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Funny... I don't feel dead! If you've forgotten JMC - You weren't there!

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* Michigan State University's first, most experimental, and most innovative residential college *


In your opinion, what is the value of a residentially-based living and learning experience? In thinking about a residential requirement, do you think 1 year? 2 years? Other?


Two years, but show flexibility for each person - 1-3 might work as well.:

- David Brigode (Student: 1969 - 1973):


In my opinion, the "residentially-based living and learning experience’ was an important component of the JMC experience. Going to class together and living together with fellow JMC students gave us a shared experience which permitted and promoted bonding and adjustment to a "foreign environment" far quicker than the broader student body. Having our classes together in the same building where we lived gave us far more opportunity to learn from each other as well as our faculty. It truly contributed to the small liberal arts college atmosphere within the broader university that many of us were seeking and it made this Texan’s adjustment to Michigan far easier. My recommendation would be two years residential requirement to cover the basic college requirements and until the student begins their "field of concentration" within the broader university.:

- Paul M. Buehrle (Student: 1969 - 1973):


The value of having a residentially based living and learning experience, in my opinion and experience, was to provide myself with a sense of belonging to a group of students, faculty, staff and college. In comparing notes with high school friends who were also attending Michigan State University, but not in Justin Morrill College, it seemed that as a freshman I had a higher and more personal sense of belonging and was not just "a number" in a mass of people. Seeing faculty in the halls, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, walking the halls, seeing them in the office made it much easier to approach them with concerns, questions and interaction. Few, if any MSU students in 1965 had an opportunity to eat a meal with a faculty member, much less the Dean of a college. Being able to get up in the morning and go directly to a class in the dorm was a great feeling, and again provided a connective ness with room and building mates, as well as providing other opportunities to meet people from all walks of life. Being in a living and learning environment also allowed me to learn about the greater campus around me, and to slowly integrate the larger world into my life. Coming from a very small town in Michigan where everyone knew everyone else and attending a large University such as MSU, Justin Morrill College helped me to move into the larger world in many different respects, mentally and physically.:

With respect to a time frame for a student to be involved in a living and learning experience, I would say that it would be a minimum of two years. Two years provides an opportunity to learn the ropes of the larger University, form life long friendships, and to appreciate the faculty. I am not sure that in today’s world one could keep students together legally, and realistically, for much longer than a two-year period. I know of Justin Morrill College students who remained in Snyder/Phillips for their entire college experience, and I know that they had wonderful experiences from the interaction with lower level students, as well as continue interaction with faculty and staff.:

- Dennis Hall (Student: 1965 - 1969):


If my JMC experience weren't enough (it is!) to convince, my daughter's experience at Preston College at the University of South Carolina surely would: the foundation a residential college provides in the rich (some might say over-rich) university environment is crucial to development. I favor a two-year residency requirement. My daughter moved out of Preston after one-year and consequently has less intense ties to that program than mine are to JMC.:

- Mark Harris (Student: 1973 - 1977):


Certainly the major benefit is becoming part of a community. I found hat living with classmates encouraged out-of-class discussions of the courses and the college, which made the coursework more meaningful to our lives, and also made the courses themselves richer. I think this was particularly effective in a college with a creative and cultural focus like JMC.:

I'd advocate requiring 1 year of residency and strongly encouraging a second resident year.:

- Steve (Taggart) Johgart (Student: 1973 - 1975):


Two years.:

- Leonard Kaufmann (Student: 1967 - 1969):


At a large university such as MSU, a residentially-based living and learning experience is valuable in creating a peer group with an academic/intellectual orientation. There are so many other peer groups that are attractive to young freshmen (social, athletic, etc.) that may be counterproductive to the university’s academic goals. In my experience, JMC provided a nurturing faculty and peer group whose values and standards were mainly intellectual. :

I believe that a one-year residential requirement would be valuable in establishing the student as a member of the community with a continuing four-year program. I don’t know what the residential requirement is for MSU students today, but it shouldn’t be substantially more restrictive for the proposed college.:

- Carl Koivuniemi (Student: 1965 - 1969):


The value of living with the people in your classes is enormous, especially on a campus the size of MSU. Being able to discuss your professors and classwork while living and eating in the same place that your professors had their offices was just the perfect setting for me. My high school class graduated 69 people. The transition from a small rural community to the nurturing community of JMC was extremely helpful. I think you need at least two years in this residential atmosphere to receive maximum benefit.:

- Suzanne Levy (Student: 1965 - 1969):


At a minimum, two years. I can see arguments for it being the first two years (an initial high-school-to-college transition, before someone is prepared to declare a major area of study), or the period after one has settled on a major, or course of direction. In the latter, this would prove invaluable for preparation for the next stage of learning in either professional or academic training. Of course, these are two very different approaches; the former is intended to provide a broad-based, multi-disciplinary learning environment, while the latter is intended to be highly intensive in a particular course of study. The original JMC concept really resembles the first, but that limits the scope of the answer to a more general question.:

- William McGarvey (Student: 1966 - 1971):


