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Dean Rosovsky gave the most detailed outline to date of the proposed core curriculum, including descriptions of specific courses, at a speech Saturday morning to Harvard College Fund class agents.
The core is a forward-looking action rooted in "dissatisfaction with the status quo," Rosovsky said. He wants the College to move from general distribution requirements to "a much more specific set of goals" that would ensure that Harvard graduates are liberally educated and share common intellectual ground.
The Faculty probably will consider a polished set of proposals" this winter, Rosovsky said. He added, however, that the task force will have to pare down the current draft of the plan before then because this version would increase the number of requirements students would have to fulfill.
The new core should not decrease the number of electives students may take nor limit the time available to requirements, he said.
Rosovsky admitted that he would have to overcome opposition among faculty members before implementing the core, but added that he is certain the Faculty will eventually implement the proposals.
"Many people will have to take part with enthusiasm" to create the new core, Rosovsky said. He added that some teachers on the Faculty may have to "redirect" their energy and perhaps reexamine their priorities.
The five areas in the current version of the core should represent "five different approaches to human experience," and introduce the student to both a "theoretical framework and analytical skills," he said.
The five areas are Letters and Arts, History, Social Analysis and Moral Philosophy, Mathematics and Science, and Foreign Languages and Cultures.
The Letters and Arts section should refine "the student's ability to read, to see, and to hear," he said. Literature courses might examine specific genres or contributions of great authors to important issues. Proposals for such courses include "The Form of the Novel," "The Experience of Poetry," and "The Tragic Hero."
Courses in art and music, such as "The Painter's Eye," or "Forms of the Symphony," also will fall into this category, he said. The Faculty may also offer courses that connect literature and the arts in a social or historical contest, he added.
The History courses would focus on the historical contest of contemporary problems or on historical topics that would illustrate "the complexity of events--purposeful and accidental--that shape people's lives," he said.
Social analysis courses would include "Principles of Economics," "Equality and Inequality," "Heredity and the Environment," while Moral Philosophy would encompass offerings like "Civil Rights and Constitutional Law," and "Theory and Practice of Democratic Government."
The core curriculum would also stress "scientific literacy" but science courses would be taught in lay terms. Students could study ways in which scientists validate their discoveries or discuss the historical and social perspective of science. No mathematics requirement has been established yet, but some math instruction may be included in the science courses, Rosovsky said.
Rosovsky said that for the Foreign Languages and Cultures area, Harvard should offer courses on a range of cultural experiences, in both Western and non-Western countries, so that students gain insight into both foreign lands and their own.
Glen W. Bowersock '57, associate dean of the Faculty, also spoke to the alumni fundraisers. He said the core is a means of "seeking an education for tomorrow no longer limited to the old tripartite" of the Humanities, the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences.
Bowersock, who chairs the Committee on General Education, said the core is Gen Ed's legacy, but the current program is "an admirable congestion that needs to be sorted out."
Peter F. Clifton '49, executive director of the Harvard College Fund, spoke briefly after the deans' speeches. Clifton presented Rosovsky with a Class of '49 tie and announced that the class voted Rosovsky honorary membership. Rosovsky graduated from William and Mary College in 1949 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard ten years later
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