• Creator
  • Potter, Diane L
  • Created Date
  • 1989-09-01
  • Publisher
  • Springfield College
  • Description
  • This document titled “Operationalizing Humanics Philosophy the Keystone for a Diverse and Pluralistic Springfield College” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Dr. Diane L. Potter on September 1, 1989. Having the Humanics lecture presented in the beginning of the fall semester was a switch from the original tradition of presenting the lecture at the end of the spring. Potter, memb... more
    This document titled “Operationalizing Humanics Philosophy the Keystone for a Diverse and Pluralistic Springfield College” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Dr. Diane L. Potter on September 1, 1989. Having the Humanics lecture presented in the beginning of the fall semester was a switch from the original tradition of presenting the lecture at the end of the spring. Potter, member of the Springfield College class of 1957, was a pioneer in the history of women’s athletics at Springfield College, and she coached the first gymnastics and softball teams. She coached the women's softball team for 21 years, and in her recognition the softball field was dedicated in her name as Potter Field. In 1989, Potter became the second woman inducted into the Springfield College Athletics Hall of Fame, and during that same academic year, she served as the Springfield Distinguished Professor of Humanics. Potter introduces her lecture by pointing out the lack of diversity amongst the administrators and faculty at Springfield College. She also points out that racism, sexism, intolerance of diverse perspectives on religion, sexual preference, and disability are not strangers to Springfield College. Potter addresses that the mission statement says the College is committed to its century-old philosophy known as Humanics, which emphasizes the development of the total person in spirit, mind and body for service to others. She then questions who the “others” are in reference the previous statement. Potter reads a statistic that says by the year, fifty-three major cities in the U.S. will have minorities make up the majority of the population. Therefore, she further questions if the college’s minority enrollment figure of 4.5% for 1988 prepares students for the college’s objective of education to provide services to all humankind. Potter next goes on to present a brief history of Springfield College and the origin of Humanics. She then quotes a statement from the Springfield College Bulletin, “The emphasis at Springfield College is on our Humanics Philosophy, the education of the total person--the spirit, the mind, the body--with motivation of service to that is international, intercultural, interracial and interreligious.” Potter describes the importance of the words that act as symbols; some from the past - spirit, mind, body, service; some new - person not man, - international, intercultural, interracial, interreligious. These new words emphasize service to all humanity. As with most philosophical statements, Potter states that it does not tell us how to do these things, yet it provides direction and goals. Potter states that an action plan is needed for becoming a more diverse and pluralistic college community, and that this action will bring about change, which for many people is threatening. Potter references an Educational Model for Instruction by James B. Macdonald as an analogy. The model is made up of four overlapping circles representing four separate but interdependent “systems.” One is labeled “teaching” the second, “learning,” the third, “instruction,” and the fourth, “curriculum.” Curriculum represents the plan for action, or the Humanics philosophy. In the model, each circle shares some space with each other circle, some space with two other circles, and one space with all other circles. The small shadowed spot in the center represents the point of congruence, in which all components must meet together for the action plan to be achieved. Potter ends her lecture by stating, “It's time we hold ourselves accountable for meeting deadlines for specific written plans with goals for improving diversity. It's time we eliminate racism; sexism; homophobia; religious intolerance; and acts of violence, hatred, oppression, and discrimination. It's time we implement our Humanics 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. To ensure this, a Distinguished Professor of Humanics position was created at the college, first filled by Dr. Seth Arsenian from 1966-1969. The purpose of this position was to catalyze a renewal of consciousness in the philosophy. This was done by annually mandating the Distinguished Professor of Humanics to give a Humanics lecture on the definition of Humanics and what the concept means to them. Arsenian started this tradition in 1967 with his speech titled, “The Meaning of Humanics,” in which he described the concept as a set of ideas, values, and goals that make our college distinct from other colleges and make commitment and unity toward commonly sought goals possible. less
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