With the initial sparkle of its September appearance only slightly diminished by four months of classroom application, the General Education Program has sprung at last from the pages of the Harvard Report to become an accepted college institution. The first major change in the elective system since President Lowell's regime, the new Program has passed its first test and starting next fall, will expand from its present nucleus of eight general courses, limited to Freshmen and Sophomores, to a comprehensive department, embracing many fields and open to all four classes.
Staring off with under 400 students, the new offerings were limited by a scarcity of staff and a dearth of material. Classes were purposely small to air all student suggestions, a valuable check on teaching methods. But with the trial run almost over and student opinion in favor of the scheme, plans are already afoot for larger courses. The enrollment restrictions will be lifted on all coming Humanities classes and seven new upper-group courses will grace the fall catalogue, running from Fine Arts to Far-Eastern Civilizations.
From its present small beginning, the Program will eventually embrace all major areas of knowledge, replacing the existing distribution requirements to form a new backbone for undergraduate education. When the new plan is in full swing, each student will be required to choose six general courses, three of them prescribed. But most important of all, advanced courses will be increased, taking the survey-course out of the exclusive province of the Freshman and turning it over to the more mature student. This proposal counteracting the specialization evident in the final years of college is a significant attempt to give the undergraduate to crack at general courses when he is better able to assimilate them and is one of the most promising aspects of the General Education Program which is now over its initial hurdle and well on the way to a lasting place in the Harvard curriculum.