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Task Force on College Life Summary of Major Recommendations


These thirty-two recommendations of the Task Force are presented in the order in which they are treated in the body of the text; it was felt that it would be rather difficult to follow if we did not present them in that self-same organization. In an attempt to indicate the ones for which we have felt the strongest priority, the lead sentences of those recommendations have been underlined. Those recommendations which are presumed to have a substantial dollar cost are followed by a dollar sign. Appendix C provides some rough estimates as to the cost of some of these recommendations. It is hoped these signals will provide aid in evaluating these recommendations.

The Houses

1.1 Administration of the House System

1. To effect by reorganization with the assignment of an individual [or individuals] with the specific charge of concern for House affairs. CHARGE: To act as a liaison between the Dean's Office, the masters and Buildings and Grounds.

a. To set up a clearinghouse for faculty members desiring House affiliations and for graduate students desiring tutor positions. This proposal would aid masters' recruitment of faculty associates and affiliates and would facilitate coordination between departments and Houses in tutor selection.

b. To attempt to oversee the House system to insure a more even distribution of the available academic resources and activities among the Houses.

c. To conduct a much-needed assessment of existing physical facilities and their condition; then to coordinate a realistic and equitable program of additions and renovations as well as seeing to day-to-day maintenance requests. The close cooperation with the masters and Buildings and Grounds would be essential.

2. The replacement of the position of co-master with a position including a stipend and bearing the title of associate master for the spouses of masters.

1.2 Tutors

3. The creation of a "job description" for the position of non-resident and resident tutors, outlining the duties and responsibilities expected of them. This information should be given before the tutor's initial entrance into the House communities.

4. The continued recruitment of women tutors. The responsibility for this recruitment could lie with the administrator charged with House affairs (recommendation 1) working in conjunction with the masters.

1.3 Facilities

5. The development of a centrally administered program of improvements of common spaces in most of the Houses. $

6. Improvement of the Radcliffe Quadrangle.

a. The building of an athletic complex near the Radcliffe Quadrangle. This program could include a regulation-sized pool, a basketball court, facilities for tennis, squash, and volleyball, and perhaps for paddle tennis. $

b. The creation of a central dining area in South House. $

1.4 The House System

7. To study and test the feasibility of a more creative use of some of the "offshoots" of the regular House system through the utilization of them as "theme" Houses, focusing on language, art, or a special area of concentration. This system would provide an alternative living arrangement for those who might prefer it.

8. The creation of more uniformity within the housing system through major changes in the system. Several alternatives were considered. $

a. The ideal but least feasible alternative would be the creation of four-year Houses. Although the mix of classes would be very positive, the construction and rearrangement of the campus which would be required was considered an impossible undertaking for FAS at this time.

b. Tactically, the alternative of 1:3, all freshmen at the Radcliffe Quadrangle and all upperclassmen in the Yard or at the River, is excellent. The educational value of this plan would be that the freshman program could be better integrated, especially if the Expository Writing Program were to be housed in Hilles Library. This scheme would necessitate the construction of athletic and recreational facilities and central dining area (called for in recommendation 6).

Another version of 1:3 would be to have all the Freshmen in the Yard, and all the Houses three-year Houses. This alternative would have the benefit of least cost and would also achieve some of the objectives favored by the Task Force.

c. The most interesting alternative was 1:1:2, with all Freshmen in the Radcliffe Quadrangle, all Sophomores in the Harvard Yard and all Juniors and Seniors in the River Houses. This would alter the House system radically, but would certainly solve many problems. It would allow for better integration of programs for Freshmen and Sophomores, it would make the college experience more similar for all students, it would effectively limit the relative ranking of the various Houses, and competition for places in the popular ones; and would insure that all students did in fact live in the House system for two years.

9. The institution of "no-choice" pre-Freshman assignment of students to the Houses. This system has proved very successful at Yale, and is one recommendation about which this Task Force feels very strongly.

a. Intensive discussion between the masters, Faculty of Arts and Sciences to construct a system of assignment which would not unduly isolate minorities, would guard against unbalanced male-female ratios and would determine the importance of such factors as secondary school education, geographical area and limited master's choice should take place.

b. Freshman affiliation to the Houses might be made concrete through the distribution of House calendars, the invitation to House functions, the distribution of keys, and the supervision of this by one House staff member.

