UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Reports Nov 30, 1968

Item Metadata


JSON: ubcreports-1.0118559.json
JSON-LD: ubcreports-1.0118559-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): ubcreports-1.0118559-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: ubcreports-1.0118559-rdf.json
Turtle: ubcreports-1.0118559-turtle.txt
N-Triples: ubcreports-1.0118559-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: ubcreports-1.0118559-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

If UBC continues its present admission standards, the University will enrol more than 34,000 students
in 1973—a 70-per-cent increase over present campus-'enrotlraemL Some of the implications of this
looming numbers crisis were spelled out for the UB{f Senate recently in a report on academic building
needs, which revealed, among other things, that UBC needs at least $108 million tor buildings in the
next five years. This issue of UBC Reports contain^ a selectiondf thawjde.fange of qpinion within the
University about the numbers crisis. The report beginsion Pages Two and three.    , ,/
•c r~
j» *-.
2 a:
r- x
o 3>
c xi i
< -< <
X c c
oo ►—
*J1 CO
ro o
->J o
Senate Reports
Pose the  Problem
By T.A. Myers,
Director of Information Services, UBC
The University of B.C., already strained in its
efforts to accommodate its 20,000 present students
with inadequate operating funds, faces the alarming
possibility of a 70-per-cent increase in enrolment over
the next five years.
This would mean 34,371 students on the UBC
campus in the fall of 1973.
Think what the University would be like with a
student body of that size: bigger and bigger classes.
Ever-longer lineups at bookstores, libraries, cafeterias,
bus stops. More and more cars crammed into increasingly distant parking lots. More competition for
scarce housing for faculty and students. Increased
compartmentalization and depersonalization of the
University, resulting in even more complete alienation
of the students.
This is what the numbers crisis means to UBC.
This bleak picture will become reality, unless . . .
. . .  Unless massive capital funds are provided for a
crash building program at UBC.
. . . Unless UBC sharply raises its admission requirements, or by some other means slows the flood of
new students onto the Point Grey campus.
. . . Unless UBC is restructured, perhaps on the
"cluster college" model, to accommodate masses of
students in a more congenial environment.
. . . Unless a fourth university is established quickly in
. . . Unless the burgeoning community colleges succeed in fulfilling the educational needs of a large
segment of our youth.
These are not necessarily alternative solutions.
They may all be necessary if British Columbia's
system of higher education is to survive the challenge
of the 1970's.
The challenge to UBC was clearly posed in a
statistical report of the Department of Academic
Planning, presented to the University Senate Oct. 30.
The report provided year-by-year and faculty-by-
faculty forecasts of increased enrolment for the next
five years.
This year's total enrolment is something over
20,000; a final figure is not yet available.
Unless UBC changes its admission policy, the
report said, it can expect to have 22,368 full-time
winter session students next year.
For the following year, 1970-71, the forecast is
25,158 students. For 1971-72, it is 28,430. In
1972-73, there would be 31,559 students, and for the
winter session of 1973-74 the forecast is 34,371
The basic admission standard at UBC now is graduation with a 60-per-cent average from the academic-
technical program of the B.C. high schools, or equivalent qualifications. It must be stressed that the
planners' forecasts for UBC enrolment are based on
the assumption that this standard will be maintained
for the next five years.
But President Kenneth Hare told the Senate, when
the forecasts were discussed, that it was "quite
apparent that there will have to be a change" in the
University's admission policy because "these figures
imply an impossibility for us."
The numbers crisis, of course, is a result of the
"baby boom" of the 1950's. The babies of that time
are now moving through the province's high schools,
and an ever-increasing proportion of them are aiming
toward a university or college education.
Please turn to page seven
We're Getting
Close to the Limit
Dr. Robert Stewart, a member of UBC's Senate
and professor of oceanography, explains why an
enrolment of 34,000 students would be undesirable,
even if operating funds and adequate buildings were
There are clearly some advantages in having a large
student enrolment because there are some things that
can be done in a large university which can't be done
in a small one.
I think many faculty members feel UBC's
optimum size is somewhere near our present
enrolment and that any growth beyond this is less
than desirable. I don't think there's any chance of
freezing enrolment at present levels, but to extend it
by another 70 percent, which is comtemplated in the
projections which have come from the academic
planning office, puts us beyond what I consider to be
the best balance in numbers.
Some of the advantages of bigness are that you can
do things in more variety and experts are available to
cover almost any field. This has been one of the
advantages which has accrued to UBC as a result of
expansion in the past decade. This is certainly a
better university than it was, simply because we've
got more and better people on the faculty.
But there comes a time when the advantages are
outweighed by the disadvantages. For one thing, and
I feel very strongly on this point, it should not be
possible to find all the contacts you need within the
group that is working on the same problems. It
should be necessary for the faculty member, a
physicist say, to move outside his immediate
environment as far as personal contacts are
concerned. In other words, it's become too easy to be
There are other disadvantages to bigness. The place
gets unwieldy as far as management is concerned and
there are too many steps between individual faculty
members, students and senior administrators. I think
this leads to a sense of inertia and helplessness—a
feeling that the institution is so large that you can't
move it. The numbers we now have are causing
trouble at the student and junior faculty levels and
there is a feeling that nothing can be done about it.
These feelings can only be accentuated with a growing
There's also the question of sheer physical size. It's
becoming harder to get from one place to another
and already we've had to extend the interval between
lectures from seven to ten minutes. We could crowd
our buildings together, but this would mean losing
the green, open spaces on the campus, which I think
are more than an amenity and contribute to people's
attitude toward the place.
We  could   build the campus up, of course, but
Please turn to page seven
The Crisis for
Graduate Studies
Prof Ian McTaggarr-Cowan, dean of UBC's faculty
of graduate studies, points up a number of problems
for graduate studies arising out of enrolment
The continuation of our present enrolment policy
to 1974 will see 34,000 students on the University of
British Columbia campus.
At the same time we are painfully aware that we
are already almost over-whelmed by the task of
providing a worthy university education for 20,000
students in facilities that, except for classrooms,
became seriously deficient three years ago with only
15,000 students.
