Kiely's Star Becomes Tarnished

When he took office as the first associate dean of the Faculty for undergraduate education in September 1972, Robert J. Kiely was the bright young star of the administration. He was young, open, and a scholar, and he had a talent for making friends with the right people. He devoted himself to innovative new programs, and the U Hall stairway outside his office was always jammed with students during his office hours.

Kiely never seemed to win the trust and admiration of the people in U Hall; his problem, one source says, is that "he's always thinking about where he wants to go and not about how he's going to get there."

During the fall term, Kiely again offered his ever-popular course in the post-war novel, English 166. During winter reading period, Kiely who is master of Adams House decided to offer a review session in the course in Adams House. At the review session, attended mostly by Adams residents because Kiely hadn't announced it to the course as a whole, he gave two specific examples of the kinds of question that might appear on the exam and discussed its general format.

Those questions appeared on the exam, and the format was exactly as he had described it to the Adams House group. Other students in the course, finding out about the review session, got angry--and two of them filed a complaint with the Commission of Inquiry.

The Commission, which hadn't done anything all year and had pretty much avoided dealing with charges against Faculty members throughout its brief existence, took up an investigation of whether the students at the review session had an advantage on the exam.


In early May, the commission came out with its findings: students at the review session had done about one-third of a grade better on the exam than those without the advantage. The commission called the discrepancy "unfortunate," but recommended no corrective action by the Faculty.

It was the commission's first public report in response to charges against a Faculty member, and it damaged Kiely's prestige. Even though in the general scheme of things the review session was a minor matter, it was embarassing to have hundreds of copies of a report on it circulated throughout the University.

Whether the whole affair will affect Kiely's career is impossible to say. He now plans to leave his deanship after next year, but he says he never intended to stay on more than three years anyway.