Criticism of St. Mary's College seminars is unfair, uninformed

June 03, 2013

Regarding Anne D. Neal's commentary on St. Mary's College of Maryland, how sad it was to read such an uneducated piece published by a usually trustworthy source ("Campus cautionary tale," May 30). The article was a perfect example of manipulation of facts.

Granted, St. Mary's is more expensive than the University of Maryland College Park and other institutions. But Ms. Neal's article fails to report that we benefit from small class sizes, which requires more class participation than sitting in a lecture hall with several hundred students.

Moreover, while she criticizes the freshman seminar, which lasts one semester during the freshman year, Ms. Neal makes no mention at all of the extensive research put into the extensive research projects required for graduation in most majors, which generally span one or two full years.

The author references one freshman seminar entitled "Songs of Protest and Social Change," which explores the songs associated with social movements of the 1960s, and dismisses its educational value.

However, similar courses at other universities include "The Campus on Fire: American Colleges and Universities in the 1960s" and "Freedom Films: "Films related to the Southern Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s" (Brown University); and "Facebook: The Social Impact of Social Networks" (Princeton).

If Ms. Neal dismisses the educational value of the St. Mary's course, she would surely dismiss these courses as well, right?

Say what you want about St. Mary's, but at least my college has taught me I should do thorough research before submitting an article to be published.

Rachel S. Ryan

The writer is an economics major and member of St. Mary's College of Maryland Class of 2015.

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