Agreeing That Change Is Needed


There seems to be at least one thing that everyone at Harvard can agree on: If the University is to maintain, or some say resume, its place as a leader in undergraduate education it will have to bear down and make lots of changes. What people are at odds about is exactly what should be done and how Harvard should go about doing it.

The Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) had its say on the whole question this week in a response to Dean Rosovsky's October letter to the Faculty on undergraduate education.

CUE sent Rosovsky two of its subcommittee reports proposing changes in undergraduate education to alleviate general student discontent and what the report termed "serious inadequacies in Harvard academics."

The reports came down hard on Harvard for many of its requirements, saying they are often "meaningless" and "serve only to hinder the student truly interested in gaining a broad education." The critical eye of the subcommittees also fell on the minimal amount of student-faculty interaction and on the poor quality of sections.

Though the reports did not offer any specific solutions to any of these problems, they did suggest that students be allowed more freedom in choice of study and that faculty be freed from other obligations to devote more time to undergraduates and to sections.


At a meeting last week that he scheduled to get responses from the student population on his letter, Rosovsky announced that he would soon appoint eight to ten task forces to consider questions raised by the letter.

Despite the fact that these task forces will discuss aspects of undergraduate life and education, Rosovsky said he had not decided whether to include students on them.

CUE has drafted a letter to be sent to Rosovsky requesting that the task forces include acting student members, but as of this week Rosovsky was keeping quiet and waiting for the rest of the responses to his letter.

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