Talk:Harvard Extension School

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Copyright problem removed[edit]

One or more portions of this article duplicated other source(s). The material was copied from: Infringing material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. Wizardman Operation Big Bear 05:20, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Open Enrollment vs. Open Admissions[edit]

Just a note on phrasing, but Harvard Extension School does not have an open admissions but rather has an open enrollment policy that allows members of the general public to enroll in courses offered by the Extension School without going through a formal admissions process or declaring that they wish to receive a degree from the school. Students that wish to pursue a degree through the Extension school still have to meet the admissions requirements which variety on the basis of the degree but typically require B or higher in certain courses taken through Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School. - Darkstar949 12:43, 15 December 2011 (UTC)


Controversies section re-added. Edited out due to concerns about notability, but these cases all made national news (google "Abe Liu" and you'll see it appeared on ABC, Fox, The Daily Mail, the Huffington Post, and in Chinese-language news, so I think concerns about notability are misplaced. This is also a constant subject of discussion on Harvard's campus and sparked concerns about safety (e.g. in the case of Mr. Godelia, who had been convicted of a crime previously). Perhaps the section can be rephrased? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 20 December 2011 (UTC) Only safety issue is the College kids letting someone sleep in the dorms and allowing him in without a card. Liu did not break into anything. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:52, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Having the case make national news doesn't make it notable in and of itself and even then it would be more applicable in the Harvard University or Harvard College articles as opposed to the to the Extension School article as there have been a number of fake "students" over the years that were unaffiliated with even the Extension School that attempted to pass themselves off as Harvard College students or Harvard University graduates. Darkstar949 (talk) 13:59, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Firstly, Liu forged a Harvard ID, which is a safety concern, even if he didn't "break into anything." Secondly, if he wasn't a safety concern, the University police wouldn't have escorted him off-campus. Thirdly, who are the non-Extension school students who impersonated Harvard College students? Links? And finally, the most important point: if national and widespread news coverage doesn't make something notable, what does? This edit sounds like a biased effort to protect the Extension School's brand more than anything, as opposed to being an objective encyclopedic entry.(talk) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:54, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

I didn't say that Liu wasn't a safety concern for the Harvard College students at the time, I'm saying that the event in and of itself is not notable and as a whole, non-degree candidate students attending the Extension School and passing themselves off as Harvard College (or GSAS, or HBS, etc) students in and of itself is not notable because it is not something that defines the school as a whole. Additionally, a quick search of all of the Harvard schools shows an overall lack of "controversies" sections so why is the Extension School unique enough that it needs to be the only one of all of the schools to have its own section? In regards people who are impersonating Harvard students, there are example out there of people who forged their transcripts to get in (Adam Wheeler) and there are ones that lied about attending Harvard (Kashif Parvaiz (technically claimed to be attending graduate school at Harvard)) in general and yet these events do not tend to show up in the other Harvard articles. Darkstar949 (talk) 13:33, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Chiming in late, but I think it has a place here. It was a huge deal, and merits a mention. If anything, it is representative of a larger phenomenon of ES students passing themselves as College students. I think I'll add it back in the context of the larger phenomenon (sourced, of course).
Cheers, Λuα (Operibus anteire) 23:42, 22 June 2013 (UTC)


User:Aua and Anon have been having a bit of an edit war regarding a bit of text dealing with the curriculum of undergraduate Extension students. I have put in some slightly revised text that I think should address Aua's concern's. Firstly, Anon is using promotional material published by the Extension School. This is acceptable per WP:ABOUTSELF so long as it meets several criteria. The only one that may be questionable is item 1, which wants to ensure that it is not an exceptional claim. Given that the article has other sources that indicate that an undergraduate degree from the Extension School is designed to be comparable with an undergraduate degree issued by the College, I think it is safe to say that this is not an exceptional claim. Secondly, since the College no longer has a "core curriculum," I've slightly reworded the disputed text to eliminate the ambiguity. --Briancua (talk) 21:12, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

