Tutorial Teaching Plan Goes To Faculty Council
A proposal that would require all University departments to have faculty of the rank of instructor or above teach 70 per cent of the students in department tutorials received a first hearing from the Faculty Council in its meeting yesterday, and the Council will continue to consider the proposal in upcoming meetings, a Council member said yesterday.
Most of the questions about the proposal raised during the meeting centered on what sort of trade-offs faculty would have to make in teaching time in order to take on more tutorials, and whether these trade-offs would be worth-while, Francis M. Pipkin, associate dean of the Faculty for the Colleges, said.
"I think the proposal would be enforceable, but what was brought into question was whether this resolution would make the best use of faculty time," Pipkin said.
The proposal, which passed through the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) last week, was originally sponsored by the student members of the CUE, and came in response to a recommendation from the Task Force on Concentrations that the Faculty rescind current legislation setting quotas for faculty participation in tutorials.
The current legislation, which was adopted in 1961, but which no one made departments adhere to, states that "at least 30 per cent of the tutoring in each department should be done by officers of faculty rank, and not more than 30 per cent should be done by teaching fellows."
The CUE resolution only strengthens the wording of this statement, saying, "Not more than 30 per cent of the students enrolled in any tutorial program should be tutored by teaching fellows."
Pipkin said that in reaction to the proposal one Council member asked whether Faculty members might prove more useful teaching sections in large courses, while another wondered if they might be more valuable teaching small courses that students in other departments can take. Both are roles that faculty might have to give up in order to assume larger tutorial loads.
Further debate will also have to consider the range of effects this proposed legislation would have on different departments, Pipkin said.
He noted that some departments--such as History--have such an overweighted tutorial student-to-faculty ratio that the proposal would require them to drastically revamp faculty commitments, while the ratios in others--such as Psychology and Social Relations--are close to the proposed quota right now.
Although the Council only had time yesterday to address some of these questions to a representative from CUE who read the proposal at the meeting, the group as a whole seemed "very interested," and "more time will be put on it," Pipkin said.
However the student, Jonathan K. Baum '78, a member of the Education Resources Group (ERG) that selects students to sit on the CUE, said yesterday he felt "very disappointed in the generally skeptical reaction" to the resolution.
Baum said that he sensed some of the council members "attempted to make the proposal look bad whatever way they could"--that they questioned statistics ERG had done suggesting the feasibility of the proposal, and also the student group's understanding of the nature of faculty commitments.
"One member asked whether we understood that not all the faculty in each department are slated to devote all of their teaching units in such a way that the units could be converted into tutorial teaching," Baum said, adding that ERG had in fact taken this problem into account.
Paul C. Martin, professor of Physics, who is both a member of the Council and the chairman of the Task Force on Concentrations, said yesterday that he tended to trust Baum's statistics as accurate, but said he felt that the proposal, "even if feasible, would not be the optimal use of faculty time."
"I still believe, and I think the Task Force would still believe, that the way of addressing this problem should be more realistic," Martin said.
He said that "the Faculty should rescind the current legislation, as recommended in the report, but that departments and concentrations should still commit themselves to devoting more time to undergraduates."
Martin said that he expected the Faculty to endorse the first third of the concentrations task force report, in which the recommendation to repeal the current tutorial teaching quotas appears, even if the ERG proposal does reach the full Faculty for discussion.
Baum said he plans to meet with Pipkin after spring vacation to discuss what form further Faculty Council discussion of the proposal will take