IV. SUMMARY OF QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES
In March and April of 1969, the Planning Group distributed two questionnaires, one to the faculty, administration and alumni of WPI, and the other to both the undergraduate and graduate students of the College. These questionnaires were based primarily on a questionnaire devised by Edward Gross and Paul V. Grambach of the University of Minnesota which was published in University Goals _ Academic Power (American Council on Education, Washington, D.C., 1968).
The purpose of the questionnaires was to obtain some indication of the attitudes of our academic community toward the proper aims of WPI. Each respondent was asked to indicate his reaction to each suggested aim in two ways; first, he was asked to designate what he felt was the relative importance of the aim at the College now; and second, he was asked to express his opinion on how important that aim should be at WPI.
As in all questionnaires designed to be answered by simply checking the appropriate category of response, it is difficult to assess the real reaction of the respondents to some of the aims--many answers would need some amplification to be truly meaningful. Nevertheless, the results do shed some light on the attitudes of the various groups associated with the College and, in some instances, tell us more about ourselves than perhaps we would ordinarily care to admit.
For purposes of discussion, this summary will be divided into four parts: (1) aims bearing directly on the educational goals of the College; (2) objectives involving the role of the student in the decision-making process at WPI; (3) objectives involving the role of the faculty in the decision-making process at WPI; and (4) attitudes about the college in general and opinions regarding criteria for faculty evaluation. In all of the following, it should be kept in mind that we received responses from only part of each group involved, although everyone was urged to participate. Furthermore, not all respondents answered each question. The number of replies were as follows:
Administration and department heads: 19
Trustees and alumni: 25
Undergraduate and graduate students: 170
In the tables below, the letter headings represent the category of the respondent: F. Faculty; A, Administration and Department Heads; T/A, Trustees and Alumni; and S. Students. The letters T. Top Importance; G. Great Importance; M, Medium Importance; E, Little Importance, and N. No Importance appear on the side following the statement of each aim or question. The first of each pair of numbers represents the "IS" reaction and the second, the "SHOULD BE" reaction.
I. AIMS BEARING DIRECTLY ON THE EDUCATIONAL GOALS OF THE COLLEGE
F A T/A S 1. TO PRODUCE A STUDENT WHO, WHATEVER ELSE MAY BE DONE TO HIM, HAS HAD HIS INTELLECT CULTIVATED TO THE MAXIMUM. T 1-33 0-7 1-11 4-56 G 8-20 2-10 6-11 21-75 M 36-13 9-2 13-4 58-34 L 21-2 7-0 3-0 80-4 N 2-0 1-0 0-0 10-4 2. TO PROVIDE THE STUDENT WITH SKILLS, ATTITUDES, CONTACTS, AND EXPERIENCES FOR LEADERSHIP IN SOCIETY. T 0-16 0-6 1-10 1-39 G 8-35 3-11 2-10 23-94 M 37-16 7-1 13-4 79-31 L 22-5 8-1 5-1 57-4 N 4-0 0-0 1-0 8-1 3. TO DEVELOP THE INNER CHARACTER OF STUDENTS SO THAT THEY CAN MAKE SOUND, CORRECT MORAL CHOICES T 1-23 0-5 4-11 0-32 G 6-17 4-11 1-8 6-66 M 27- 16 10-3 10-5 46-44 L 32-10 4-0 9-2 96-24 N 4-4 1-0 0-0 23-7 4. TO TRAIN STUDENTS IN METHODS OF SCHOLARSHIP