A serious shortage of top quality applicants now faces the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Dean Francis M. Rogers said yesterday.
While the capacity of the GSAS is up near 2,500, the school's annual enrollment hovers around 1,400 and has actually seen a slight decline in the last several years. The drop has come at a time when the size of the Faculty, and consequently the University's resources for guiding advanced study, has increased.
"I'm not altogether sure that there has been a decline in the quality of our students," Rogers said, "but now, with the great need for Ph.D.'s in the academic profession, the departments are acutely aware that there are not enough top quality applicants available."
Rogers attributed the shortage to a lack of interest in the academic field. "Industry, the other professions, and even the Government and the armed forces now outbid teaching for the brilliant undergraduates," he said.
In addition, the dean was sharply critical of "many of the nation's colleges--certainly not including Harvard" for practices in hiring faculty members. He termed these practices "undignified, even bordering on the unethical." He referred particularly to the dickering over rank and salary which comes when small colleges "try to get away with paying a man as little as possible." These practices, Rogers said, have hurt the profession in the eyes of the public.
GSAS Could Expand
The only department not affected by the shortage here are History and English, which according to Rogers are always swamped with applications for graduate study. But other departments are virtually never filled to capacity. Rogers said the school could expand its capacity to 2,500 if its top applicants were better distributed among the various fields of study.
Referring to the recommendation by the Faculty Committee on the Behavioral Sciences that a committee be appointed to evaluate GSAS admissions requirements and to develop and propose improved screening devices, Rogers said that he "would rather spend the money on stirring up top quality applications. I doubt if our procedures are bad enough to warrant the expense of testing them."
Rogers firmly endorsed the Committee's recommendation for a re-examination of student scholarship and Joan policies. "I've come to the conclusion that big grants ought to be given to third year students while they are finishing up research on their theses, instead of to first year people," he said. "It's not so important that a man be completely free in his first year when he's still taking regular courses."
The dean, who is resigning his post this summer in order to go back to full-time teaching as a professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, also gave full approval to a third recommendation of the Committee: a small discretionary fund at the disposal of each department for use as a grant-in-aid to graduate students for certain out-of-pocket expense involved in their research. As an example, Rogers cited the cost of micro-filming manuscripts, or travel