At their May 13 meeting, the faculty of the Harvard Department of Sociology endorsed the campaign to reduce section sizes. Specifically, they endorsed the goal of capping required discussion sections and labs at 12 students per section, except in circumstances where instructors agree that larger sections will provide better learning opportunities for students. Sections are at the heart of learning for undergraduates in Harvard College, especially in lecture classes, which are a crucial first stage in the undergraduate academic experience. The experience of teaching fellows clearly demonstrates the benefits of smaller groups for the quality of discussion, teaching, learning, and writing feedback. Moreover, excessive teaching loads hinder graduate students’ ability to make progress toward their degrees.
June 6, 2014