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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
With the entrance of the Class of 1934 the former Freshman dormitory advisory system is to be expanded and changed. The changes which were announced by Dean Hanford late last spring, provide for the division of the Freshman Class into small groups each to be assigned to one of the resident proctors of the Freshman dormitories.
The purpose of the new arrangement is to enable the first year men to get advice upon their work in courses and to eradicate any difficulties that may arise. In order to assure the success of this project the advisors have been picked with special attention to their adaptability for this work. The men who will fill these positions this year are Sterling Dow '25, instructor and tutor in the department of History; C. A. Pendar 3L; James Reid 2L; C. Van Tyne '29; W. R. Harper '30; G. M. Ferguson '26; A. R. Sweezy '29; and W. J. Bender '27.
This plan is a step toward a general improvement of the Freshman year which is to be carried out while the House Plan is still in the formative stage. When the Freshmen are moved into the Yard other changes will be made to improve the general instruction of the first year courses.
Comment of Dean
Commenting on this aspect of the situation, Dean Hanford wrote the following last spring: "Although the process of transition has been made somewhat more gradual and effective by the developments just described, it would be folly to assume that all of the difficulties have been solved or that readjustments of machinery and methods are alone sufficient. It is necessary that the schools and colleges give further thought to the subject. On the point of the college it is necessary that the quality of instruction of beginning classes be still further improved by the use of a large number of experienced teachers, and that instructors be encouraged to take a sympathetic attitude toward the men during the first six weeks."
The advisory plan is chiefly valuable, according to Dean Hanford, in assisting students who find the first few months of college difficult, and consequently are unable to plan their time properly. Students who do not know how to take notes or study effectively might often find themselves discouraged, were there no advisors to set them on the right track.
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