Mayhew Report: Appendix H

ONE CO-OPERATIVE VENTURE: THE COLLEGEOF SAINT BENEDICT - SAINT JOHN'S UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC EXCHANGE PROGRAM

Sister Firmin Escher*, Department Meetings Begin, 1963. On March 21, 1963.

Beginnings. In March of 1963, representative faculty members from Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota and the College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minnesota constituted a Steering Committee to discuss plans for developing an Academic Exchange Program. Some cooperation had begun some ten years earlier in the Sociology. Art and English Departments, but the program was a small one and was used for emergency measures predominantly.

Background of Institutions. Both Colleges have similar backgrounds and are conducted by men and women of the same religious order, namely,  the Order of Saint Benedict. This fact gives the two colleges a common bond, a common spirit, upon which to develop a cooperative program. The short distance between the two institutions, only four miles, is another favorable factor. That one college is for men, the other for women, provides a complementary quality which is regarded as a strength. One institution has excellent library and science facilities; the other, extraordinary fine arts facilities.

Many questions occupied the meeting time of the members of this first committee as it attempted to find ways to interest both faculties in developing a cooperative program; i.e., Why should there be duplication of faculty departments? When upper-division courses have small enrollments, why should both colleges offer the same courses? Do both institutions need to offer the same majors?

The chairman of departments from both colleges convened to become acquainted with the idea. After a general meeting, the chairmen met on a departmental basis and then returned to the total group with suggestions and recommendations concerning their particular discipline.

These departmental recommendations were reviewed by the Steering Committee. A list of courses along with the names of faculty members who would be teaching on both campuses developed.

A questionnaire was circulated to faculty members of both campuses to determine the measure of interest in a more expanded cooperative plan. Since the response was favorable, the two registrars were advised to schedule the classes and receive registrations. The presidents and business managers arranged such matters as faculty salaries, tuition and transportation.

In that first trial year, the program offered upper division courses in some departments to students of both campuses to increase enrollment in these classes and to share experienced professors. Students traveled to the neighboring campus in most cases; the professor sometimes taught on the neighboring campus and took his students with him, if the enrollment warranted it. It was recommended that there would be mutual agreement by both chairmen of a like department concerning any cooperation within a department.

A tuitional figure for a credit hour was agreed upon and an exchange of actual tuitional dollars occurred at the end of each semester. A faculty member, teaching on the neighboring campus, received one-third or one-fourth of his salary from that institution depending on the number of credits taught. Transportation was arranged to accommodate the number of students who traveled between campuses. The schedule of joint classes was a fairly simple one in 1962-63.

In the second year of cooperation, simplicity began to change to complexity. About 70 students from both colleges were registered in fifteen different classes in each semester of the academic year 1963-64. The class period was identical on both campuses. This created difficulties for the student since he needed to be free on his home campus both before and after his scheduled class on the neighboring campus. Scheduling classes became more difficult. Transportation needed to be smoother. The time of vacations on both campuses required an identical calendar. Some departments were waiting to see how, the program would develop before attempting to be a part of it. The most successful, part of collaboration thus far was faculty exchange. Though the program was growing, there were still knotty problems.

Cooperation advances, 1964-65. In 1964-65, more students were traveling between campuses, more departments were cooperating in the program, more faculty were teaching in two colleges. The first combined major developed during this year was Communication and Theatre. A student pursuing this major was required to take major sequence courses on both campuses, but the degree was conferred by the college in which the student is formally enrolled. The offerings of both campuses here printed in the Bulletin of each school.

The Bulletin, 1964-66 published during this year, described the CSB-SJU Academic Exchange Program as fo11ows:

A program of cooperation exists between Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict. Students from either school may elect courses from a list of shared offerings approved by the administration and the department chairmen of both institutions. The program permits some sharing of faculty and facilities.

Since there is a mutual recognition and approval of the offerings of the two institutions, a student may major or minor in a course of study on the neighboring campus, which is not offered on the student’s home campus. The degree is conferred by the institution in which the student is formally registered. Examples in point are majors in political science and theology and a minor in psychology, areas of study at Saint John’s University that may be pursued by students enrolled at the College of Saint Benedict.

The Communication and Theatre sequence is an interinstitutional major, requiring students to fulfill requirements by taking specific courses on both campuses. The offerings of both institutions appear in this Bulletin.

Summer Study Committee, 1965. During the summer of 1965, a committee of six faculty members, three from each college, was asked to study the cooperative program and to make a report and recommendations to the presidents and faculties of the colleges. These committee was called the Joint Summer Study Curriculum Committee; the title is important since it suggests that the program began to take on wider responsibilities.

Committee members limited their deliberation to three areas of concern:

1)      The Non-academic Aspects of the Exchange Program
2)      Curriculum Study
3)      Honors Program

The recommendations presented to the presidents and faculties at a Joint Faculty Orientation meeting in September, 1965, are printed here as direct quotations from the Report and Recommendations of the Summer Study Curriculum.

