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Minot State College in 1970

"Philosophy of Science Class Meeting in the Experimental College Conference Room"

EC Classroom "Philosophy of Science"

When the EC was first proposed in 1970, MSC was focused on the business of educating young minds, mostly from the northwest and north central region of North Dakota. Since 1913, MSC had built its reputation as first a normal school, then as a teachers college, and finally as a college offering a wider range of programs, including business and nursing.  Throughout, MSC followed standard educational procedures and curriculum of the time, offering its students learning experiences through a series of strictly developed and administered courses.

In 1970, just before the creation of the EC, general education at MSC did not follow the model that it does today. There was very little student choice within the general education curriculum, which was seen as a precursor to the major field one would be entering, and as such, was limited in nature. The freedom for students to take an individualized selection of general education classes was not the norm. Instead, students were tracked through general education with step-by-step scholastic maps that took them from neophytes to graduates within their given fields.

Additionally, faculty generally had little freedom to create new educational offerings for their students. The individual connection between instructor and courses, which developed in an earlier era of lower enrollments, smaller classes, and minimal overview from external educational agencies, withered as enrollment blossomed, class size swelled, and stricter review and accreditation policies emerged. 

The era of small intimate classrooms with direct daily student-educator interactions had passed, due in large part to the increasing numbers of college students resulting from the baby boom and the GI Bill. Professors could no longer be identified according to the particular courses they taught. Increased numbers of students meant multiple sections of some courses, while integrated departments and divisions meant curriculum designed more for the convenience of the college than for the benefit of the individual student. Even at a small college like MSC, the individual student had been replaced by the student group.