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(title page) Undergraduate Work and the University of North Carolina
Edgar W. Knight
[ii], 212 p.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
November 1, 1934
Call number C378 UI c. 3 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
LC Subject Headings:
[Title Page Image]
"I must in all honesty say, that, looking back through the years, and recalling the requirements and methods of the ancient institution, I am unable to speak of it with all the respect I could wish. Such training as I got, useful for the struggle of life, I got after, instead of before graduation, and it came hard; while I never have been able -- and now, no matter how long I may live, I never shall be able -- to overcome some great disadvantages which the superstitions and wrong theories and worse practices of my Alma Mater inflicted upon me. And not on me alone. The same may be said of my contemporaries, as I have observed them in success and failure. What was true in this respect of the college of thirty years ago is, I apprehend, at least partially true of the college of today; and it is true not only of Cambridge, but of other colleges, and of them quite as much as of Cambridge. They fail properly to fit their graduates for the work they have to do in the life that awaits them."
Thus was Harvard criticized by Charles Francis Adams, Jr., in an address called "A College Fetich" which he gave before the Harvard Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa June 28, 1883, three decades after he had been graduated by that distinguished institution. A century earlier another distinguished son of Harvard (Harrison Gray Otis) had charged that his Alma Mater was oppressed by traditional and fixed academic customs. In 1782 he said: "May Father Time ameliorate his pace and hasten the desired period when I shall bid adieu to the sophisticated Jargon of a superstitious synod of pensioned bigots."
In these two bitter criticisms is revealed the supremacy of ancient higher educational ideals that had been inherited from the early colonial colleges and had persisted through the eighteenth and far into the nineteenth century. The substance of the college curriculum far after the Civil War rested upon old foundations and a historic model whose roots reached back into the dim past. Higher education was firmly fixed in the grip of a stubborn tradition that was to become and remain for many decades the center of violent scholastic struggles, conflicts between the traditional subjects on the one hand and modern subjects on the other. Nearly two and a half centuries were to pass after the founding of Harvard before serious attention was to be given by the colleges and universities of this country to the facts of the material universe and the science of human society. Meantime, college students continued to be immersed in ancient linguistics, vague theories, and dogmas that bore little relation to their life. Opportunities for vital education were probably little richer here than in England in the eighteenth and a large part of the nineteenth century.1
1 Gibbon, the historian, said of Oxford in the middle of the eighteenth century: "The Fellows or monks of my time were decent easy men, who supinely enjoyed the gifts of the founder: their days were filled by a series of uniform employments--the chapel, the hall, the coffee-house, and the common room--till they retired weary and well satisfied to a long slumber. From the toil of reading, writing, or thinking they had absolved their conscience."
The American college is a native institution only in the sense that it is a European institution transplanted to this county in the seventeenth century by the early settlers who brought it from England along with their Bibles and their axes.
It soon became an accepted part of life here and is still taken for granted. College presidents who wrote about it, especially before the Civil War, almost uniformly praised it as an institution whose promise of permanence was an argument for its usefulness to American life. The most difficult problems that faced college executives during that time and even since emerged from the continued necessities of trying to adjust the work of the college to the needs of its environment and its supporting constituency. But real changes came slowly. In aims and policies American colleges were very similar down to the middle of the nineteenth century. They were also quite similar in their programs of study. In the main, the curriculum was prescribed and fixed for all students without regard to their needs or abilities, and electives were generally unknown.
But the history of the collegiate curriculum of the United States shows it definitely as a growth and not as an accident. From the curriculum of Henry Dunster, who brought it from Cambridge in 1640, from the earliest to the latest record of the course of study, there is this evidence of growth, although fundamental changes did not take place in the curriculum until after 1860. The story of this part of the American college, over which conflicts have so often waged, also shows that as time passes and conditions change the demands upon the college curriculum increases. In the main, this story divides itself into three rather definite periods: from the beginnings to about 1860; between that date and the World War; and since the World War.
