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Students are already stressed about the upcoming reading period, but yesterday the committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) met to discuss ways to ease their workload.
While the committee did not come up with any specific changes, Dean for Undergraduate Education william M. Todd III suggested sending out a mem-orandum to professors reminding them that reading period is to be used primarily as a study period.
Students and Faculty members on the committee expressed concern about a growing trend toward the use of reading period as a time for writing papers or completing projects rather than studying.
"Reading period seems to serve a lot of conflicting purposes," Undergraduate graduate Council member Benjamin A. Rahn '99 said.
Noah H. Freeman '99 agreed.
"The dominant thing it is being used for right now is to write really long papers," he said.
Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 pointed out that there were no specific policies barring assignments or classes during reading period.
In some cases, such as with mathematics and foreign language classes, continuing with new material is necessary, some Faculty members said.
The committee also discussed a proposed cap on the number of courses required for a joint concentration to be set at 16.
Many committee members acknowledged that it is often difficult for students and departments to work out integrated programs of study.
"It's asking the concentrations to give up some of the carefully wrought program it's already put together," said Deborah D. Foster, the assistant dean for undergraduate education and the head tutor of the Folklore and Mythology department.
Committee members approved of the cap because they said it would thoughtfully at how their programs could be synthesized.
"I have some friends who are now doing some very forced theses, because freshman year they picked the two subjects they like the best for their concentration," freeman said. "I wonder if we actually do students a service by giving them the leeway to do these concentrations."
The cap would keep the rigor of joint concentrations on par with that of other concentrations, Pearson Professor of Modern mathematics and Mathematical Logic Warren DE. Goldfarb '69 said.
"There is a perception among students that [joint-concentrating] is the glamorous thing to do," Goldfarb said.
The committee will continue work on the proposal after discussions with departments.
The committee also discussed implementing a College-wide program for-mid-course evaluations.
The evaluations would resemble those currently compiled in the CUE Guide, but would enable professors to receive feedback while the class is still ongoing.
"Students are hopeful that things can change while they are in the course, rather than just hoping that their suggestions for the CUE guide will carry through the next time the course is offered," Rahn said.
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