AND/OR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, AND/OR CREATIVE ENDEAVOR. T 3-35 0-8 2-10 9-57 G 13-31 3-9 6-15 35-85 M 39-6 9-2 13-1 73-23 L 16-0 7-0 1-0 44-4 N 1-0 0-0 O-O 4-1 5. TO PRODUCE A WELL-ROUNDED STUDENT, THAT IS ONE WHOSE PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, MORAL, INTELLECTUAL AND ESTHETIC POTENTIALITIES HAVE ALL BEEN CULTIVATED. T 1-22 0-5 1-11 3-77 G 8-28 4-8 4-8 7-57 M 37-14 4-6 14-6 48-30 L 24-7 10-0 3-0 89-5 N 1-0 1-0 O-O 23-2 6. TO ASSIST STUDENTS TO DEVELOP OBJECTIVITY ABOUT THEMSELVES AND THEIR BELIEFS AND HENCE TO EXAMINE THOSE BELIEFS CRITICALLY. T 1-17 1-6 2-9 1-36 G 4-36 1-9 1-11 7-80 M 30-10 8-4 11-5 38-37 L 31-7 7-0 8-0 89-13 N 4-1 2-0 0-0 33-5 7. TO MAKE SURE THE STUDENT IS PERMANENTLY AFFECTED (IN MIND AND SPIRIT) BY THE GREAT IDEAS OF THE GREAT MINDS OF HISTORY. T 1-16 0-3 1-5 2-14 G 4-20 0-7 0-7 9-51 M 25 - 24 4- 9 9 - 9 43- 60 L 32-7 11-0 7-3 95-34 N 4-1 4-0 3-0 17-10
If we analyze the seven aims listed above, it is clear that as far as the respondents are concerned, we have not been providing the type of education that the members of our academic community desire. It is significant that, with the exception of the seventh aim and to some extent the third, more than two-thirds of each group felt that these aims were of either top or great importance in terms of what we should be doing. While the very nature of these aims might suggest to any respondent that he ought to be in favor of them, it should be observed that there is a consistency of response by all groups and that the third and seventh, worthy though they may be, did not elicit the same support as the others (a fact which might have been predicted in view of the College's educational emphasis). It is interesting that the trustees and alumni, the group least close to the daily activities of the College, were the most optimistic regarding the current operation of the educational program and that the members of the administration, who might be expected to express similar optimism, were of essentially the same mind as the faculty and student body.
F A T/A S 8. TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO GO INTO GRADUATE WORK. T 0-11 0-2 0-1 5-16 G 10-32 1-11 3-1 26-60 M 44-28 12-5 13-16 90-72 L 18-0 5-0 4-5 42-14 N 0-1 0-0 2-3 5-5 9. TO EMPHASIZE UNDERGRADUATE INSTRUCTION AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GRADUATE PROGRAM. T 10-13 1-1 3-5 7-28 G 28-17 13-7 9-10 67-69 M 25-28 3-10 9-5 70-46 L 6-8 1-0 1-4 13-14 N 0-3 1-1 1-1 8-9 10. TO EDUCATE TO HIS UTMOST CAPACITIES EVERY HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE WHO MEETS BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION. T 2-26 1-6 4-13 10-42 G 16-19 5-9 6-5 33-55 M 38-12 7-2 6-2 76-51 L 11-11 6-1 5-4 38-9 N 4-3 0-0 2-2 5-8 11. TO ACCOMMODATE ONLY STUDENTS OF HIGH POTENTIAL IN TERMS OF THE SPECIFIC STRENGTHS AND EMPHASES OF THIS COLLEGE T 0-7 1-1 2-3 12-8 G 7-21 4-9 8-8 58-41 M 42-29 9-8 6-7 77-79 L 20-11 3-0 6-6 17-31 N 2-3 l-0 0-1 2-9
In the four aims listed immediately above, we begin to see a divergence of opinion and some inconsistency. While the respondents appear to believe that students should be encouraged to go into graduate work, a surprising number are not particularly in favor of accommodating the type of student, namely one of high potential, who might be expected to continue with advanced training. In this connection, it is interesting to note that the students believe that we have been more selective than we ought to be, while both the faculty and administration believe we ought to be more selective. Within this category are also some aims of a more general nature:
