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Changes Planned In First-Year Life

Report Proposes Several Solutions

By Geoffrey C. Hsu, Contributing Reporter

In a report submitted last Friday to the College administration, the Freshman Dean Search Student Committee proposed wide-ranging "practical policy initiatives" aimed at improving academic, extracurricular and social life and for first-year students.

Members of the committee met yesterday with Elizabeth S, Nathans, dean of first-year students, and with Dean of College L. Fred Jewett '57 to discuss the recommendations made by the committee report, titled, "An Assessment of the Freshman Experience at Harvard/Radcliffe College."

Pressing Problems

The report submitted to Nathans and Jewett, suggests solutions to problems "most pressing to freshmen at Harvard."

"What makes this report unique," said Mariano-Florentino Cuellar '93, "is that the administration solicited this report from the students and is ready to act on it."

The report which addresses five areas of first-year life--academics, advising, extracurriculars, social life and the role of the Freshman Dean's Office--was authored by five members of thesearch committee: Cuellar, Niko Canner '94, DavidL. Duncan '93, Maya G. Prabhu '94 and CommitteeChair Mukesh Prasad '93.

Nathans called the report "a thorough,extraordinarily thoughtful and constructivereport...We would be stupid not to capitalize ontheir very hard work."

Most of the report's specific recommendationsconcerned increasing first-year students' freedomin selecting courses.

"One of the most important recommendations wasthe idea of spreading out the language requirementover two years instead of one, giving freshmenmore flexibility in selecting classes," saidDuncan.

Other recommendations include:

.allowing first-years to choose the semesterthey take Expository Writing.

.integrating writing across the curriculum

.eliminating the Quantitative ReasoningRequirement (QRR) and instead integratingstatistics into class syllabi

.expanding the Freshman Seminar program andusing a lottery to select applicants.

.allowing substitution of department coursesfor core courses.

Nathans said she would attempt to carry out theacademic recommendations.

"Curricular matters are not the provincedirectly of this office," said Nathans. "This isnonetheless a concern, and I will be talking withappropriate people on how to address them."

To improve first-year advising, the reportrecommended that proctors learn more aboutacademics and establish closer contact withfirst-year students.

"One major concern was establishing moreconnections between the proctors and freshmen,"said Duncan.

The document also suggested improving classunity by renovating Yard common rooms.

"We want the common rooms to be more informalplaces to gather, instead of places tooccasionally hold a meeting," said Duncan.

The report also advocates reestablishing afirst-year student government. Currently, thefirst-year caucus of the Undergraduate Councilserves the function of the former FreshmanCouncil.

In composing the report, Cuellar said committeemembers garnered suggestions from 600 to 700students during the 1991 to 1992 school year

Nathans called the report "a thorough,extraordinarily thoughtful and constructivereport...We would be stupid not to capitalize ontheir very hard work."

Most of the report's specific recommendationsconcerned increasing first-year students' freedomin selecting courses.

"One of the most important recommendations wasthe idea of spreading out the language requirementover two years instead of one, giving freshmenmore flexibility in selecting classes," saidDuncan.

Other recommendations include:

.allowing first-years to choose the semesterthey take Expository Writing.

.integrating writing across the curriculum

.eliminating the Quantitative ReasoningRequirement (QRR) and instead integratingstatistics into class syllabi

.expanding the Freshman Seminar program andusing a lottery to select applicants.

.allowing substitution of department coursesfor core courses.

Nathans said she would attempt to carry out theacademic recommendations.

"Curricular matters are not the provincedirectly of this office," said Nathans. "This isnonetheless a concern, and I will be talking withappropriate people on how to address them."

To improve first-year advising, the reportrecommended that proctors learn more aboutacademics and establish closer contact withfirst-year students.

"One major concern was establishing moreconnections between the proctors and freshmen,"said Duncan.

The document also suggested improving classunity by renovating Yard common rooms.

"We want the common rooms to be more informalplaces to gather, instead of places tooccasionally hold a meeting," said Duncan.

The report also advocates reestablishing afirst-year student government. Currently, thefirst-year caucus of the Undergraduate Councilserves the function of the former FreshmanCouncil.

In composing the report, Cuellar said committeemembers garnered suggestions from 600 to 700students during the 1991 to 1992 school year

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