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Curricular Review Advancing Under Faculty Leadership

By Benedict H. Gross

To the editors:

I agree with the main point of your Feb. 2 editorial of (“Wanted: Tough but Tactful Dean”), calling for the appointment of a “tough but tactful dean.” That constitutes a good description of Bill Kirby’s style, and it’s hard to imagine calling for the contrary. But I am more optimistic in my assessment of the fate of the curricular review. The debate and ultimate decisions on the review are the work of the faculty, not the administration. Many of the proposals, such as the creation of secondary fields, have considerable support and do not involve the commitment of new resources. Others, such as the formation of a more robust advising system, have costs that any dean of the faculty would be willing to assume. In fact, we have already moved in that direction by hiring an associate dean of advising programs and have budgeted funds to support peer advising of freshmen for next year.

Tonight the review staff will be working with the Undergraduate Council to table in dining halls during dinner, distributing material on the review, including all of the reports of the faculty-student committees and a summary list of all of the recommendations. For more information or to comment on the review, please e-mail curr-rev@fas.harvard.edu. I hope students will become involved in the debate.


BENEDICT H. GROSS ’71
Cambridge,Mass.
February 8, 2006

The writer is Leverett Professor of Mathematics and Dean of Harvard College.

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