F A T/A S 12. TO SERVE AS A CENTER FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF NEW IDEAS THAT WILL CHANGE THE SOCIETY, WHETHER THOSE IDEAS ARE IN ENGINEERING, SCIENCE, LITERATURE, THE ARTS, OR POLITICS. T 1-23 0-4 1-3 1-55 G 1-20 0-10 0-7 9-78 M 25-15 4-4 9-8 37-30 L 33-11 12-1 10-7 92-9 N 10-2 3-0 2-1 32-2 13. TO KEEP UP TO DATE AND RESPONSIVE. T 2-40 2-12 1-13 4-73 G 12-26 0-6 9-11 23-82 M 40-3 11-1 13-2 62-12 L 14-3 5-0 0-0 66-2 N 4-0 1-0 0-0 14-0 14. TO MAINTAIN TOP QUALITY IN ALL PROGRAMS IN WHICH WE ENGAGE. T 2-39 1-9 3-14 13-83 G 21-25 5-7 10-6 52-76 M 36-7 9-1 8-4 82-9 L 12-1 3-1 1-0 19-0 N 0-0 1-0 1-2 2-0 15. TO MAINTAIN TOP QUALITY IN THOSE PROGRAMS WE FEEL TO BE ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT (OTHER PROGRAMS, BEING, OF COURSE, UP TO ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS. T 2-22 0-9 2-13 18-46 G 20-29 8-9 13-10 65-77 M 41-15 8-0 6-3 74-36 L 5-2 2-0 1-0 8-6 N 2-0 0-0 0-0 1-1 16. TO CARRY ON PURE RESEARCH. T 0-6 0-0 0-0 1-8 G 2-18 2-7 1-3 19-41 M 24-33 5-9 7-10 75-83 L 41-8 10-3 15-12 64-26 N 3-6 2-0 0-1 7-9 17. TO CARRY ON APPLIED RESEARCH. T 0-4 1-1 1-2 G 14-32 4-10 3-5 M 41-32 8-8 13-15 L 16-3 6-0 5-3 N 1-1 0-0 0-0 18. TO KEEP THIS PLACE FROM BECOMING SOMETHING DIFFERENT FROM WHAT IT IS NOW; THAT IS, TO PRESERVE ITS PARTICULAR EMPHASES AND POINT OF VIEW, ITS "CHARACTER". T 8-2 2-1 1-1 47-8 G 23-9 9-4 7-6 78-23 M 25-19 3-3 9-8 24-40 L 12-24 4-10 4-5 12-52 N 1-16 0-1 1-6 3-45
Perusal of aims 12-18 and their corresponding responses indicate that, in general, most of those answering the questionnaire were of the opinion that WPI has not been current in its attitudes. The administration and student body were particularly critical of the College's interest in keeping up to date and were most inclined to regard it as endeavoring to maintain its present attitudes. Fortunately, with the exception of a fair portion of the alumni who might understandably wish to preserve the college they knew in a form they would recognize, the college community appears to be clearly in favor of a more responsive attitude. It is also worthy of note that the faculty and student body are less in favor of maintaining top quality in selected programs (rather than in all areas) than the administration and alumni. Here, one might expect that fear of being part of a less important program influenced the vote of the first two groups; while department heads saw in the notion of top quality selected programs the opportunity to obtain additional support for their own programs; and the trustees saw in that same notion the opportunity to reduce budget figures by supporting fewer programs on a maximal basis.
As far as research is concerned, it is clear that applied research is regarded with greater favor than pure research, an answer not unexpected. The student body, being less acquainted with research, was inclined to rate the importance of research lower--here, it would be interesting to ascertain if their responses reflected in any way a fear that, with greater emphasis on research, the quality of instruction might deteriorate.
II. OBJECTIVES INVOLVING THE ROLE OF THE STUDENT IN THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS OF THE COLLEGE.
