PBH Planning to Give Urban Studies Courses For Academic Credit
In an effort to provide more opportunities for undergraduates in the area of urban studies, Phillips Brooks House may offer field courses in community organizing for credit next semester.
"PBH would like to become the active core of an urban studies program at Harvard," Christopher D. Hoy '70-4, president of the PBH executive committee, said yesterday. "Our model would both allow undergraduates to work for outside agencies, and supplement their field experiences with specific tutorials taught by indigenous community organizers."
The PBH plan-which includes the hiring of three community organizers and two researchers to form the urban studies teaching staff-is contingent upon PBH obtaining the necessary funds, estimated at $50,000. Describing the prospects for financing as "tentatively positive," Hoy said that the part of the plans involving the researchers could be implemented even without the money.
"Our purpose is to combine field work and theoretical work-to keep them both honest," Hoy said. "The courses on this campus focus only on theory. Only the Afro-American Studies department really attempts the kind of combination we have in mind."
The Administration's recent decision to limit independent studies is another factor motivating PBH. Undergraduates who in the past relied upon independent studies as a way of pursuing field work would have somewhere else to turn, Hoy said. "So far the Social Relations Department has been responsive-some sophomore Soc Rel concentrators already receive tutorial credit for work in mental hospital wards."
Except for a few other isolated examples of permissiveness-some undergraduates can get course credit by working for the Urban Field Service-opportunities for field work at Harvard remain largely extracurricular.
"Boston College is one example of a good field work program." Hoy said. "Twelve programs which range from organizing a local tenants' union to volunteering for National Welfare Rights give academic credit to 200 students."