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Bok Raises Million Dollar Experimental Studies Fund

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President Bok has collected $1 million for the encouragement of experimental education focusing primarily on the undergraduate level.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday afternoon, Bok disclosed that most of the funding was obtained during the latter part of December 1971.

The $1 million will be placed in a fixed deposit and the interest, amounting to approximately $60,000, will be used for funding. However, Bok said he would consider using some of the capital in a case of emergency.

Although the fund aims primarily at the development of undergraduate instruction, proposals from other faculties would be also considered. Bok said.

A professor needing some computer time or technical assistance to further his research could apply to the fund, Bok said. This would eliminate the unnecessary red tape and waste of time involved in the application to a foundation for a small grant which would probably be turned down.

"Since Massachusetts Hall is not in a position to act as a foundation or to appreciate in detail the needs and priorities of the various graduate schools all proposals must be endorsed and submitted by the deans of the faculties involved." Bok said. The same procedure would apply to students.

Bok said the proposals by the deans would be evaluated by the following criteria.

* Innovation in teaching and education:

* Funding will be provided only for a limited experimental period after which time the venture must either be abandoned or continued on a permanent basis in the regular faculty budget:

* The proposal must be of the sort that appears unsuitable for funding from a foundation or other outside source:

* The proposal must be genuinely experimental and not of a sort that should normally call for a funding from the regular faculty budget.

Dean K. Whitla, director of the Office of Tests, will be in charge of "developing a capability for evaluating experimental programs and ventures in order to determine whether they are achieving their educational objectives." Bok said.

Whitla's judgement on whether the experimental project in question should be continued on an indefinite basis or terminated, will take into consideration student evaluation and the "effect of the project on student interests," Bok said.

Bok first presented his idea for the financial encouragement of innovation in education in his speech to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences last year on September 28. In the speech, outlining the purpose of the fund, Bok included:

* Defraying initial costs, such as use of equipment, student assistance, etc. involved in developing a new course or new modes of instruction.

* Obtaining sufficient relief for teaching obligations to develop an innovative course or program.

* Establishing experimental programs to aid in the development of graduate students as teachers.

The collection for the support of experimental education is President Bok's first step in fund-raising.

Two years ago, the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE), chaired by Dean May, initiated the setting up of committees in Houses to write reports on student opinion for curriculum reform.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a modified version of the CUE recommendation for special concentration and Independent Study.

However, Dan Hirsch, a former member of the Committee, said that much more could not be done because the legislation had to go through the Faculty Council, be placed on the Docket Committee, and then put to vote before the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Bok, however, does not intend proposals for grants from the fund for experimental education to get bogged down in red tape.

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