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Council Approves Mandatory Evaluations

Governing body also allows MBB program to create own courses

By Madeline M.G. Haas and Alexandra Hiatt, Crimson Staff Writers

The Faculty Council voted yesterday in favor of requiring all Faculty members to undergo student evaluations and granting the Committee on Mind, Brain, and Behavior (MBB) the power to create its own courses.

If the full Faculty approves the measures this semester, they will take effect next fall.

The MBB motion represented an attempt to reconcile the committee’s most popular course with the new strictures of the looming curricular reform. All MBB courses are currently offered through other departments.

Co-chair of the MBB Committee John E. Dowling ’57 said he was concerned that one of MBB’s two required courses, Science B-29, “The Evolution of Human Nature,” might not carry over into the new general education program because it is currently a Core class.

“It’s a particularly appropriate time to do this because we don’t want to lose Science B-29,” Dowling said. “Because we want to continue that course, we would like to move it into the MBB field.”

Dowling, who is co-teaching B-29 this year, said he hoped that professors would take advantage of the opportunity to create more interdisciplinary courses. “Maybe we’ll find someone from biology joining with someone from music,” he said.

This change would come in the wake of MBB’s establishment of its own secondary field outside of any department.

The Faculty Council also passed a motion that would require all courses with five or more students to be evaluated for the annual guide published by the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE).

Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 put forward the proposal last year, pointing out that 60 professors opted out of the CUE Guide process last spring.

But the Faculty failed to reach a quorum at the meeting when it was scheduled to vote on the proposal, and several professors protested that requiring evaluations would encroach on their autonomy. It was postponed until the fall, and not addressed again until this spring.

“We’ve been wanting to deal with it, actually, earlier this year, but we’ve been very taken up with the general education legislation,” said Judith L. Ryan, a member of the Faculty Council and Weary professor of German and comparative literature.

Since the May 2006 meeting, CUE, the Committee on Graduate Education, the Graduate Policy Committee, and pedagogy committees have endorsed the requirement, according to Gross.

The Faculty Council approved a similar measure in December calling for mandatory CUE evaluations for teaching fellows.

The MBB and CUE evaluation measures will be debated by the full Faculty, most likely at its May 1 meeting.

—Staff writer Madeline M.G. Haas can be reached at —Staff writer Alexandra Hiatt can be reached at

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