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Subject: In Defense Of Charles Adams and The Inquiry Program

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Date Posted: 20:50:40 07/28/08 Mon
In reply to: Robb (forum host) 's message, "Charles Adams" on 08:32:12 07/28/08 Mon

Deborah Savage lived next to me on Second Sunset during the Spring 76 semester. I found her response
to a Fall '99 article in the UMass Magazine on Charles Adams and Patricia Crosson:

Deborah's comments deserve reposting:


AN ARTICLE ABOUT CHARLES ADAMS and Patricia Crosson ["Joint Involvement," Branches of Learning, Fall 1999] mentions that there were numerous dissenters to the programs initiated by Charles Adams in the 1970s most notably the Inquiry Program.

I am an excellent example of how very wrong those skeptics were. Although I began undergraduate work at UMass in 1975, at age nineteen, I did not receive my degree until 1987. I am one of those students who, because of the alternative programs offered by the university, flourished in college when I would otherwise have dropped out altogether.

I am a graduate of both the Inquiry Program and later, the BDIC program, where I majored in writing and illustration. Even though my college career was interrupted many times, for financial reasons and because I moved to New Zealand for awhile, these programs offered me enough incentive to keep returning until I finished. I have since gone on to get an MFA in writing in another alternative program, the nonresidential masters program at Goddard College in Vermont.

I am now, at age forty-four, a self-employed writer/artist. I have had six novels published in this country and translated and published in Europe and the Pacific countries. I am under contract for a new book, have worked as a muralist and exhibit designer in natural history museums, and have had many exhibits of my woodcut prints. I am at present working not only on the new novel but on a children's book.

You can see that I have benefited greatly from my concentration on writing and art. If the Inquiry Program had not existed, there is no question in my mind that I would not have graduated. Although I do not need any of my degrees to write or paint, I do need them to be able to teach young people about following their dreams and focusing on their visions. When I speak to groups of young people, I tell them that I was a poor and disinterested student in school because I was so focused on my own work. And I tell them, too, that I was not accepted into UMass when I first applied because of my very low grades. However, I tell them, I persevered and wrote to the dean of admissions again, he recognized something special in my letter and allowed me into college despite my poor school record.

Deborah Savage '87

[The writer's first novel, A Rumor of Otters, received an ALA Notable Book Award in 1986; her second, Flight of the Albatross, was written that same year as her BDIC senior thesis. Published in 1989 by Houghton Mifflin, Flight was filmed on location on New Zealand by German co-producers in 1995, and won the top award for children's film at the 1997 Berlin International Film Festival.]

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