The spotlight during discussions of general education at the AAHE 1978 National Conference on Higher Education in Chicago (March 19-22) played back and forth upon Harvard's Dean Henry Rosovsky and the Harvard Report on the Core Curriculum. A modest but confident pragmatist, Rosovsky, as a panelist at a major session of the conference, began by reminding us that welcoming college graduates each year to the company of educated men and women makes sense only if we know what an educated person is. He and his committee, after much discussion and deliberation, had decided that an educated person: (1) must be able to think, read and write clearly and effectively; (2) should have a critical appreciation of the ways in which we gain knowledge and understanding of ourselves, our universe and our society; (3) must have some acquaintance with other cultures and other times; (4) must have some understanding of and experience in thinking about moral and ethical problems; and (5) should have some knowledge in depth. Upon these beliefs the Harvard Faculty Committee had proceeded to design a new core to replace the old general education requirements of the mid-forties ("The Red Book"). (The new plan, which, he pointed out, would put constraints on only one year of Harvard's four year undergraduate program, is described in the March 6, 1978 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.) In Rosovsky's opinion, the core proposal would represent at least "a small step forward,' although he stressed that it might have limited applicability. Neither he nor his colleagues were trying to tell anyone else what they ought to do in the unique contexts of their own institutions. To the contrary, he made it clear that he favored diversity of programs and a plurality of goals rather than some kind of nationally defined norms, standardized curricula, and bureaucratic controls for colleges.
"Convention Report: Focusing on General Education at Chicago AAHE,"
Perspectives (1969-1979): Vol. 9
, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/perspectives/vol9/iss2/7