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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
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."
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."
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
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
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."