**December Program Evaluation**
For the December evaluation we need your up-to-date ideas about how to make the program better, and we have a way by which we think we can learn this. Remember that in order to apply for the Aquinas Program you had to tear off a form from the bottom of a sheet of advertising. From this sheet we've taken the passages that seem best to describe the whole program and all the text that describes the Truth in Society section. Where we've omitted text there is an ellipsis (a . . . ). Here's what the advertising said:
. . . The Aquinas Program for first-year students is designed to introduce you to the exciting world of the liberal arts, while at the same time helping you make the transition to university study. You'll discover how the various liberal arts disciplines work together to contribute to our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. And you'll have the opportunity of working closely with professors and other students--sharing ideas, discovering new insights and building friendships that can last a lifetime.Here's what it said about our section:
If you choose to enroll in the Aquinas Program, you'll be joining a group of no more than 36 students and at least three professors. Your studies in the program will focus on a single theme that you'll investigate from a variety of perspectives. In addition to regular classes, your studies will involve seminars and tutorials, independent research and group work with other students in the program. You'll learn to use computers and computer networks as tools for research and communication. And even though enrollment in the program is limited, the Aquinas program is neither elitist nor remedial. Rather, it's intended for students who are excited about the prospects of learning in a new way, working in small groups and sharing their learning with others . . . .
This section will explore some of the ways people decide what to believe about important issues such as death, evil, race, sexuality or identity. But it will do so by asking you to focus on specific instances that will allow you to test and question your own beliefs and those of others. Examples could include rites of death in contemporary North America, witchcraft in the Renaissance and Enlightenment, ideas and stories about creation and evolution, the rise of the women's movement, the debate over individual rights and social good, and relations between aboriginal and European cultures and peoples.
Along with other students in the section, you'll be invited to explore a number of such instances involving belief by choosing and reviewing books, articles, videotapes and other sources; writing to others about what you've learned and responding to their reactions to your work . . .
(Hard copy of the whole document is available from Russ, John or Thom)
For this December program evaluation please do three things: 1) identify one or two places in the above description that are consistent with your experience this past term and write at least a couple of paragraphs about each; 2) identity one or two places in the above description that don't fit with your experience of the past term, and write at least a couple of paragraphs about each; 3) write some additional original advertising text that describes some aspect of the Truth in Society section or of the whole Aquinas Program that is missing from the above description.
When you're done, send this file to SPARSONS, not to TRUTHFAC. Susan Parsons will keep track of who sent this file, strip off the identifying marks, and send all of the text to us.
What will happen to the program evaluations, anyway?
In November we asked you to "write whatever you think will help make this program better -- for the rest of this year, and for next year when we do this again." There are four volunteer editors who will, in January, be sifting through the section's responses to provide a useful document for circulation to other Aquinas section students and profs, administrators, and other people interested in the Aquinas Program.
Also in January, we will pass on an edited version of the compiled texts you write this time to the University Relations people who are responsible for creating advertising brochures like the one we've quoted from above. Early next term we'll ask for volunteers to help with editing.