Soc Stud Moves Its Generals to Junior Year
The Social Studies Department told junior concentrators Tuesday that general examinations in the field would be administered this spring instead of in the spring of their senior year.
Andreas H. Teuber'64, head tutor, said yesterday that the change was made "in an effort to bring into focus general information before students write their theses."
In previous years, students took the exam two weeks after submitting their senior theses.
Teuber cited an overworked staff, seniors who tended not to take the exam seriously, and the hope of improving senior theses by having students develop a general social studies approach before writing, as reasons for the change.
Junior concentrators contacted yesterday had mixed reactions about the decision. Many felt the general exam, required in all honor concentrations, was a useless extra burden in a department which has no stated requirements other than tutorials.
"They would not know what to test us on. There's no one general field of knowledge we all share," Ellen Kelman'76 said yesterday.
Teuber said the exam would not test general knowledge but rather the "social studies approach to understanding the world." "It would force the faculty to articulate what it has to offer," he said.
Another concentrator, Charles E. Stephan '76, said the exam should be made extremely difficult, "to encourage the collective effort Harvard usually discourages."
Teuber favors this idea of group effort and said he would consider the possibility of exams written by several students working together