ with the glaring exceptions that we have only one minority person and no women, oversights we are firmly resolved to correct this time around. In bringing our number up to 50 by next September, we are still counting heavily on personal knowledge, although it is a lot harder to keep personal knowledge accountable when there are 23 suppliers of it, than when there are five. Still, in view of our criteria, the subjective route is probably the most dependable one we can take. The flexibility which marked the first recruitment round is, however, notably less in evidence in the second. This was inevitable in connection with our 7,000 odd unsolicited applications, but it has unfortunately also crept into our dealings with people we know personally, and in some cases with people whose interest we are trying to cultivate. Last year I was flown here from Cambridge in response to a phone call on one day's notice so that I could see for myself what the rain was like. And I was as impressed by the degree of administrative flexibility as by anything else I found at Evergreen. This year there are maybe a dozen prime prospects who are interested in, but not yet sold on Evergreen, who are being treated as if it was they who were doing the selling. It's the old bureaucratic question: how to develop a system that can cope with the thousands and still relate to the dozens. Part of the trouble is money again (we can't afford to bring everyone here for interviews that we would like) but I am convinced money isn't all of it. There is a challenge to creativity here to which none of us has risen, and I hope it won't become one of those things in which invention must be mothered by necessity. The stakes are too high; the kind of person we need is one in a hundred. My hunch is we allowed those 7,000 unsolicited applications to inflate our heads beyond what is good for reality testing. If so, the humble pie that several turn‑downs will force US to eat will be good medicine.
I suppose I should mention, although it pains me to do so, that at this writing we do not have the money we had been counting on to bring the new faculty in for an orientation period before the students arrive in September. The legislature, understandable in a period of economic crisis, sees this as a luxury we can do without; in fact, as you will certainly appreciate, this could be catastrophic. How simply this problem could be solved if we had the July to July fiscal calendar with no summer classes that you have at Santa Cruz! When we launched Merrill College, we used only one week of that lead time to bring new faculty together, and I thought then, "What a waste". At Evergreen we could put two months to very good use, but almost anything (even a week) would be better than nothing. We are out begging among the foundations on this one. Any leads?
We have yet to codify a set of procedures for evaluating faculty, although we are agreed this is one of our key tasks in the planning year. This being a matter very close to my particular hopes for Evergreen, my ears have been very open whenever it has been discussed, so I can state what are pretty sure to be the guidelines for whatever procedures we eventually commit to a faculty handbook: (1) The focus will be on the usual ‑ teaching, scholarship and college service ‑ with teaching having clearly visible priority. (2) The
Impressions of The Evergreen State College ‑ February 1971 16.
formal review procedures will be regular and continuous over one's entire career at Evergreen. (3) Criteria will reflect institutional curricular commitments; for example, improvement in both the coordinated and contracted modes of instruction. (4) We want the procedures to primarily reinforce presumed intrinsic commitments to teaching improvement and only secondarily to buttress whatever extrinsic incentives may be thought useful in terms of promotion and salary considerations. We also want the procedures to operate openly so that they can, in fact, be used to cultivate professional development, rather than to merely judge it. (5) The evaluation procedures will involve the keeping by each faculty member of a portfolio, much like that upon which student evaluations will be based, containing journal entries, case studies, written evaluations by students and colleagues, video tapes of seminars, scholarly productions and records of college service. (6) There has not been as much discussion of this one as I would like, but I, for one, intend to do all I can to see that the keeping of these portfolios be considered a central responsibility of the faculty seminars. Tussman has convinced me that the faculty seminars are the key to this whole approach to college teaching. He also notes they are the first thing to suffer from waning motivations or overwork. As I mentioned, our weekly faculty seminars this year have been among our least successful efforts. They are going to need teeth, and one way to give them teeth, would be to make our evaluations system dependent on them: thus; no faculty seminars, no faculty portfolios; no faculty portfolios, no faculty evaluation; no faculty evaluation, no Evergreen.
One cannot speak of faculty evaluation without at least mentioning tenure, although I hope we only have to mention it long enough to get rid of it. I said just that on almost my first day here, and was nevertheless ‑ ‑ or consequently ‑ made chairman of the Disappearing Task Force charged with recommending Evergreen's policy on tenure. Incidentally, thanks for sending me the Nisbet piece. You must have been mind reading because I meant to look it up before leaving Harvard and have not since been near the kind of library that carries “The Public Interest".
Here’s how our thinking stands at the moment, and I am fairly sure this is about the way it will finally come out: (1) The faculty evaluation system should be conceived prior to, and independently of considerations of tenure. (2) Assuming the faculty evaluation procedures we settle on are anything like what I have sketched out above, a traditional tenure system would be inappropriate at Evergreen. (3) Of the two conditions which tenure systems have been devised in the past to protect, academic freedom and economic security, only the first concerns us. (4) Academic freedom can be threatened from without the institution or from within the institution, but in either case the conflicts must be resolved and adjudicated by procedures established within the institution. Therefore, if we can agree to a system for handling grievances initiated by conflicts arising within Evergreen, there will be no need to set up a separate system in anticipation of conflicts that may arise between Evergreen and its external constituencies. (5) We will probably settle on some kind of successive three to five year appointment reappointment system.
