Yale's newest educational program--the sophomore seminar--is an "experiment that should be continued," one of the program's chairmen said recently.
According to Basil D. Henning, Master of Yale's Saybrook College, the "whole project can be regarded as successful." Sophomore seminars are Yale's counterpart to Harvard's House tutorial system.
They are designed to "arouse some intellectual curiosity in sophomore minds," Henning said, as well as to give the Yale college "a more direct role in the formal educational life of the University."
Combats Sophomore Slump
Yale administrators felt sophomores too seldom "discuss their work outside class," and established the seminar system last year. Most Eli sophomores are taught primarily in lectures or large groups, which, the faculty feels, attributes to the "sophomore slump."
At least three seminars, or small discussion groups, have been introduced in each of the Yale colleges. Number of students and teaching fellows in the various fields determined the subjects to be offered in the seminars. English and History had the greatest, number of discussion groups this year.
At a recent faculty meeting, Yale instructors voted that "a department might propose to the faculty one now discussion course, to be given only in the colleges, the course to satisfy a distributional requirement or to parallel a pre-requisite to the major." The Eli English department has already proposed one such course for credit--which would be similar to a Harvard junior's counting tutorial for credit.