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The English Department will undertake a complete re-evaluation of the undergraduate curriculum next fall, according to Walter J. Bate '39, professor of English and Chairman of the Department.
The study will probably lead to the abolition of English 10 and a drastic revision of the tutorial bibliography and general examinations.
Dissatisfaction with the current system became articulate a year ago, but action was postponed because almost half the senior faculty members of the Department, including those most concerned with shortcomings in the present system, are on leaves of absence this year.
A committee will be formed to deal with the problems next fall.
The major complaint is that the tutorial bibliography, a list of books for which undergraduates are held responsible on general examinations, has become too rigid a guide for students. Many members of the Department feel that students only cover the necessary sections of the bibliography, and never develop special interests, either independently or in tutorial.
The tutorial bibliography was designed to prevent tutors from devoting tutorial exclusively to their special interests, and to give the Department specific material on which to base general examinations.
Since the introduction of specific material made general examinations very similar to final course examinations, several professors feel the generals no longer have any useful function.
The Department has also found that the tutorial program is often a kind of fifth course for filling out required reading in which students often read only those books which will prepare them for generals.
Although almost all members of the Department share the dissatisfaction with the existing system, there is no agreement as to what can be done.
Another source of complaint is English 10, a course originally designed to meet the ban on individual tutorial for sophomores. The Department had hoped that by giving credit and grades for group tutorial, students would be induced to prepare for meetings. Experience has indicated, however, that even a course would not induce most undergraduates to do their reading before class.
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