The Faculty Council discussed Wednesday the possibility of implementing a new policy of pre-registration, a council member said last night. The policy would replace the present system of submitting study cards after shopping period.
"There was a preliminary discussion," Professor of English and American Literature and Language Daniel G. Donoghue said.
"It was enough for us to realize that it's fairly complex and we need to get more information, [including] finding out updated information from other universities with which we like to compare ourselves."
The exploration process will likely include the offices of the dean for undergraduate education, the registrar and the dean of the College, according to John B. Fox Jr. '59, secretary to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).
Donoghue said he believes support for the change in policy is strongest among professors accustomed to universities where students pre-register, as many find Harvard's system of delayed registration inconvenient.
"Some professors have found [shopping period] perplexing, and I think it's safe to say many professors who find it perplexing come from institutions where they do have pre-registration," he said.
Donoghue said there are both educational and financial concerns motivating the discussion.
"The problems consist of planning from the point of view of the professor," the council member said. "We're sometimes not sure if 20 or 80 students will show up."
"There is greater control and greater planning if you know you can utilize the first two lectures to really advance the subject matter," Donoghue said.
"They've found it frustrating to begin a course and avoid getting into the meat of the subject for [the] first two lectures because they don't know the finalenrollment."
Donoghue said the ambiguity of enrollmentfigures also impacts professors' abilities to hireteaching fellows.
"[Shopping period] affects grad students andthe employment prospects they have as teachingfellows."
Donoghue said he thought it was unlikely thatpre-registration would be implemented soon, giventhe tenor of the Council's discussion.
"It's really hard to tell," Donoghue said. "Ourdiscussion was so preliminary, it was basicallyanecdotal. That's not really a good sense forcoming to a final decision."
According to Fox, pre-registration could beimplemented as early as next spring.
The Council also approved a policy to requireteaching fellows to attend the lectures for thecourses they are teaching.
"Teaching fellows and other instructionalsupport staff are required to attend lectures ofthe courses in which they are employed, unless inthe judgment of the course head the nature oftheir work for the course does not depend on thecontent of the lectures," the Council's resolutionreads.
"I think it was the view that the Universityshould have a policy, that the Faculty should havea policy," said Professor of Government Kenneth A.Shepsle.
"I think [Dean for Undergraduate EducationLawrence Buell] felt that there should be a policyin place to which he could refer."
To accommodate the varied roles that graduatestudents in different fields serve, the Councilprovides professors with the opportunity to exempttheir teaching fellows from attending lectures,Shepsle said.
"My understanding is that, especially in thesciences, there are roles that are notlecture-intensive or lecture-dependent," Shepslesaid.
Shepsle cautioned that although the Council wasin favor of the requirement, the full Faculty,which will also have to vote on the resolution,could feel differently.
In other business, Dean of the Graduate SchoolChristoph Wolff made a presentation to the Councilabout the possibility of other faculties grantingthe Ph.D.
Currently, only FAS has the power to grant thePh.D. Five professional schools have programsaffiliated with FAS through which students canearn a Ph.D.
Wolff reported that the structure of theUniversity seems to limit the possibility ofallowing other graduate schools to grant thePh.D., Fox said.
But the graduate schools may still submitproposals for a way to grant the Ph.D.independently