Special Concentration Program Approved at Faculty Meeting
A sparsely attended Faculty meeting Tuesday afternoon voted overwhelmingly to allow undergraduates to structure their own fields of concentration.
The Special Concentration proposal amends "Rules Relating" to permit any program of study not already allowed by it.
The proposal-written by the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) and introduced by its chairman Dean May-had been tabled by the Faculty last May and discussed but not voted on at the Faculty meeting Oct. 20.
The CUE had reworded the proposal before the October meeting, in part to emphasize that it would be voluntary for Faculty members to serve as advisors to students wishing to start their own concentrations.
Under the legislation, a student also needs to obtain the approval of his freshman senior advisor or Senior Tutor and that of a Standing Committee on Special Studies in order to create his own concentration.
Something for Everyone
The program is open to both honors and non-honors degree candidates, and is subject to Faculty review by the end of March 1973.
The proposal states that the program "is designed to met special educational objectives, not to encourage avoidance of particular requirements."
At Tuesday's meeting, however, the proposal drew sharp criticism from several Faculty members who felt that the new program would be a drain on already limited Faculty time and resources and a betrayal of traditional academic standards.
Richard T. Gill '48, Master of Leverett House, said the proposal, if passed, would usher in "a principle of non-disciplinary disorder that may haunt us for a decade."
Benjamin I. Schwartz '38, professor of Government, countered that such criticism of the proposal's potential flaws did not take into account "whatever foolishness that goes on within the precincts of the so-called disciplines."
Other Faculty members charged variously that the program would involve: 1) a small number of students and was therefore unnecessary, or 2) a larger number and would therefore be unworkable within the present academic structure.
In response, CUE member Kate Ecker said that the program would "initiallybe relatively small." Another CUE member, Richard Tilden '71, argued that even if the size of the program did not turn out to be large, the program itself should be available to anyone who wants it.
The proposal finally passed on a voice vote.