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R. Victor Jones, McKay Professor of Applied Physics, resigned Wednesday as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences after a year of graduate school controversy concerning financial aid to teaching fellows.
The University has named Edward T. Wilcox, currently director of the Program of General Education, as acting dean of the GSAS until a permanent dean is appointed.
Jones's resignation came as a surprise after only a year of his five-year appointment as death. During that year, Jones had become embroiled in a controversy with the newly-formed Graduate Student and Teaching Fellow Union over abolition of a special tution abatement program for teaching fellows.
Asked Saturday if his involvement in the tuition abasement issue was the principal factor in his decision to leave the Administration and return to teaching. Jones said, "I think my reasons are obvious to anyone." He said that the financial aid controversy "certainly did not make it any easier" for him to function effectively.
"It is exceedingly important to Harvard that there be a healthy Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with good student morale, something we obviously don't have now," Jones said.
The graduate students union steering committee has not yet met to take an official position on Jone's resignation. Mary Jo Henry, a steering committee member, said yesterday that the committee would probably wait until, Wilcox had formulated his policy on the tuition question before commenting officially.
Henry said however that most committee members who knew of the change assumed that Jones's policies would continue. "It's too bad that policies aren't going to change instead of the dean," she added. Wilcox declined to comment on his position on the issue.
Dean Dunlop said Sunday that he had first heard of Jones's decision in a letter during the summer and that he had tried to persuade Jones to stay on in the post. "After Labor Day his decision was still the name, so we decided to go forward with it," Dunlop said.
In resigning the post, Jones also vacated the position if associate dean of the Faculty for Undergraduate Education. The Faculty Council decided not to replace Jones immediately as associate dean of the Faculty because Dunlop said it wanted to reevaluate the administrative organization of the graduate school. "It will not necessarily be true now that the two posts of dean of the GSAS and associate dean of the Faculty will be held by one man," Dunlop said.
He suggested that the situation in the College, where Dean Whitlock is senior administrator and Robert J. Kiely, professor of English, is the newly-appointed associate dean of Undergraduate Education, might provide a model for the graduate school. "It might be better to divide the job between a dean who would deal primarily with policy matters and an associate dean concerned primarily with the Faculty," Dunlop said.
Wilcon, who is also director of the Freshman Seminar Progrm, in the first dean of the GSAS who has not held a Ph.D. degree. Dunlop said that Wilcon will serve at least through the Fall term and possibility into the Spring until a permanent dean is named.
"What attracted me to Wilcon, besides his personal qualification which we all know about," Dunlop said, "was that his position as chairman of the Gen Ed program allowed him to deal widely with all the departments, department chairman and many members of the Faculty."
"Also in Gen Ed. He had a larger number of teaching fellows than any other department working with him," Dunlop added. "He has the advantage, in dealing with this group of knowing their situation well and of knowing many of the people involved."
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