Alternative programs meet goalsThree alternative education programs for freshmen filled nearly all their openings during Residence/Orientation week. A total of 136 freshmen enrolled in the Experimental Study Group (ESG), Concourse, and the Integrated Studies Program (ISP).
Forty freshmen were accepted into the ESG program, according to ESG Associate Director Holly Sweet. This represents approximately 70 percent of the freshmen who expressed interest in it over the summer. Last year ESG had the largest number of applicants in its history, 60. The number of applicants was back to normal this year, Sweet said. "I don't know what happened last year. It was just an anomaly," she explained.
This year's freshmen are a more diverse group than usual, according to Sweet. "We have people from frats, from MacGregor, from the West side of campus," she said. In the past most students lived on the East side of campus, and many of them came from Senior House.
In keeping with an ESG tradition, the percentage of international freshmen accepted is approximately 20 percent. "The international students tend to be more motivated than usual, otherwise they wouldn't be here," Sweet explained. "Often they do not know how their backgrounds compare with those of American students. The self-paced program suits them well."
Physics professor John G. King will join ESG this year, the only addition to the staff of the program.
Concourse provided spaces for 65 freshmen out of the 118 applicants, according to Concourse administrator Cheryl Butters. Director Jerome Y. Lettvin '47 expressed a desire to have a physics or chemistry lab in Concourse.
In general there is a lack of labs for freshmen at MIT, Lettvin said."Not particularily for lab hours, but just so the freshmen have a lab to work in."
Lettvin also wished that MIT would eliminate the Independent Activities Period. "With all the holidays, the term is very short and it is very difficult to cover all the material."
ISP filled 31 of its 35 spaces, which represents a doubling relative to last year's enrollment in the program, according to administrator Anne E. Armitage.
Created last year as part of the Science, Technology and Society (STS) program, ISP has three main goals, according to Armitage: to coordinate the teaching of freshman physics and calculus, to integrate the teaching of humanities and of science and to create a learning atmosphere in which students get to know their professors and tutors very well.
Students participate in the main curriculum lectures in ISP. Their recitations and tutorials, usually of 10 students, are taught by alumni, graduate students or faculty.
The program can accommodate recitations and tutorials for any of the freshman courses, Armitage said. An official 6.001 recitation will probably be instituted next term, she added.
ISP will offer STS111, Facts and Artifacts: Types, Accounts and Models, in ISP during the spring as a companion course to 6.001. STS100, STS200 and STS111 are taught fully in ISP. The program also offers five seminars each term, which concentrate on the relations between science and society.
"If a freshman wants to to pursue a subject not offered in ISP, a foreign language for example, he is welcome to do so," Armitage said. "We are not very restrictive."
ISP is located in the basement of Building E51. Its lounge, three tutorial rooms and the nearby dining hall provide the space for recitations and informal get-togethers for the students.
It is possible to join ISP through add date, or for the spring term, Armitage added.