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UCLA Magazine Winter 2003
The Rising
Honorable Intentions
The Cardinal of Westwood
The Littlest Bruin
Sensing the Future
Dershowitz, For the Defense
Bruin Walk

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Winter 2003
Honorable Intentions
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Although the program is rigorous and there is a high attrition rate in the first year, there is no cap on the number of participants. "We don't want to be a tiny, elite program," explains Wilson. "We want all students to think of themselves as excellent students." About 400 to 450 will graduate each year with College Honors, she says.

The Collegium is the heart of that program. It is a series of interdisciplinary courses, often with no more than 20 students per class. Among the offerings for the Winter Quarter are such courses as "Fantastic Voyage: From Homer to '2001'," "Critical Vision: History of Art as Social and Political Commentary," "The Structure of Physical Reality" and "Disease and the Human Condition."

"The Collegium provides a higher bar for those who want the challenge," says Judith L. Smith, acting executive dean of the UCLA College and vice provost of undergraduate education. "The courses require more work, but students get a lot more out of them."

UCLA can offer such an intimate, focused experience, Smith says, because of the very fact that it is so large and diverse. "We have the advantage of being able to call upon faculty from a broad range of fields, and students from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, in order to build a smaller community in which people feel comfortable and challenged."

It works so well, Smith says, because professors "teach courses in their specialty to some of the best undergrads on campus. The small classes encourage critical thinking, writing and interdisciplinary approaches and give faculty opportunities they may not otherwise have."

Professors often propose classes they would like to teach but can't within their departments, says Wilson. "For example, 'Physics of Music' wouldn't be taught in either the physics or music departments."

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