October 23, 2002: Notebook

FACULTY FILE: American-made

New residential plan proposed
Report recommends college pairing and changes to improve student life, including advising and food

Reforming Morocco
Expatriate Prince Moulay Hicham ’85 calls for change at campus conference on the Islamic world

IN memoriam

IN Brief


Photo by Denise Applewhite

America’s immigrants have been well researched over the years, but that isn’t the thrust of sociology professor Alejandro Portes’s research. Instead, he follows the lives of thousands of second-generation immigrant children, and last year published Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation, coauthored with Ruben Rumbaut, a Michigan State University professor. For the book they interviewed 5,200 immigrant children and 2,500 of their parents, beginning in 1992.

As Portes sees it, the longterm effect of immigration on the U.S. does not come so much from the immigrants themselves as from their children.

Recent research estimates that 20 percent of children under 18 are children of immigrants, and this is the fastest growing sector of the country’s child population. By 2040, 33 percent of the nation’s children will fit this description.

“The fate that the second generation experiences is going to determine the long-term position in the American hierarchy of their ethnic group,” says Portes. “If the second-generation kids succeed in integrating themselves into the mainstream, then you would find that group as an addition to the American mainstream, the middle class, and a successful process.

“If they fail because they do not have the education, the credentials, or drop out of school, they can add to the underclass at the bottom of American society. That’s why it was very important to examine in reality how the process of adaptation was taking place for these children.”

This fall Portes teaches Research Methods in Social Science and a class on urbanization and development in the Third World, especially Latin America.

By A.D.

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A look at the Class of 2006
Total number of students  1,166
Men  52.1%
Women  47.9%
Asian Americans  13.5%
African Americans  8.4%
Hispanic Americans  6.4%
Native Americans  0.8%
International students  8.1%
Alumni children  11.1%
New residential plan proposed
Report recommends college pairing and changes to improve student life, including advising and food

It’s been 20 years since the two-year residential college system changed the undergraduate life experience at Princeton. With a 10 percent increase in enrollment to be phased in during the next decade, that experience will be dramatically changed once again.

A report on the plan to revamp Princeton’s residential college program in response to the increase in students was presented to university trustees on September 20 and has been initially well received by many campus factions.

The proposed four-year residential college system outlined in the 51-page report would pair three four-year colleges, including the planned Whitman College, with three two-year colleges. The system would be implemented beginning in the 2006—07 academic year, when the $100-million Whitman College is scheduled to be in use. The new college is intended to house 400 freshmen and sophomores and 100 juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students and faculty.

According to the report, the committee was guided by two principles: “that the residential colleges are central to the university’s educational mission and that the expansion of the student body is an opportunity to improve the quality of Princeton’s undergraduate education.” Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel and Janet Dickerson, vice president for campus life, cochaired the 21-member committee, which reviewed the residential systems at Harvard, Rice, and Yale Universities as part of its work.

Major changes included in the recommendations:

• Butler and Mathey will join Whitman as four-year colleges, housing the same number of students.

• Forbes, Wilson, and Rockefeller Colleges each will house 475 freshmen and sophomores, and will be paired with the four-year colleges. Plans call for faculty and graduate students to reside in all the colleges.

• Transferring nondepartmental academic advising of juniors and seniors from West College deans to the dean and director of studies of the college with which each student is affiliated.

• Major improvements to residential facilities and food quality in the colleges.

• Creation of a director of residential life or similar position at all six colleges.

• More classes to be held in the colleges, as well as greater residential-college-centered academic and cultural programming.

Some questions have been raised about the impact the new four-year system may have on membership at Princeton’s eating clubs. But university administrators and eating club members and officials, including Tim Szostek ’02, the Inter-Club adviser, said they believe the increase in students will minimize any effect. “There are enough to go around,” said Malkiel during a discussion on the report at the September 23 faculty meeting. Malkiel also cited the committee’s recommendation for a system to allow for meal exchanges between the colleges and the eating clubs.

During the faculty meeting, several professors praised the proposed system. Longtime English professor John Fleming *63 called it “one of the most important and promising initiatives in undergraduate life in my time here.”

Provost Amy Gutmann said the new system would be a “turning point in our history.” “One of the most important aspects is the integration of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates outside the classroom,” added Gutmann, echoing the committee report.

But other professors questioned the possible creation of more bureaucratic layers between students and Nassau and West College with the additional administrators. “It’s a good thing we have time,” said Malkiel.

The report is now being reviewed by a number of university constituencies and can be be found on the Princeton University Web site at www.princeton. edu/~odoc/colleges/.

