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Student Council Report on Teaching Advancement Declares Stress on Publishing May Turn Harvard into Mail School

Tri-Part Essay Asks Student Committee Sound Ideas Of Undergraduates


Warning that Harvard's emphasis on publication might turn the College into "a correspondence school," and urging the creation of an Undergraduate committee to sound out the opinions of the Undergraduates on problems of teaching, the Student Council last night issued its report on Teacher's Advancement, adopted at its last meeting.

Twenty-eight typewritten pages, the Committee's document is divided into three parts, touching on the mechanism for advancement at Harvard, the methods of advancement at other colleges and an expression of the student's points of view.

Student Viewpoint

Pointing out that in many cases, the members of the faculty are "unable to take the time to consider the point of view of the student in making up their minds on advancement or possible dismissal," the report suggests the creation of a student Committee on Curriculum, keeping in mind the agency "already in operation at Vassar."

This Committee would have a representative from each field of concentration, who would be chosen with the advice of the Department chairman "on the basis of intellectual ability, . . . . with an eye towards his spirit of neutrality, and on the basis of a genuine interest in the problems of education."

"The purpose behind establishing such a committee," the Council report states, would be to give the University a way of sounding out Undergraduate opinion "more scientifically." The report also states the necessity for "secrecy in dealings with officials of the University."

"The danger of putting any one student in a position of some authority on advancement" which "must in some way be obviated" will be solved, the report says, by making the student representatives "nothing more than collectors and weighers of information. They should never give their own opinion on a teacher."

Report, Part 1

In the opening part of the report, the Committee wrote that "the ideal of the University is to staff itself with men eager to take part in the advancement of knowledge, and at the same time eager to pass this knowledge on to their successors."

"The University feels that most men whose minds are equal to the tests of research work are capable of becoming competent teachers; the Committee is in substantial agreement with this view. It agrees also that a good teacher cannot necessarily become a good research man.

"For a University to disregard either teaching or research would be robbing Peter to pay Paul," says the report, and goes on to point out that in other colleges they "generally place more emphasis on teaching than research in their criteria for appointment and advancement."

The Committee says that "men seeking permanent positions on the Faculty consider their own work more important than their teaching. In practice this means that the teachers under 45 and below the rank of associate professor strongly feel that there is pressure on them to turn out their own work."

Discussing the situation in which a younger man does not know on which basis he will be judged for promotion, the committee's report says that "the present state of doubt must be cleared up."

The Committee for the investigation was appointed last April following the notice given to Instructors Walsh and Sweezy by the Economics department.

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