Faculty Council to Re-Examine Guides for Independent Work

The Faculty Council decided Wednesday to review the guidelines for giving credit to independent work, because it believes the current legislation allowing upperclassmen to petition for the ungraded courses may be overly vague.

The legislation, passed in 1973, requires only that a student be in good standing, and that his project receive approval from someone holding a Corporation appointment.

Dean Rosovsky said yesterday it is possible the council will tighten the restrictions on independent study, but that its main concern is that Faculty members should have a clear sense of when they should give credit.

Dean Whitlock said yesterday that out of about 500 independent work units in progress this semester, 250 are extensions of regular academic work, 150 are inmusic and other performing arts, and most of the rest are in volunteer community and career projects

Rosovsky said the council is concerned about whether credit should be given for music lessons at the elementary level, because the Council on the Arts has suggested credit should be given only for advanced work.


However, most independent work units in music are basic training in voice and instruments, Whitlock said.

Elliot Forbes '41, Peabody Professor of Music and chairman of the department, said yesterday he approves students' requests for independent work where he believes the applicant is really interested in learning, and where a good teacher is available in the subject.

Most students taking elementary music lessons are freshmen who want to continue their instruction while they are at Harvard, and seniors who find they have taken enough graded courses to graduate and want to learn to play an instrument, Forbes said.

Whitlock said the number of independent study units students take each year has remained constant at about 1000 since 1956, when the first legislation was passed. Since 1971, when supervised departmental reading and research projects were separated from independent work, Faculty members have approved about 500 of each annually.