Benjamin Franklin, known for his 'practical' proverbs, would probably be proud of a new project being spearheaded by the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education. The Practical Scholar, currently being assembled by SCUE, will be a guide to academics and academic resources at the University, according to SCUE Chairperson David Kaufman. "The aim of this is to be both a great resource to students at the University and to show prospective matriculants that this is a great place to study," he said last week. Currently in early planning stages, Kaufman explained that the 'Practical Scholar' will address issues currently not covered by any one publication by pooling the information in many different ones. Up to fifty pages in length, Kaufman said the project will cover subjects ranging from libraries to foreign study programs to computer resources at the University. He said that much of it will be done on computer, so that frequent updates in the future will not be difficult. "First and foremost, we want to be accurate," he said. Susanne Bradford, School of Arts and Sciences director of communications, described the project as unlike any she has seen in her 12 years at the University. "The different schools and different departments are not centralized," she explained last week. "They operate fairly independently. No one school would want to take it on." She said that responsibility for compiling such a project therefore falls to the students, adding "that's probably where it should fall." "I believe that it's important for the students to get involved in projects like this that are above and beyond the classroom," she said. "It's a monumental job." According to Kaufman, SCUE has contacted the provost and the deans of each of the undergraduate schools with the proposal. He said that their response has been favorable. "Anytime the students get involved in communication between the system and other students, it is to be applauded," said Norman Adler, who heads SAS's undergraduate division. John Keenan, head of the Engineering School's undergraduate division, said "it struck me as being a very appropriate and important thing." "[The Practical Penn] tells how to live at Penn," Kaufman said. "This tells how to study at Penn." Bradford added that because the book will be sent by the University to all incoming students, the quality of the book is important. But quality will not come cheaply. Kaufman said that the project could cost between $20,000 and $25,000 depending on the number of copies printed. Bradford said that with that amount, the high-quality book could be completed, but the amount of color and photographs, paper quality, and binding style will all effect the total bill. She said that the University's current budget difficulties may effect the project. "At this point, it is very important to watch the costs," she said.Comments powered by Disqus
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