F A T/A S 19. TO INVOLVE STUDENTS IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COLLEGE. T 0-5 0-0 0-2 1-26 G 4-21 0-3 3-8 9-75 M 30-34 9-12 10-11 48-55 L 34-9 10-4 8-4 92-10 N 4-3 0-0 3-0 19-4 20. TO PROTECT AND FACILITATE THE STUDENTS' RIGHT TO ADVOCATE DIRECT ACTION OF T A POLITICAL OR SOCIAL KIND. 0-10 0-0 1-2 0-27 G 6-15 1-4 1-4 7-56 M 34-27 11-12 12-12 37-62 L 24-15 4-1 8-8 86-21 N 5-3 1-0 0-0 40-4 21. TO PROTECT AND FACILITATE THE STUDENTS' RIGHT TO INQUIRE INTO, INVESTIGATE, AND EXAMINE CRITICALLY ANY IDEA OR PROGRAM IN WHICH THEY MIGHT BECOME INTERESTED. T 2-17 0-2 0-2 2-58 G 8-28 5-12 5-11 24-78 M 32-21 4-4 11-11 61-32 L 26-3 7-1 5-2 69-3 N 2-1 1-0 0-0 13-1
The responses to the three aims above are more revealing than a cursory glance at the figures would indicate. Only the administrative responses show some concern over the role of the students in the government of the College, a role which has been exclusively their own. As far as objectives 20 and 21 are concerned, there appears to be universal agreement that the twenty-first is much to be preferred. Again, there is a need for further investigation of the responses to these two goals--is there a lack of interest in political and social problems facing our society, or have the words "political" and "social" acquired connotations of an undesirable nature to the college community? Have the recent disturbances on other campuses and in other communities influenced the responses to aim twenty? Finally, does the overwhelming interest in increasing the importance of goal twenty-one on the part of the faculty and student body reflect a desire for a different type of instructional procedure than is practiced currently? These are important questions which must be investigated thoroughly by the Planning Group when the students and faculty return in the fall of 1969.
III. OBJECTIVES INVOLVING THE ROLE OF THE FACULTY IN THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS OF THE COLLEGE.
F A T/A S 22. TO INVOLVE FACULTY IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COLLEGE. T 0-22 0-3 0-4 1-42 G 9-27 4-10 4-7 13-89 M 38-18 6-5 13-14 71-36 L 23-3 8-0 6-0 72-2 N 1-0 0-0 0-0 9-2 23. TO PROTECT THE FACULTY'S RIGHT TO ACADEMIC FREEDOM. T 6-38 3-5 4-6 G 25-22 6-9 4-6 M 34-8 7-3 11-11 L 6-4 2-0 2-2 N 1-0 0-0 0-0 24. TO MAKE SURE THAT ON ALL IMPORTANT ISSUES (NOT ONLY CURRICULUM), THE WILL OF THE FULL-TIME FACULTY SHALL PREVAIL. T 0-20 1-2 0-1 G 7-20 2-8 4-6 M 36-25 8-8 11-14 L 23-3 6-0 6-2 N 4-3 1-0 1-3
In spite of protestations to the contrary, it is clear that no group believes that the faculty's role in the government of the College has been a strong one. Here, even the administration would strengthen that role. As far as academic freedom is concerned, only the alumni and trustees seem reluctant to assign greater importance to the protection of this right for the faculty. Is this reluctance the result of the faculties' roles in campus demonstrations elsewhere, or is it an expression of concern for the good name of the College, in case some member of the staff espouses a cause not popular politically or socially with the community at large?
Objective 24 could open a Pandora's box of issues, and while it is clear that the faculty wish to play an important role in decisions effecting the College, it is also to be noted that a larger portion of this group assigned only medium importance to this goal than might have been expected.
IV. ATTITUDES ABOUT THE COLLEGE IN GENERAL AND OPINIONS REGARDING CRITERIA FOR FACULTY EVALUATION.
The questionnaire included a group of items designed to tell us something about ourselves as individuals in terms of our academic attitudes. First, let us consider those items addressed to the faculty, administration, and alumni.
