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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 5, 1972)
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In the beginning there was Help Line at 472-33 1 1 .
And it was good.
There remained only one problem, however. Now
that all the information of the free world and
University of Nebraska had become available to the
community at the command of a phone call,
members of the community needed an agency they
could contact that would provide more than
information. An office within the University, yet set
apart from the structure, to serve the interests of the
University was created.
On March 11, 1972, the NU Board of Regents
appointed James' Suter, associate professor in the
School of Environmental Development, to the
position of UNL ombudsman.
According to the document that was used in
developing the position, its purposes are fourfold.
The ombudsman is to "receive and respond to
complaints, investigate complaints, negotiate and to
pursuade." All four actions are to take place on
behalf of a person who is "confused by the diffusion
of authority within (the University)".
One of the most advantageous features of Suter's
job is that it serves students, staff, faculty and
administrators. In effect, it is one of the few agencies
on this campus that serves the total community.
UNL Chancellor James H. Zumberge, in a recent
letter to all offices on the campus, made known his
desire for the success of the Office of the
Ombudsman. Zumberge requested each of the letter's
recipients to cooperate with the ombudsman and to
provide access to information requested by the
ombudsman on the same basis as they would give
information to the Chancellor.
The ASUN is to be complimented for its work in
this particular concept. The original proposal was
drafted by the ASUN Legal Rights Committee. Since
last September when the proposal was approved by
the ASUN Senate, the whole project has been realized
with speed and diligence on that part of student
government, the administration and the regents.
In Suter's words, the person occupying the
position "reports to nobody, and is responsible to
everybody." Furthermore, Suter says the office
"cannot be corrupt unless the person in it is
Persons wishing to utilize the services of the
ombudsmen are reminded, however, that the role of
the ombudsman is more than that of an information
desk.. It also does not serve as a substitution to
existing offices. The Office of the Ombudsman is to
be of help when University channels become
obscurred, are unknown or are obstructed to the
person attempting to use them.
The presence of an ombudsman on the UNL
campus is most welcome and it is hoped that Suter
sees success in clearing up problems for those that
seek his services.
The Office of the Ombudsman is located in 533
Old father Hall. Suter's telephone number is
- r mi
parry i ugciy
Rumor has it that computerized psychology 70 is
dehumanizing and impersoual-a flunk-out course.
And rumor is the figurative one-tenth of an iceberg
visible above water.
While it is true that psychology 70 course is
characterized by a high percentage of failures, the
rate has decreased from IS to 10 per cent from the
spring of 1970 to the fail of 1971 .
Student performance in the clan has been erratic.
The most frequent grade, or mode, in the fall of
1969, the first semester of the course's operation, was
C. The mode in the spring and fall of 1970 was F; in
the spring and fall of 1971, A. The average or mean
grade in the class has risen from 2.374 in 19(9 to
2.488 in 1971; in the spring of 1970 it hit the low
mark of 2.133.
These figures are more meaningful if compared to
freshman attrition rates and student performance in
other larger freshmen courses operating on a
traditional fcrsst.Tfce dropout rate between the first
and second semester of the freshman year is eight per
cent; between the freshman and sophomore years, 24
per cent, according to 1970 computations. These
figures, computed from the 1969-70 class, are almost
identical to the flunk-out rate for psychology 70 that
year. Seven per cent failed the course in the fan, 25
per cent in the spring.
Introductory sociology (S3), a large freshman
course taught traditionally, shows average student
performance is a grade of 2.3; the same is true of
Chemistry 11. Student performance in the
psychology 70 course in the past two semesters has
been two-tenths of a point higher than this.
Students in psychology 70 must take at least one
test weekly and may take up to three tests without
special permission to improve their grade. Tests are
given at regular intervals Monday through Saturday.
"Canned lectures," tapes and films, are run
continuously six days a week; Students attend one
weekly. Graduate assistants ire available during the
same hours to counsel and answer questions.
If a student misses a test, he is sent a note
reminding him of the omission and advising him he
cannot take another test until he has come in to see a
graduate assistant to reschedule the missed exam.
This procedure was new last semester, and has helped
cut in half the number of failing students.
The students who fail are the ones who do not
take tests at regularly scheduled times. Students who
get behind are urged to drop the course by the
graduate assistants. Graduate assistant Dean Grice
estimated that 300 students had dropped the course
within the deadline this semester. There remain 77
students who have missed at least two consecutive
exams; they are likely candidates for course failure.
This number is about one-half of the 1SS who failed
last semester. It is about five per cent of the present
Why do some student still fail? Speaking with two
years of counseling experience, Grice said that failing
students are those who won't drop the course because
they've all ready paid for it. They tend not to want
to pay any price," he said.
The course is a rigorous one. Test questions
require specific application of concepts. Donald
Jensen, originator. of the new course design, states the
course goal is to produce a technical and precise
mastery of terms.
The person who does well in psychology 70 must
be able to attend to details and schedule himself. This
makes it easier to fail, especially because freshmen are
habituated to classroom structure, bells ringing and
test days designated by the professor.
Jensen admits the coarse is imperfect, but
maintains that it is a step forward from the mam
freshman lecture chases of 1968.
Jensen designed the course on the basis of his
findings in a similar freshman course at Indiana State
University. As in the former UNL psychology class,
three tests were given during the semester. In class
surveys, Jensen found that students tended to
study at the very beginning of the semester, and then
slack off rapidly. Students would cram continuously
the last two days before each exam.
The semester following the survey findings, Jensen
scheduled tests every two weeks, to increase the
frequency of study. He found that students studied
two days before the test regardless of how often tests
were given, every two weeks or every six.
As he increased the frequency of tests, Jensen
found students anxiety and hostility growing also.
Once into the semester, he began taking his phone off
the hook the night before each test because the hate
calls had become numerous. To -reduce this emotional
student reaction, Jensen deigned self -scheduled tests
Frequent, repeatable, self-scheduled tests and
lectures are the backbone of the psychology 70
The mass lecture format is a large problem. It is a
strain for both teachers and students; the learning
accomplished in cram periods before infrequent tests
is minima L
In the psychology 70 coarse, students receive
comparatively rapid feedback on their test
performance. They are rewarded for learning correct
With self-scheduled exams, students no longer
suffer with the high emotions aroused by pre-test
cramming. Professors, typically reluctant to iteach
the large lecture, are freed to spend time with upper
level courses and graduate seminars.
The computerized course may be impersonal
because students don't talk to graduate assistants.
"Canned lectures" lack the personal touch, but so do
large lectures. What money is available will not pay
for both the computer service, with its advantages,
and the professors needed to lecture 1,400 students
The course is not a panacea, bat it is an
improvement. It is one workable answer to
mushrooming college enrollments, end the
disadvantageous large freshman lecture class.
THE DAILY NEB R ASK AN
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 1072
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