The Big Ten and Chicago University, which together grant about 30 per cent of the nation's doctoral degrees, see themselves as potentially "the greatest educational complex anywhere."
These Midwestern schools have announced a "pioneer program" of sharing educational wealth: they plan to allow their 43,000 graduate students to move freely from one institution to another.
The Graduate Student Exchange Program will enable such students enrolled in one of the "Big Eleven" to take advantage of the special facilities, laboratories, and faculty of another university. For example, an Iowa grad student might avail himself of Michigan's Far Eastern Language Library, Wisconsin's biotron or Chicago's colonial historian, Daniel J. Boorstin. By consolidating doctoral study, the program plans to avoid duplication of effort and expenditure wherever possible.
In addition, it hopes to encourage one superior graduate program, rather than many inferior ones, in a field where costs are high. Cooperative research is already in progress in bioclimatology (the study of weather's school to explore adequately. Special studies are also under way in geology, oceanography, and the classics, effects on living organisms), a field too costly for one
Further, by sharing prestigious projects, the universities expect to mitigate competition for prized faculty. The mutual pirating of Big Ten professors should decrease as the faculty of each school becomes available to all of the others.
In the fall of 1963, approximately 550 students will begin the program's two-year trial period. Upon securing permission from the graduate deans of both institutions these "traveling scholars" will have access to needed facilities at no increased cost. In fact, if they wish to transfer for a whole semester (the longest allowable span), they may pay whichever tuition is lower. Thus, an Illinois student may pay his University's tuition if he wishes to travel to more expensive Michigan, but he may pay the less expensive Indiana tuition if he chooses to go there.
Although the host school will provide room space, the individual student will be responsible for living and transportation expenses. However, because so many graduate students receive financial aid, the schools do not expect these costs to reduce student participation. Where schools are near each other, students can commute.
Five years of planning by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation have produced the exchange program. Founded in 1957 by the "Big Eleven" (Chicago, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, and Wisconsin), the CIC, comprised of one representative from each school, meets periodically to consider possibilities of co-operation. A small professional staff, located at Purdue, "implements committee decisions and functions as a catalyst." As a "kind of communications center," the CIC's function, as stated in the 1962 Annual Report, is "to aid member universities in improving educational and public services by adding strength to strength, as well as to avoid excess costs by minimizing duplication." An administrative agency, the CIC does not seek to usurp power, for the member schools remain autonomous: a majority cannot dictate to any one university, and all projects are voluntary.
Besides the graduate study program, the CIC has within the past month set up a Far Eastern Language Teaching and Research Institute for undergraduates, graduates, and faculty. Rotating to a different school each year, the Institute will begin work in September at the University of Michigan. Future plans include a "grand language design," which would coordinate language study on all levels of the universities, and a large scale exchange program with foreign schools.