F A T/A 25. TO DEVELOP LOYALTY ON THE PART OF THE FACULTY AND STAFF TO THE COLLEGE, RATHER THAN ONLY TO THEIR OWN JOBS OR PROFESSIONAL CONCERNS. T 3-11 1-2 3-9 G 12-30 1-12 5-13 M 35-24 7-2 13-3 L 17-4 8-1 1-0 N 3-0 1-0 0-0 26. TO MAKE THIS A PLACE IN WHICH FACULTY HAVE MAXIMUM OPPORTUNITY TO PURSUE THEIR CAREERS IN A MANNER SATISFACTORY TO THEM BY THEIR OWN CRITERIA. T 3-5 0-2 0-1 G 13-27 1-5 3-1 M 32-26 13-10 13-16 L 18-8 5-2 4-5 N 5-6 0-0 2-3 27. KEEP COSTS DOWN AS LOW AS POSSIBLE THROUGH MORE EFFICIENT UTILIZATION OF TIME AND SPACE, REDUCTION OF COURSE DUPLICATION, ETC. T 0-9 0-4 4-13 G 8-33 0-7 3-11 M 36-28 11-8 12-2 L 23-0 7-0 4-0 N 3-0 1-0 0-0 28. TO MAKE SURE THAT SALARIES, TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS, PERQUISITES, AND PRIVILEGES ALWAYS REFLECT THE CONTRIBUTION THAT THE PERSON INVOLVED IS MAKING TO THE FUNCTIONING OF THE COLLEGE. T 0-11 0-5 0-8 G 11-39 2-11 6-12 M 38-17 9-3 15-5 L 18-3 6-0 0-0 N 4-1 2-0 0-0 29. TO MAKE SURE THAT SALARIES, TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS, PERQUISITES, AND PRIVILEGES ALWAYS REFLECT THE CONTRIBUTION THAT THE PERSON INVOLVED IS MAKING TO HIS OWN PROFESSION OR DISCIPLINE. T 1-11 0-5 2-5 G 4-32 4-9 4-10 M 41-22 11-4 12-10 L 21-3 2-0 1-0 N 2-2 1-0 1-0
For the following two items, the faculty and administration were asked to rate their responses in rank order, with 1 meaning the most preferred, and 4, the least preferred response. The sets of four figures appearing in the tables below list the number of individuals rating each item as 1, 2, 3, and 4.
F A 30. I GET MOST OF MY INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION FROM: On-campus colleagues 20-16-19-8 8-3-5-1 Professional associates elsewhere 16-16-21-9 4-5-2-6 Periodicals, books, etc. 25-26-9-3 5-3-5-5 Groups in the community 8-5-12-38 1-6-5-5 31. IF MY WORK WERE TO BE JUDGED BY A "JURY OF MY PEERS," I WOULD WANT THAT JURY TO BE MADE UP MOST OF PERSONS DRAWN FROM: Persons employed at colleges in academic and/or administrative capacities 12-19-24-9 5-3-10-0 On-campus colleagues, associates 23-27-11-4 7-6-3-2 Professional associates (here and elsewhere) 27-14-17-5 5-9-4-0 People whom I respect in the community 5-5-9-45 1-0-1-16
While the response to item 25 might suggest that the faculty and administration were exhibiting natural caution in assessing the importance of loyalty to the College, the fact remains that a significant number of the respondents felt that little importance has been attached to loyalty to WPI, even though it clearly should be of substantial importance. Even the alumni and trustees indicated that more emphasis should be placed on this item.
It is not surprising that in consideration of the twenty-sixth goal, the trustees and alumni regarded the pursuit of the faculty careers in a manner satisfactory to the faculty by their own standards as an objective of far less importance than its predecessor. The faculty, too, was less interested in this goal, with some misgivings that it might lead to a sort of intellectual anarchy.
The twenty-seventh aim, regarded universally as a goal to be desired, is apparently of little importance now. It is significant that members of the administration, those most able to rectify the situation, were the least content with our current cost practices.
Items 28 and 29, which were placed far apart in the original questionnaire, have fairly close sets of responses, suggesting that by contributing to his own profession, the faculty member is contributing to the proper functioning of his college. What is of interest is the general agreement that faculty compensation has apparently not been based on such contributions. This response might well have been anticipated in view of the overwhelming support given by the faculty in the spring of 1968 to a faculty tenure proposal with its emphasis on a thorough review of the performance of each faculty member.
It is in the last two items, however, that the faculty and administration show their provincialism--there is a natural but regrettable tendency to prefer judgment from one's colleagues and, in spite of our proximity to other colleges, less dialogue between us and our colleagues elsewhere than there should be. And finally, it is clear that our general community relationships are social, at best.
