Three Faculty members yesterday challenged a recent Ford Foundation study on the economics of higher education, conducted by Seymour E. Harris '20, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy.
Most criticized were the recommendations for an increased student-faculty ratio, with larger classes and fewer courses. "This is an academic version of inflation," charged Charles R. Cherington '35, profesor of Government.
Cherington admitted, however, that a higher student-faculty ratio would be inevitable if more students were admitted. "Clearly the Harvard money drive has failed," he maintained. "Our course now should be that of a still pond--no moving."
"It is true that the Harris plan would work in purely economic terms," acknowledged Charles H. Taylor, Henry Charles Lea Professor of Medieval History. He claimed, however, that the plan does not recognize the importance of the teacher-student relationship which exists in classes of 25 to 75. These classes were termed "worthless" by Harris.
Such "sweeping generalizations" cannot be made with regard to education, Howard Mumford Jones, professor of English, asserted, because "the objects of education are too infinitely varied." Jones, however, supported Harris' recommendation for more independent study. "The idea that the student ought to read more, without the protection of an instructor, is excellent," he remarked.
Cherington, on the other hand, called it "ridiculous" to let students get away with fewer course requirements, saying this policy would "cheapen" the value of a degree.