This document titled “Changes in Attitudes and Values During Four Years of College,” was the second Humanics Lecture given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics, Dr. Seth Arsenian, in 1968. Arsenian, a faculty member who taught psychology at the college, filled the position as the first Distinguished Professor of Humanics from 1966-1969. The purpose of the position was to catalyze a renewal of consciousness in the philo...
This document titled “Changes in Attitudes and Values During Four Years of College,” was the second Humanics Lecture given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics, Dr. Seth Arsenian, in 1968. Arsenian, a faculty member who taught psychology at the college, filled the position as the first Distinguished Professor of Humanics from 1966-1969. The purpose of the position was to catalyze a renewal of consciousness in the philosophy. Humanics is a word that has a special meaning in the history and philosophy of Springfield College, as well as in the college’s motto of “Spirit, Mind, and Body.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines Humanics as, “the subject or study of human affairs or relations, especially of the human element of a problem or situation as opposed to the mechanical.” In 1962, Dr. Glenn Olds, President of Springfield College at the time, began to wonder why this name was given to the intended philosophy of the college by Dr. Laurence Locke Doggett, Springfield College’s first full-time president. Olds acknowledged that the practices of the faculty were in large part consistent with the Humanics philosophy, but he believed that a more self-conscious application would improve chances of its continuity and survival. In Arsenian’s lecture he explained how he took two successive Freshman classes that entered Springfield College in September 1958 and 1959 and continued following them for four years until they graduated in June of 1962 and 1963. These students were given a test on values and a questionnaire on attitudes and opinions when they entered as Freshmen, and the same test and questionnaire when they were seniors, just prior to their graduation. They were questioned on socio-economic data, educational-vocational plans and expectations, opinions and beliefs on the general public, religion, laws, peace, family life, human nature, self-confidence, etc. The study noted that there were indeed significant changes in values during four years of college. Arsenian completed this study because he believed that as long as the college continued to subscribe to a wholistic concept of education on campus under the Humanics philosophy, then it is important to know about changes in attitudes and values of students throughout the college experience. Dr. Seth Arsenian was born in 1902 in Vaspurakan, the capital of the kingdom of Urartu in Armenia. He became an American citizen in 1940, after which he was hired by Springfield College. During World War II, he took a leave of absence from to work in Washington, D.C., first with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and then with the Office of War Information, where he was in charge of propaganda for the Middle East. When he returned to Springfield College, he was hired as acting dean, director of admissions, and eventually the director of the graduate program. He retired in 1969 and moved to San Diego.