Because the GSAS is dwindling in size and the College is growing, individual graduate students are being called upon to teach more and more classes. As the discrepancy grows, the GSAS released regulations last week designed to allow more advanced students to teach more courses, while protecting first-year students from exploitation by professors.
The new rules state that no first-year graduate student--except in the sciences--may teach undergraduates; second-year graduate students may teach a maximum of one-third time; and third-, fourth-, and fifth-year graduate students may teach a maximum of two-fifths time.
The old guidelines allowed a maximum of one-quarter teaching time. First-year graduate students in the sciences are exempted from the regulations because the science departments depend heavily on their direct lab work, and because teaching fellow jobs often form part of the support package offered to attract top graduate students in the sciences to Harvard.
The new regulations may have a great effect on the total amount of teaching done. The positions vacated by first-year students, barred under the new guidelines from teaching, should presumably be filled by more advanced students taking heavier loads.
Earlier in the year, graduate student sentiment seemed to be in favor of creating more teaching fellow positions to augment dwindling financial aid.
This week's decision appears to represent a shift in philosophy from that concern to a greater concern with the student's time for personal research.
That philosophy may not extend to the students themselves, however. "The critical issue is money," said a student member of Committee on Graduate Education, "and the new