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There are few fields with a more enthusiastic group of concentrators than the department of Geological Sciences. Geology at Harvard not only is given under an eminent faculty that stands far in front of any other university, but it is taught by a faculty that makes personal friends of all students in the division. Mixed in with the almost unanimous praise there is but one serious grievance, that of the present tutorial administration. This complaint is limited only to Geology, as concentrators in Geography are well satisfied with their leisurely tutorial work.
Attendance a tutorial conferences has slowly fallen off within the last few years, so that now, any mention of the system occasions jokes among men in the field. There is apparently no desire for rejuvenation because it is generally felt that Geology is not suited for this special method of education in the same way that History, Economics, or English is. Classes are so small that the personal element, so often lacking in courses dealing with the social sciences, provides all the benefits of the tutorial system without actually requiring it. No informal tutorial program can possibly compare with the summer field-work which undergraduates do in the company of graduate research students.
It has become quite obvious that in the majority of cases tutorial work is becoming stagmant. Yet, at the same time, students are compelled to take only three courses and pay the $100 course fee for this fruitless service. Doubtless it would be manifestly unfair to abolish the system while there are still some men who do derive benefits from tutorial and desire its continuance. But since there are so many concentrators who would prefer to take a fourth course in place of tutorial, students should at least be allowed to choose whichever plan they prefer. This reform, the only one necessary to round out an otherwise model department, deserves immediate attention, as men who are at present getting practically no tutoring are being virtually robbed of a full course fee.
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