Facing sharp questioning at last night's Undergraduate Council meeting, Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence cautiously admitted to flaws in the Quantitative Reasoning Requirement (QRR), section quality, and recruiting of junior faculty.
For 40 minutes Spence answered council members' questions, many of which focused on the council's desire to reform the University's tenure system.
Spence, who sported a grey blazer, blue shirt and no tie, began the session with some brief comments, saying he is very pleased with the council's performance during the past few years and considers it a "viable organization."
Questioning quickly turned to tenure, as Jonathan Hacker '89 asked Spence to cite any specific "weaknesses in the [system] it would be valuable for the council to examine."
"There are not many problems with the system," said Spence, adding, "We have to do a much better job in recruiting and developing junior faculty."
Spence added that much of the problem facing junior faculty in their search for tenure is the inherent qualities of their relationship with senior members.
"Because professors often think of them as transitory members of the community it can effect their scholarly development."
After the meeting council chairman Evan J. Mandery '89 expressed displeasure with Spence's coments on the tenure situation.
"The council feels the tenure system is very flawed in that teaching is a minor if not nonexistent consideration," said Mandery.
While talking about possible improvements "[Spence] never said teaching is a primary consideration which is at the heart of the council'sposition," he said.
Academics Committee Chairman Andreas Beroutsos'88 commented that it is very discouraging for thejoint student-faculty commitees and councilcommittees to continue working when theirsuggested reforms are never acted upon.
"Many times the faculty will respond to a plansetting a time scale of five years and by thattime new students will be here and the reformideas will be lost in committee," added Beroutsos.
Rsponding to these concerns, Spence said thereis really "no way to change" this problem. "Thereis a frustrating pace to reform," Spence said.
"I would feel terribly bad if you stoppedwriting reports thinking nothing ever changes,"Spence added