the eleventh
president:
his first year
In Retrospect |
37
I have always loved learning. Therefore, it distressed me to
discover that many of my classmates were not learning in response to
curiosity, but were plowing through required major and distribution
classes obsessively focused on the grades they were earning with
which to apply to graduate school. Similarly, many of my professors
were teaching required classes with no room left for their personal
research interests or more current topics. Therefore, I decided to try
to increase the love of learning and teaching for its own sake: no
fees, no salary, no grades. I approached at least one highly-regarded
professor in each department and invited each to teach something
new, for fun, in the early evening, one night a week during the spring
semester of my junior year (1968). Not a single professor turned
down the opportunity. They located their own meeting places. I
persuaded the library to purchase new books as reserved readings
for each class. With my own money, I printed registration booklets
with course descriptions and posted registration notices around
the campus. Over 1,000 students registered! That week Dr. Scales
picked up Old Gold and Black and discovered that he had a new
college in his university. The spring of my senior year, I organized
an experimental college with a new array of classes. Nearly 1500
participated. A classmate, Dr. Paul Orser, later became Associate
Dean at Wake Forest and helped to establish Freshman Seminars
which echoed this structure. When my daughter, Kelly, arrived in
1997 she was able to participate.
I decided to Chair “Challenge ’69: the Urban Crisis” because I
wanted to expose some of the best educated people of my genera-
tion to the worsening problem of urban poverty and to inspire them
to address that problem in their careers or civic activities after col-
lege. For the speaking fees, printing, and mailing expenses, I raised
over $60,000. Some was from student organizations. The largest
in retrospect
The Experimental College and Other Memories
By Norma Murdoch-Kitt, née Murdoch (B.A., 1969)
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