Professors and students squared off on the use of humorous quotes in the CUE Guide yesterday at this year's first meeting of the Committee on Undergraduate Education.
While praising the Guide's overall quality, the professors on the committee--a group of students and faculty that recommends policies to the Faculty--generally criticized the quotes.
Seferis Professor of Modern Greek Studies Margaret B. Alexiou said some of the comments were "very hurtful" as well as "irrelevant to the quality" of the courses. Other faculty members agreed, and suggested they be moved to the end of the guide in the future.
"The comments to some extent detracted from the otherwise fine quality of the guide," said Core Program Director Susan W. Lewis. Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education David Pilbeam took the faculty members' side, but added that the guide has elicited mostly positive reactions from professors.
"It's overall quality is outstanding," Pilbeam said. "There are more courses than ever [represented in the book]."
Students rose to defend the quotations, arguing they didn't detract from the book's actual purpose of rating courses. "The quotes are not the import of the guide" and "don't affect the evaluation" of the courses, said Sara L. Norman '90, the CUE guide editor.
"People are funnier when they're cruel," Norman said. "Humor is a very subjective thing." But she said she would consider the suggestions.
Committee members said that they felt students were not aware that the guide served academic purposes for professors and teaching fellows, not just students.
"Most undergraduates look at it as a book for selection of courses," said David R. Golob II '89, chairperson of the Undergraduate Council's academ- ics committee and CUE committee member. "Idoubt whether as much consideration is given toprofessors and teaching fellows."
"I look upon this guide as an important toolfor influencing faculty," Pilbeam said.
Dunster House Senior Tutor Jeffrey Wolcowitzsuggested that a letter from the council tostudents might communicate the importance of thequestionnaires. Evan J. Mandery '89 agreed, andsaid a co-authored letter from the council and theadministration might influence students to takethe questionnaries more seriously.
Mandery also suggested including evaluations oftutorials in the CUE guide. "The quality ofsophomore tutorials is important to students whoare choosing a concentration," he said.
At future CUE meetings, the committee willaddress other issues such as honors hourlies,shopping period, advanced standing, and advising.
Pilbeam said the CUE had discussed advising inthe past, but that this year it would be one ofthe committee's main topics. "We want to doresearch to make practical recommendations andcome up with concrete suggestions that we canbring to the Faculty Council and the generalfaculty," he said