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John Harvard's Journal

Undergraduate Education Overseers

May-June 2003

The committees charged with leading the Faculty of Arts and Sciences review of the undergraduate curriculum (see "College Studies, January-February, page 61) have been defined and, at least in part, populated. In early March, Dean William C. Kirby appointed the faculty co-chairs of four working groups. Each committee will ultimately comprise eight faculty members, two undergraduates, one graduate student, and one administrator. The groups, their chairs, and their responsibilities are, respectively:

Jay M. Harris Lisa L. Martin
Jay M. Harris Lisa L. Martin
Mary Lee / Harvard News Office Kris Snibbe / Harvard News Office
The overall academic experience. Jay M. Harris, Wolfson professor of Jewish studies in the department of Near Eastern languages and civilizations, and Lisa L. Martin, Dillon professor of international affairs in the department of government, will lead the review of the freshman year, the timing of concentration choice, advising, study abroad, the connection between academic and extracurricular activities, and other broad questions concerning the curriculum.
Lizabeth Cohen Richard M. Losick
Lizabeth Cohen Richard M. Losick
Courtesy Lizabeth Cohen Kris Snibbe / Harvard News Office
Pedagogy. Lizabeth Cohen, Jones professor of American studies, and Richard M. Losick, Cabot professor of biology and Harvard College Professor, and colleagues will examine the effectiveness of lectures and sections, freshman and other seminars, the role of tutorials, the issue of curricular "progression" (perhaps toward a capstone experience, such as a thesis), instruction in writing and study of foreign languages, reading period, use of the Internet, and other aspects of teaching.
Peter K. Bol Eric N. Jacobsen
Peter K. Bol Eric N. Jacobsen
Photograph by Stu Rosner
General education. Carswell professor of East Asian languages and civilizations Peter K. Bol and Eric N. Jacobsen, Emery professor of chemistry — both also Harvard College Professors — are charged with directing the study of students' educational breadth in the twenty-first century, the proportion of the curriculum devoted to general education and its form, and the generation of suitable courses.
Lawrence Katz Diana Sorensen
Lawrence Katz Diana Sorensen
Kris Snibbe / Harvard News Office Rose Lincoln / Harvard News Office
Concentration. Lawrence Katz, professor of economics, and Diana Sorensen, professor of Romance languages and literatures, and their working-group members will examine the purpose of concentration, the array of concentration options, how they relate to departments and interdisciplinary committees, and the structure of concentrations, minors, and certificates.

Undergraduate education dean Benedict H. Gross invited College students to apply for seats on the committees; he will use the Undergraduate Council to vet applications. Candidates were told that the committees will meet several times this term, and weekly throughout the next academic year. Kirby charged the groups with reporting their findings next spring.