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Dean Ford has appointed a ten-member Faculty committee to review the General Education Program.
The committee's study could lead to changes in the courses offered under the Program. Behind such changes would be an even more important revision in academic policy, for the committee may well redefine some of the goals of the Harvard undergraduate education. Ford said yesterday that the committee would ask "basic questions about the proper role of the American college at a time when the greater part of our students are going on to graduate and professional schools."
Ford himself will neither chair the committee nor serve as a regular member of it. The chairman will be Paul M. Doty, professor of Chemistry. Richard T. Gill, assistant professor of Economics and Allston Burr Senior Tutor of Leverett House, will act as executive secretary.
The other members are Bernard Bailyn, professor of History; Paul H. Buck, Widener Librarian and former dean of the Faculty; John H. Finley. Jr., Master of Eliot House; Leo Goldberg, Higgins Professor of Astronomy; Gerald Holton, professor of Physics; David D. Perkins, associate professor of English; Dean Monro; and Radcliffe President Mary I. Bunting.
The approach that the committee will adopt has not yet been decided nor has the group had its first formal session. Gill and Doty plan to confer together before the end of this week in order to schedule meetings and set up a tentative organizational scheme.
Ford was willing to speculate yesterday that the committee might draw up a policy statement for debate by the full Faculty, and he suggested that this sort of debate would be the greatest benefit to the College to come from the committee's work. He felt that the professors probably would not prepare anything as lengthy as the 270 page book compiled 15 years ago by a General Education committee which President Conant and Paul H. Buck appointed. (Buck and Finley both served on the original group. No other members of the present committee did so.)
It is considered unlikely that there will be any policy statement or other report from the present committee until at least a year from now.
Both Ford and President Pusey described the appointment of a new committee on General Education as being "long overdue." In the years since the first report and the founding of the Program, there has been only one formal reappraisal of General Education, and even that review was confined to the Natural Sciences. It occurred in 1958 and argued that non-scientists would derive less benefit from studying histroy of science than from studying the sciences themselves.
An Overseers' Visiting Committee spent two days last winter talking to Faculty members staffing the Program.
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