It's misleading. That's my main objection, and I think it tries to draw a parallel that just isn't there. For instance, one of the supposed college requirements is "writing-intensive classes." There is no such requirement in the College. Moreover, saying undergraduate degrees are based on those offered in the College would imply the associate degree is based on the College's curriculum. That, again, is false; the College doesn't offer such degrees. There is no reason to include such statements. Let's focus on the facts here. Making comparisons is not our job, especially when they are so wrong.
I see this article coming under a coordinated and massive anon promotional vandalism. I think it might be worth a semi-protect and roll-back of all recent changes.
Cheers, Λuα (Operibus anteire) 21:56, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I think perhaps you are a bit oversensitive. I, for one, see no POV in your recent edit changing "Students who wish to earn degrees must be formally admitted to Harvard University" to "Students who wish to earn degrees must be formally admitted to the Extension School." One is simply more precise than the other. There are other schools within the University, the GSE or the GSAS, for example, that allow students to take courses without being accepted in a degree program. In the text I quoted above, would you call it a POV violation if it was in the Graduate School of Education's article and not this one?
You say you want to focus on the facts. That's fine, but per WP:Verifiability the content of an article is "determined by previously published information rather than the beliefs or experiences of its editors." There are two sources that compare the undergraduate program at the College to the undergraduate program at the Extension School. Where is your source that says the comparison is incorrect? Also, simply because the College does not offer an Associate's degree does not mean that the curriculum is not based upon the College's curriculum. After all, an Associate's degree "is often equivalent to the first two years of a four-year college or university degree." I don't see any of this as "massive" or "vandalism." There are some very minor, very reasonable, and well sourced additions. I disagree that any level of protection in needed. --Briancua (talk) 04:10, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

WP:LEAD, WP:SOCK, WP:PROMOTION and other violations..[edit]

...where do I start? This article is going down the drain.

There were anon edits by a suspected sock. Sock refused WP:BRD, and decided to violate WP:3R (true story, check edit history). The consensus intro was reached a fair while back. If you want to add things, you are free to discuss here.

Cheers, Λuα (Operibus anteire) 21:13, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Vandalism in this entry represents a more substantial and fundamental problem between the Extension School and the rest of the Harvard community. Harvard College students seem to feel as though Extension undervalues their achievements, while many Extension students feel the constant need to compare themselves to the College students. As the wise Lisa Simpson once said, "the something of the something isn't the anything of the anything." There are many similarities, as well as synonymies in the education received by both Extension and College students, but the schools serve different populations. Therefore, it is best to stick to the facts.

The degrees conferred by Extension are "Associate of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies," "Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies," and "Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies." To say that Extension confers degrees "in Extension Studies" in the header is a bit misleading as it does not list the complete degree title. The complete names of the degrees are listed under "Undergraduate Degrees" and "Graduate Degrees."

The "in Extension Studies" is strictly a formality that is rooted in tradition and does not actually describe the degrees that Extension confers; "Extension Studies" explains how the degree was earned but is still misleading because Extension degree candidates can and do earn credits as special students through Harvard College and GSAS, as well through partaking in INDR independent studies projects led by Harvard faculty, and by taking courses at the Harvard Summer School. In 2009, Dean Shinagel and the Commission on Continuing Education attempted to remove these three ambiguous words, but to no avail. [1] Therefore, the fact is that currently "in Extension Studies" is part of the degree title, but is not the full degree title.

But it is worth noting that degree candidates at Extension are not conferred diplomas from the Extension School; they earn diplomas from Harvard University that (if conferred today) would be signed by President Faust, Dean Smith (FAS) and Dean Lambert. Additionally, Extension graduates are full-fledged alumni of Harvard University, as well as the Extension School. I think that this distinction can be a tough for Harvard College alumni to accept because they feel as though Extension alumni somehow devalue their accomplishments. The numbers, though, prove otherwise. The total Extension degrees conferred is minuscule compared to the other Harvard schools. There is a reason why under "Admission to Degree Programs" the Extension School mentions that entrance requires one's ability to "do honors-level work at Harvard." It's not easy and there is much self-selection at play. So I do not feel that Harvard College students should feel threatened by degree candidates.

There are thousands of open-enrollment Extension students, though, (cough cough Abe Liu) who can rightly claim that they are "students of Harvard." The Extension School serves far more open-enrollemnt students than it does degree candidates; these are undisputed facts. This then becomes tough for Extension degree candidates to accept, but it is still a fact. This is also an area where Extension degree candidates/alumni and College degree candidates/alumni should be able to see eye to eye; neither wants to his/her hard work diminished by people with superficial interests in studying at Harvard.← -Finelinebilly, ALB 2014

