HRPC Audit Asks Greater Diversity In Fine Arts Dept.

A Harvard-Radcliffe Policy Committee audit has strongly urged the Fine Arts Department to include a wider variety of approaches to art in its curriculum.

"Most courses given currently are defined as well taught, but they do not touch on the full complement of art historical issues," stated the audit which was released last week. It suggested that the department:

* Give more attention to the social background of art, perhaps through interdisciplinary courses with departments such as History and Philosophy;

* Provide concentrators with more intensive analysis of the art works in the Harvard museums;

* Establish courses dealing directly with artistic techniques;

* Develop courses studying film, photography, and modern design.

The audit was based on questionnaires returned by 40 per cent of the Fine Arts concentrators who graduated last June, and by 25 per cent of this year's concentrators. It was prepared by a committee of two H-RPC members and two concentrators in the department.

Sharp Criticism

Fine Arts 13 received some sharp criticism, as the audit suggested that the course adopt "a far more positive stress on developing a method of thinking, an approach to art, rather than simply gorging students with a mass of information and rhetorical terminology."

The audit recommended that the department either expand the present Fine Arts 13 into two full courses, or offer two entirely new introductory courses, with one teaching the art history of the West and the other that of the East.


Though the audit said that most concentrators praised sophomore tutorial, it found junior tutorial to be "very much in limbo, with no particular philosophical rationale." It urged that the junior tutorial either continue the methodological approach of the sophomore year, or be split in two parts, with methodology occupying the first half and specialized work the second.

The department should also explore alternatives to the senior thesis, perhaps including exhibitions of slides and lectures, the audit said.