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Faculty Plans to Cast Critical Vote On Core Curriculum Proposal Today

By David Beach

A core curriculum to replace the General Education program could take a big step toward realization at a Faculty meeting today.

The Faculty is scheduled to vote on legislation which would instruct Dean Rosovsky to appoint subcommittees to design courses in five core areas--literature and the arts, history, social and philosophical analysis, mathematics and science, and foreign languages and cultures.

The legislation is strategically important, James Q. Wilson, Shattuck Professor of Government and chairman of the Task Force on Core Curriculum, said yesterday.

Although the committees would only serve as study groups and final vote on the core proposal would not come until next fall, Wilson said Faculty members working together in small groups is the sole way to achieve serious academic reform.

Francis M.Pipkin, associate dean of the Faculty for the Colleges, said yesterday he thinks the Faculty will approve the motion to form the committees.

The fact that the Faculty Council has come out strongly in favor of the motion is a sure sign of Faculty support, Pipkin said.

The Faculty Council reduced the eight areas proposed by the core curriculum task force last November to five broader areas designed to preclude debate about specifics.

"If you make the areas general enough, you let each person read into them what he wants," Pipkin said.

Wilson and the administration now want to keep the issue alive by proposing non-threatening legislation which would continue to study the core proposal and provide substance for future debate.

Wilson said the core proposal will not be voted on until enough Faculty members become involved in the discussion and committed to the idea that the proposal has a chance of passing.

"The disasterous route to take would be to present the Faculty with a yes/no vote on a set of proposals made by a single committee," Wilson said.

Until the administration is sure the Faculty favors some sort of reform, it will probably continue to present the Faculty with a moving target that is impossible to shoot down with an all-or-nothing vote.

When Wilson originally introduced his core curriculum proposal last fall, many members of the Faculty, particularly those in the humanities, objected to the balance of courses, which was weighted toward the natural sciences.

There were also objections to Wilson's recommendation that the foreign language requirement be eliminated.

But the Faculty Council resolution placated Faculty objections by balancing the natural sciences offerings with more humanities-oriented courses and including foreign languages and cultures as a potential area of study.

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