A student group's complaint that a shortage of Core Curriculum courses in the Social Analysis division will be "an undue hardship on students attempting to fulfill their requirements" is unfounded, Edward T. Wilcox, the director of General Education, said Thursday.
Wilcox, who is also assistant dean for educational affairs, said there will be six Social Analysis courses offered next year, not three, as the Educational Resources Group (ERG), an advisory board that sends student representatives to the Committee on Undergraduate Education, charged in a letter to the Social Analysis subcommittee Thursday.
"A statement from ERG about what's going to happen next year must have been a guess," he said, adding, "It couldn't have been based on a look at the catalogue copy since the copy isn't back from the printers yet."
In a letter, ERG called the shortage of Social Analysis courses "damaging to the proper workings of the Core Curriculum."
Craig Partridge '83, the ERG member who drafted the letter, said Thursday that John P. Whelan '82, an ERG member who is also on the Social Analysis subcommittee, had told the student group in March that only three Social Analysis course would be offered next year. "I'm astonished we're getting two different reports and I'm a little suspicious," he said, adding, "if there are going to be six courses, the letter shouldn't have been sent."
But Whelan said Thursday there will only be four Social Analysis courses offered next year. "One more course has been added since I spoke to ERG," he said, adding, "the situation is still terrible."
Wilcox's tally counts Social Analysis 10, a year-long introductory Economics course, as two courses: Whelan counts it as a single course. Furthermore, the six courses Wilcox listed include a half-course taught by Theda Skocpol, associate professor of Sociology, whose teaching status for next year is uncertain while an ad hoc committee considers her for tenure. Whelan's count did not include the Skocpol course.
Whelan called six to eight half-courses the "ideal" number of offerings for a division of the Core. This year, the course catalogue lists seven half-courses.
James Q. Wilson, Shattuck Professor of Government and chairman of the Social Sciences subcommittee, said Wednesday he was "disturbed" about the shortage of courses. But yesterday, Wilson said, "If we can get the number up to six, we're in pretty good shape."