Before turning to the students specifically, let us consider the matter of faculty evaluation, an item which all respondents were asked to answer. The questionnaire listed some of the more commonly mentioned criteria and asked each person to indicate how important each should be: very important, important, or of little importance. In the table of responses below, three numbers appear for each group, indicating the number of responses for each category of importance in the order listed above.
F A T/A S 32. Teaching performance 63-8-0 19-0-0 26-0-0 159-6-0 Publications 14-45-12 3-14-2 3-15-6 5-57-101 Honors received 6-43-22 1-12-6 0-13-12 8-63-93 Student evaluations 10-47-14 4-13-2 4-17-5 81-78-5 Service to the community 3-39-29 1-13-5 1-13-10 11-88-65 Total effectiveness in working with students 54-17-0 19-0-0 23-3-0 155-6-3 Ability to secure research grants 5-28-38 1-10-8 2-14-10 6-58-97 Research accomplished 17-44-10 8-10-1 5-15-6 7-89-67 Research potential 7-43-20 1-15-3 2-17-7 12-94-57 Committee and other administrative service 5-53-13 0-12-7 3-20-2 25-95-40
This table needs less comment than other tables of responses, inasmuch as the importance of good teaching is so clearly paramount. It is interesting, although not surprising, to note that the relevance of student evaluations is not regarded with the same universal enthusiasm. Finally, service to the community, even though a fair number of the faculty are actively involved, is obviously not considered to have much importance.
Members of the Planning Group had been talking with students since their appointment regarding WPI's general instructional procedures. In an effort to obtain a more representative response, the following items were included in the student questionnaire: (The sets of 2 numbers indicate the number of "IS" responses followed by the number of "SHOULD BE" responses.)
T G M L N 33. TO INCREASE THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDEPENDENT STUDY OR SPECIAL PROJECT WORK. 4-41 16-89 58-34 76-8 16-0 34. TO REQUIRE ALL STUDENTS TO HAVE A MINOR, AS WELL AS A MAJOR. 1-10 4-27 25-36 60-43 75-52 35. TO HAVE FULL-TIME PSYCHIATRIC COUNSELLING FOR ALL STUDENTS. 1-33 2-32 4-49 48-36 110-17 36. TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PROJECT COURSES. 3-11 5-50 65-75 78-22 11-5 37. TO ALLOW THE STUDENTS TO TAKE EQUIVALENCY EXAMINATIONS IN ORDER TO WAIVE REQUIRED COURSES. 2-37 5-70 22-47 78-10 56-5 38. TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF COURSES PER TERM FROM 5 TO 4. 4-27 4-36 21-29 50-25 85-50 39. TO ABOLISH ALL GRADES AND REPLACE THEM BY A DOSSIER ON EACH STUDENT, CONTAINING COMMENTS BY HIS IN STRUCTORS ON HIS PERFORMANCE IN EACH COURSE. 1-29 2-30 6-28 28-28 129-57 40. TO GO ON A TRIMESTER OR QUARTER SYSTEM. 3-17 3-24 3-16 27-29 126-81 41. TO ABOLISH EXAMINATIONS GIVEN BY THE FACULTY AND REPLACE THEM TO TWO SETS OF COMPREHENSIVE EX AMINATIONS, ONE AT THE END OF THE SOPHOMORE YEAR AND THE OTHER, AT THE END OF THE SENIOR YEAR, WRITTEN, ADMINISTERED AND GRADED BY SCHOLARS NOT CONNECTED WITH WPI. 1-5 1-15 4-25 23-28 138-98 42. TO IMPROVE THE ADVISORY SYSTEM WITHIN THE MAJOR DEGREE DEPARTMENT. 3-46 15-63 44-38 72-11 24-7 43. TO PROVIDE FOR A GREATER NUMBER OF LIBERAL ARTS COURSES. 3-50 13-60 64-38 67-11 23-13 44. TO BECOME A GENERAL UNIVERSITY. 4-21 3-23 17-26 50-29 90-71 45. TO ABOLISH ATTENDANCE IN CLASSES AS AN ACADEMIC REQUIREMENT FOR ALL COURSES. 6-71 11-38 10-22 59-20 81-15 46. TO PLACE ALL COURSES, NOT IN THE STUDENT'S MAJOR DEPARTMENT, BEGINNING WITH THE SOPHOMORE YEAR, ON A PASS-FAIL BASIS. 1-31 2-44 14-32 66-25 83-40
Before subjecting the array of responses to careful analysis, it should be noted that three of the student respondents are either totally ignorant of our educational structure or else were unable to resist the temptation to allow whimsy to replace serious objectivity. One has but to note the "is" response array to see that top importance is given to several items not now in practice. There is always the danger that the reviewer read more into the responses than he should, but it might be that these somewhat irregular results reflect the frustration of the respondents to problems about which they feel keenly.
