Primary tabs

Western Washington State College: A Close Look (1972)

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]
  • You hear all sorts of reasons advanced
  • as to why the young go to college.
  • That they do so to get a better job
  • is very frequently advanced, That they
  • do so because everybody's doing it is very frequently advanced.
  • That they do so to get a husband is frequently
  • said about females.
  • That they do so to avoid the draft
  • was commonly said in the '50s and '60s.
  • But if you talk to entering freshmen, what they want to do
  • is to learn.
  • If there's a quality that I think all humans
  • possess it is the desire to know.
  • And it's an obvious quality in the smallest child.
  • I think we lose some of the sharpness of that need,
  • maybe because of the environment that we grow up in.
  • I think maybe sometimes our educational system
  • doesn't keep it as whetted as it should.
  • But I think it's still there.
  • The stimulation that you're talking about
  • comes in many different ways.
  • But it basically comes from, as I see it, a professor
  • being willing to be open about what he cares about
  • and to care about it in some kind of communicative way.
  • [MUSIC PLAYING]
  • The style and quality of your doctoral research
  • are known to us.
  • And you're being hired in the beginning for that reason.
  • Now whether you are generally educated
  • enough and dedicated enough to teach freshmen only time
  • will tell.
  • And until such a discovery is made,
  • we will not entrust a freshman class to you.
  • [MUSIC PLAYING]
  • You are aware that sex was invented at Berkeley in 1964.
  • [MUSIC PLAYING]
  • It is certainly distressing me to think
  • of an entire educational apparatus in which a faculty
  • member or a student can't sit down over a cup of coffee
  • or in his office and carry on a 30 minute
  • to an hour's conversation.
  • One of the things that I found most compelling when
  • I came here for an interview was the notion
  • that I was sitting there in faculty member's office,
  • and a student came up and had precedence.
  • And I thought that was a very good thing.
  • I don't really know of a faculty member or an administrator who
  • is against having students come in to see him.
  • The president of the institution has
  • students coming in constantly.
  • And I think it goes throughout the entire institution.
  • I think it has a very open attitude about it.
  • Today's college students seems, from whatever cause,
  • are to be desperately afraid of being accused
  • of a lack of sophistication.
  • And, of course, to confess that you
  • don't know where College Hall is,
  • you don't know how to find room 131 in College Hall
  • once you do get there, and you're not aware
  • that you're in the wrong section of the wrong course
  • after you sit down in the room and listen to it, to confess
  • these things seems to call for more of a strength of character
  • than a great many college students possess.
  • Western has a number of resources for students
  • who come to Western.
  • And the Counseling Center is one of these resources.
  • There are a number of different kinds of student services
  • on the campus.
  • For instance, there is a draft counseling agency on campus.
  • There is sex information.
  • There is also a CCM, which is the Campus Christian Ministry.
  • There are opportunities for exploration
  • of one's self in a group setting within the Counseling Center,
  • and also through some of the dean's activities.
  • These resources I think can help that student too
  • to examine what his possibilities are in terms
  • of career, examine what his possibilities are in terms
  • of a major here at Western.
  • And so the Counseling Center tries
  • to zero in on these kinds of problems
  • and these kinds of concerns that most students have
  • when they get here.
  • Colleges in the past have had of rigid requirements
  • that you needed to take before you could graduate.
  • And sometimes it's set up rather ridiculous situations.
  • I remember sitting through a psychology course
  • once in which they devoted a great amount of time
  • to the discussion of dating practices.
  • I was married.
  • My wife was eight months pregnant at the time.
  • And this was brought about because I had transferred
  • from one college to another.
  • And, as a senior, I had to go back and pick up a freshman
  • psychology requirement.
  • Is Western that rigid?
  • No, I think that Western, compared
  • with several schools with which I've been familiar,
  • is considerably less rigid.
  • And, in fact, the college now offers several programs
  • in which he can tailor his own individual program
  • to his particular needs.