1.5 Crowding

10. The Houses as presently constituted should be comprehensively studied and plans be drawn up to "uncrowd" them as equitably as possible given the basic differentials in size and quality of space found therein. $

11. Wider support for an official "Year Abroad" program. Students could be offered the opportunity for a Sophomore or Junior Year abroad for which they would receive full course credit.

12. The admission of more transfer students and commuters.

1.6 Education in the Houses

13. The continuation of the House Course program as presently legislated with the budgetary and administrative support of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Task Force felt very strongly about this matter.

Student-Faculty Contact

14. The creation or continuation of the more structured activities in the Houses, such as special tables, talks by Faculty members, and House courses (see recommendation 13) organized or mediated by Tutors.

a. This would require a better selection process for tutors, through cooperation between departments and the Houses and through the circulation of job descriptions (recommendation 3), and better procedures for the recruitment of Faculty associates (recommendation 1).

b. Tutor selection could also be improved by the circulation of a memorandum to the masters outlining the variety of ways in which tutors are selected and the various criteria used.

15. Attempts should be made to locate the space of each department in close by facilities. $

16. Department chairmen should be encouraged to investigate the possible benefits to student-Faculty contact that might accrue from organizing some of the larger departments into subgroups or micro-communities. While not denying there are some debits too, the Task Force felt that these divisions need not be formalized as full-fledged sub-departments, but might follow cleavages within fields that already exist on topical or theoretical lines.

17. Greater efforts should be made to develop strong representations of the large departments in the Houses through the tutorial staff.

18. All departments should publish information sheets to be circulated to concentrators, listing the names, backgrounds and intellectual interests of the faculty members and graduate students, and if possible lists of undergraduate concentrators.

The Arts

19. The Task Force is fully aware of the extent of past discussions of arts training in the curriculum, and we appreciate the time and effort that has already been devoted to this complex question. Nevertheless we felt it our responsibility to observe that the matter has not yet been resolved to the best advantage of our students. We would urge the faculty, in the context of its complete review of undergraduate education to consider the importance of the arts in the intellectual development of every educated man and woman.

a. We understand that the charge to our Task Force on College Life did not include discussion of curricular matters, (with the exception of instruction in the Houses) but we feel constrained to mention the matter of credit for performance because it is inextricably connected to the condition of all work done in the arts on this campus. We favor credit for performance when such activities are part of an analytically and theoretically rigorous course of study (although we would not support credit for performance by itself without such an academic complement.)

b. It is hoped that there could be an expansion of opportunities at the intermediate level for activities relating to film, photography, and music. $

c. It is suggested that opportunities in the form of small group instruction might be available through the Houses by qualified music tutors who would be paid at the rate of Teaching Fellows. $

20. Increased funding for extracurricular non-credit instruction and for improvement of facilities in the Houses. Another method of expanding extracurricular arts training might be through the establishment of a program such as the Radcliffe Creative Arts Program. This Harvard equivalent could provide instructors and facilities for other arts such as photography, film, music or drama. $

21. A consideration of the provision of subsidies to the performing groups to cover the costs of maintenance and the services of police officers during performances. $

Harvard and the Community

22. An experimental volunteer program in areas outside the Cambridge community. $

23. The funding by the University of the part-time position of an Education Advisor, preferably drawn from the Harvard Faculty, to advise, instruct, and supervise the activities of Phillips Brooks House. $

24. The better representation of community issues and the utilization of its resources in academic courses.

25. Continued attention to security in the Square and around the campus. Shuttle bus service should be continued as part of this program.

26. The investigation of the need for good bookstores and a stable coffeehouse as a focus for student-faculty contact and University intellectual life. The possible conversion of Memorial Hall into a coffeehouse or beer hall. $?


27. A priority system should be devised by the Department of Athletics to deal equitably with the needs of both those interested in competition and recreation for the limited resources and facilities.

28. The construction of an athletics complex near the Radcliffe Quadrangle (see recommendation 6). $

29. Increased use of student employees to staff the athletic facilities.

30. Assessment of the present policy regarding the use of Harvard Athletic facilities by outside groups. $

31. Continued efforts to insure equality of opportunity for women in athletics. $

a. The Friends organizations should be encouraged to distribute their contributions between both the men's and women's teams in a given sport.

b. Locker facilities and equipment used by women should be improved.

Other Foci

32. Religious Groups: reevaluation of the policy regarding the eligibility of Harvard-affiliated clergy to eat in the House dining halls.

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