Impressions of The Evergreen State College ‑ February 1971 17.
There is one delicate spot in this matter of tenure. Although about half of us on the planning faculty gave up tenured positions to come here and did not bargain for it in coming, two of the Vice Presidents and the first senior faculty appointee did bargain for tenure with the Trustees and now have it. It is a situation in need of some tact and grace.
Your quotation from Clark Kerr (your pages 2‑3) provides a handy template for this purpose. I will parenthesize my summary between his main points:
''There has been some success, but there are some problems still to be fully faced; and they are problems of consequence.
'One is the ‑improvement of undergraduate instruction in the university. It will require the solution of many sub‑problems: how to give adequate recognition to the teaching skill as well as to the research performance of the faculty. (At Evergreen the question will probably become the converse: how to give adequate recognition to the research performance of the faculty as well_as to_its teaching skill.) How to create a curriculum that serves the needs of the student as well as the research interest of the teacher. (Again, at Evergreen the converse is more likely to concern us.) How to prepare the generalist as well as the specialist in an age of specialization looking for better generalizations. ( This is exactly what our Coordinated and Contracted Studies format aspires to do.) How to treat the individual student as an unique human being in the mass student body. (By planning, small program oriented groups of students and faculty, working together over a significant period of time full time.) How to make the university seem smaller as it grows larger. (We have not tried to deal with this one, and in view of the pejorative meanings that many Santa Cruz students have read into it, I wonder if we should.) How to establish a range of contact between faculty and students broader than the oneway route across the lectern or through the television screen. (Again, by making faculty- student contacts full-time contacts.) How to raise educational policy again to the forefront of the faculty concerns. (By placing the faculty seminars at the center of our programs.)
'Another major task is to create a more unified intellectual world. We need to make contact between the two, the three, the many cultures; to open channels of intelligent conversation across the disciplines and divisions, to close the gap between C.P. Snow's "ludites" and scientists; to answer fragmentation with general theories and sensitivities. (We are counting on the challenges and rewards of learning by teaching as members of Coordinated Studies teams to turn this trick.)
'A third problem is to relate administration more directly to individual faculty and students in the massive institution. We need to decentralize below the campus level to the operating agencies; to make the collective faculty a more vital, dynamic, progressive force as it now is only at the departmental level; to bridge the growing chasm between the department that does the teaching and the institute that does the research, with faculty member torn between; to make the old departments and divisions more compatible with the new divisions of knowledge; to make it possible for an institution to see itself in totality rather than just piecemeal and in the sweep of
Impressions of The Evergreen State College ‑ February 1971 18.
History rather than just at a moment of time; to bring an understanding of both internal and external realities to all those intimately related to the process, so that there may be greater understanding; to see to it that administration serves and stimulates rather than rules the institution, that it be expendable when necessary and flexible all the time; to assure that the university can do better what it does best; to solve the whole range of governmental problems within the university. (Well, we've gotten rid of departments, so if there was anything good about them it will have to come to Evergreen from someplace else. For the rest, I must confess I can’t work up much interest in it at this time. If it comes it must follow from our educational successes, and these we haven’t started to have yet. Others on the planning faculty do not agree with me on this, and are busy trying to be creative at this level. So if I am wrong, I will have cause to be grateful. )
'If there are to be new departures, they are most likely to come on the campuses of those old, private universities which have prided themselves on control of their own destiny, and on the totally new campuses of the state universities in America ....(right on!) The university for the twenty‑first century is more likely to emerge from these environments than from any others. Out of the pride of the old and the vacuum of the new may come the means to make undergraduate life more exciting, intellectual discourse more. meaningful, administration more human. ( ‘Amen')"
Well, Jack, there we are for now. If I'm around in 1977, I will write a five year progress report on Evergreen. I hope it Won’t be too embarrassing at that time to use this letter as a base line and memory jogger. What would make it too embarrassing? If it rutned out by then that there were good guys around the country saying about Evergreen what I find myself saying about Santa Cruz: "I hated to leave, but I got there too late for the fun." I don't know how much fun you find in Santa Cruz these days, but if it still is fun for you I bet it's because you were there when. It wasn't much fun for me, coming only two years after you did. So this, to me, is the life‑death question for Evergreen: Will those who join us in 1973 be able to have as much fun as we are sure to have in '71? I don't know if this is something that can be planned, and if it is I wouldn't know how to plan it.
Looking forward to your visit this Summer.
RICHARD M. JONES
Professor of Psychology