As Harvard Goes ...

Why its new emphasis on applied knowledge could change higher learning


Harvard University is planning a large expansion project into neighboring Allston, the area across the river from Cambridge.

The easiest way to start an academic brawl is to ask what an educated person should know. The last time Harvard University tackled that question was in 1978, when it established its Core Curriculum, which focused less on content than on mastering ways of thinking. Like Harvard's so-called Red Book standards of 1945, which helped inspire a generation of distribution requirements, the core had broad resonance at other major universities. Now, after a four-year process initiated under controversial former president Lawrence Summers, the nation's most famous university has come up with a whole new set of guidelines that proponents say will...

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