History and Literature Boasts Highest Satisfaction Rating

UPDATED: Feb. 10 at 8:10 p.m.

The 2011 concentration satisfaction scores for history and literature edged past those of the English department, which had the highest satisfaction score among large concentrations in 2010, according to the FAS records of the 2011 Exit Surveys.

The three largest humanities departments—history and literature, English, and history—all scored above a 4.2 out of 5 in the concentration satisfaction surveys, which The Crimson obtained last week.

Economics and government, two of the largest social science concentrations, saw marked reductions in satisfaction scores between 2010 and 2011.

Government scores fell from a 3.91 rating to a 3.65 rating, while economics slid from a 3.71 to 3.32.

History and literature, history, and psychology all showed improvement between 2010 and 2011.

History and literature concentrator Anh M. Le ’12 attributed the high ratings to the personal relationships forged in the department between faculty and students.

“It’s nice to walk into the office and have the head of the department know my name,” she said, adding that she is one of only four students in the department’s Early Modern Europe track.

Le said that she also appreciated the flexibility of the concentration, which allows students to design their own curriculum for the junior tutorial. In fact, she said that her only criticism of the program was that she hadn’t been able to take more history and literature seminars.

“I’ll rate it very highly, definitely above 4.5,” she said.

Lawrence K. Barchok ’12, an economics concentrator, also said that he would rate his concentration above a four, but with some reservations.

“In terms of one-on-one meetings with professors, I can see why the satisfaction level is lower,” he said. “I think they should do a better job at advising.”

Concentration advising has been a “perennial problem,” economics department chair John Y. Campbell said.

“We would love to do better in those surveys,” he said.

Barchok also cited the cancellation of junior seminars for the class of 2011 and the limited selection of junior seminars for the class of 2012 as major sources of dissatisfaction.

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