I would think 2 years-1 would not accomplish much. The value was the intensity of the educational experience--being able to take classes with some of the same people and develop personal as well as academic relationships--the advantages of the big university in a small intimate setting. I would not have been at MSU except for JMC; other schools I applied to were generally much smaller. There would have been NO reason to pay OUT OF STATE tuition to attend MSU.:

- Joe Milkes (Student: 1967 - 1971):


Ideally, 4 years. 2 year minimum.:

- Pamela Oestreicher (JMC Faculty: 1976 - 1978):


It establishes a feeling of community. You learn from others not only in the classroom, but within the dorm. I think this is especially valuable for students having their first out of home living experience. In a way it forces one to learn to get along with and work together with people who may be quite different, but also allows you to practice these skills with the same group of people over time. I think it helps build skills that will be valuable working on committees, teams, and groups in the future. :

In thinking about a residential requirement, do you think 1 year? 2 years? Other?:

I think it was two years when I was at JMC, I think 1 year is probably sufficient to seed the benefits of residential living & learning.:

- Cleo Parker (Student: 1974 - 1978):


Two years is a good length - by then, the students have a good sense of self and enough independence to move into the campus in general. :

The program should allow career paths in addition to graduate school. I finally left JMC to go into social work - a career path which I did not fit and within which I was miserable until I returned to graduate school and got a Masters in Hospital Administration. :

However, my career issues had a lot to do with career choices open to women in 1972. My preference was to go into the USIA, but my test was graded down due to gender discrimination which I found out about in 2000.:

- Kathryn (Pinkus Cohen) Reiss (Student: 1968 - 1971):


A residential college setting facilitates the forming of acquaintanceships that speed and intensify learning.:

East Lansing area freshmen should be able to live at home and commute. All others should reside on campus, preferably in the college, until they attain sophomore status. The college should set as an objective the creation of a community that will prove attractive to students through their first two years.:

- Charles K. Roberts (Student: 1966 - 1970):


1 year of residential as a REQUIREMENT is enough.:

- Nancy R. Shaffer (Student: 1972 - 1975):


At least two years; the first year is exploratory and a time for adjusting and settling in.:

- Deborah Sirotkin Butler (JMC Student: 1966 - 1970):


It creates the advantages of a small college at a large university: better knowledge and closer relations with faculty, greater ease of developing a group of friends with similar interests, greater involvement of students in college life and governance, easier dealings with administration, less alienation.    :

- John Stick (Student: 1971 - 1975):


It was extremely beneficial to live with the same group of students that I was in class with. We shared many of the same experiences in class, it was easy to have small convenient work/study groups, and professors / teachers were accessible to the students, including being able to have lunch with them to continue discussions, etc.:

I feel that two years is a good length for this requirement. One year would be better than none. But it should be the first year or two of participation in the program.:

- Darlene Swartz-Hubsky (Student: 1969 - 1973):


At least two years is necessary to develop the sense of community that is such an important part of the experience.:

One of the main values is the ability to interact and learn with people in the same program. A problem I saw in most other dorms at MSU was that the only thing the students in them had in common was what they did on weekends. The sense of belonging to a community of students/scholars was one of the most important things I got from JMC.:

- Robert Walter (Student: 1969 - 1974):


In my opinion the MSU 'living / learning' concept was sound, and the implementation of a discrete residential setting for Justin Morrill College was a critical aspect of the JMC experience. I find it hard to believe a creative and flexible liberal arts and sciences program can be sustained without the 'sense of community' a central residential context provides.:

A curriculum focused on individual inquiry and learning puts a great deal of stress on young people - many of whom are 'testing themselves' for the first time in an open environment. The examples and support provided by living in a community of peers with similar interests are critical to fostering the confidence necessary to effectively learn how to learn.:

NOTE: The fact that JMC was a College unit with its own complement of core faculty extended the 'residential' concept (at least during the days) to include access to teachers as well as fellow students. This mitigated the otherwise daunting stresses of pursuing a degree in a university as large as MSU. Ready access to core staff within the same building as most of the student population completed JMC's status as a 'community'.:

I recommend that students in such a program be subject to a residency requirement of no less than 2 years. One year is too little to foster the 'sense of community' I found so critical in my JMC experience. Third and fourth years should be available, but not mandatory. This admittedly relates to the fact I believe a modern descendant of a JMC program should be structured in two layers - an intensive 2-year basic breadth and skills development phase (from which a student could lateral into the University) and an optional 3rd / 4th year phase for customized personal curricula (field / foreign study; field of concentration, etc.).:

- Randy Whitaker (Student: 1969 - 1973):


I feel the biggest plus about a residentially-based living and learning experience is the fact that you live amongst the students with whom you attend classes. I was in the French language program in JMC, and even though most the students I knew didn't actually speak French to each other in the dorm as was ideally expected, it was definitely a good thing to have your fellow classmates as roommates, neighbors and dorm mates. It helped us get together and study with each other and I feel it definitely aided the learning process in all classes. I think 2 years should be the minimum residential requirement, but 4 would be better.:

- Larry Wickett (Student: 1965 - 1969; ongoing JMC experience til 1976):


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