Rosovsky Report Re-Evaluates Future of Graduate Education, Warns of Financial Problems
Dean Rosovsky's annual report to President Bok, mailed to Faculty members last week, calls for a review of the future of graduate education at Harvard in the face of a rapidly shrinking job market and diminishing financial resources.
Rosovsky asks the Faculty to re-examine the goals and content of graduate programs, financial aid policy, and the size of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) to adjust the University's graduate education to a reduced demand for Ph. D.S.
'Harvard Is Mine'
Rosovsky addresses four main issues in his report:
The severe reduction in the academic job market and its effect on attracting and educating graduate students;
Withdrawal of monetary support by the federal government and private foundations, and the resulting strain on the Faculty budget;
The size and financial aid policy of the GSAS;
The future of graduate education in general and the GSAS in particular.
Rosovsky is in Manila this week and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Rosovsky's 12-page report outlines the strains that a small job market and the withdrawal of federal aid are placing on graduate education.
Although higher education expanded tremendously in the '50s and '60s, the end of the population boom and economic recession forced retrenchment during the '70s, Rosovsky says.
Rosovsky estimates that in two years there will be ten Ph. D.s for every job opening.
Because of these dismal job prospects, Rosovsky says he fears "it will become difficult, and perhaps impossible, to continue to attract highly creative and intelligent young people to teaching and scholarship."
In addition, because the federal government and private foundations have withdrawn much of their monetary support to higher education, the Faculty must pay increasingly more of the cost of graduate education itself--thus placing great strains on the Faculty budget--Rosovsky says.
Rosovsky also discusses the present GSAS financial aid policy, which calculates a student's monetary needs and places the responsibility for funding the student on the individual's department.
Rosovsky notes that many graduate students believe the financial aid policy is inflexible, and disagree with the calculation of student need, but he adds that the University's financial resources are extremely limited.
Richard A. Kraus, associate dean for administration and former director of financial aid of GSAS, said yesterday he believes the present financial aid formula is "a workable balance of compromises of all interested parties--students, the Faculty, the administration and the departments."
"If someone changes a particular part of the balance, it throws all the other parts out of kilter," Kraus added.
Some graduate students disagree with Kraus's analysis, however. Lee Smolin, a member of the Graduate Student Council, said yesterday, "The real question is whether Harvard is really democratic or whether you have to have money to pursue higher education here."
Rosovsky concludes the report by raising issues for prolonged Faculty discussion about the future of GSAS. In view of the tight job market, Rosovsky suggests the Faculty consider whether graduate education should contain preparation for non-academic jobs, or whether the University needs to convince potential employers that scholarly learning is applicable to a large number of jobs.
The report also proposes, but does not endorse, two "models" for the future. The first would severely decrease the size of GSAS. which would allow closer Faculty supervision of graduate students and more Faculty participation in undergraduate education. The second would increase GSAS size to provide badly needed teaching fellows, and then allow the most competent students to go on to the Ph.D. degree.
In meetings this fall, the Faculty Council and the Council on Graduate Education have discussed many of these issues, and may draw up specific proposals by the spring to present to the full Faculty, Edward L. Keenan '54, dean of GSAS, said yesterday.
"There are a number of serious issues that are linked to one another, and it's very hard to know how they'll sort themselves out," Keenan added.
"It's excellent he raises these questions, though it's interesting that the driving force behind his review is money--the Faculty is spending a higher and higher proportion of money on GSAS, and they can't keep it up," Smolin said