In the face of this numbers problem it is almost
impossible to get at the task of improving the kind or
quality of education we provide, or to look forward
to new achievements consistent with the
opportunities and responsibilities that UBC has in the
provincial system of education. When just coping
becomes a major preoccupation you have lost control
of objectives and direction.
Confronted with present inadequacies of space and
the inevitable flood of new aspirants for places in the
university, Senate has decided to proceed at once
with the planning of four large buildings designed
specifically to meet the crisis in numbers of
undergraduates in arts, science and law.
This is a decision that gives me most serious
concern. It seems to be based upon the assumption
that the three existing provincial universities alone
must meet the crisis. It seems further to assume that
our present policy of accepting all those who meet
our present entrance requirements is inevitable, and it
seems to overlook the consequences of such
assumptions for the kind of university we have
Surely there is no more urgent priority than that
of examining these assumptions and their
consequences and of establishing new, clearly defined
policies on enrolment, the direction of our academic
development and tolerable rates of growth. The point
is that a policy on numbers and the response to
numbers at the provincial level is urgent and must
precede intelligent decisions on each of the present
campuses. But the framing of provincial policy
requires each of the present institutions to establish
its own goals within the total complex.
For the next year or two the existing universities
have to cope with the numbers seeking entry, since
Please turn to page seven
See COWAN ■1 Hfe 4fc Vol. 14, No. 8 November, 1968
11 !■ I Authorized as second class mail
IIII I I by Post Office Department, Ottawa,
^kw Wkw ^W and for payment of postage in
REPORTS cash. Postage paid at Vancouver,
B.C. Published by the University of British Columbia and distributed free. Letters are welcome and
should be addressed to the Information Office, UBC,
Vancouver 8, B.C.
Two Possibilities -
Loans and Lotteries
Dr. David Bond, of UBC's economics department,
offers some unusual suggestions for solving the
money and the numbers crisis.
Certain truths are self evident. First, the University
is in dire need of funds. More importantly, the funds
are needed now if we hope to be able to cope with
the influx of students in the next three to five years.
(It takes three years from the start to the completion
of new buildings). Second, the vast majority of
students at UBC come from middle and upper income
backgrounds, yet the provincial and federal funds
supporting universities come from all classes,
including the lower income groups. Thus, grants to
universities from governments are, in part, income
transfers from the lower income groups to the middle
and upper income groups. Third, a vast body of
evidence exists which shows beyond reasonable doubt
that each year of post-secondary education adds
substantially to the expected life-time earnings of the
student. The estimates range from $200 to $750 for
each undergraduate year for the 40 years after
Given these facts we can then consider two
alternative means of obtaining the necessary funds for
the University.
1. Raise the tuition by $1000 per student.
Such a scheme would yield the University more
than $20 million in additional revenue per year,
assuming of course that government grants hold
constant. The problem is that such an increase in fees
might exclude a substantial number of students
because of lack of finance. An easy solution would be
the following: the provincial government would lend
to any student who so desired the full amount of
tuition, plus, say, $1000 for living expenses. The loan
would be repaid upon graduation in one of two
optional ways; either by a lump sum payment or by a
surcharge of say 1% on the borrower's payable tax for
the lifetime of the borrower. Such a scheme avoids
several of the pitfalls of present loan schemes and has
one primary advantage: the cost of educating
university students is to a large extent born by the
direct beneficiaries of the education, i.e., the
The loan is, in effect, a tax spread out over a long
period of time. More importantly, the existence of
the debt would not be a dead weight on the student.
For example, a female student would not regard it as
a negative dowry since if she was simply a housewife
with   zero   income   she   would   pay   no   tax.   More
Pleas' turn to page seven
Ratio Cut Asked
A t the UBC Senate meeting of October 30,
Senator Gideon Rosenbluth, of the department of
economics, pointed out the omission of the question
of the faculty-student ratio in the report on academic
building needs.
Dr. Rosenbluth said during the debate that he was
surprised that the report of the committee on academic building needs seemed to be based only on a
forecast of increased enrolment. He said the committee should also have taken into account the problem
of the student-staff ratio.
In the faculty of arts, he said, "this ratio has
reached disastrous proportions."
He added: "If we are going to get back to where
any reasonable sort of educational process can take
place, this ratio must be lowered."
Prof. Rosenbluth went on to say that unless this
student-staff ratio could be improved in the faculty
of arts and other overburdened faculties, the University should be considering the construction of numbers of 500-seat classrooms.
But, he warned, if this were attempted, 'the University would explode under further student alienation." He drew attention to the need for additional
office space and more flexible accomodation.
Turning to the subject of study space for students,
Dr. Rosenbluth said UBC's present proportion of
study space is approximately one-half what is recommended.
He said that in future planning the University must
make provision for a much larger proportion of study
space, not simply concentrated in the Library, but
scattered over the campus for the convenience of students, many of whom now waste much of their
potential study time between classes because of the
distance between Library and classroom.
The  Paradox in the
Student Position
David Zirnhelt, president of the Alma Mater
Society, raises a number of important Questions
concerning limitation of student enrolment, /lis
statement is adapted from a speech made to a student
rally on November I.
There are a number of points that students should
be concerned about in discussing the whole question
of limiting enrolment. The first is that we have, as a
student council and as a student body, been
supporting the principal of universal accessibility to
university. A policy of limited enrolment, if adopted
by the student body, would directly contravene this
accessibility policy, which we have supported for at
least four years.
I think too we run the risk of appearing to be
selfish. In adopting a policy of limited enrolment we
would leave ourselves open to a great deal of criticism
from the general public, and we should be conscious
of the need for a public relations campaign in
conjunction with direct political action.
We are going to have to organize and be prepared
to go out during the next provincial election and
knock on doors to inform the electorate of the
desirability of a policy of universal accessibility to
universities and regional colleges.