I, for one, agree with Finelinebilly completely. We should just stick to facts regardless of how ES or College students feel. Recent anon edits have been trying to emphasise the degrees at the expense of the courses in the entry. I don't agree with that because the school's mission is to provide continuing education and open-enrollment- a very small number of students, as Finelinebilly pointed out, actually proceed to receive a degree. As such, we shouldn't devalue what appears to me the main mission of the school just to satisfy anon. Cheers, Λuα (Operibus anteire) 04:09, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that the problem is that we are not sticking to the facts. The problem, which you allude to, is one of emphasis. It is a fact that the Extension School awards undergraduate and graduate degrees. It actually awards many more degrees than some of the other 12 schools. However, it is also a fact that the vast majority of Extension students (97% over the past 100 years - though I don't know what it is more recently) never earn a degree or a certificate. These are both facts, and neither is contested. What gets emphasized in the lead is the source of the present difficulty. Just as we should not devalue to core mission of providing continuing education courses to students to satisfy anon, we should also not devalue the hundreds of degrees that are awarded each year to satisfy any particular user. A balanced, NPOV lead is what we should be striving for here.
I will add again here that I think you are being a bit oversensative. There is a disagreement of emphasis here, and a minor one at that. It hardly constitutes an article going down the drain. You didn't respond above to my example of the GSE and GSAS, so I think you may be showing a bias against the Extension School.--Briancua (talk) 18:59, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi Brian,
I should have responded above and will do soon, but for now, I just want to emphasize I have no particular bias against the extension school. Although I am a College alumnus, I have taken some summer school classes (offered by the Extension school), making me an Extension school student as well --at least for that one summer in the not-so-distant past. That said, I generally dislike people who try to erase the true nature of ES as a provider of quality continuing education and open-enrollment courses to the community in favor of a more College-like image. ES fills a particular educational niche and can stand on its own, and there is no need to keep bringing the College up needlessly. They are distinct albeit connected institutions. That is my general approach to this article.
Cheers, Λuα (Operibus anteire) 22:40, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Summer School classes are offered by HSS not HES. Two seperate schools under the FAS umbrella. --Darkstar949 (talk) 20:09, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Is there a source for that? I started getting HES emails after taking HSS, so it made me assume the two were pretty much the same (or HSS is under HES). I stand corrected if that's not the case. Cheers, Λuα (Operibus anteire) 00:51, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Well, both the schools have different deans and DCE lists them seperately... but it is Harvard and they do enjoy their odd organizational structures. Getting HES emails after taking a HSS course makes sense though since they have overlapping missions and HSS classes count towards HES degrees. --Darkstar949 (talk) 20:30, 12 September 2013 (UTC)


I'm reverting at edit by Finelinebilly per WP:Lead: "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points—including any prominent controversies" (my emphasis). This paragraph probably should have been added when the history section was expanded a few weeks ago, but, as we all know, [[WP::Wikipedia is a work in progress]]. --Briancua (talk) 18:49, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Brian, I agree with you: Wikipedia is one giant work in progress.

Although I'm not sure I follow your argument for why HES's history should appear in the lead; would you please clarify? I think that based on Wikipedia's prescription for constructing the lead, the key word is "IS." (Bill Clinton would be so proud). That is, the lead should describe why something IS notable, rather than why is WAS notable. If you turn to the other schools within Harvard, you will not find any detailed history in the lead. In fact, the Harvard College lead is literally two sentences long, despite its extensive history. I believe that this style lead is important because most people turn to Wikipedia for a terse understanding of what a subject/concept is. They know where and how to delve deeper if interested. Just my two cents. Finelinebilly
If you look at the section in bold above, you will see that in addition to establishing the notability of an article, the lead should also summarize it. A significant portion of this article is spent talking about the history of the school and thus a brief overview is appropriate for the lead.--Briancua (talk) 19:18, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Brian, I'm not going to engage in an edit war; I'm hoping someone else will chime in on this point. You say your paragraph attempts to summarize the "most important points," but I believe it's far too detailed to constitute summary. Finelinebilly
Billy, can you please sign your posts by typing out four tilde symbols: ~~~~ ? Thanks! ElKevbo (talk) 20:21, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree, Briancua. In fact, I don't see what was wrong with the material that has been removed from this article as it seemed to be a reasonable summary suitable for the lead. ElKevbo (talk) 20:21, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

ElKevbo, I'm not sure I follow you. Would you mind being more specific as to what you agree/don't agree with? (talk) 20:46, 19 August 2013 (UTC)Finelinebilly

I agree with Briancua that "[a] significant portion of this article is spent talking about the history of the school and thus a brief overview is appropriate for the lead." ElKevbo (talk) 21:13, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Then help me to reconcile something: why does no other entry for any of the 12 Harvard schools include detailed history in the lead? For instance HC's lead says that the school is "the oldest institution of higher learning," but does not give specific dates, names places. These facts should be reserved for the history section. (talk) 21:23, 19 August 2013 (UTC)Finelinebilly

