The recent vote of the faculty permitting specially recommended candidates for distinction to omit one course in both junior and senior years is a logical step in the harmonization of the tutorial and lecture systems. Last year, members of the class of 1925, who were permitted under the same restrictions to work at the rate of three courses during their senior year, benefited greatly by the privilege. Of the 17 men selected, two got degrees summa cum laude, eight magna cum laude, and six cum laude. Only one failed to gain distinction.
Such a uniform high standing, the majority of the candidates graduating magna cum laude or better, fully justifies the innovation. It indicates that further enlargement of individual responsibility is unlikely to meet with abuse. The present extension of the system to both Juniors and Seniors is a direct result of this experimental success.
The faculty ruling, in effect, sets up an elastic barrier between Pass and Honor students which adapts itself to the basic structure of the lecture system. For the necessary restrictions which hedge about the privilege make the transition back to course requirements easy for the student who does not profit by extended tutorial work. On complaint of his tutor, a delinquent candidate may have to resume the full schedule of four courses at either mid-year or final examination periods.
No doubt, when the ruling becomes more familiar, students will increasingly desire to avail themselves of the privilege. Only the limited number of tutors available can prevent the extension of the system to an ever larger group. As the honor student well knows, the guidance of a tutor in preparation for divisionals is more valuable than the lectures of a professor.