I would propose that we use last year's budget
margin—some $14,000—to promote higher education
by a variety of methods. This would mean the
preparation of briefs, staging student marches, and
hiring buses to send students into constituencies to
do some direct political campaigning. We should
support candidates—both Social Credit and
otherwise—who at least promise a more favourable
policy toward higher education. It may be necessary
for us to concentrate our campaign in one or two key
constituencies where it would be possible to
symbolically defeat the government's education
policy by defeating their candidate.
Another approach might be to plan a campaign in
nine or ten marginal ridings and concentrate our
efforts there by sending teams of students to raise the
issue of education in a door-to-door campaign.
We must be prepared to spend money and expend
energy to make the whole question of overcrowding
in our universities a major issue in the next election.
And we've got to start planning now. COMMON
THE University is currently involved in a
storm of rhetoric, including the rhetorical
denunciation of rhetoric and the violent
denunciation of violence. Amid all the rhetoric attacking the present "unhealth" of the University and the demands for reform, two major issues
tend to be obscured.
It becomes difficult, firstly, to discern the real purport of the student demands and, secondly, the
common ground between their ideas and the essential
principles which faculty members must uphold to
remain true to their calling.
Only if both sides can agree on some such common ground will there be a possibility of useful
dialogue. Unfortunately, there has so far been little
public utterance from members of the faculty and
little attempt to find, from our side, this common
ground. If there is not more public debate, and soon,
we are in danger of being forced to react from moment to moment in a spirit of tactical expediency and
may find ourselves either defending positions that
cannot or need not be defended, or yielding to pressure in ways that will later be regretted.
If we look at the demands rather than the rhetoric
we find that they are in the first place for participation by the students in the decision-making processes
of the university. This is claimed as a democratic
right, "the political rights of free human beings to
have a say in decisions that affect them." This is an
appeal which has a sympathetic ring for many faculty
members who likewise find that they have less say
than they feel they should in decision-making processes.
The structure of the university with its non-
academic Board of Governors appointed from outside, its only partly representative Senate, its appointed president, deans and heads with wide and indefinite prerogatives, is hierarchical and authoritarian,
however much this may be tempered in practice by
established procedures of consultation from above
and recommendations from below. Though one must
concede the ultimate right of the community at large,
which provides the money and which the university is
designed to serve, to examine and criticize the way in
which the university carries out its functions in
society, the independence of universities from direct
outside control is a cherished and traditional privilege
which is a necessary condition for what is meant by
"academic freedom."
WITHIN the university also, individual
scholars claim not only their rights of
autonomy and freedom in what they
teach but also their right to a proper
voice in their own governance. By comparison with
an ancient self-governing university like Oxford or
Cambridge, where rights and privileges are well
established, not only by precedent and custom but
also by very clear formal procedures, the situation
here often strikes one as incoherent and immature.
On the other hand it must be admitted that many
faculty members seem quite content or at least not so
dissatisfied as to wish to spend time and effort advocating reform.
The   rights   being   claimed   by   the   students,   in
contrast to those traditionally claimed by full faculty
members of Western universities, are something new.
An appeal to tradition will evidently be less effective   in   supporting   student   voting   rights   than   in
Professor E.G. Pulleyblank is head of UBC's
department of Asian studies and formerly held the
chair of Chinese at Cambridge University in England.
supporting faculty rights and indeed the students are
not appealing on such grounds. They are appealing
either on the general ground that in a free society
they have the right to be treated as responsible adults
or, in the case of the extreme activists, in the name of
revolution, in the name of the new era which they say
is dawning.
This latter appeal is in the name of democracy but
it is not our traditional notion of liberal democracy,
with rights and privileges laid down and protected by
law, but a new form of "participatory democracy" in
which, after existing, corrupt, institutional forms
have been swept away, an almost mystical
communion will be established and the General Will
will prevail. The discrediting of bolshevism (and, it
would appear, echoes of Maoism) have led to the re-
emergence of millenary anarchism as the most radical
available doctrine for the extreme left at the present
day. For students influenced by these notions, the
reform of the university is not the goal, but rather its
capture as a citadel from which to revolutionize
society at large.
To achieve this end it would clearly not be enough
to have a degree of student representation brought
into the existing structure. The students under their
revolutionary leaders, would have to take actual control, presumably through some type of Soviets.
Experience of such "participatory democracy" from
other parts of the world suggests that its tendency is
in the end totalitarian and anti-democratic in the
traditional liberal sense.
It is perfectly possible, however, to reject such
extreme anarchistic ideas and still to admit that students can be treated as responsible persons with a
right to be listened to on matters that concern them.
Without accepting the anarchist proposal completely
or abandoning traditional principles of what a university is all about, there are certainly concessions that
can and ought to be made to student demands for a
greater say in various aspects of university government.
AS already suggested, a demand for democratic voting powers in the university
as a right on anything like a basis of
equality with the faculty seems to be
on extremely shaky grounds. Apart from immaturity
in years (which may be a less strong argument than
formerly if political voting rights can be extended to
18-year-olds), immaturity in scholarship seems to be
as strong an argument as it ever was for declining to
give those who are only at the beginning of the road
power to participate in decisions in academic matters.
The demand, for example, to share in making
decisions on "the relationship between teaching and
research in the university" is a presumption that
touches right at the heart of the faculty's academic
freedom and could not be admitted for a moment by
scholars with a regard for the integrity of their
Nevertheless there are undoubtedly areas in which
consultation with students is not only justifiable in
terms of democratic "rights" but may also be mutually advantageous to both faculty and students in
furthering their common ends. Consultation, that is,
direct contacts on specific issues with the affected
students or their representative bodies, seems to me
to be on the whole a more effective and democratic
way of dealing with this kind of problem than the
inclusion of student members on faculty committees.
At the same time, the presence of some student representatives on the Senate and other governing bodies,
such as those concerned with discipline and housing,
may also serve a useful watchdog function to see that
specifically student interests do not get over-looked.
A demand by students for democratic voting
powers in the university as a right on anything
like a basis of equality with the faculty seems
to be on extremely shaky grounds.
More important than the issue of student
participation in university government seems
to be an understanding between students and
faculty about their essential aims.
