'History 10' Could Move to Core

U.C. Committee Backs Plan for Western Civilization Surveys

A plan to introduce survey courses in Western civilization into the core curriculum yesterday received the endorsement of the Undergraduate Council's student affairs committee.

Under the plan, History 10a and 10b, both required introductory courses for history majors, would be replaced by core classes in Historical Study A and B.

The classes would still be required for history majors, but non-concentrators would only have to take one class to receive credit.

The plan was proposed recently by Professor of History James Hankins, head tutor in the history department.

"Certainly we're working on the possibility. It's a real possibility," said department chair Thomas N. Bisson.

The resolution approved last night will be brought before the full council this Sunday.

Council member N. Van Taylor '95, who presented the proposal at last night's meeting, said the proposed core classes would draw the top professors in the history department and large numbers of students.

"This is a very exciting proposal," he said.

If the council votes to approve the resolution Sunday, Taylor and council member Randall A. Fine '96 said they will take the issue to the Core committee for further consideration.

Fine said the council would also rally student support around the proposal to demonstrate to the administration that Harvard undergraduates support the change.

"If the students say they want it, chances are, we'll get it," he said.

But council members stressed the fact that the plan is far from being realized.

"This isn't our decision. The core committee's going to decide this," Taylor said.

If the resolution passes on Sunday and the core committee approves it, the new core classes might be offered as soon as next year, Taylor said.

Council members raised concerns last night about the feasibility of creating a year-long survey of Western civilization that would meet the distinct curriculum requirements of Historical Study A and B.

But Fine, who is co-sponsoring the resolution, said current Historical Studies core classes sometimes blur the distinctions between Historical Study A and B.

Council members said students , 1would support the proposal. "A lot of students want a good general history survey as a part of the Core," Taylor said. "I wish it had been [in the Core] before so I could've taken it."

Taylor and Fine said the council would likely pass the resolution.

"I don't anticipate any problems whatsoever," Fine said.

"I've talked to [council President David L. Hanselman '94-'95] and he thinks it's a great idea," said Taylor. 'They're all enthusiastically endorsing it.