Psychology Dept. Cuts Popular Course

Although students are upset by a recent decision of the Psychology Department to have a professor teach Psych 1, "Introduction to Psychology," next year rather than his popular Psych 1501, "Social Psychology of Organizations," the Department contends that its options are limited by its small faculty.

J. Richard Hackman, CahnerRabb professor of social and organizational psychology, confirmed yesterday that he would be teaching Psych 1 next spring and not his popular course in organizational psychology.

"The decisions about who teaches what are made collectively," Hackman said. "The curriculum committee asked that I [teach Psych 1]."

Hackman said he regretted not being able to teach the organizational psychology class.

"I wish I did not have to give up teaching the social psychology of organizations course, but as I told the committee, I cannot teach that course and prepare to teach Psych I for the first time both at the same time," Hackman said.


He said he did not believe that "Social Psychology of Organizations" will be taught next year.

"Obviously it will not strengthen our offerings in that area, but the department has to make trade-offs," he explained.

One student said she was upset that the course was not going to be offered next fall. Sally J. Wolf ' 97-'96 said that when she heard that the course definitely would not be offered, she wrote a letter to Professor of Psychology Stephen M. Kosslyn, the department's head tutor, and Professor of Social Psychology Robert Rosenthal, the department's chair, asking that they not cut the course.

"The organizational class has the finest reputation of any course within the psychology department, and it is a shame for any student who is so interested to be denied such a wonderful educational experience," Wolf said.

She said she delivered the letter at about 12 p.m. on Friday, April 28 and that Kosslyn called her four hours later to explain that the department regretted having to cut the organizational psychology course, but it felt more of a responsibility to teach Psych 1.

"He was extremely sympathetic to my situation," Wolf said, "but he explained that the department was losing many professors this year and was only allowed to hire an inadequate number of new professors, or at least that was how I understood the situation."

Wolf said she was considering following a special honors track in organizational psychology, but "it just seems unfair to offer a special track and not offer the only course geared for that track."

Hackman said that he asked the curriculum committee more than once that someone else teach Psych 1 and he be allowed to teach the organizational psychology class.

But Rosenthal, a member of the curriculum committee, said everyone asks not to teach introductory psychology.

"Everybody in Harvard's department of psychology when asked to teach introductory psychology says, 'I'd rather teach the course I know and love and have already taught in preference to teaching introductory psychology," Rosenthal said. "That's what I said when I was asked to teachintroductory psychology."

Kosslyn, who also serves on the curriculumcommittee, said that the psychology faculty isshort of professors.