books, golf,
and calendars
Perhaps no curriculum issue in Wake Forest’s modern history
has excited more prolonged and intense—and widespread—dis-
cussion than occurred during the two months of the 1973 fall term
just before a scheduled faculty vote on whether the University
should continue the 4–1–4 calendar, with its controversial winter
term. Old Gold and Black devoted long articles to the subject, often
with front-page headlines: a coverage akin to what in other times
might have been given to proposed policies about dormitory life or
to a suggested rewriting of the student government’s constitution.
Old Gold itself took a clear editorial stand in favor of the winter
term, and two-thirds of those students who responded to a news-
paper poll also gave support. But fifty-seven faculty members signed
a petition in opposition, and in a series of interviews that Old Gold
conducted with professors deep divisions were evident. Selected
faculty comments suggest some of the underlying concerns and
some of the prevailing uncertainty. On the positive side: “students
benefit from a month of intense study… without pressure of grades”;
a student has a “better chance for a broad education than under the
old system”; greater “flexibility and enrichment” are possible. On
the negative side: “it’s hard to find a course that will attract students
and still be academically respectable”; “students just aren’t prepared
[in four weeks] to do something really creative”; “I’m not sure the
gained equals the lost.” In the middle: “I’m sort of sitting on the fence.”
At the October faculty meeting two faculty members spoke in
support of a majority committee recommendation that the 4–1–4
calendar be continued: John Earle from the Department of Sociology
and Peter Weigl from the Department of Biology. Two others made an
chapter eight
Books, Golf, and Calendars
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