Faculty Council Approves Courses for Upcoming Year, Changes to Student Handbook

University Hall, located in the center of Harvard Yard, holds the university's administration offices and this week's Faculty Council Meeting.

The Faculty Council voted to approve updates to the student handbook and change the name of the Systems Biology Ph.D. program at its final meeting of the semester Wednesday.

The Council — the Faculty of Arts and Sciences highest governing body — also approved preliminary lists of courses in FAS and the Harvard Extension School for the 2019-2020 academic year. The body passed all four proposals without contention, according to Council member David L. Howell.

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana presented the proposed changes to the student handbook. Howell said the updates were “routine” and reflected items the Faculty has voted upon this year that impact undergraduates.

“The changes reflected changes that have already been approved by the Faculty, like the M.A. — the concurrent bachelor's-master's program — and things like that, the various changes that we've made over the year,” Howell said.


The concurrent degree program, which the full Faculty approved in March, replaces the College’s Advanced Standing Program as a new option for undergraduates to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in four years. Students starting with the Class of 2022 will be eligible for the program.

The Council also voted to change the name of the Standing Committee on Higher Degrees in Systems Biology to the Standing Committee on Higher Degrees in Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology, Howell said.

The program — which is run by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and draws faculty from FAS and Harvard Medical School — does not plan to change the content of the program along with the new name, Howell said in an interview earlier this month. Instead, faculty in the program intend to change the name so that the name better reflects the nature of faculty and students’ research work.

The Council’s decision on the name change is final, according to Howell.

“That's something that the Faculty Council can do on its own authority, so it will be reported to the FAS Faculty but not voted on,” he said.

FAS Registrar Michael P. Burke presented the preliminary list of next year’s FAS courses to the Council on behalf of FAS Dean Claudine Gay, while Extension School Dean Huntington D. Lambert presented his school’s list. Both lists remain subject to change as departments continue to finalize their course plans for next year, according to Howell.

The Council’s decisions on the handbook and the two course lists were purely advisory, however. The full Faculty will vote upon the three items at its upcoming May 7 meeting.

—Staff writer Molly C. McCafferty can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @mollmccaff.