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University To Survey Instruction

By Michael J. Abramowitz

The University will conduct an extensive survey of undergraduates late this spring to determine their feelings on the quality of instruction The study comes at a time when the Faculty is carrying on several other independent investigations of various aspects of undergraduate education

This will mark the first serious study of such instruction in a decade and the most comprehensive ever done at Harvard. Dean K. Whitla, director of the Faculty's office of Instructional Research and Evaluation, said yesterday Whitla's office will coordinate the survey

No one immediate problem triggered the instructional study which is simply "part of a general concern with the nature of under graduate teaching." Sidney Verba 53, associate dean for undergraduate education said Among the topics it should address he added, are the size of classes, the level of training for teaching fellows, how large courses organize sections, and how various departments direct undergraduate teaching

The study should provide a better opportunity to look more systematically at the various kinds of teaching experiences and learning experiences that students have Verba said.

Verba cited private meetings he has held with departmental representatives and the heads of large courses on the subject as well as a recent summer program to train teaching fellows as part of the effort to look at under graduate instruction.

In addition to this survey, the Faculty is currently engaged in a comprehensive review of the Core Curriculum Officials have also recently announced plans for two other unrelated surveys that will investigate sexism in the classroom and sexual harassment.

No particular plans are in the works for the results of the spring survey. Whitla said But he added that such bodies as the Faculty Council or the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) would probably address any glaring areas of student unhappiness.

Whitla and Verba said that details of the survey remain to be worked out, but that it should take place sometime just before reading period The late date. Verba said, is intended to make the results as current as possi- ble. The questionnaires will probably be mailed to all undergraduates.

Whitla said that the survey's planners hoped that they would be able to break down the data across various group lines--by department, students group, and class.

Verha said that he would be consulting with CUE members this spring on the sorts of question the survey will cover

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