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Surveys Teach Necessary Basics

TO THE EDITORS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

I want to commend Bryan Garsten's persistence in bringing to light in his article "Surveys: A Dying Breed?" the fact that there is definitely something rotten in the People's Republic of Cambridge.

I am curious,--are professors really so absorbed in their own intellectualism that they no longer see any real need to teach the basics in introductory courses? In England, Professor Blackbourn pointed out, the University requires faculty to teach the fundamentals. Is it really too much to ask that Harvard do the same?

And isn't it ironic that the students are now the ones pleading for a simple, traditional grounding in each discipline? After all, wouldn't one think that it was the place of the administration to ensure that the faculty do not become so enmeshed in their own specialty or research that they lose perspective on why such courses exist in the first place?

If the University dose not take any action to re-implement such basic, introductory survey courses, it will sadly justify its reputation as a university so out of touch with its own students that it fails to realize that they actually expect something for their $25,000. Charles Barzun '97

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