Imagine a large research university with 35,000 students where freshmen have the opportunity to take small, interactive, faculty-taught seminar courses. Welcome to the University of Illinois's Discovery Program launched by Chancellor Michael Aiken this fall. These courses, with a maximum of 20 students, foster a true exchange of information between faculty and students. It is hoped that small, interactive classes like these will sow the seeds of future learning. It is hoped, after learning how to be an active participant in a small class, students will be able to transfer this skill to other classes which may be larger. In Discovery classes students will learn not only subject matter but, more importantly, how to approach learning, for a lifetime of successful knowledge acquisition. Students who participate in this program should make the transition to the Big U. more easily.
Flexibility is a key to this program. Discovery courses can be used to fulfill a general ed requirement or a course can be specially designed. If this program seems a bit familiar to some of you, it may be because it is reminiscent of the Department of Accountancy's Project Discovery. Both the finance and economics departments are also participating in Discovery. Since business administration major courses are generally not taken until the junior year, they are unable to participate.