More important, ultimately, than the issue of student participation in university government seems tov.
be, however, the achievement of a basis of understanding between faculty and students about their
essential aims. If an understanding could be reached
on these, the issue of "student power" would cease t&
be very important for the majority, for solutions to
common problems could be sought in a rational,
rather than a coercive, way. Let us look at the
demands for reform of the educational system that
are made as the object of demands for participation
in university government.
After a generalized attack on the university for its
alleged subservience to the requirements of government and industry and failure to take the lead in
creating a "new society" (which appears to be mainly
a spillover from student criticisms of the role of
American universities in defence research and the
like—at least its application to UBC is not spelled
out), the student demands from an educational point ■
of view seem to fall under the following headings: (a)
freedom in the choice of what is to be studied and
how it should be studied, (b) abolition of grades and,,
in particular, of written examinations as a means of
grading, (c) better teaching (no more dry lectures).
The first two items, and even to some extent the
last (though that is a more perennial problem), seem
to be related to one another and to come from the 4
same source, namely the tremendous expansion of
universities in recent years, both in numbers of
students and in diversity of subjects taught, a
quantitative growth which is turning into a qualitative
change so that the traditional role of the university in
society is having to be radically reassessed. The
university, especially the arts faculty, has to some
extent lost its sense of direction. It is in fact quite
significant that most of the student unrest is in the*
arts faculty and not in the professional schools. As
the AMS manifesto puts it, "Professional schools and
training must exist and they must have some means
of regulating their standards." In other words a mai\
who wishes to become a doctor or lawyer must go
through the regime that is laid down for him, endure
the teaching, good or bad, that is provided by his
seniors and submit himself to the ordeal of examination to prove that he has earned his qualification. The*
applicability of this model to the arts student is,
however, denied.
IT was not always so. In the mediaeval university
the professional goal of a student of the arts was as
clear as that of the goldsmith or the doctor. At the
renaissance new subjects, especially Greek, were
introduced. Much later, in the 19th century, other
subjects such as the natural sciences, history ancL
vernacular literatures, which had hitherto been subjects for private study or the business of the
academies, made their way into the universities. The
old unity in the basic education for any kind of
scholar was gone.
At the same time the nature and purposes of the
students had also changed. With the coming of the
19th century and the adoption of the principle of
competitive examinations for the higher civil service,
the universities took on a more serious role of educating the governing class.
This diversion of the universities from their
original role of providing professional training for
scholars to that of educating gentlemen did not in
itself entail any change in the nature of the curriculum provided, which was still laid down by the
scholars in the light of their view of the requirements^
of scholarship. It was assumed that the same
curriculum was also the best education for gentlemen.
So   the  British   Empire was governed  by men who could recite Latin and Greek but who had little
training in any more practical matters. The principle
\. was much the same as the Chinese system of classical
education (on which, indeed, the first British competitive examinations were at least partly modeled).
What has happened in the present century, at least
in North America, is a democratization of the whole
system, so that instead of educating a small elite, the
universities are expected to provide higher education
for up to half the citizenry. The appropriateness of
trying to do this colossal task by imposing the same
-disciplines and standards that are necessarily employed in the training of professional scholars is not
obvious. The danger is that in trying to do the two
separate tasks in the same place and through the same
Jclasses, we shall do neither of them well.
FROM the point of view of scholarship there
has already been a considerable dilution of
standards that has to be made up, if at all, at
graduate   school.    Yet   the   malaise   of   the
f      average undergraduate in arts grows more acute all
the time. Having neither the ability nor the interest to
pursue scholarship as a vocation, he finds his courses
"irrelevant" (since, however coherently they may fit
into the training of an economist, or psychologist, or
literary historian, or linguist,  they lose their message
in isolation). The rigour and coherence of an Honours
program is beyond him so he must fill up his program
with a "major", and odd subjects that as often as not
*    are determined by the exigencies of the timetable as
•'much as by strong interest. He finds his time distracted  between  conflicting demands of unrelated subjects,   quizzes,   half-term   tests,   essays,  and,   always
,     looming ahead, final exams. Classes are usually large,
A direct personal contact with a professor rare. Small
wonder that the flame of intellectual curiosity is hard
to keep alive and the whole process begins to seem an
exercise in futility.
How do you educate citizens and at the same time
not give up on scholarship—for scholarship must continue to be the life blood of the universities or they
will cease to be worthy of the name? One solution
"would be to separate the two functions completely—
have a system of small liberal arts colleges which
would not aim at providing training leading to graduate studies. Then let the universities impose rigorous
entrance requirements, cut down their numbers, and
concentrate on honours programs frankly designed to
train scholars.
This solution has its attractions but is probably
not practicable in British Columbia or in North
America generally. The provision of enough small
units with adequate facilities and staff would be very
expensive and unless they had such facilities and
staff, the colleges would lack the prestige to compete
- with the universities which would soon be under re-
newed pressure to relax their standards of admission.
Assuming, therefore, that UBC must go on performing the dual role of providing general education and
training scholars, what measures can be taken to
enable it to satisfy both needs as far as possible? Here
are a few random thoughts.
(1) The rationale of educating citizens in the
company of apprentice scholars must have more to
v do with the educative value of an introduction to the
methods and aims of scholarship than to the directly
useful knowledge that may be picked up on the way.
Courses designed to provide factual background
knowledge for further study may not be as valuable
therefore for the non-specialist as courses that give
concentrated attention to particular problems,
treated in such a way as to develop critical thinking
and to show the importance of delving for factual
knowledge in order to solve problems.
The student finds his time distracted between
conflicting demands of unrelated subjects,
quizzes, half-term tests, essays, and always
looming ahead, final examinations.
The conception of a 'well-rounded' education
is a relic of the time when the university
curriculum covered a limited range of subjects
accepted    as   being   of   prime   importance.
