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The Layup List
On Tuesday last week Lulu Chang ‘15 ran a column in The D entitled Discouragement in Distributives, in which she took to task the College’s system of diffuse course distributives. One paragraph caught my eye:
Because of the compulsory nature of the current methodology and students’ inevitable concern with their GPAs, when students are forced to take a course in an area that would remain otherwise unexplored they tend to look for the easiest way out. It is no secret that a “lay-up list” can be found every term, detailing the courses that will both fulfill a distributive and result in a solid grade without requiring much effort. Rather than instilling an honest and intrinsically motivated desire to learn something new, forcing students to take a Thought, Meaning and Value distributive, for instance, lends an obligatory character to the course that often has the capacity to overshadow the curiosity that should encourage students when choosing their classes. [Emphasis added]
A lay-up list? That was a new one on me. So I set several members of Dartblog’s Baker Tower Irregulars to the task, and it didn’t take them long to find several lists, including one for this term:
After each entry, a small notation describes just how little work and attendance are required for a high grade in each course. An example: “Normally offered during soph summer, don’t have to attend class.”
My English 5 prof from the fall of 1975, Don Pease (known to students for a good many decades now as Easy Peasy), made all the lists that I saw. Additionally, it seems that students now keep track of Pease’s many non-sequiturs on a blog. What a lovely way to employ modern technology. In my day, we used to write Pease quotes in the margins of our notebooks for the same purpose, and then we’d share the results after class to general hilarity. Some things never change.
Dartmouth’s master’s of arts in liberal studies has received an average of 90 applications a year since 2004, when it accepted about 85 percent of prospective students.
The MALS program experienced a 25 percent decrease in applications last year, which English professor and MALS chair Donald Pease said was likely due to a temporary vacancy in its director position. Besides last year, applications to the school have been fairly constant since 2004.
Pease said the program anticipates a more regular number of applications for its next admission deadline on February 15.
The program recently began increasing its outreach to Graduate Record Examination test-takers who indicate an interest in pursuing studies in the liberal arts.
“We aim to grow to a maximum 250 from 230 current students, but we don’t want to exceed that,” MALS director Wole Ojurongbe said.
With acceptances seemingly given out to anyone with a steady pulse, one really has to wonder about the need for such a program at the College.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…