New GSAS Report: Make Major Changes

A long-awaited report on the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), released today, calls for several changes in the school's structure, including relaxation of the administrative offices and several other organizational modifications.

The so-called Strauch report--the first major assessment of the GSAS in 15 years--calls for no major reorganization of the curriculum of administration of the school, bu does recommend an increase it student enrollment, the first such proposal in more than a decade.

More generally, however, the report is expected to help give guidance to both individual departments and to the central administration, Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence said yesterday. He added that the report "was not intended to solve all the problems but was instead intended to set some directions and priorities."

The report, which addresses issues ranging from financial aid to graduate student social life, focuses specifically on ways to improve interaction between the central GSAS administration and the individual academic departments, said Karl Strauch, Leverett Professor of Physics and chairman of the committee which produced the report, in an interview with the Crimson several weeks ago.

Strauch could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The review of the GSAS, which was initiated by Spence a year ago in an attempt to re-evaluate the GSAS, was based on numerous discussions with administrators, faculty, students and former students. Data was based on both interviews and questionnaires, the report said.

"The report does come out as being general, so people with concrete needs might not be satisfied, but I think that's appropriate in this case," said Andrew H. Knoll, professor of Biology and a member of the Faculty Council--the Faculty's 19--member steering committee--which has discussed the report at its meetings.

However, the Strauch report did make some specific recommendations. Aside from the relocation of the GSAS offices from Byerfy Hall to centrally located University Hall, the report calls for two deans to share the responsibilities for the GSAS administration. The School has in the past been run by a dean and associate dean. Currently, Peter S. McKinney, associate dean of the GSAS, is the acting dean.

Spence said he plans to hire a new dean of the faculty by the fall; then together they will hire an administrative dean. Spence said that he was waiting for the outcome of the report before choosing a GSAS dean.

The report also recommends an increase in financial aid funding, and rates that retaining "the principles of the present aid plan ... will require more funding--estimated jobs 15 per cent beyond a normal inflationary increase--and a concerted effort to focus available resources on students who are on schedule to complete then degree programs in a reasonable time."

The Strauch report also recommends that each department establish a '"normal' graduate career length." Depending on the department the length could range from 4 to 6 years.

The report also suggests a modest increase in the number of graduate students. Currently, there are 2215 graduate students in residence, with 220 travelling and 235 on leave.

This is a significant change from the last major study of the GSAS, the Wolff Report of 1969, which suggested that the graduate school decrease enrollment to 2400.

The report, addressing graduate students' opinions of social life and "sense of community," recommends giving graduate students non-resident House affiliation if they want it.

"A lot of the graduate students do feel alienated," said Jonathan G. Petropoulos, a graduate student in history. "We have to wait until our third year to be affiliated with a House Next year's my third year and I immediately went and filled out an application to be a House tutor."

While most graduate students approve of such a proposal some were less optimistic Sally Wyner, a second year American Civilization graduate student, said she doubted that many people would participate in a program with undergraduates.

"The graduate students eventually make a community of their own, a community of interests you can't really legislate."

But whichever of the graduate school raise the quality of undergraduate education both "in the nature of what happens in the classroom," and in helping to attract professors by using a high quality graduate student program as a drawing card, said John R. Marquand, secretary to the Faculty Council.

But Faculty Council member William H. Bossert, Arnold Professor of Science, did not find the report entirely reasonable. "The problem with the recommendation is that it has to do with putting more money into the graduate school It's easy to say but hard to do," he said, adding. "It won't change anything but attitudes unless we put in some money.