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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 83, Number 1 (Nov. 1981)

Wineke, William R.
Religion is "in" on campus,   pp. 19-27


Page 20


You are invited to submit names of
UW-Madison alumni for consider-
ation as recipients of the Wisconsin
Alumni Association's 1982
Distinguished
Service Awards.
Winners are chosen by our Recogni-
tion & Awards Committee. Criteria
are professional achievement and
credit to this University through
Alumni Association citizenship.
Awards are presented on Alumni
Weekend.
Please give reasons for nominations.
(Attach additional sheets if neces-
sary.)
WAA
Distinguished Service Awards
650 N. Lake St.
Madison 53706
Getting Them In
Continued from page 13
lot of them actually flourish! They're the
ones who've had more than our minimum
requirements to build on. They've trained
themselves in high school not to wait for
someone to come to them to give help.
   Mr. White: Yes, it's the self-sufficient
students who flourish here, and if they have
to wait till they get here to learn to be that
way, they're probably not going to be all
that successful. It's something they have to
pick up in high school or earlier by challeng-
ing themselves so that they know their abili-
ties, they know what their study habits will
produce for them.
   Just getting through registration here is
a taste of the tough life in the real world (al-
though we don't set up roadblocks for the
sake of setting up roadblocks). We have
students who come in and say, "I can't pos-
sibly register; I don't know how. I can't
make it from Point A to Point B." That's
the kind of student who will have trouble in
a class of 250 if he or she doesn't soon be-
come self-sufficient enough to take com-
mand of his feelings and proceed academi-
cally.
   Mr. Bosworth: Some high schools have
picked up on "Preparation for College" and
other such materials, and are offering a
course in which they talk about values and
self-sufficiency and rules. I think it's a good
thing.
   Of course, not every high school that
 sends us students is prepared to train them
 in all those ideal skills. There are very good
 high schools and there are less-good high
 schools. It may not be the fault of the fac-
 ulty, but of lack of resources. Maybe they
 can't offer trig and advanced algebra in the
 fourth year, for example. So some of the
 kids are disadvantaged for reasons over
 which they have no control.
 his talk of the "disadvantaged" led
        me to an observation that has been
        made frequently in recent years by
faculty, employers, and certainly by me as I
see writing attempts by students, sometimes
up to the Ph. D. level. They can't write! They
can't organize their thoughts; they don't
check their facts; some of them can't put to-
gether a simple declarative sentence. They
haven't learned how, often because their
teachers never learned how, particularly
those who graduated in the last decade or
two. It was my rather crotchety suggestion
that it is high time the University went back
to demanding that allfreshmen take English
composition. ("You could hand the chan-
cellor your check to support that," someone
offered.) My remarks led to this from Mr.
Kellesvig: Somehow, in high schools and
universities, faculties have come to look at
their discipline as their sole concern, free-
ing them from any responsibility to teach
reading and writing. But the fact is that to
rely on an English department to teach
communication to all the students is asi-
nine! That's the responsibility of every fac-
ulty member. And until we grasp this fact,
we're never going to improve the students'
abilities.
   Mr. Vinson: This is on a different sub-
ject, but I think we should remind parents
and young people of the cycles in popularity
of various fields. They follow business
trends, and they certainly influence the
choice of majors. Right now, teaching is at
a rather low ebb. The starting salary-in
Sun Prairie they recently settled the con-
tract-is around $12,000; the highest, for a
Ph.D. with fifteen years' experience, is
$25,000 locally. On the other hand, the av-
erage engineer is starting at around
$18,000. And have you heard what the law
graduates are going out at? From some of
those eastern schools they're starting at
$40,000! And the pure-science people-
you can't keep them on a faculty. Students
follow these trends, which means that
we've had engineers coming out our ears
around here so they've had to start closing
the doors. Health-related fields are very
popular, as is business. But-back to the
high school basics-chances of getting into
our School of Business without a year of
calculus are fairly remote unless the student
shows an innate ability to move along with
the material.
   Mr. Bosworth: There's another point to
make. I've heard faculty members in some
disciplines-chemistry or math, for exam-
ple-say that they're less concerned with
how much of that subject the new student
brings here as they are with whether he or
she has been taught how to think. Now, I
don't mean to undermine our points about
the necessity of getting the basics of a
planned major while in high school, of
course. What I'm saying is that if high
schools can teach their students how to
think critically-how to be analytical, how
to synthesize a body of material-these
people will be better prepared for any ma-
jor. So high school teachers should be
aware that it may not be as important to be
able to name all the Presidents in order or
to give the causes of the War of 1812 as it is
to be able to figure out where to find those
facts. Such skills, I think, are even more
lacking in high school students than are the
substantive skills.
   Mr. Vinson: That kind of learning is not
necessarily fun, but it broadens every
student's horizons.
   Mr. White: And that added dimension
has become increasingly important. I
wanted to be a history teacher when I en-
rolled here, but that was at a time when
there were a lot of history teachers around.
My advisor suggested I take a double ma-
jor. So I chose zoology because I'd had a
taste of it in high school. Well, when I grad-
uated, the only job that showed promise
was as a zoology teacher; I took it. The next
year I was able to move into history, but I'd
have been out of luck had that been my only
strength.
20 / THE WISCONSIN ALUMNUS


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