RADICAL EDUCATION

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

Professor Hoffmann's plea for a "well-conceived new design" in undergraduate education at Harvard strikes me as very reasonable and bold- and impracticable. To expect the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to legislate a new and universally applied conception of undergraduate education is to expect a miraculous consensus to overcome the Faculty in 1970 when there is no precedent for it. In fact, the only precedents for a radical change in educational theory and practice that Harvard College has ever seen have come when strong-willed presidents sought to institute reforms. Within the last few decades, when the Faculty's own awkward mechanisms (as in the cases of the Conant and Doty Committees) have produced coherent proposals for change, the Faculty as a whole has distorted those proposals in practice or rejected them outright. Parliamentary assemblies, particularly those given to critical skepticism and to pride in glorious tradition, do not tend to seize upon "well-conceived new designs."

This is not to say that radical educational change at Harvard is an unrealistic objective. I believe it would be both realistic and revolutionary to admit that no single model can be designed which would preserve the valuable diversity in the undergraduate body. If the Faculty acknowledged that all the educational programs under its auspices need not conform to one set of guiding principles, we would be well on our way to adopting the options necessary to accommodate thousands of students, each with unique educational interests. I am not so much concerned with rewriting Rules Relating to College Studies as I am encouraging the creation of an academic community of diverse intellectual styles interacting with one another.'71 Committee on Undergraduate Education