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The Gill Plan for non-Honors Tutorial "has rendered House seminars obsolete as a general educational program," according to John J. Conway, Master of Leverett House.
Conway asserted that any further House seminars ought to be based on the "interest of undergraduates in a particular idea," rather than on a broader subject. Indicative of this concept is the fact that Leverett is offering only one seminar this year.
Commenting on this statement, Lloyd I. Rudolph '48, Allston Burr Senior Tutor of Dunster House, maintained that "House seminars serve a legitimate educational function beyond tutorial." He contended that seminars can provide a worth while broadening of the standard curriculum.
Richard H. Ullman '55, Allston Burr Senior Tutor of Lowell House, stated that he favored seminars that "aimed at active participation by the undergraduates." He advocated the seminar in which there are reading assignments and in which the student does more than sit and "soak."
Rudolph challenged Ullman's insistence upon reading assignments. While conceding that the seminar "has to be a discussion group," he suggested that students interested enough to attend a seminar would be relatively well-informed on the subject matter.
Noting that the success of Dunster seminars has varied widely, Rudolph stated: "I would like to put more emphasis on student self-action." He said that he would also like to see more House seminars guided in the direction of the Ford Foundation guest program.
Following the Dunster House pattern of multiple seminars, Kirkland House is conducting three study groups. Ellot House, however, offers only two, while Lowell, where, according to Ullman, "we are playing it by ear," sponsors but one seminar.
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