  • It's as though he were writing his own catalog
  • for his own degree.
  • One of these is the Honors program.
  • Another one is the Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies.
  • And the third example is the student faculty designed
  • interdisciplinary major.
  • This is perhaps the freest example of all.
  • Here, the student, in consultation
  • with faculty members, devises a program made up
  • of courses out of different departments
  • that will meet his particular vocational needs
  • or his particular interest of an academic nature.
  • Then he can draw really upon the resources
  • of the entire college.
  • In fact, all of the departments at Western, plus the three
  • cluster colleges.
  • Yes.
  • This, I presume, is to help him make a major that
  • is more relevant to him?
  • Yes.
  • The rationale for the cluster college program
  • at Western in the first place was the advantages of smallness
  • and the possibilities of intimate contact.
  • I think David ought to talk about that.
  • Talk about the way in which Fairhaven
  • is able to operate by reason of its different administrative
  • arrangements, limitations of size, et cetera.
  • Fairhaven is, in some sense, dedicated
  • towards non-competitive excellence.
  • We're trying to look for just those kinds of stimuli which
  • will bring forth the notion of excellence
  • for excellence's sake.
  • Excellence because it is a delight.
  • Excellence because there is joy in solving an equation
  • or painting a painting, not because that
  • means that you're going to get an A,
  • or jump ahead of the next guy, or stand
  • on top of the heap for this brief moment in time,
  • but because there's something very special,
  • something very human, that that excellence gives you.
  • So that-- I don't know.
  • That phrase kind of sums up at least the-- one
  • element of the fervor that I see in Fairhaven.
  • It's a place where there is a tremendous amount
  • of opportunity to do almost anything that you want.
  • That freedom is a very dangerous thing.
  • And I think we're pretty cognizant of that.
  • But, at the same time, there are many students
  • who can flourish under that kind of freedom who couldn't
  • flourish anywhere else.
  • Herb, what about the College of Ethnic Studies?
  • At Western, we have four disadvantaged minority groups.
  • We have Chicanos.
  • We have Blacks.
  • We have American Indians.
  • And we have Asian-Americans.
  • Now, it is not intended that the College of Ethnic Studies
  • draw all the students from these minority groups, or even
  • a majority.
  • Furthermore, it is not intended that what
  • I shall call whites, for want of a better term,
  • to be excluded from the College of Ethnic Studies
  • there's a large component of whites.
  • What is intended is to address ourselves
  • to the ethnic minorities in the United States.
  • Take one example, drawn on almost at random: History.
  • I doubt that one history book on the United States,
  • in five, devotes so much as three pages to the American
  • Indian,
  • save insofar as their commentaries
  • on the Indian Wars.
  • The College of Ethnic Studies is attempting
  • to weave a skein of very colored cloth
  • to reflect the fact that the United States
  • population, in fact, is a collection of minorities, not
  • one majority, and that one majority having
  • exclusive right to the educational process
  • and to the interpretation of what education ought to be.
  • Jerry, what about Huxley?
  • Well, Huxley was conceived as a way
  • of providing focus upon the matter
  • of environmental sciences.
  • It, I think, was the first environmental science college.
  • If not the first one, or the very first,
  • and it actually was developed before the current enthusiasm
  • for matters environmental developed as a great surge
  • in this country.
  • Now the basic thesis having to do with the cluster colleges
  • is, one, smallness.
  • The advantages of that, we've already mentioned it.
  • But, beyond that, I think most importantly is to give them
  • freedom to develop.
  • The comments about Fairhaven, the idea
  • there is to give it freedom.
  • Now, the founding fathers of any such program
  • have in mind a particular image.
  • But they also recognize that as you bring people
  • into the program, that image will
  • change as the people therein define it, or redefine it.
  • And, as you give them freedom, such change
  • is inevitable and necessary.
  • Huxley was generated to provide focus
  • to the environmental science area.
  • And they were given the freedom to do this in ways
  • that the people who then came into the program conceived it.