(2) The conception of a "well-rounded" general
education is a relic of the time when the university
curriculum covered a limited range of subjects that
were universally accepted as being of prime importance. It is impossible now, as a result of the proliferation of knowledge in all directions, to be "well-
rounded" in that sense and it would seem to be more
important to cultivate more generalized capacities-
curiosity, open-mindedness, critical thinking, the
habit of finding things out for oneself and the knowledge of how to go about it—than to insist on the
acquisition of specific accomplishments. This is, perhaps, another way of putting my first point. It seems
to imply that for those not intending a scholarly
career one might reduce general faculty requirements
to a minimum, in other words, let people follow their
interests and (with help and advice) make up their
own programs for a general BA degree.
(3) If one is to encourage curiosity and critical
faculties, it seems important to allow students opportunities to go into problems in adequate depth —
without being distracted by many unrelated demands
on their time. The present system of requiring five
courses to be taken simultaneously is bad from this
point of view. One of the great advantages of the Arts
I program is just the fact that three-fifths of the student's time is taken up by one coordinated program.
(4) One might consider the possibility of a three-
year general BA degree from grade XII. This should
immediately reduce the pressure of numbers. One
could have a first exploratory year, followed by two
years, in each of which a coordinated program
centred around one topic or one discipline would be
followed. One could either make the third year a continuation of the second or do something quite different. (Compare the Cambridge honours degree
made up either of Part I and Part II in the same
subject, or of two Part Is in different subjects).
(5) Any attempt at separating two streams, one
regarded as terminal, the other leading on to further
studies, is likely to be undermined by demands of
those who have done the terminal program to be
allowed to switch to the other. One must be prepared
to insist that if this is done, all the necessary extra
time is put in by the student to make up for what he
has missed. An even more serious undermining, unfortunately, is likely to come from the greater prestige
that will inevitably be attached to the stiffer and
longer program. Students who would be better
advised to take a general degree will try for honours.
They will then complain of the rigours imposed on
them and there will be a renewed danger of dilution.
One can only be on one's guard. There is no perfect,
permanent solution.
(6) One of the main objects of student attack has
been examinations and grades. Here again the difficulty really arises because of the dual function of university education. In so far as students are seeking professional competence the need to obtain some kind of
certification before one is accepted as a professional
is self-evident. One may argue about what the standard should be and what is the best means to ascertain whether it has been reached but the need for a
standard  is easily accepted.
FOR those who are not seeking to join specific
professions measurement of the results of the
educative process undergone at the university
is much more difficult, since there is no
more or less self-defining standard of particular competencies that can be applied. Its relevance to the aim
of education is also less apparent. One might argue
that such people do not need degrees and should
therefore not work for them and not be given them.
They should come, take what they can from what is
offered, and go away with whatever inner satisfaction
they may receive as their only reward.
(7) I suspect, however, that such a solution is
totally unrealistic. However much they may feel they
are inspired by a pure love of learning, students also
require the prospect of some tangible reward for their
efforts. At very least they want their teachers to say
"well done" and to give them some mark of recognition which they can display to the world. To say
"well done" and give a mark of recognition, however,
must imply, if it is to mean anything, that it had to
be earned, that it could have been withheld, that
some, in fact, do not receive it. The one who gives the
recognition must make a judgment and must be
allowed the means to do so. This can be one of the
most unpleasant things about being a teacher. There
is a contradiction between the roles of helping mentor and judge which cannot be avoided.
(8) One can still discuss the best means to examine. No method is or can be perfect. It all comes
down in one way or another to one imperfect human
being judging another imperfect human being.
Written examinations, now so much decried, originated in China as a means of achieving greater objectivity, avoiding favouritism and the influence of
family background and good connections. They were
the poor man's charter and, even if this did not always work out as intended, it helped to create a society which was much less dominated by hereditary
privilege than any European society before modern
INEVITABLY there were charges (well justified)
that they did not measure what was really
significant in attainment, still less in potentiality, that they placed excessive emphasis on
rote memorization and harmed genuine scholarship, that the ordeals to which they subjected
the candidates were excessive, and so on. Yet the
system excited the admiration of early western
observers and was the inspiration for the introduction of competitive examinations for entrance to
the Civil Service in 19th century England, replacing
patronage and nepotism. The suggestion that written
examinations should now be abandoned altogether
and one should return to a dependence on personal
recommendation seems to be singularly ill-conceived.
There are, of course, alternatives to the written
final examination as the sole test of achievements and
these are in fact already widely employed. Essays,
term papers, and so forth, often provide as good a
means of grading as formal examinations. They may
however actually be more exacting on both students
and teachers.
(9) In so far as the complaints of the students are
directed against the procedure whereby one accumulates "credits" towards a degree by taking a series of
courses, each of which has its own grade given by the
instructor, I have much sympathy with them. The
European system of comprehensive final examinations is sounder from several points of view. It aims at
measuring the overall attainment of the student
preparatory to giving him recognition in the form of a
degree. Meanwhile (ideally and to some degree in
practice) it leaves the student free to prepare himself
in his own way without the constant pressure of immediate rewards and punishments, to devote himself
to learning a subject rather than merely a series of
prescribed syllabi. On the other hand, since everything depends on one set of final examinations the
pressure on the student is in the end probably greater
in that system than in the North American one.
(10) What must at all cost be resisted is the idea
that teachers are under some kind of obligation to
give students grades or any other form of certification
without being provided with the appropriate means
for determining attainment. Otherwise they are being
asked to be parties to a form of intellectual dishonesty that is incompatible with the vocation of a scholar.
What must be resisted is the idea that teachers
are obligated to give students grades without
being provided with the appropriate means
for determining attainment.
How much human use can an acre of woodland
support before its ground cover is destroyed forever?
How many tents can a strip of beach support before
its potential for bathing is gone? How many parked
cars can a campsite sustain before the surrounding
trees and vegetation are affected beyond repair?
Trivial questions, you say.
Not so, says Dr. Peter Oberlander, the outspoken
director of the University of B.C.'s school of
planning, who has just negotiated an $85,000 grant
from a Canadian Foundation to try to find the
answers to these and other questions.
