A Curricular Once Over

Verba Will Conduct Broad Curriculum Review

Members of the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) thought they had come up with a worthwhile proposal when they suggested extending the deadline for changing a course from pass-fail to letter-graded status.

But when the idea went before the Faculty Council earlier this year, council members were not so enthusiastic. They decided that the proposal "was integrally tied to a number of related questions about the structure of the curriculum" which should also be examined in conjunction with any change in the pass-fail deadline, Dean Rosovsky wrote earlier this month in a letter to George C. Homans '32, chairman of CUE.

As a result, Rosovsky decided to ask Sidney Verba '53, professor of Government, to undertake "the most comprehensive review of the structure of the curriculumuin a decade or more"--as Rosovsky put it in his letter to Homans. Verba becomes associate dean of the Faculty for undergraduate education on July 1.

"I am asking Professor Verba to review not the content of courses, but their structure--that is, the technical aspects of the curriculum," Rovosky said this week.

Some members of CUE were not enthusiastic about the plan when Homans distributed Rosovsky's letter at Wednesday's CUE meeting.


Homans, who is currently acting associate dean of the Faculty for undergraduate education, said this week he thought CUE's original pass-fail proposal was "a sound one" that could have been acted on independently of other academic issues.

"Pass-fail is CUE's area of responsibility, and it lies with us. We can change the date without disturbing everything else," he added.

Homans also expressed concern that the impending curriculum review will stifle CUE's activities for the rest of this semester. "I am worried that by June 1 will have established nothing with this committee," he said.

Rosovsky, in effect, agreed with Homans' assessment. "The implication of my letter is that CUE activities be postponed for the rest of the year," he said, adding that because it is already late March the effect on CUE will not be significant.

In his letter, Rosovsky stressed that Verba will seek advice from CUE and a number of other administrative bodies such as the Faculty Council, the Administrative Board, and departments.

Verba, too, emphasized CUE's importance in the curriculum review, calling the committee "the key institution for this project." But Verba declined to comment on specifics of the curriculum review, saying only that he was "not the David Stockman of the undergraduate curriculum."

Despite the enormity of the task facing him when he returns from his one-year leave, Verba said. "I have not been closely in contact with Rosovsky because of my leave, but I am looking forward with eager expectation to the end of my leave."

Recommended Articles