The most striking reaction to the questionnaire on the set of items above is the students' lack of confidence in either themselves or their instructors. Item 41 which would provide for assessment of each student by those who would not know them personally met with little enthusiasm. If the word "scholars" had been replaced by "faculty" or "professionals", there is little likelihood that the figures would have been altered significantly. The fact remains that having had a semester, at least, to learn the foibles of each instructor, the students appear to believe that their chance for a better "grade" lies with the men they have come to know well.
In spite of the current interest in our minors program, it seems that this interest is confined to a small group of students, for the results of item 34 showed no marked interest in a required minor. Here, of course, the word "required" may have sounded the tocsin for this goal. There is the possibility of an inconsistency of response to items 33 and 36, for there would seem to be less interest in increasing the number of project courses than in increasing the opportunity for special project work or independent study. One inference that might be drawn would be that students want independent study, yet if this is the case, they are unaware of the level of performance that such study demands and its close correlation with item 41.
The relatively even distribution of replies to the "should be" columns of question 39 suggests that the students were not certain of what was involved; some, who are apt to get good grades, were probably opposed, while others, who find grades difficult to come by, might have considered this approach to be highly desirable.
Responses to items 33, 35, 42, 43, 45, and 46 were not surprising to members of the Group in view of the discussions which they held with the various living groups on the campus. The students are looking for a "liberalization" of their course programs without, in some instances, being certain of what such a liberalization involves. Nevertheless, there is a clear-cut dissatisfaction with overemphasis on grades and class attendance and a desire for more independence in study and project work. In this connection, the evaluation of the College's general attitude toward rules is worth noting:
47. DESCRIPTION OF THE RULE-ATMOSPHERE AT WPI: I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THERE ARE ANY RULES AROUND HERE. PEOPLE SEEM TO DO AS THEY PLEASE. 3 IN GENERAL, A GOOD DEAL OF LAXITY IS PERMITTED COMPARED TO WHAT I KNOW OF OTHER PLACES. 19 THE RULES ARE RESPECTED, THOUGH EXCEPTIONS ARE PER MITTED WHEN PROPER. 49 THE RULES ARE VERY IMPORTANT. EXCEPTIONS ARE VERY RARE. 49 THIS REALLY A RULE-EMPHASIZING PLACE, PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING GOES "BY THE BOOK." 44
Finally, it can be said that the student body who responded were realistic in their evaluation of where responsibility for decisions of importance to the college should rest:
VSP SHMI SHMODI SHLI* 48. AREA OF DECISIONS Educational policies 77-6 85-86 11-68 0-12 Faculty personnel policies 50-4 74-40 41-72 5-57 Financial affairs and capital improvements 4-2 35-11 106-90 27-70 Student affairs 4-111 47-54 89-7 33-1 Public and alumni relations 3-1 35-34 97-94 37-44
*(Faculty responses listed first, followed by student reponses)
The questionnaires did not reveal any unsuspected characteristics of any group on the campus. The Group regrets that a larger portion of the faculty and student body did not respond, for it is impossible to determine whether the lack of response represents indifference to the operation of the College or an unstated desire for the status quo. Fortunately, the Group was able to probe further through discussions with living groups and the faculty, and it will be imperative for their successors to maintain a constant dialogue with both sets of individuals as the ultimate choice of educational goals is determined.
* VSP: Views should prevail. SHMI: Should have much influence. SHMODI: Should have moderate influence. SHLI: Should have little influence.
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