An increase in ladder faculty members and changes in the undergraduate advising system are under consideration as members of the Committee on Yale College Education head into a major meeting this weekend.
The 41-member committee, led by Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead, is in the final stages of writing recommendations as part of Yale’s academic review. The committee is also considering improved science courses for non-science majors, members said.
Before any proposal makes it onto the final list of suggestions, it must be approved by the review’s steering committee.
The academic review committee is divided into four working groups — biomedical education, physical sciences and engineering, social and international studies, and the humanities and arts. The committee began working in January 2002 after Yale President Richard Levin announced the initiative during Yale’s Tercentennial celebrations in October 2001.
Political Science chairman Ian Shapiro — who leads the social and international studies subcommittee — said large majors like political science, history and economics do not have enough faculty to accommodate student demand for seminars. As a result, one of his working group’s proposals is to increase the number of ladder faculty, he said.
“We have our hands full taking care of our own majors,” Shapiro said. “The numbers of non-majors in seminars are tiny.”
Barbara Wexelman ’03, a member of the physical sciences and engineering working group, said the proposal to increase faculty was popular in the central steering committee when Shapiro proposed it.
“It enables us to do many of the things my committee had talked about,” Wexelman said.
Graduate School Dean Peter Salovey, who leads the working group on biomedical education, said faculty resources are an important aspect of many proposals.
“Many of the recommendations that many of the committees will make will require faculty resources,” Salovey said.
Harvard University, which announced a similar curriculum review in October 2002, is also calling for an increase in faculty.
“For the improvement of undergraduate education, a larger faculty is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition,” William Kirby, Harvard’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said in a letter to Harvard faculty.
While Harvard’s review is in a much earlier stage than Yale’s, many of the initiatives are strikingly similar. In the letter, Kirby also suggested initiatives to promote international studies and the sciences, and to improve advising in Harvard College.
Rachel Alpert ’03, a member of the social and international studies working group, said the recommendations proposed in Yale’s review will likely need substantial funding.
“There’s a lot of different things that are going to need money,” Alpert said.
Salovey said the goal is to have the full committee submit a “cover-to-cover” draft of their final proposals by Sunday’s committee meeting.
“We might read it on Sunday and decide that it needs a lot more work, but we’re all optimistic that won’t happen,” Salovey said.