As Stanford’s Structured Liberal Training (SLE) formally reaches its fiftieth anniversary, college students and college mentioned a by line in this system historical past’s is its core values of assist and neighborhood.
SLE was based by the late professor Mark Mancall in 1973 as a residential-based humanities program for frosh. This system will commemorate its success on Oct. 21 with a celebration inviting each present and former SLE college students again to East FloMo.
“It’s an incredible honor to be partaking in one thing that has lasted this lengthy. Three weeks in, it’s a really enjoyable and transformative expertise,” mentioned Dan Kubota ’27, a present SLE resident.
Collaborating in SLE as a frosh fulfills Stanford’s core COLLEGE and PWR necessities, but it surely does greater than get frosh out of required coursework, college students mentioned. Sometimes called ‘the liberal arts faculty expertise’ at Stanford, about 90 college students take part every year.
“It’s a residential-based class, so it’s genuinely an incredible neighborhood. I can go from lecture to dinner with my pals and tie what we’ve talked about in our lecture to our day by day lives in a really natural method, not in a pressured approach,” Kubota mentioned.
SLE college students take a chronologically structured three-quarter course that begins with educating concerning the historical world and culminates with the fashionable interval, in accordance with this system’s web site. Every quarter, college students take an eight-unit class, which is roughly equal to the coursework of two conventional lessons.
Jeremy Sabol, the affiliate director of SLE for the previous 20 years, mentioned college students construct a robust sense of neighborhood amongst one another.
“Looking collectively after the frequent good and attempting to study collectively whereas dwelling collectively is a extremely necessary a part of SLE that makes it distinctive from different applications,” Sabol mentioned. “SLE is dramatically completely different from different dorm experiences as a result of the scholars usually are not solely dwelling collectively however enterprise this mental mission along with the assistance of older classmen and SLE alums.”
SLE Resident Tutors (SLErts), who college students mentioned are similar to resident assistants (RAs), enable this neighborhood to remain in contact, even after a scholar has accomplished their frosh yr.
“The SLErt staff helps foster neighborhood and belonging inside SLE,” mentioned Jas Wheeler ’25, a second-year SLErt. “We host examine breaks with meals and provide workplace hours to speak about essays and adjusting to Stanford. We provide social recommendation in addition to educational recommendation.”
Wheeler is raring to attend the SLE fiftieth anniversary occasion this weekend, reflecting on it as a particular milestone for this system.
Over the previous week, SLE college students celebrated a milestone of their very own: turning of their first essays of the yr. Wheeler and different SLErts hosted a examine group as college students ready their essays about Homer’s “Odyssey.”
“My first essay was a ceremony of passage as a SLE scholar,” Wheeler mentioned. “It’s enjoyable to be on the opposite aspect and provides recommendation this time.”
Kubota felt assured as she turned in her “SLEssay.” Including “SLE” to the start of a phrase is a operating joke within the SLE class, she mentioned.
“We’ve got so many SLE puns,” she joked. “SLEssay. Get sufficient SLEep. SLE you once more. Let’s meet within the SLounge.”
This joke has additionally had hurtful makes use of too, Wheeler mentioned, together with using “SLoser” by different frosh.
“Folks get weirded out by SLE as a result of it seems to be very intense and intimidating. They image darkish academia, strolling round sporting tweed,” Wheeler mentioned. “Folks underestimate how enjoyable and informal it’s. It’s an eight-unit class but it surely’s not as excruciating because it seems to be.”
School are additionally attempting to shake the slander surrounding SLE. Sabol mentioned college students who produce unfavourable stereotypes on the SLE expertise are often not SLE college students.
“That’s how stereotypes work,” Sabol mentioned. “The those who unfold them are the individuals who know the least about what they’re speaking about.”
Sabol hopes SLE encourages college students to “have interaction critically” with texts of the Western custom to grasp its influence and legacy. He emphasised the necessity to “not endorse or assault, however assess the readings they have interaction with.”
“Eighteen-year-olds usually have bother with ambiguity. You are likely to need unsuitable or proper solutions,” Sabol mentioned. “The actually thrilling and productive questions and points within the humanities don’t have proper or unsuitable solutions. Folks have completely different solutions and so they change over time.”
Wheeler and Kubota look ahead to partaking in future SLE actions, together with a play that will likely be carried out on the finish of the quarter.
“It’s cool SLE has lasted this lengthy,” Kubota mentioned. “It says one thing concerning the influence of this system. Issues don’t simply final 50 years for no purpose. One thing about SLE attracts folks to proceed taking part in it … SLE clearly has an influence on the neighborhood and Stanford.”