Message from Bill Plater

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    Hi everybody. We missed Mike and Vern last week, I trust all is well. In barest summary, the conversation Friday centered on how to continue to gather personal stories and resources that have come forward in the class, in some yet to be determined structure. There are always fragments and pieces that seem relevant, and just what to do with them and ourselves is at issue. Anyway, I mentioned that Bill Plater sent me a response after I sent him the ‘ed reform manifesto’ wondering if he knew who wrote it. He didn’t but did send a quick summary of outcomes at the U of I in subsequent years, to the extent he knew them.

    See his comments, copied below. I also think that Anita interviewed him several years ago about this.
    Thanks to all for all.

    -Paul

    [message from Plater follows – he said it was fine to share this back to you]

    On 9/22/2020 11:36 AM, William Plater wrote:
    Thanks, Paul. Quite a remarkable document–a lot remains the same despite the passing of nearly 50 years.

    I might have been part of a group working on the document but the words are not mine. There are some reforms I helped implement, however, including the creation of LAS 199–an experimental course that faculty could create without formal approval as required of other credit bearing courses. Instead a topical LAS 199 could be offered for credit (with flexible amounts) for up to two years, as I recall, before having to be made a “regular” course in a department. The 199 courses were listed on a transcript with the subtitle indicating the topic. In some ways, Unit One became the locus of many of the reforms proposed. Alan Purves (English) was the first director and creator–I was with him from the start and became the director in the second year of its existence. Harry Brody, distinguished professor of education, had led a task force appointed by the chancellor to recommend academic changes and Unit One was the primary outcome of that task force. Later on, when I was in the brand new School of Humanities we had Harry Brody as a resident scholar and started freshman seminars on interdisciplinary topics. The School was a major locus of interdisciplinary work–e.g., we created a campus-wide program funded by LAS for faculty study in a second discipline, with a donation we created the Cohn Scholars program, we created the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, and so on. Those are a few of the actual changes made that seem to be called for in the manifesto.

    Hard to think who might have been the authors.

    -Bill

    #623 Reply

    This is great, thank you!

    -Penny

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