Vis Stud Discovers It May Be Unable To End Elite Status

The Visual and Environmental Studies Department has encountered difficulties in opening its program to non-honors concentrators that it did not anticipate when its faculty voted last fall to change the restricted status of its program.

John Fox, secretary of the Faculty Council, said yesterday the council has the right to decide not to permit major changes in concentration requirements if it feels that the changes are inappropriate to the nature of the department.

Although the VES charter includes provisions for a non-honors program, the council is entitled to refuse to approve changes in the rules regarding concentrations.

Arthur L. Leob, head tutor of VES, and Robert G. Gardner, chairman of the Visual Studies Department, met last week with a Faculty Council subcommittee to discuss the proposed change.

Francis M. Pipkin, associate dean of the Faculty, said last week some members of the Committee on the Administration of Educational Policy, the Faculty Council subcommittee, feel Visual Studies is a department in which "the important part of the subject is the thesis and the individual instruction involved in it."

Loeb said the department's faculty feels it should not have to give individual tutorials to students who do not wish to make the kind of commitment to their thesis project he said is needed for a good VES thesis.

He said that because VES is a restricted department there are concentrators who simply fail to perform and "who have to be led by the hand so they can graduate in the department." Loeb said about 20 per cent of the department's concentrators graduate cum laude in General Studies every year.

"It's a question of the image about becoming an artist," Loeb said yesterday. "If you want to become an artist, people feel you have to be very exceptional and gifted."

Loeb said he feels the view that the department's role within the University community is to train creative genius is erroneous. He said, "I don't see how any department could be built on a genius who comes along once every five years."

Most VES students go on to careers in design, urban planning, and architecture, he said.

Opening the department would not require additional faculty because only about 25 per cent of students enrolled in VES are concentrators, he added