Core Woes Persist Another Year
Change is a necessary part of any academic institution that wishes to maintain a reputation of excellence; it is a sign that administrations are in touch with the needs of students and are willing to align their traditions with constantly changing standards and realities.
Naturally, some changes are misguided, and others simply fail. With that in mind, we tried to make helpful suggestions concerning the Core Curriculum last term, but judging by the latest course catalog, 1997-98 promises to be another dark year where the Core is concerned. Two years ago, Core offerings were at an 11-year high, with 105. But this year we have hit the abysmal eight-year low of 85.
The Administration has been properly apologetic and Director of the Core Program Susan W. Lewis appears to have understood the problem: "I think students will appreciate more choice. That's one thing that students have quite rightly complained about in the past," she said. With this kind of keen insight, we are disappointed that the Core Review Committee did not complete their reforms in time to have implemented some positive changes this year.
Call us spoiled, call us whatever you want, but we do not want to hear reasons that Core offerings are at the lowest they have been since the Cold War. We either want the number of available courses to increase dramatically by next fall, to at least 95, or we want the Administration to junk this outdated system and figure something else out (see last year's diatribes). Most important, we want to see the speedy implementation of departmental substitutions for Core classes.
By its name, the Core Program should be at the very least a dependable and effective pillar of Harvard College's curriculum. Instead, it is a withering branch that only inspires feelings of disgust.