Date: Sun, 24 Sep 1995 09:44:17 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: Gen Ed Linguistics


Sorry I didn't answer your earlier request on LINGUIST. I was out of town.

General Education Linguistics at MSU

A few years ago, the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State

Univertisty started a Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and

Humanities (parallel to Centers in other Colleges). Part of the 'mandate'

for these Centers was to provide a series of General Education courses

(options and requirements). The full general education requirements are

relatively arcane, but one of the options for a '2nd-level' course in the

Arts and Humanities area (to be taken after the 'basic' course, essentially

one in history) is one called 'Themes and Issues: Roles of Language in

Society.' It has been fully enrolled (300 students) every semester it has

been offered (now in its third year), a perhaps surprising fact since it is

one of several courses students might select.

The course meets twice a week for lectures and films or other activities

appropriate to the entire group and once a week in sections of 25 with 3

TA's (12 sections, 4 per TA) for discussion and for group and individual

'collection projects.'

The course 'belongs' to the Center but was proposed and is staffed by

Linguistics faculty, and the TA's are Linguistics graduate students.

The course is also identified as one which helps meet a requirement that

some of the general ed courses taken have a multicultural component.

Within Linguistics, we distinguish between a general survey 'Into to

Language' and an 'Into to Linguistics.' The former, although it does not

satisfy the specific general education requirements of the Centers courses,

can be used for various elective plans and is popular. (We usually offer

two sections per semester, and each easily reaches 50 or more enrollment. A

quarter- or half-time TA is assigned to each faculty member who teaches

this course.)

It is, by the way, simply an accident of history that Linguistics at MSU is

in the College of Arts and Letters.

Hope this helps.

Dennis Preston