Concerning the Non-Academic Aspects of the Exchange Program:

Recommendation 1: That the two colleges provide an adequate, that is regularly scheduled, form of transportation between the two campuses, and that this transportation be shared by both colleges, each responsible for its part of the expense and operations.

Recommendation 2: That the two colleges set up coordinated class schedules: specifically, the College of Saint Benedict will begin its classes at ten minutes to the hour and end them twenty minutes to the hour: Saint John’s will begin it’s classes on the hour and end them at ten minutes to the hour.

Recommendation 3: That the two colleges adopt an identical calendar for the academic year: identical as to the dates for the beginning and ending of each semester, for all holidays and vacation periods, and for examinations.

Recommendation 4:

Part i -That the two colleges collaborate in publishing a joint announcement of courses, no later than 1967-1968.     

Part ii -That the two colleges request all of the respective chairmen of like departments to continue to make arrangements for further academic exchange during the academic year 1965-66, and thereafter, i.e., joint departmental course offerings, joint course descriptions, same credits (units), etc.

Part iii -That for its joint announcement of courses, the two colleges should adopt a new course numbering system, one clearer and more flexible.

Recommendation 5: That the two colleges arrange for a joint committee for major convocations: it would begin its functioning with the major convocations program for the two colleges for the academic year 1966-67.

Concerning Curriculum Study

Recommendation 6: That the presidents appoint separate committees charged with the responsibility of drawing up and presenting to their respective faculties by the end of the academic year 1965-66 the plans for a revised curriculum to be put into effect not later than the academic year 1967-68.

Part i -This curriculum will incorporate a distribution plan for satisfying general college requirements.

Part ii -This curriculum will be based upon a student course load of four, at most five, full courses (units) in any one semester.

Recommendation 7: That the two colleges plan to adopt by the academic year 1967-68 a revised divisional structure.

Recommendation 8: That the two colleges agree to adopt the following admission requirements. In addition to any already in effect: two high school years of foreign language, a CEEB achievement test in English; and two other CEEB achievement tests.

Recommendation 9: That the two colleges should encourage their respective Theology departments of other institutions for the development of a qualifying test to be included among those administered by the Educational Testing Service.

Concerning the Honors Program

Recommendation 10: That the presidents appoint a Joint Honors Council, with three members from each of the colleges, charged with the responsibility of drawing up and presenting to the faculties by the end of the academic year 1965-66 the plans for a curricular honors program to begin during the academic year 1966-67, as the first step toward a full program.

Curriculum Change. At the joint faculty meeting in September, 1965, the recommendations were accepted, and both colleges appointed curriculum committees to begin serious work toward a closer cooperative program.

During the next two years, there were occasional joint meetings of the curriculum committees. Each college developed its study to meet its specific needs but there was always present the awareness of the needs of the cooperating college.

In March of 1967, both faculties agreed to adopt a 4-1-4 calendar to go into effect in September of 1967. This development called for a joint Course Bulletin with each college printing its own General Information Bulletin. The chairmen of the academic departments reviewed all offerings of both colleges and chose a common course description wherever possible and chose a common course description wherever possible. The registrars worked out a common numbering system for courses.

Other Shared Activities. At the present time, the two colleges conduct the Faculty Orientation Program jointly. Consultants for academic development are frequently shared. The freshmen orientation program is a common experience for the students of both campuses. Student organizations are cooperative in many instances.

Facilities are shared wherever possible. Enrollment in courses in the Academic Exchange Program has doubled over the last year with approximately 270 students from each college participating. New faculty members are hired after consultation with the chairman of the departments concerned. A bus travels from one campus to the other at every hour during the school day. A joint campus calendar informs students and faculty of activities and cultural events.

Though there are academic areas in which more cooperation can be developed, much progress has been made during the past four years. Several departments are very close to being one department, following the lead of the Communication and Theatre Department.

In other areas, cooperation likewise flourished; the admissions office have a close liaison between them; the registrars must necessarily plan all course lists, scheduling, and registering jointly.

The January Term in 1968 will be fully coordinated. For all practical purposes, the colleges will be one school, one faculty and one student body.

Planning the Next Step. The latest development in the cooperative program is an intensive study of institutional cooperation at every level within two colleges supported by a foundation grant. A faculty-administration committee has been appointed to work with consultants whose background and experience will assure an objective analysis of the present situation and future prospects, and whose recommendations can be implemented by both colleges for the betterment of liberal education.

The venture which began in 1963-64 has grown sizably in a short span of years and it is with a note of optimism that the faculties face the future in attempting the develop a stronger liberal arts program through cooperation.

*Sister Firmin Escher is the Academic Dean of College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minnesota.