Text of Freshman Committee's Report Which Suggests Many Improvements to Help First Year Men Through Critical Period

Following is the text of the report on the Freshman Year which the Freshman Confidential Guide submitted to Dean Leighton yesterday. It was drawn up under the chairmanship of Francis Keppel by Messrs. Allen, Dampeer, Dow, Durant, Graham, Hay, Levine, Shahan, and Vogt.

General Remarks

We realize that there are certain changes that the University cannot make because of administrative difficulties, and these questions we have not discussed; nor have we attempted to investigate subjects on which we have been unable to procure first-hand evidence. All our criticisms and recommendations must therefore be understood to apply to the Freshman year only. In making both general and specific resolutions we have regarded the matter entirely from the Freshman point of view. We hope that this report will be useful as a record of student opinion.

We have divided our study into two parts. In the first we have dealt with courses and their value. We have made several generalizations which we feel to be applicable to all courses in all departments, and we have also examined some specific cases. In a few of our general suggestions we may seem to be recommending a policy directly opposed to the present academic set-up. We feel that the practical application of this policy has shown that it creates too big a step between school and college.

In the second part we have taken up questions of Freshman life, both athletic and social. We have also examined the adviser question. In both parts of the report, the suggestions for improvement have been written in the form of a resolution, prefaced by introductory remarks explaining the faults we are trying to eliminate, and towards what goal we are aiming.

Part I

I. Introduction: The CRIMSON questionnaire showed conclusively that the student's enjoyment of courses varied directly with the teaching ability of his section man. The criticism was brought forward several times that the fault lay in the present method of choosing men from the ranks of those studying for a doctorate. These men have in many cases had no teaching experience at all, and have no interest in instructing freshmen in the elementary parts of a subject. We recommend that the method of appointment be revised in all departments, although we do not claim that every doctorate student should be eliminated.

Resolution: That section men be chosen with an eye towards teaching ability and personality, rather than for their scholastic records.

II. Introduction: There are few freshmen who have a clear idea of their specific field of concentration for their last three years in college. They may know what general field they wish to pursue, but they need introductory courses which will give them a clear picture of what those fields offer. To achieve this purpose, we recommend:

Resolution: That professors in introductory courses be chosen for their teaching ability rather than for their scholarly attainments. Scholarship is more valuable in advanced courses.

III. Introduction: There are a large number of freshmen who have received sufficient training in a field (or fields) in school to make an introductory course in that field (or fields) superfluous. At present these men are hindered by University rules requiring most men to take introductory courses. We therefore recommend;

Resolution: That a more flexible system be evolved whereby freshmen with adequate preparatory training be allowed to enter advanced courses directly.

IV. Introduction: In many courses, the brilliant students have been held back by the slow members of the sections, and have not been able to cover as much ground as they could have otherwise. The conference groups in History 1, for example, wander far afield from the required work of the course. With the purpose of making introductory courses more interesting for the good student and less embarrassing for the bad, we recommend:

Resolution: That in all courses (as far as is possible) the sections be divided into Honor men, C men, and D and E men.

V. Introduction: In many cases it has been found that the lectures do not complement or even bear any relation to the assigned reading. As the course tends to lose its unity and significance when its various component parts are advancing in tangents or, as is perhaps more important, when the lectures do little more than duplicate the reading, we recommend: