After dragging its little departmental feet for several weeks, the Faculty has finally adopted the proposed concentration program in Social Studies. Several social science departments opposed the plan, fearing that the projected major would be too diffuse and, more important, would interfere with departmental efforts on the undergraduate and faculty levels. Apparently to appease these critics, the Social Studies program has been limited to 15 concentrators in each of its first five years.
Social Studies will offer an inter-disciplinary approach to such broad problems of various societies as Industrial Societies, Developing Societies, and International Relations. The inter-disciplinary approach involved is one which some of the best courses in the Government department now use of necessity.
To limit enrollment in what is bound to be an extremely popular major is a sound step for the first, experimental year. A new discipline like Social Studies, which at least appears less rigorous than conventional departments, tends to attract a certain number of dilettantes whose only goal is an easy, diffuse major. If Social Studies is to remain an Honors field—and a worthwhile one—the number of concentrators must be limited.
But a limit of fifteen for each of the next five years seems an unrealistic and inflexible policy. No one, not even the architects of the program, knows exactly what course the new discipline will take and what the optimum number of concentrators will prove to be. Social Studies should remain a small field, but a little flexibility would be desirable—and despite the Faculty vote, there is some indication that the fifteen-man limit will be neither inviolable nor of long duration.