The two-year project which
UBC's planning school will embark on will relate the increasing
pressures for outdoor recreation
placed on a rapidly-urbanizing
area and the natural environment's capacity to sustain intensive human use.
Dr. Oberlander points out
that in the past "leisure" was the
privilege of the few and was
measured as the residual part of
the individual's total time budget.
"In other words," he says,
"work came first and what was
left over was free time."
In an analagous way, he goes
on  to point out, society in the
past allocated space for "important"   functions,   such   as   factories,   schools,   houses, offices
and  transportation   routes,  and
what was left over was regarded
as residual outdoor space.
The   framework   of   contemporary   society   has
changed all that, says Dr. Oberlander. The shrinking
work  day and work week, early retirement and a
longer life have all combined to enable man to devote
less  time  to   making a  living while maintaining or
increasing personal income.
Add to this a rising population equipped and eager
to make use of a very limited and unique commodity
and the dilemma becomes obvious.
"More and more people," says Dr. Oberlander,
"also care very deeply about the scarcity of outdoor
recreational space and its allocation on a regional
basis. A good current example is the Roberts
Bank—Boundary Bay controversy where there is a
conflict between industrial utilization and
recreational facilities."
The grant which the UBC planning school has
received from the Toronto-based Donner Canadian
Foundation will enable a research team to try to
discover criteria for space standards for outdoor
recreation. The results would be used to decide how
much and what kind of outdoor space ought to be set
aside   in    perpetuity   for   more   and   increasingly
intensive recreational use for summer cottage, skiing
and camping developments, to name only a few.
The project will attempt to test its observations
and criteria for space standards in the context of
recreation opportunities in the Gulf and San Juan
Islands. This resource, says Dr. Oberlander, will serve
as an outdoor laboratory for the test phase of the
Donner project and UBC will have the active
cooperation of the department of urban planning at
the University of Washington in the study.
The two schools have agreed to an even
longer-range joint program of teaching and research
within the context of the common coastal region
stretching from the Seattle-Tacoma area to B.C.'s
Sunshine Coast. Each planning school will contribute
$15,000 in support over the next two years from the
Richard King Mellon Charitable Trusts for this latter
The UBC project supported by the Donner grant is
one brick, as it were, in the structure of the
recently-established resource sciences research group
in the faculty of graduate studies, headed by Dean
Ian McTaggart-Cowan. The multi-disciplinary group
was established earlier this year as a result of a
$500,000 Ford Foundation grant and includes the
disciplines of forestry, zoology, ecology, agriculture,
economics and planning. In the broadest sense, the
resource sciences research group directed by Prof.
Crawford S. Holling aims to study the impact of man
on his physical environment. MYERS
Continued from page two
Last year almost one out of five (19.3 per cent) of
Canadians in the 18-to-2Tyearold group were enrolled in a university or college. But this percentage is
moving sharply upward.
British Columbia for years has lee the other
provinces in the proportion of its young people who
enter post-secondary institutions.
In 1962-63 the figure for B.C. was 17.9 per cent;
by last year it had risen to 24.2 per cent, and by
1973-74 it is expected to be about 30 per cent.
Thus B.C.'s higher educational institutions are
caught in a double bind: much larger absolute numbers of students graduating from high school, and
each year a larger percentage of them seeking entrance to universities and colleges.
And for UBC the pressure is particularly severe
because each year's crop of high-school grads seems
to show an increased preference for UBC. (Of the
total pool of potential first-year students, 31.62 per
cent came to UBC this year. By 1973-74, according
to the forecasts, this figure will rise to 35 per cent).
The baby boom, of course, began to subside in the
late 1950's and the drop in the birth rate has been
sharply accelerated by the Pill. Still, it will probably
be 10 years before this change is reflected in university enrolments.
In the meantime, UBC and other post-secondary
institutions must somehow prepare themselves to
cope with vastly increased numbers of students.
Some of the implications for UBC of this numbers
crisis were spelled out for the Senate Oct. 30 by a
new Senate Committee on Academic Building Needs,
headed by Dr. D.T. Kenny, head of the department
of psychology.
"The prospect of a university of approximately
34,000 students by 1973-74 poses some monstrous
questions," the Kenny committee's report said.
"There will be obvious implications for academic
standards. There is the possibility of a major shift in
the present balance of graduate and undergraduate
activities. It may be inevitable that the academic
excellence of the University as a whole will be
gradually lowered because of the demands for a rapid
increase in space, number of faculty, research equipment and library collections.
"Such a growth capacity may be beyond the
capability of the University."
The committee said it is clear that at least S108
million will be needed for new buildings in the next
five years.
And the committee noted that even that huge
budget was based on an enrolment forecast of only
25,779 students for 1974-75-nearly 10,000 short of
the new forecast for 1973-74.
The committee also pointed out that four major
buildings, with an estimated construction cost of $19
million, have been squeezed off the current 1964-69
building program because of lack of funds.
These are a three-wing addition to the Biological
Sciences Building, an Engineering common block and
new buildings for the departments of Mechanical and
Civil Engineering.
If building continues at its present pace, the
committee said, the space situation five years hence
will be desperate.
But the committee concentrated its attention primarily on the immediate crisis—the 25-per-cent increase in enrolment expected in the next two years.
To accommodate those extra 5,000 students, the
committee said, the University must begin immediately to plan four other major buildings: an addition to
the Buchanan Building for the Faculty of Arts; a
multi-purpose Science Building; a major library addition for the use of undergraduates; and a new building for the Faculty of Law.
The committee made no attempt at this stage to
set construction priorities for these four buildings,
nor to mesh them into an overall priority scale which
would include the four buildings left off the 1964-69
building program.
Dr. Kenny told Senate his committee felt its first
task was to call attention to the numbers crisis, and
to offer proposals for meeting the crunch of 1970-71.
But he said his committee will soon come to grips
with the difficult problem of establishing priorities,
and in its next round of meetings will discuss the
problem with the deans of all the faculties.
In the meantime, the Senate referred the Kenny
committee's report, and the discussion on it, to
President Hare and the Board of Governors, "for
serious consideration and action."
