Education: Tutorial truths

Click to follow
Clifford Cumber complains about the amount of teaching he receives while studying philosophy at York (Your Views, 11 December). But his account is mistaken and misleading.

He has understated the number of lectures and seminars in our first-year programme and failed to mention that he also received tutorials in a group of four. Providing such tutorials for over 100 students takes up a great deal of staff time; but it is enthusiastically appreciated by our students. Cumber's letter also seriously misdescribes his current situation. The standard student takes two modules involving three lectures and seminars but Cumber chose to substitute private study this term for one of these. He has understated the teaching provided for the other module by omitting again the provision of yet more tutorials to assist his private study.

We try to meet the varied needs of our students, including especially those of mature students such as Cumber, by providing personal tutorial teaching which, we are convinced, best enables philosophy students to develop their abilities. Every student here who has seen Cumber's letter has been outraged by it, and he himself has subsequently acknowledged its mistakes and expressed his great regret at sending it.

Professor Thomas Baldwin,

Department of philosophy,

University of York