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The Committee on Undergraduate Education discussed yesterday a wide range of proposals for revising the criteria used in granting honors degrees. In a memorandum to CUE members, Sidney Verba, professor of Government and chairman of the committee noted that "the current honors rules have created a lot of dissatisfaction" because they are hard to understand and lead to seemingly arbitrary decisions and anomalous results. Verba called for a new set of rules "that is clear, predictable, and fair."
One proposal called for a straight grade-point-average requirement across all grades for "Latin" honors such as magna and summa, and another suggested leaving only summa and "cum laude in general studies" as honors with college-wide requirements. The system now requires all honors candidates to both fulfill their particular departmental requirements and achieve grade averages set by the College in areas of "distribution" outside their area of concentration.
The only common denominator of the revisions was an emphasis on simplifying and streamlining the system.
The discussion on honors requirements is part of the committee's comprehensive review of academic regulations. The committee will also propose changes in the rules governing pass-fail courses and the reading period. The CUE will send the proposals to the Faculty.
Members also discussed changes in the CUE course evaluation questionnaire and a proposal to increase the response rate for the questionnaires by distributing them before exams.
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