The Faculty Committee to Review General Education will not be ready to present a report until at least April, Paul M. Doty, professor of Chemistry and committee chairman, said yesterday.
The report, which could have an important effect on the College's educational policy, had been expected before the end of this term.
Doty blamed the delay on "a series of tortuous excursions" into different aspects of the general education program which various members of the committee took this fall.
"We had almost reached a consensus last May on what we should recommend," Doty said yesterday. "But over the summer things opened up and various people got various new ideas."
Doty noted that all the long digressions this fall have finally "brought us back to where we were in the spring." He said that he expects to write a first draft report over Christmas vacation, but stressed that it will by no means be the finished document.
"It's not possible to predict the behavior of the committee," Doty said. "Our recommendations may begin to jell, but it's also very possible that we'll have more excursions."
Doty would not specify the contents of his first draft, but there are indications that the final report will be somewhat conservative, and lean toward the status quo.
It is believed that there has been a rather sharp split on the Committee between those who favor a stronger program in the natural sciences and those who want to emphasize the humanities. The Committee includes Faculty members who have traditionally been strong proponents of each position.
"It has been characteristic of our discussions that things have refused to jell," Doty said yesterday. "There really isn't a single item on which we have a firm vote right now."
Serious proposals have been advanced for both the social sciences and the natural sciences, and Doty confirmed yesterday that an idea for the social science program had near unanimous support early in the fall.
At that time, the committee wanted to allow students to fulfill the social science requirement by substituting two courses in the general area of the social sciences for one of the regular Soc Sci courses. A similar option is now offered in the natural sciences.
But Doty said that the committee's thinking on the social sciences has changed since September and that there is no longer a consensus in favor of the substitution provision.
Two Years of Nat Sci
Doty also said that a number of members of the committee have consistently urged that students be required to take two years (instead of the present one year) of lower level Nat Sci courses. But he indicated that this idea is not likely to win approval either.
"Such severe requirements are all right taken by themselves," Doty said, "but we have to relate the demands of each of the three areas of general education to the whole report." He stressed that "the spectrum of possibilities is narrowed" by this need for balancing.
Members of the committee have expressed considerable satisfaction with the committee's work and its approach to the problems of general education. One member said yesterday that the meetings this fall have been very valuable. "We've had some excellent discussions and considered a number of important points," he said.
Doty said that the committee hopes to present its report to the Committee on Educational Policy by spring vacation, and to have the report ready for limited distribution by late April