Faculty, in Voice Vote, Turns Down Proposal to Abolish Instructorships

The Faculty yesterday rejected by voice vote a motion to abolish the title of instructor and to designate all junior faculty members assistant professors.

The proposal was designed to improve Harvard's bargaining position for junior faculty members vis-a-vis other universities, many of which have already abolished instructorships and substituted the title of assistant professor. It also reflected, according to Dean Ford, the feeling that there was not much difference between the duties of instructors and assistant professors.

Debate at yesterday's meeting, however, revealed considerable opposition to the proposed change among a few departments, and a large measure of indifference among the Faculty at large.

Principal opposition came from the Department of Mathematics, which has a number of prestigious endowed instructorships that it wants to maintain. Richard D. Brauer, professor of Mathematics and chairman of the Department, explained last night that "the present system is very satisfactory" and the Department did not want to change it.

The motion to abolish the title of instructor was also opposed by the Division of Engineering. Harvey Brooks, dean of Engineering and Applied Physics, explained that "our people opposed the change because they felt it would degrade the status of the present assistant professors."


Individual Faculty members also voiced opposition to the motion on the grounds that it constituted a kind of "verbal inflation" of titles that would serve no real purpose.

The motion was introduced and supported by the Department of Economics. Alexander Gerschenkron, Walter S. Barker Professor of Economics, said he had supported the change to put Harvard "in a good competitive position."

Gerschenkron said competition for good men was increasing. Referring to the problems of the Economics Department he said, "It's a clear sellers' market."