Administration revives old plan,
CAP Scholars disaprove
the past few months, the General Education Working Group, along
with the administration, has been working to develop a general
education curriculum. On Oct. 6, Chancellor Ringeisen requested
a change in the current Capital Scholars Program in order to
admit four-year general education students into the program.
August, Karen Moranski, director of the Capital Scholars Program
and the General Education Working Group said: “We are not
calling them Capital Scholars, and they are not being admitted
under the CAP NEPR. That’s the purpose for developing the New
Program Request is that this will be a different body of
students with a different curriculum, so that the Capital
Scholars Program will be separate.”
Apparently, even Moranski, the director of the program, was
unaware that the administration was planning to admit general
education students under the name Capital Scholars despite the
dissatisfaction of the current CAP students.
The current CAP students came to this campus under the
assumption that they were part of an integrated, team-taught
core curriculum for first- and second-year students in a
living-learning community. They are not happy that the
reputation of the program they have worked hard to help develop
is being threatened.
a forum on Jan. 21, the Capital Scholars made it clear that they
were not satisfied with the administration’s plan to expand the
CAP Program because the plan threatened to diminish the
program’s quality and reputation. The Capital Scholars were not
happy with this plan in January, and they are most certainly not
happy with it now.
an interview with The Journal in April, Chancellor Richard
Ringeisen said: “We would never do anything to diminish the
reputation of that program. … If we need to name people, we’ll
figure out a way to do that so that everybody’s happy. I think
that the current Capital Scholars ought not to worry so much
about that particular issue.”
The Capital Scholars have been largely left out of the planning
process that has unfolded over the past several months, leaving
them with little choice but to trust that the faculty and
administration would act in their best interests. After the
Capital Scholars took the chancellor at his word and tried not
to worry about the issue, the administration ultimately
developed a plan that is not much different from the one they
proposed in January.
Most of the
Capital Scholars would probably agree that admitting general
education students is a positive move for this campus. However,
if the administration wants to add this new group of students in
a way that will make everybody happy, then they’re going to have
to do more than revive a plan that the Capital Scholars were
unhappy with when it was originally proposed.
The people that
will be hurt the most from this decision are the students. If
this matter is not resolved before the first class of Capital
Scholars graduates, it will threaten the hard work these
students put into completing the honors curriculum. Capital
Scholars graduating before an official honors program is
established would receive no special designation, despite having
followed the same interdisciplinary core curriculum that is
likely to be used for the honors program.
Until the CAP
Program is expanded to include general education students, an
interdisciplinary core curriculum and mandatory residency in a
living-learning community will remain essential components of
the program’s identity. These components will most likely become
a part of the identity of the CAP honors program, but will
disappear from the identity of the CAP Program as a whole. Once
the CAP expansion takes place, the interdisciplinary nature of
the curriculum that this year’s CAP graduates will complete will
not be reflected in the name of their program.
administration needs to work with student input to find a
compromise to this situation before the first class of Capital
Scholars, the ones with the most to lose by this decision,
graduates this spring. Whether they change the name of the
current Capital Scholars, change the name of the general
education students, or find another solution, the administration
needs to act to prevent this identity crisis before it begins.
Life after elections:
Ways to fill the void
the time you read this, at least in theory, the “Brigadoon”-like
craziness that appears every four years known as the
presidential election year will have come to a close. Late last
night – I hope, I hope, I hope – the voters made their
preference known and we will know who will be leading our
country for the next four years.
As many people
have pointed out, the election cycle is one that keeps getting
longer and longer; a year ago at this time, I was planning my
trip to Iowa to help out with the caucuses. A year ago, John
Kerry looked like a long shot, Dick Gephardt still had a career,
and Clark bars were a political statement. For many other
people, this election season has lasted even longer than that.
marathonesque campaign period breeds obsession with the process.
Access to 24-hour cable news, C-SPAN and the Internet bring me
speeches and polls and analysis any time that I want it. And to
me, as I suspect for a number of other news junkie Americans, it
feels like I haven’t thought about anything except politics
since sometime in late 2003. I made excited, 7 a.m. phone calls
to (angry) friends to alert them that Edwards was the chosen
running mate. I’ve been fixated on 1970s typewriter font faces.
And I even watched the anticlimactic roll call ballot of the
states at the conventions.
But sadly, now,
it has all come to an end. The three ring, addictive, circus
that is a presidential election year won’t start back up in
earnest for another two years or so. As a warped form of public
service, I suggest some ways to fill your time:
LEARN TO KNIT – Start some early, inexpensive, but heartfelt
holiday gifts for your loved ones. Bonus points for anything
more complicated than potholders.
GET ADDICTED TO REALITY TV – Now that cable TV will have to
go back to that lame, non-election stuff, pick from the
multitude of trashy reality shows available. My personal
favorite: “Laguna Beach” on MTV. So terrible, but you just
can’t look away.
VOLUNTEER SOME TIME – Maybe you got used to long hours at a
campaign office during the cycle. Fill the inevitable void
by continuing to donate your time. Visit the Office of
Student Volunteers and Service Learning in SLB 22.
START THAT COLLECTION – Everyone wants that great collection
of “priceless” stuff on their mantle – you’ve got to get
that going now if you want it to be impressive. Silver
spoons from tourism hotspots? Geological wonders? Precious
Moments figurines? Start saving now.
BASKETBALL SEASON – The best sport of them all starts back
up almost as soon as the election ends. Support the men’s
and women’s Prairie Stars here on campus, and keep an eye on
the Illini as they start their drive toward March Madness. (Oskee
Or, if you just can’t let it
go – you could always start speculating on candidates for the
next go-round. Hillary? McCain? Obama? Frist? I know, I know…I
can’t wait for 2008, either!