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Mr. Andrews and his colleagues have prepared for University Hall a searching and candid report on the activities and problems of the Freshman year. The Confidential Guide Committee's newest platform is characterized particularly by the tenacity of purpose which shows itself in the emphasis placed on certain recommendations made last year and about which nothing has been done.
A special chamber of horrors for overburdened Freshmen, as seen by the Committee report, lies in the realm of the sciences, with Chemistry being the rank offender. Under present conditions the University Catalogue of Courses is valuable for just one thing: look in it to see what the length of your laboratory periods WONT be! University Hall is guilty of at least carelessness, if indeed nothing worse, when the Catalogue indicates three-hour laboratory periods for Chemistry A B, while experience invariably shows a period of from four and a-half to five hours to be the normal requirement. In the interest of accuracy, as well as honesty, the work assigned in such courses should be scaled down to fit the announced period or the Category assignments.
English A, as was the case last year, comes in for the lion's share of criticism in the Committee report. The shaft leveled at the section men hits an evil as troublesome as ever but one which it should be easy to correct. It is a commentary upon the workings of University Hall that the opening gun of last year's report, the recommendation that teaching ability be made the chief criterion in choosing section men for this course, should have to be sounded off again in the new report. The lack of coordination between section men, with the attendant evils of gaping differences in assignments and discrepancies in marking, has been notorious, and the first reform in English A should lie in righting this fault.
By far the most significant recommendation made by Mr.Andrews and his committee is the plea for conference groups in more Freshman courses. The experiences of students in Philosophy A and B especially, where a few high-powered cerebral machines run away with the section meetings, leaving the majority of the class cat their dust, make such a change seem increasingly necessary. Even discounting the natural fitness of History 1 for such treatment, the unquestioned success of the conference idea in this course, still augurs will for similar results in other fields.
The restraint and precision marking the report from beginning to end should do much to make the Dean's office realize the high quality of thought underlying it. The features of last year's platform, neglected by the authorities, and stressed again this year, seem to demand especially prompt action. If fresh experience and familiarity with the problems at hand count for anything, it must be said that no one could be more in the know than the Freshmen themselves. Their recommendation should carry corresponding weight when the authorities come to smooth out the out the difficulties of the first year student.
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