  • [MUSIC PLAYING]
  • I don't know if colleges had technology
  • departments for a long time and I've just
  • been ignorant of them?
  • Or is the concept of a technology department something
  • fairly new?
  • Well, for a long time, they recalled
  • Departments of Industrial Arts.
  • And that brought forth the image of working with wood and metal,
  • and that was about it.
  • And the modern definition of technology
  • has a long way from being simply working with wood and metal,
  • that it's a varied, very complicated area.
  • And I suppose that it's more like engineering
  • used to be than it's like what industrial arts used to be.
  • What kind of things might you do?
  • What kind of courses might you take
  • in the technology department?
  • Well, let's begin not with the course
  • but with an enterprise in the technology department.
  • They're now producing a relatively pollution-free
  • automobile, which has been entered in competition,
  • has survived several winnowings of that competition,
  • is now in the top 10 in the nation,
  • and is the only one in the top 10
  • which is not being produced by a university
  • with a school of engineering.
  • It's really amazing.
  • They have solved problems, engineering problems,
  • associated with this car that apparently defied solution
  • at some of the major engineering schools in the country.
  • In part, I suspect because we did not
  • have some of the elaborate equipment that they had.
  • It might also be that we didn't know they couldn't be solved.
  • Yeah.
  • The campus is all torn up now.
  • And it seems to me that it's been torn up
  • for the last five years one way or another almost all--
  • You mean physically or otherwise?
  • Physically.
  • Physically.
  • Physically.
  • Because you keep making the library larger.
  • Yes.
  • Why do you do that?
  • Well, my opinion, and I think the opinion of most of us
  • in the institution, there are three basic components
  • in building excellence in an institution.
  • You've got to have all three.
  • You start off with students.
  • They're supplemented by faculty and by library.
  • Now, if you, in fact, have a poor library,
  • you cannot talk about excellence.
  • Starting about five years, six years ago,
  • we had found that our numbers of acquisitions-- that is books,
  • journals, and such--
  • have increased many, many fold, much more
  • rapidly than has the actual enrollment increased.
  • For example, in terms of journals,
  • I think six years ago, we had something like 800--
  • subscriptions to about 800.
  • I think today we have some 3,800.
  • I might also point out here that I
  • believe that Western Washington State College Library is open
  • more hours per week right now--
  • has been for years--
  • than any other library in the state of Washington.
  • My hope is that we will get the current facility filled almost
  • overnight and be, again, caught up in the press
  • to add to the library.
  • Western is a different kind of school
  • where you can educate yourself with a little help
  • from your friends.
  • Whether you come here to find out where your head is,
  • or if you already know where you're going,
  • chances are you'll find what you need.
  • Western is a big part of Bellingham.
  • And what is Bellingham?
  • Well, it's a town that's big enough
  • to be interesting and small enough
  • so you can move around in it comfortably on foot, by bike,
  • or car.
  • There's water everywhere.
  • The bay, with the beautiful San Juan Islands,
  • Lake Padden, Lake Sammamish, Lake Whatcom,
  • and a special place on Lake Whatcom called Lakewood.
  • It's owned by the Associated Students
  • for their use to sail, canoe, swim, whatever
  • water sports they like.
  • The Chamber of Commerce says you can
  • go from sea to ski in one hour.
  • Well, you may not want to be boating in Bellingham
  • Bay at noon and skiing on Mt.
  • Baker by early afternoon.
  • But you could do it.
  • All kinds of housing in Bellingham.
  • Off campus, there is everything from very nice apartments
  • to what might best be called turn of the century revisited.
  • On campus, there are many different kinds
  • of living facilities.
  • One of the best--
  • Ridgeway Dorm-- won a National Architectural award
  • for its design.
  • If you want some of the things bigger cities have to offer,
  • Seattle is only about 90 minutes away.
  • And Vancouver, Canada is less than an hour from Bellingham.
  • There's a good environment around Western.
  • It helps to make the college a good place to live and learn.