Faculty Council Writes TF Attendance Rule

The Faculty Council took another step toward making Teaching Fellows (TFs) attendance in lecture mandatory yesterday, voting 16-2 for such a proposal to be introduced at the October faculty meeting.

The movement to make lecture attendance mandatory began last year in the Committee for Undergraduate Education, which is made up of both students and faculty. Many student members of the committee lobbied hard for the proposal, telling stories of TFs who asked students what had been covered in lecture or who taught at the wrong pace.

Last spring the council discussed a proposal which "required" TFs to attend lectures. Yesterday, after some 45 minutes of discussing and debating word choice, the Council decided to write a proposal "expecting" TFs to attend lecture.

It will take a full vote of the Faculty in October to ratify the proposal and make TF attendance expected.

There was some disagreement at the Faculty Council whether professors should be told to require their TFs to attend lectures. Some members argued that it should be up to departments and instructors to set rules.

Last night some council members questioned whether the language the council passed yesterday makes sense.

"What do you say to a TF who has been sitting there in lecture for two years?" asked Professor of Chinese History Peter K. Bol. "Do you say, 'I want you to come back for a third year?' That's not an easy thing to say, particularly since they can listen to tapes or see videotapes."

"The way we touch is so diverse that I'm not sure it makes since to come up with one rule," said Bol, who did not divulge how he voted on the usage.

Other said they viewed the relationship between Professors and their TFs differently from what the proposal would suggest.

"I treat my graduate teaching fellows as colleagues," said Professor of Sociology and Government Theda Skocpol. "They are ordinarily going to be coming to lectures. I do think, and a lot of people think, that it's a matter for professors to ensure the engagement of TFs in their courses."

Skocpol said she voted for the proposal.

"Everyone agrees that ordinarily TFs should be in lectures; there is some disagreement on whether the best way is to draft a resolution," Skocpol said.

The proposal agreed upon yesterday reads: "Teaching fellows and other structural support staff are expected to attend lecturers of the courses in which they are employed unless, in the judgment of the courses head, the nature of their work for the course does not depend on their attendance at the lectures," the amendment reads.

Budget and Tenure

The Faculty of Arts and Science's budget deficit this year is down to approximately one half of a million dollars. Dean of the Faculty Jeferry R. Knowles told the Faculty Council yesterday.

The number represents a steady decrease in the size of the deficit over the last few years.

Knowles also discussed the success of tenure offers. Four years ago, approximately two-thirds of the offers made were accepted. In the last four-year period, however, about three-quarters of tenure offers were accepted.

"My own feeling is that perhaps the circumstances which cause us not to reach 100 percent are rather complex, probably more complex than we had time to consider," said Christopher P. Jeflin, professor of history. "They obviously have the difficulty of relocating family [and] also the issue of bringing people from attractive places.

"As an institution, Harvard has to think of all personal question of how to persuade people to bring their families with them to a new location, but it also has to think it has to maintain it's competitive status." Jones said, adding that West Coast schools have recently, experienced great success in attracting potential faculty.

The last item discussed by the Faculty Council was health plan increases. According to a letter sent to Harvard faculty and staff, "premium increases in the HealthFlex Bias and Bay State plans are no substantial," officials are giving advance warning.

Some plans increased in cost as much as 98 percent, prompting the administration to warn employees of the unusual rate hike