50th Anniversary Project-2014

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History 302: Wilderness and Man, the Class Re-Creation, and Context for Future Humanistic Endeavors

This is an on going project–one that our project team started as a way to show the (pro/re)gression of the university, and for me, it was a way to get better at using the University Archives.  Dr. Caroline Boswell, Abby Tobias-Lauerman, and myself are all co-project managers. This project also began as a secondary study of the 50th Anniversary of UWGB, as there was already a designated 50th Anniversary Committee on campus. They’re working on an interactive timeline to engage the public, and it’s going to be great. Our project aims to provide a bit more narrative context, as well as make a public project that could display the roots of the university and can offer a bit of a step-stool for potential criticisms for our origins and our future. And it’s going to be great, and worthwhile, and more people should know about it.

Caroline and I started off wanting to re-create one single class from the 1970s as a way to potentially demonstrate how UWGB has changed over time (but we didn’t want to be biased!)–so we’re not saying if it has or hasn’t changed (but it has). Our first task was picking a class, and after looking through syllabi from the ’70s we decided to look more closely at a course that was taught during that time period and was also a current course in Humanistic Studies–History 302: Wilderness and Man.

A gem from the Fourth Estate Archives

Practically, this was also the best option for us because we are physically and thematically trying to stay as true to the 1972 version of the class as well, and we have an historian who teaches the current version of the course (Dr. David Voelker), as well as another historian who is acting as the Professor of the class (Dr. Eric Morgan). He has previously taught a course on the 1970s and has an invested interest in representing how student apathy/engagement has become a problem at UWGB. This is going to be a study of the course from the 1970s, and also afford an opportunity to demonstrate a student sit-in that occurred in the Chancellor’s office (!) Well, this is the plan, anyways.

Humanistic Studies was somewhat of an obvious choice for us to research within because we are invested in representing how the majors that were Analysis Synthesis (an unfortunate abbreviation–I assure you), the evolution of funky “concentrations,” the abandonment of programs, and the investment in others were altered due to curriculum change. This investment in the humanities is especially poignant, with the current proposed budget cuts, and the clearly misguided opinions of some public officials. To sum it up, we wanted to give an example of how we’ve improved our university within Humanistic Studies–and pose the question: Where are we going, and should we look back to try and emulate the original ideals of the university?

Some of our research became a bit sidetracked because we also started to look into curriculum change, and discovered A LOT of detailed reports that show the bureaucratic “necessities” for the changes. For example: students could explain their “major” which was actually called a “concentration” until they were blue in the face–and their potential employers were hesitant to accept that vocabulary as truth. Hence, the shift from awesome fake sounding accreditation to something more standardized–like majors and emphases.




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