The Board of Governors almost immediately
awarded a contract for construction of one new
wing to the Biological Sciences building, and authorized President Hare to establish clients' committees
as the first step in planning the buildings recommended in the Kenny committee's report.
The numbers crisis and means of coping with it
will be a major preoccupation for the entire University community' for some time to come. As a contribution to the discussion, UBC Reports presents in
this issue a small selection from the wide range of
viewpoints represented within the University. Other
expressions of opinion will be welcomed by the
Continued from page two
there are no alternative sources of university
education in sight. Beyond this, alternative solutions
must be found. The addition of another 14,000
students to our Point Grey campus in the next six
years is inconceivable.
Six years ago we examined our academic goals and
established some important priorities. UBC was to
become increasingly selective in its enrolment of
lower division undergraduates and was to concentrate
on upper division undergraduates, professional studies
and its graduate school. We have made a promising
start but the metamorphosis from an undergraduate
orientation to one focussed upon graduate and
professional education is not an easy one.
Unfortunately we have been caught up in the
numbers crisis and the desperate shortage of facilities
in the middle of this change. Already large sectors of
our campus are having difficulty in directing their
resources toward acknowledged goals.
This difficulty is manifest in many ways. The
gradual exclusion of graduate student offices from
the Angus building, the provision in the Buchanan
building of only a few small reading rooms to care for
the needs of the graduate and honours students, the
relatively small proportion of our faculty that
participates in the tutoring and guidance of graduate
students, and the hopelessly inadequate number of
carrels in the library, are only a few of the problems.
Our crisis reaction to the numbers problem as we
presently see it is a case in point. The new
undergraduate buildings we are now planning envision
the addition of some 400 faculty members, but no
mention is made of accommodation for graduate
students. The faculty, appropriate to a university
with our goals, must be eager and competent to
participate in scholarship at the most advanced levels
as well as in the improvement of undergraduate
education. Few academics of this calibre would
accept  positions  at  a   university that denied them
contact with graduate students or the facilities for
pursuit of advanced scholarship.
Simply stated, the adding of 400 new faculty
members means the addition of some 800 new
graduate students studying with them. Provisions for
them must be part of our expansion plans at every
step. If such facilities are not available the quality of
our recruiting will be interfered with in a way that
will set back our academic progress for years ahead.
The plight we are in has not arisen recently or
unforseen; it is the accumulation of years of
under-financing both in terms of capital and
operating funds. But it has reached a point where our
preoccupation is coping with numbers in grossly
inadequate space, sure only that no matter how bad it
is this year the crowding will be worse next year.
Under these circumstances, and in the absence of an
assured program of support for capital development,
it is most difficult to nurture the imagination, vision
and determination to plan in a direction of our own
designation and to build steadily toward our agreed
Continued from page three
important, if a graduate went into the clergy or social
work or some worthwhile but low-paying job, the
payments on the loan in the form of the surcharge
would be equally low. Indeed, the life-time payments
by such a person might never pay back the loan. But
consider the individual, who through hard work and
application, earns an income of, say, $25,000 per
year. His lifetime payments would not only pay back
his loan but several others as well.
2. Limit enrolment to 20,000 and select students
by lottery.
This is a straight power confrontation with the
government. The evidence is not clear that 20,000 or
30,000, or what have you, is the optimum size for a
university. The aim is not to freeze enrolment at
some specific level because this is best but rather to
force the government to provide more funds for
higher education. The plan would call for the Board
of Governors to limit enrolment to 20,000. (We
would limit it now so as to get the money now to
have the buildings in three years.) Then each student
currently enrolled, plus all students applying to enter,
would be assigned a number; 20,000 numbers would
be selected at random, and only these 20,000 would
be allowed to enrol. The point should be obvious that
if it suddenly became evident that no matter how
good the student, his chances of completing his
education were less than certain, he and his parents
would be rather vocal in their protests to the elected
government and the government would respond to
such political pressure.
Of course, the policy is not without costs. It
means that the less able and the Nobel Prizewinners
would be in the same boat and it would not be the
most efficient use of the university's resources. But it
would bring pressure to bear on the government to
supply more money. Naturally some students are
opposed to this plan. They argue, quite rationally,
that it would be a tragic waste if a third-year medical
student was denied readmission by the draw.
Objecting students advocate using the lottery only for
incoming freshmen and this has merit in that it would
reduce the waste involved with excluding successful
upper classmen. However, it would reduce to some
degree the public pressure on the government and
would also mean that, if it came to pass, university
education would be the property of an even more
restrictive elite than is currently the case.
I personally favor the first approach since it
follows in the spirit of income transfers incorporated
into our modern-day approach to taxation and
government expenditure. Moreover, it might instill in
many students a greater sense of responsibility in
their approach to education than is at present the
case at UBC.
3 T t W AK. I   Continued from page two
vertical communication seems to be more difficult
than horizontal communication. It seems harder to
contact a man one floor above you than it does a
colleague in a neighbouring building, let alone a
next-door office.
Extending the campus out, which is what we've
been doing, leads to compartmentalization, it seems
to me. I think it's undesirable, for example, to build
what amounts to a ghetto at one end of the campus
for engineers. Eventually this will lead to a neat little
compartment containing only engineers, agriculture
students and foresters. I think we will lose something
when the engineers are no longer in the middle of the
campus, and I think they'll lose something too. In the
final analysis I can't see anything to prevent this from
Clearly it's a matter of personal opinion where you
stop enrolment. Fifteen years ago I would have said
something like 12,000 students was an optimum
number.   I can remember myself making statements
about the "great universities of the world" having
6,000 to 12,000 students, and at that time I didn't
have any reasons for coming to a different
Since then I think I've become more aware of the
advantages of size and I don't feel as distressed by our
present 20,000 as my attitude of ten years ago would
have led me to believe I would be. But it seems quite
clear to me, in talking to students and faculty, that
there is a feeling that we're pretty close to some sort
of limit which, if exceeded, will have unpleasant
psychological effects. A    UBC   ALUMNI    ASSOCIATION     REPORT
Critical acclaim has come to Edgar Sprott (left) and Garnet Carefoot
(seated) for their book,  Famine on the Wind. David Margerison photo.
