The Government Department has decided against following the Brown Plan for reducing the heavy student work load in the spring of the senior year.
Suggested last year by Donald R. Brown, instructor in Government, the proposal would have set the due-date for theses back several months. Students would have begun research in their junior year and turned their theses early enough to leave the Spring Term of their senior year free for work on general and special exams.
Sanford A. Lakoff, head tutor in Government, said yesterday that the Department had decided to meet the problem "on a more informal basis" by having tutors encourage their students "to think about, their theses earlier." He said the tutors have been instructed to "turn their attention toward the thesis" at the end of Gov. 98, the junior tutorial program.
In addition, the outer limit of thesis length will be lowered from 40,000 to 35,000 words in order to reduce the senior's burden.
Brown declared yesterday that the changes adopted by the Department were "moves in the right direction," but that he still thought "it would have been nice" if the Department had accepted his more ambitious method for meeting the problem.
He remarked that the change in the thesis length, however, did not really reduce the students' work load significantly. "The difficulty is not the length of the thesis, but rather psychological factors," he declared, explaining that students who usually have never written a paper longer than 20 pages before often end up in February with an enormous amount of material. Their problem is not that they have too much writing to do, but that they "need more time to think over the problem and cut down on their material."