I guess just because no one has done it yet. I haven't looked at all of them, or at any of them in depth, but if there is a substantial portion of their history in the article it should be reflected in the lead. --Briancua (talk) 02:35, 20 August 2013 (UTC)


Briancua, I've pared down your history section for several reasons:

(1) The history section was far too verbose. The section amounted to almost 4,000 words to describe the period from 1910-present. This amount of words for such a short span of time is extraneous. For comparison, the Harvard University entry (which comprises the Extension School as well as the other 12 schools under the Harvard umbrella) consists of slightly more than 1,000 words. And the HU history section spans from colonial times-present. The entry for "Harvard College" consists of 314 words. Even the Harvard Law history doesn't break the 1800 word threshold. There is no reason why the Extension School, which has existed for slightly more than 100 years should contain so much history.

(2) The history section comprised an inequitable amount of space within the article. The article was approximately 7500 words with 4000 devoted to history; therefore, more than half of the article consisted of history. Again, for comparison, The HU entry is roughly 9,000 words, with 1000 devoted to history. This amount is far more justifiable.

(3) Your extensive history revision cites only one source, Former Dean Michael Shinagel's book "The Gates Unbarred: A History of University Extension. Essentially, you provided a Cliff's Notes version of this book. If readers wish to learn more detailed history of ES, they can and should read Shinagel's book, as summarizing books is not the purpose of Wikipedia. ---finelinebilly--- — Preceding unsigned comment added by Finelinebilly (talkcontribs) 06:49, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Reverted before I saw your post here on the talk page. Flyer22 (talk) 07:55, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
First of all, I don't consider it "my" section, although since I did add most of the material I obviously differ on whether or not it belongs here. You are correct that, proportionally, the history section takes up a large part of the article. However, I don't believe that any of it poses a NPOV or other issue, aside from coming largely from a single source, which is easily remedied and not a reason in and of itself to cut the material.
You are also correct that the HU article has only a small portion devoted to history, however you neglect the fact that there is a separate History of Harvard University article. I also checked the Yale University article, where roughly 40% of the article is devoted to history, compared to the roughly 50% here. I am sure there are other college articles out there with similarly sized history sections. I don't think the article size alone warrants it to be split into two articles, with a summary of the history left here, however if this would make you more comfortable I wouldn't oppose it. --Briancua (talk) 15:25, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
[ WP:Edit conflict ] I was reverted here by Aua. I pointed to Finelinebilly's WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS reasoning when I reverted, reasoning that I still view as flawed; there is no 1800 word threshold, unless it's Finelinebilly's. Look around around Wikipedia, and it is easy to see that many articles about schools, including colleges and universities, do not abide by Finelinebilly's threshold. We should not go around arbitrarily cutting articles (forming a semblance of justification afterward), and that type of behavior generally is not tolerated at this site. That stated, I agree that not a lot of the material Finelinebilly cut was/is needed in this article; Wikipedia follows WP:Summary style. Still, there is a lot of material that Finelinebilly cut that likely should be maintained. I don't have this article WP:Watchlisted, or else I would have likely seen Finelinebilly's talk page reasoning before I reverted. I only stumbled onto this article via WP:STiki. In other words, this article is not important to me, nor is the matter at hand, so I won't be campaigning to have the aforementioned removed material restored. Flyer22 (talk) 15:31, 24 December 2013 (UTC)


You accuse me of "forming a semblance of justification after the fact," as if I have some ulterior motive for deleting extraneous history that I would argue constitutes plagiarism. You accuse me of "arbitrarily" cutting articles as if I did so for no specific reason; I explicated my reasons for cutting the material which were predicated on the entry containing too much extraneous information that sacrificed the quality and readability of the article. You point to the "WP:OTHERSSTUFF EXISTS" policy, but let me address an error in this justification:

The policy that you cited addresses article creation/deletion, not editing, and therefore this policy is not germane to the debate at hand. But even if it were, the following information comes from the policy: "In consideration of precedent and consistency, though, identifying articles of the same nature that have been established and continue to exist on Wikipedia may provide extremely important insight into general notability of concepts, levels of notability (what's notable: international, national, regional, state, provincial?), and whether or not a level and type of article should be on Wikipedia." So if adapted for editing purposes, this clause would indicate that existing articles "may provide extremely important insight" into the substance of similar articles in order to create "consistency."

