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

An academy for wandering minstrels
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* Michigan State University's first, most experimental, and most innovative residential college *


How would you envision an international or global component of JMC for today?


Voluntary (financially) assisted placement in another culture for 3-6 months.

- David Brigode (Student: 1969 - 1973)


I would still require an independent study, field study or foreign study experience. This requirement, along with foreign language, is more important today due to the global economy and increased foreign travel. I would also provide more classes on foreign arts, cultures, history, religion, etc. to better prepare students for lives and careers internationally.

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


I believe that students need to be challenged with the new language skills they have acquired during college courses, which means that they should not be placed into dormitories in another country with other Americans because the language spoken will be English. Students need to be put out into families (or situations where they are not living with other English speaking people) in the country of their new language where they will encounter daily life, and have to put their new language skills to the test to survive. Whether they are doing volunteer work for the Peace Corps, or in an educational setting, or working in a corporate/business situation, it must be set up so that the students are using the newly acquired language and not relying upon English.

- Dennis Hall (Student: 1965 - 1969)


Study abroad is one very popular way to add international aspects to a program. But that alone seems to me to be insufficient. I like exchanges, as well as the pre- and post- travel seminars that were a hallmark of the JMC Field Study requirement. I traveled only in the US, but I know that the significance of my experience wasn't fully apparent to me until the post-seminar. It's the reflection that really makes the growth possible.

- Mark Harris (Student: 1973 - 1977)


Unfortunately, today's JMC student might have to an apologist for US cultural and commercial imperialism. Anything positive would have to involve building bridges.

- Leonard Kaufmann (Student: 1967 - 1969)



  • A language requirement, with an intensive option.
  • A large selection of courses with an international perspective.
  • A senior requirement that pulls together the student’s four-year experience in a global/international context.
  • A requirement and opportunities for cross-cultural living experiences.

- Carl Koivuniemi (Student: 1965 - 1969)


I would require a semester abroad, be it academic or work related. You have to learn that the US is not the center of the universe and that we have to appreciate other cultures. I would still require mastery of one foreign language and I would encourage courses in the cultures that speak that language, with emphasis on third world cultures.

- Suzanne Levy (Student: 1965 - 1969)


I'd say appropriate field opportunities (and not mere tourist activities like museums and beaches) that engage students in a meaningful, nay, "mini-Peace Corps" set of activities where learning more than just language skills is the object - that's a concept I'd endorse.

- William McGarvey (Student: 1966 - 1971)


Semester abroad could be good adjunct or even a year abroad; possibly more classes based on international issues, cultures, etc.

- Joe Milkes (Student: 1967 - 1971)


What an opportunity! The meaning of international cooperation in a world characterized by schisms and terrorism. Specific regional foci, with language and cultural components. Cross-border foci, with multiple language and cultural components. Trade and finance. Military policy. The role of international organizations, both political and financial. The possibilities are endless.

- Pamela Oestreicher (JMC faculty: 1976 - 1978)


I think a language requirement would be good; one that required some proficiency, not just a couple of classes. The field experience I definitely think should be cross cultural. They allowed work experience at the time I was there and I don’t think those students got the same value.

- Cleo Parker (Student: 1974 - 1978)


If the new residence college does not tie foreign study to two-year language proficiency, then I would simply recommend offering an interesting multi-disciplinary survey course of foreign cultures and contemporary issues.

I lived in Germany for five years around and among Americans who spoke no German and could barely order a beer in a gasthaus. For the most part they were indifferent or poor ambassadors for our country.

Next month my wife — whom I met in Germany — and I will spend two weeks in Germany and Switzerland with friends of thirty years or more. (My wife is a German linguist.)

To have lasting value the study of foreign cultures requires the ability to speak and read the language.

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


Students should have campus experiences in other cultures and they should have the intensive language work.

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


It would be wonderful if international study and travel could be incorporated into the program. However there are so many considerations with safety in travel, terrorist activities, not to mention expense, that I wonder if it should be mandatory.

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


One part of JMC that does not get a lot of mention these days was the requirement that students spend one quarter/semester on an independent study or field study project. For many, that meant a semester abroad using the language skills they developed at JMC. If there is a global requirement, language proficiency must be a part of it. You cannot understand a culture if you don’t speak the language.

- Robert Walter (Student: 1969 - 1974)


In its espoused emphasis on international / global outlook, JMC was clearly ahead of its time. The need for inculcating an awareness of international context, perspectives, and issues has only grown since the 1960's.

The 'international outlook' promoted at JMC's beginning was pursued in a number of ways: foreign language instruction; classes emphasizing foreign cultures and history; the option of a full term's foreign study within the curriculum itself; and sponsored events (speakers, etc.) providing insight into international topics. I still see all these approaches as reasonable in fostering student awareness on a global scale.

In particular, I see the opportunity for foreign study (not just travel - but travel with an objective) as the single tactic most potentially lucrative (in terms of learning).

Ironically, I see foreign language study as the approach least guaranteed to foster an awareness of things beyond our borders. For example, one could learn and employ Spanish without ever needing to grasp culture, history, or current issues in Hispanic nations. I consider exposure to foreign language an important aspect of a liberal education, but not necessarily an aspect identical with or subsumable within a theme of international outlook.

In today's more vocationally-oriented undergraduate context, an opportunity for practicum or project-oriented work involving international factors (whether or not conducted overseas) would be a good way to link the goal of international outlook with practical experience likely to be of use in a career.

- Randy Whitaker (Student: 1969 - 1973)

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