Frank H. Westheimer, Chairman of the Chemistry Department, yesterday stated that the new tutorial program was off to a "satisfactory and hopeful" start, and would be expanded next year. Begun last fall, the program has involved about 10 sophomores and about 30 juniors in reading, group discussions, and research work in chemistry.
"We feel," said Westheimer, "that most of the tutees are getting somewhere." He noted generally enthusiastic response for the program from tutors and tutees alike.
Department to Expand Program
Next year, the department will expand the program to include seniors, and anticipates a total participation of approximately 70 students: ten sophomores, 30 juniors, and 30 seniors. The seniors will receive full credit for supervised research, and juniors who did satisfactory work in the program this year may also do research throughout the year, but for half credit. Sophomores, and any new juniors in the program, will begin with a term of reading and discussion before they begin labwork.
Lab space for the program "just doesn't exist," according to Westheimer. The tutee works on the same bench with his tutor. "We had a choice between holding crowded tutorial or none at all, and we chose in favor of the tutorial," Westheimer said.
In this year's program, the first term was largely devoted to "an introduction to research problems currently under way by faculty members, and group discussions of these problems." Much of the time was spent reading about problems. "This is entirely within our conception of how the program should be run. We are not trying to train undergraduate lab technicians, but rather to show them how research is done. Reading is fully as important as labwork."
During the Spring Term, students were assigned to staff members, post-doctoral fellows and advanced graduate students for individual laboratory work. "This," said Westheimer, "is an apprentice system in the old-fashioned sense."