Faculty Council Considers Revision Of House Courses

The Faculty Council will discuss and possibly vote tomorrow on a proposal which would eliminate basic General Education credit for House courses.

All Houses would be requested to provide between three and six half-term courses a year in an attempt to strengthen the House Seminar Program. House courses under the proposal would be offered for credit and grades but would be counted for departmental or basic Gen Ed requirements only by special petition.


The proposal is an effort to provide more "experimental and interdisciplinary courses," Robert J. Kiely, assistant dean for undergraduate education and author of the proposal, said yesterday. Kiely said that the proposal is an "attempt to eliminate some of the confusion now associated with House seminars."

Currently, there is no specific program for House courses. Houses offer courses as independent studies or as part of the Gen Ed program.

Several professors have objected to the proposal. Martin H. Peretz, master of South House, called the program "squeemish" and said that it was "less than desirable." Peretz, said he had hoped the seminar program would allow intellectuals not connected with Harvard to give one-term House courses. This is not possible under Kiely's proposal.

The seminar proposal would budget approximately $5000-6000 a year to each House. Houses would most likely employ Corporation appointees because they have a fixed salary and are ultimately less expensive than teaching fellows who are paid per course.

"If Faculty are to take on extra courses, they are either going to have to pay the Faculty more or cut back on departmental teaching," an English Department spokesman said yesterday.


House course expenses now run as high as $3500 for one full-year course, Sarah F. Klos, an English tutor in Adams House said yesterday. A ceiling expenditure limit of $5000 would cause House masters to "hustle other funds," Peretz said.

The proposal has been passed by the Committee on Undergraduate Education and the Committee on Housing and Undergraduate Life, and last month was unanimously approved by the House Masters' Committee. If it is passed by the Faculty Council tomorrow, it will go before the Faculty for a final vote in April