Famine on the Wind?
Doomsday is a mere 58 years away.
That's the prediction being made these
days—and not by some religious nut
either. It's being made by responsible,
albeit gloomy, demographers, according to UBC alumni Garnet Carefoot,
B.Ed. '46, and Edgar Sprott, B.S.F.
'42, in their fascinating book, Famine
on the Wind. "Every second the world
over," the authors write, "births exceed deaths by more than two."
Starting from the time of Christ, the
first doubling of the world's population took 1,650 years; the fourth is
expected to occur in less than 40
"Because of this ever-shortening
period," they write, "the most pessimistic demographers predict that the
'saturation point' will come in little
more than 60 years unless the food
supply, natural or artificial or both,
runs out first. Thus they forecast
doomsday: the year 2026."
Famine on the Wind, however, is
not specifically about the population
crisis, though it is most relevant to
that serious problem. The book shows
how man and history have been—and
still are—affected by plant diseases.
And if you think that makes for pretty
unexciting reading, you're wrong.
Carefoot, who teaches at Richmond
secondary school, and Sprott, a retired
teacher, have written the book in a
wonderfully informal style. It's a book
you won't want to put down.
Which is undoubtedly the reason
why Famine on the Wind has been
steadily gaining a following—and considerable critical acclaim—during the
year it has been out. The American As-
sociation   for   the   Advancement   of
Science named it one of the top 50
science books in 1967. Library Journal
did the same. The director-general of
the UN Food and Agricultural Organization has praised it. Most gratifying
to the authors, however, has been the
words of Sir Julian Huxley: "Famine
on the Wind is an important book."
One thing which makes Famine on
the Wind so fascinating is that it reveals how important natural phenomena have been in the course of history.
Why, for instance, did the Hebrews
make that famous Exodus into Egypt?
Because, say Carefoot and Sprott, they
were faced with famine after wheat
rust destroyed their crops. And would
the late John F. Kennedy ever have
become president of the United States
if there had never been a Great Irish
Potato famine? His ancestors fled Ireland because of the potato blight. A-
gain, Russia's big chance to take the
Dardanelles in the 18th century was
snuffed out for a very simple reason:
ergot fungus on rye grain. Thousands
of Peter the Great's troops, poised at
Astrakhan, died within a matter of
months from eating rye bread whose
flour was polluted with the ergot
Famine on the Wind argues that, far
from being over, the fight against plant
disease has perhaps become more crucial than ever in the face of an exploding world population. But, Carefoot
and Sprott argue, it won't be enough:
birth control is essential. "If man fails
to apply voluntary methods to halt the
current increase," they write, "he will
run into that barrier he has so far been
able to avoid: universal famine." By
Clive Cocking.
What this campus needs, and not this campus only, is students
who are willing to do a little changing of themselves. The reference
is in terms of growth. It often seems to me that the children of
today are born grown-up, hence there can't be much room for
further growth. They have already "had it"—old before their time.
Many of the educators can't wait to get children into school, almost
robbing the cradle. Why all the frenzy to educate minds, are we
really so short of time? The only meritorious thing I see in Dr.
David Suzuki's advocacy of pubs on the campus is that they may
encourage a little time-wasting, if it can ever be "wasted".
The picture I got as I read his plea for a campus pub, is of a
squalling infant whose non-plussed mother sticks a comforter in its
mouth. My memory reminds me that some of them used sugar tied
in a rag. The University children have plenty of sugar sticks,
apparently can also get "pot" and "mind-blowing" agents too. No
doubt some minds need "blowing". My peers and I saw plenty of
things blown on the two World Wars. We also got old very quickly,
but it wasn't just in the head—we learned something about feelings
and values.
I've quaffed beer, (arms and legs we called it, since it hadn't any
body in it) in a French estaminet, a Mediterranean port, a Legion
Hall and an urban beer parlour. Beer was never a need or a way of
life, I am just saying that I am not a temperance crank either. From
the above experiences I cannot say that I ever learned much that
was useful in a pub, or achieved anything worthwhile in the way of
communication. One can understand Dr. Suzuki's need for a pub if
he is a fairly typical researcher. However, he shouldn't really need
"oiling" in order to function in the communication business.
Personally, in my student days I neither had the money nor the
leisure to spend in pubs. If they are the measure of learning or
culture then some European students ought to be the best in the
world. Perhaps that fountain of wisdom, the "Town Fool", could
throw some light on the subject. It is understood that he was quite
a busy fellow at the recent Faculty Club "occupation".
What Dr. Suzuki seems to deplore is the necessity of
beer-drinking students having to go off campus for a beer. Why not
a nice little ghetto of one's own? Let's change the childrens' hymn
to "you in your small pub and I in mine". What this campus needs
is less dialogue by means of beer in the belly and more dialogue
with the empty bellies of the world society. Some of us have known
hunger, thirst, mud, weariness, and pain. Thank God for it! We
learned our values and, we hope, developed some character muscles.
We haven't needed an excess of hair on the body to convince us of
our role. We can leave that to the butlers, footmen, man-servants or
the dandies of earlier generations.
What this campus needs is a little more courtesy and social
responsibility. It needs a little more willingness to gain historical
perspective, perhaps even listen to people so glibly labelled
conformist. A look in the most convenient mirror would reveal how
conformist some of the so-called non-conforming really are. What is
needed is a better understanding of the love talked about but not
enough practiced. It might be discovered that love is neither soft,
nor merely sentiment. There was nothing soft about a soldier's love
for his mate, nor for his country. The desire for a pub sounds to me
like "self-love", or at least self-indulgence, of which we have already
seen too much.
Retired social worker A. V. Bentum has undergraduate degrees from
the University of Toronto and McMaster University and took his
social work training at UBC. The founder of the Oakalla Narcotics
Treatment Centre, he now lives in White Rock.


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items