Largest Freshman Class Arrives on Campus This Week
Alma College is geared up to welcome the largest freshman class in
its history. More than 460 new students are expected to arrive on
campus for the beginning of freshman Preterm that runs from Aug. 25 to
The previous record for new students was 442 in 1992. Official enrollment numbers will be finalized in mid-September.
Preterm is a one-week orientation in which first-year students take a single course to help acclimate them to campus life prior to the official start of the fall term on Sept. 4.
Many of the this year’s Preterm sessions are focused around political scientist Benjamin Barber’s book Jihad vs. McWorld, which examines the struggle between traditional and consumer-driven cultures, arguing that neither is the solution for true democracy. The book, based on a 1992 article Barber wrote for the Atlantic Monthly, was originally published in 1995, updated after Sept. 11, 2001. It has been translated into 20 languages and is an international bestseller.
Alma College political science and history professor Ed Lorenz said the faculty wanted to find a way to unite Preterm courses while using a text that could be approached from a variety of disciplines.
“Several of us recall using Barber's book in a special course we added in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001,” he says. “We recalled that the course was one of the great academic events in recent Alma history, with more than 50 students and 10 faculty meeting weekly in the evening to review Barber's book. Since his book deals with economics, culture, society and the environment as well as results and conflicts in globalization, we found it ideal.”
Nine of the 21 sessions will revolve around the book and will include topics ranging from a literary analysis of the book to the history of cultural clash to different cultural aspects that continue to drive the conflict.
The discussions will culminate Thursday, Aug. 30, when Barber addresses students for a 10-year update of his conclusions. The lecture will begin at 8 p.m. in the Remick Heritage Center.
“We're hoping students will see that to understand any complex issues they need the perspectives from multiple disciplines,” Lorenz says. “You may need to understand economics, biology, history and religion to address ethnic problems in northern Iraq, to use an example.”
Barber is the Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. An author of 17 books, he has also been published in various outlets in the Unites States and Europe, including Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly and The Nation.
In addition to the courses focused on Barber’s work, there are a variety of stand-alone Preterm courses offered on the history of money, positive psychology, advertising and promotion, dance forms, researching film, robots, time and life management, teaching, biotechnology industries, crime scene analysis, emerging diseases and bird banding.
Most new students arrive Saturday, Aug. 25, with the annual Welcoming Convocation for new students and their parents beginning at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 25 on the Remick Heritage Center lawn.
Posted: Mon, August 20th, 2007 at 1:21PM