Additionally, thank you for bringing the History of Harvard University entry to my attention; I was not aware of its existence. However, the existence of this entry further corroborates my argument as the entire "History of Harvard" entry is approximately 2500 words for a lone historical article on a university that consists of 13 schools. Therefore, I argue that one of the schools within the university should not contain a more extensive history section (1500 words more) than the entire university, which predates the individual school by centuries.

Lastly, thank you for concurring with me that much of the history can be cut from the Extension School entry. You say that certain information that I cut "should be maintained." Please be more specific as to what information you are referring to, and we can discuss further. Finelinebilly (talk)finelinebillyFinelinebilly (talk)

I think you may be confusing Flyer and myself. It's not a problem per se, but it makes it a little more difficult to follow your argument when I don't know who you are addressing. That said, I'm not sure I follow your argument. Where does it say that within a hierarchical organization that the history of a parent must be longer than the history of a subsidiary? Would you likewise be upset if, say, the History of Texas article (I don't even know if there is one) was longer than the History of the United States, or if the History of the Diocese of Worcester was longer than the History of the Anglican Church? Can you cite for me a policy that says this must be so? Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a work in progress. I am sure eventually the parent articles, in this case the History of Harvard, will someday exceed in length the History of the Extension School. Until some editor, or group of editors, gets around to adding material to those articles, I see no reason why we should so drastically cut this one. For this reason I have reverted. --Briancua (talk) 01:08, 25 December 2013 (UTC)


You link to not a reason and claim that there was no reason for me to delete the historical information about the Extension School. But notice that violation of copyright is in fact a valid reason. See "Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to Wikipedia, so long as you do not follow the source too closely." I looked at Shinagel's book and I argue that you "follow the source too closely" as you more or less provided a Cliff's Notes version of the book.

With respect to "Where does it say that within a hierarchical organization that the history of a parent must be longer than the history of a subsidiary...Can you cite for me a policy that says this must be so?"

I'm not aware of such a policy. But notice that I never said that one existed. My primary concern is that the extraneous history section detracts from the overall quality of the article. I simply pointed to the other Harvard articles to argue for the sake of consistency, and to provide examples of quality articles that I believe contain an appropriate amount of history. And if you ask me, this whole "Because nobody did it yet" argument that you use is fallacious. I can easily respond with "Because it's not a good idea!" and then we are both speculating about some imaginary person's intentions=Fallacy. We can, however, argue about is what is actually written, which is exactly what I am trying to do. I believe that the history section that you contributed is extraneous.

If you believe the extensive history to be such an important aspect of the Extension School, and that summarizing Shinagel's book does not constitute breach of copyright law, then then why don't you create a separate "History of Harvard Extension School" entry? Finelinebilly (talk)finelinebillyFinelinebilly (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:11, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Warning icon I don't have a strong opinion on the length of the history section in this article but the edit warring must stop. Work it out here before the lot of you are blocked. ElKevbo (talk) 19:23, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm not quite sure how you can say the section is extraneous as it is, by definition, about the Extension School. However, you will notice that I above proposed the creation of a History of the Extension School article. I'm not certain that it is needed at the current juncture, but as I said above, if it would make you feel better, I wouldn't oppose it as a reasonable compromise. --Briancua (talk) 16:17, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Bingo! Compromise accepted with enthusiasm. Finelinebilly (talk)finelinebillyFinelinebilly (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:21, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Undergraduate Admissions[edit]

Brian, you reverted my edit which listed the name of "EXPO E-25 Academic Writing and Critical Reading," the required course to gain admission into the ALB program at Extension. You say that this edit constituted "Too much detail, which may change in any given semester." Please elaborate. I disagree that listing the name of the course is too detailed, but please elaborate as to the potential "change" in case you are privy to information that I am unaware of. Thank you. Finelinebilly (talk)finelinebillyFinelinebilly (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 21:58, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

My point was that "EXPO E-25" doesn't mean anything to most people. Even I, an alumnus, don't know what it means and how E-25 differs from E-24 or E-26. It's a level of detail into which we need not delve. Additionally, it could change at time to a different course, at which point this article would be inaccurate. It suffices to say that applicants must take an expository writing course. --Briancua (talk) 16:32, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Remove non-notable alumni[edit]

Generally, notable alumni are blue-linked. As of now, most of them are red-linked and should be removed. Just letting the crowd here knows what I plan on doing: chopping. Cheers, Λuα (Operibus anteire) 20:58, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Before you do, I would recommend checking out WP:NLIST. Simply not having an article written about them yet does not mean the person is not notable. --Briancua (talk) 21:23, 19 February 2014 (UTC)