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Faculty Will Likely Add QRR to Core

News Analysis

By The CRIMSON Staff

The Faculty is expected to ratify changes to the Core on Tuesday, including adding the QRR to the Core Curriculum and mandating that each area in the Core offer six classes a semester.

The Faculty Council discussed the proposal on Wednesday and its members support it. There is wide consensus built by weeks of personal communications among the Faculty that the current proposal will combat the Core's largest flaws, and the Faculty usually follows council recommendations.

"One of the major complaints that students have made is that they don't have enough courses to choose from," said Theda Skocpol, professor of sociology and government.

Skocpol, a member of the Faculty Council, said the proposal to change the Core will address these concerns, adding that "The more courses you seek out and rapidly incorporate, the more choice there will be for students."

Susan Lewis, director of the Core program, said she supports the legislation, though she said it is difficult to know exactly what its effects will be. She said Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles will be key in its success by enhancing the recruiting and review processes.

According to Lewis, the Dean of FAS might be able to help coordinate leaves of absence to prevent problems like those which plagued Moral Reasoning this year. Only one course in Moral Reasoning is offered this term.

The new Core guidelines would also allow departmental courses to be cross-listed in the Core and mandate a review of the guidelines for courses to make the Core more inclusive "where possible."

According to K. Anthony Appiah, professor of African-American studies and philosophy and a member of the Core Review Committee (CRC), this provision is intended to remove any "artificial obstacles" for classes to join the Core.

"I'm in a department that was growing, and there was plenty to do just to keep our own courses [going]," said Appiah, who has been approached about teaching courses in the Core several times.

Sponsors hope to meet the six course standard by removing barriers and encouraging the subcommittees to look at current courses for potential Core additions.

"The main theme is to have the comittees expand their guidelines to make them more inclusive so there would be more courses they could bring in," said Sidney Verba '51, pforzheimer University professor and the chair of the CRC.

Not in the CRC package are even more radical proposals for the Core or other parts of undergraduate requirements that surfaced as part of recent Faculty discussions.

Those proposals include ending the Advanced Placement test bypass option; a resource-dependent commitment to more small-group teaching in the Core; allowing Core courses with prerequisites; a review of the language requirement; a review of the language requirement; and finding a way to reduce the overall number of requirements for undrgraduates.

Of the proposals, the reviews of the language requirement and undergraduate requirements will likely be approved by the Faculty and go to the Educational Policy Committee (EPC), which will recommend possible solutions.

The EPC is a group of Faculty members that advise the Dean of the Faculty and the Faculty Council on curricular matters.

"I think that one of the things the Faculty Council listened to very attentively was student concern that the combination of department requirements and Core requirements led to some students not having adequate flexibility in their programs," said Allan M. Brandt, professor of the history of science.

The motion to do away with Advanced Placement bypass options may be altered so that it will go to the EPC as well. Gary Feldman, chair of the physics department, said he wants the Faculty to discuss the issue, which he feels was largely ignored in the wider Core discussions.

"I wanted to bring it to the Faculty's attention so it would be studied," Feldman said, noting that while the sciences allow Advanced Placement bypasses, the same is not true in other disciplines. For instance, Social Analysis 10: "Principles of Economics" cannot be bypassed with the economics exam.

"It is my contention that the high school courses do not give the same introduction to the way scientists think that taking a Core course in science at Harvard, or a departmental course at Harvard [does]," Feldman said.

The proposals allowing Cores to have prerequisites and opening the door for small-group teaching by Faculty in the Core will probably fail, since the Faculty Council was unsympathetic toward them.

Former Dean for Undergraduate Education Lawrence M. Buell, who is Marquand professor of English, will propose the small-group teaching motion.

The EPC "is already quite familiar with my views," although he would be willing to have them look at the subject again, Buell said.

Donald H. Pfister, Gray professor of systemic biology and a member of the Faculty Council, said that while "everyone would agree that small classes are a good means of instruction," there were concerns about the practicality of the goal.

However, Buell said that his proposal takes resource concerns into account.

"It acknowledge that in order to achieve a state when there are enough seminars mathematically for each student to have one would take a long time and is not to be expected at the start," Buell said, adding that he wants to "make a stand on principle that this is a valuable dimension of Core pedagogy.

"I'm in a department that was growing, and there was plenty to do just to keep our own courses [going]," said Appiah, who has been approached about teaching courses in the Core several times.

Sponsors hope to meet the six course standard by removing barriers and encouraging the subcommittees to look at current courses for potential Core additions.

"The main theme is to have the comittees expand their guidelines to make them more inclusive so there would be more courses they could bring in," said Sidney Verba '51, pforzheimer University professor and the chair of the CRC.

Not in the CRC package are even more radical proposals for the Core or other parts of undergraduate requirements that surfaced as part of recent Faculty discussions.

Those proposals include ending the Advanced Placement test bypass option; a resource-dependent commitment to more small-group teaching in the Core; allowing Core courses with prerequisites; a review of the language requirement; a review of the language requirement; and finding a way to reduce the overall number of requirements for undrgraduates.

Of the proposals, the reviews of the language requirement and undergraduate requirements will likely be approved by the Faculty and go to the Educational Policy Committee (EPC), which will recommend possible solutions.

The EPC is a group of Faculty members that advise the Dean of the Faculty and the Faculty Council on curricular matters.

"I think that one of the things the Faculty Council listened to very attentively was student concern that the combination of department requirements and Core requirements led to some students not having adequate flexibility in their programs," said Allan M. Brandt, professor of the history of science.

The motion to do away with Advanced Placement bypass options may be altered so that it will go to the EPC as well. Gary Feldman, chair of the physics department, said he wants the Faculty to discuss the issue, which he feels was largely ignored in the wider Core discussions.

"I wanted to bring it to the Faculty's attention so it would be studied," Feldman said, noting that while the sciences allow Advanced Placement bypasses, the same is not true in other disciplines. For instance, Social Analysis 10: "Principles of Economics" cannot be bypassed with the economics exam.

"It is my contention that the high school courses do not give the same introduction to the way scientists think that taking a Core course in science at Harvard, or a departmental course at Harvard [does]," Feldman said.

The proposals allowing Cores to have prerequisites and opening the door for small-group teaching by Faculty in the Core will probably fail, since the Faculty Council was unsympathetic toward them.

Former Dean for Undergraduate Education Lawrence M. Buell, who is Marquand professor of English, will propose the small-group teaching motion.

The EPC "is already quite familiar with my views," although he would be willing to have them look at the subject again, Buell said.

Donald H. Pfister, Gray professor of systemic biology and a member of the Faculty Council, said that while "everyone would agree that small classes are a good means of instruction," there were concerns about the practicality of the goal.

However, Buell said that his proposal takes resource concerns into account.

"It acknowledge that in order to achieve a state when there are enough seminars mathematically for each student to have one would take a long time and is not to be expected at the start," Buell said, adding that he wants to "make a stand on principle that this is a valuable dimension of Core pedagogy.

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