By A.D.

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Reforming Morocco
Expatriate Prince Moulay Hicham ’85 calls for change at campus conference on the Islamic world

Photo: Prince Moulay Hicham ’85, at his home in Princeton, seeks the “politics of truth” in Morocco. (Ricardo Barros)

Second in line to the throne of Morocco’s Alawite kingdom, Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah ’85 has spoken out forcefully in the past about the need to reform his country’s political institutions, including the monarchy itself, calling for “a new form of politics, a politics of truth — open, frank, transparent — that encourages participation throughout the population.” On September 27 he spoke about Islam, democracy, and governance at a conference on campus that brought together scholars and journalists from across the Islamic world. To view the entire conference, go to www.princeton.edu/ WebMedia/special/. Last winter Moulay Hicham temporarily left the world of Moroccan politics and moved back to Princeton with his wife and two young daughters. PAW’s Kathryn Federici Greenwood interviewed him at his Princeton home, which he has owned since his junior year.

Can you summarize the reforms you’ve called for in Morocco’s government and institutions?

I would like to see the monarchy construct a new national pact in which its role would be more one of symbolic importance, of arbitration, and of ensuring the equilibrium of the country. This new role would make it withdraw from the daily running of affairs, which would be left to a government coming out of a parliament based on universal suffrage.

Why have you spoken out about the political situation?

I wanted and still want to make a meaningful contribution to the country. And my public discourse was in congruence with a lot of events that were happening on the ground. Morocco in the mid-1990s under my uncle’s reign did try to begin this transformation to a more representative, transparent government. There was a general atmosphere of political debate.

Is it unusual that a prince would criticize the monarchy?

It is rather unique that criticism comes from a family member. And it creates all sorts of reactions. Some people raise their eyebrows. Some people are scared. Others applaud. But the context of Morocco in the 1990s was unique compared to other monarchies in the Arab world.

Why have you decided to take a break from Moroccan politics?

Because there was too much focus on me, as a prince within the monarchy, and not enough focus on the ideas. I’ve said enough for the moment. And I want to take a distance. It’s time for others to take responsibility, to take the initiative. I can’t be the principal opposition figure. I do not want the identity of the messenger to pollute the message.

We as a society need to think about our future in ways that are profound, and sometimes annoying. That’s my goal, my task.

What has the reaction within your family been to your ideas on the need for reform?

That kind of autonomy also meant sacrificing on my part. And that meant not being involved with official functions of the family. It was, “Look, you are autonomous, but your ideas represent only yours. You’re not speaking for the rest of us.”

What do the elections that were held September 27 mean for Morocco?

The political parties are in crisis. The rules of the game, the general political context within which elections occur, need reform. Will the elections be an inoculation for reform, or will the lack of reform make these elections worthless? We’ll just have to see how it plays out.

How did attending Princeton affect your thinking?

Very much. It was fundamental. Not only because I received a Western education — many Moroccans have Western educations. But living far away from home, in a very different setting with very different influences, allows you to develop in an independent way.

For a longer version of this interview, click here.

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IN memoriam

David T. Wilkinson, a professor of physics whose research helped shape scientists’ understanding of the structure of the universe and whose open and friendly manner made him a beloved colleague and teacher, died September 5 after a long bout with cancer. He was 67.

Wilkinson, Princeton’s Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, emeritus, was a key figure in making the astronomical observations that, in the 1960s, gave a solid basis for the Big Bang theory of the universe. Over subsequent decades, he conceived and guided major satellite-based investigations that yielded further dramatic insights and continue to refine scientists’ picture of the universe today.

In addition to his research, he eagerly engaged in mentoring students, organizing innovative classes in physics, enlisting undergraduates in research, and arranging stargazing gatherings. In his most recent project, he invited amateur astronomers and other volunteers to work side-by-side with Princeton scientists in a search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Wilkinson joined the Princeton faculty in 1963 after earning B.S.E., M.S.E. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.

In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences awarded Wilkinson its James Craig Watson Medal for his contributions to the science of astronomy.

He also was an enthusiastic teacher of undergraduates, developing several new courses, including a sophomore course in experimental physics that he organized in the last couple of years before retiring earlier this year. In 1996, he received the Princeton President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

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In Brief

Photographs: Macarthur Foundation

Among the recipients of this year’s MacArthur fellowships were three with Princeton connections (left to right): Molecular biology professor Bonnie Bassler, Ann Blair *90, a professor of history at Harvard, and Charles Steidel ’84, a professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Technology. Each will receive a no-strings-attached grant of $500,000 over five years.

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