The first of these periods was marked by the well-known domination of the classics in a fixed curriculum of a few other
subjects that included mathematics, rhetoric, logic, and moral philosophy,--the seventeenth, eighteenth, and a part of the nineteenth century version of the ancient trivium and quadrivium, the "seven liberal arts," which formed the curriculum of the mediaeval universities. These subjects were standard in most of the colleges; slight differences here and there only served to give emphasis to the similarity of the American college curriculum for two centuries or more. Generally, also, these subjects had become ends in themselves. Completion of them was required because of their alleged cultural values and the dignity they were supposed to bestow upon the students who kept the faith and finished the course.1 1 "Here in college is to be fashioned, in the highest attainable perfection, the scholar, the citizen, the good man, the Christian gentleman," said Charles King in his inaugural address as president of Columbia College, New York, in 1849.
Occasional efforts at departures from the traditional curriculum were made,--as at Philadelphia under the influence of Franklin about the middle of the eighteenth century, at William and Mary about 1779, by suggestion of Governor Thomas Jefferson, and at the University of Virginia, in 1826, under the influence of Jefferson. But prophets of new ideals in collegiate curriculum were not numerous in the United States until far into the nineteenth century.
1 "Here in college is to be fashioned, in the highest attainable perfection, the scholar, the citizen, the good man, the Christian gentleman," said Charles King in his inaugural address as president of Columbia College, New York, in 1849.
The second period in the development of the college curriculum of the United States may be said to have begun after the Civil War. If a date must be fixed the most nearly accurate one would probably be 1869 when Charles W. Eliot began his
distinguished career of forty years as president of Harvard. From that time until about 1914 the tendency was definitely away from a fixed curriculum toward gradually increasing freedom of elective programs, under the assumption, which some thoughtful people believed to be a bit violent, that the college student was sufficiently mature to make wise selections of his courses. The classics now began to yield and numerous new subjects were given places in the curriculum.
The elective system gained wide vogue under the influence of Harvard which was the leading university of the land and therefore identified with the fitness of things. By 1885 Eliot was able to say of that institution: "No required subjects now remain except the writing of English, the elements of either French or German, and a few lectures on Chemistry and Physics." His address on "Liberty in Education" presented the arguments for the elective system.1
1 See Eliot, Charles W., Educational Reform.
No consideration of the change in the curriculum during this period, however, can neglect the significance of the secular upheaval in its administration following the advent of the "Gilded Age," when the colleges and universities appeared to begin to pay "less and less attention to the thunders of the pulpit." Great business leaders were being appealed to for educational endowments and by 1900 the lists of trustees of colleges and universities "read like a corporation directory." This change from eccleslastical control to lay control of higher education had direct effect upon the heritage of the old
classical tradition which had come down from the theologians and had held sway since colonial days. The classics which for centuries had been bent mainly toward theological purposes began to wane and religion began to have a smaller place in the program of higher educational study. This dissolving process was hastened also by the growth of the natural sciences as subjects of instruction in the colleges and universities. Changes in the curriculum now began to point definitely towards business and the secular professions. Meantime, Eliot was reorganizing Harvard and, apparently with the manner of a business "efficiency" expert, was sweeping the place clean of "most of the old-fashioned teachers whose minds and methods belonged to the eighteenth century." As already noted, the classical prescriptions for the Harvard degree were radically altered. Henry Cabot Lodge remarked on the change that under the old plan "a certain amount of knowledge, no more useless than any other, and a still larger amount of discipline in learning were forced on all alike. Under the new system it was possible to escape without learning anything at all by a judicious selection of unrelated subjects taken up only because they were easy or because the burden imposed by those who taught them was light."1 1 Professor Henry Adams asked one of his students under the new plan what he could do with the education he was getting at Harvard. The student is reported to have said: "The degree at Harvard College is worth money to me in Chicago." At any rate it does appear that the new plan of election served to accommodate the "spiritual requirements" of many young men who began to flock to higher education.
Whatever the criticism--and it increased during the next few decades--the widened elective curriculum offered to those students who were really interested in learning richer opportunities than they
1 Professor Henry Adams asked one of his students under the new plan what he could do with the education he was getting at Harvard. The student is reported to have said: "The degree at Harvard College is worth money to me in Chicago." At any rate it does appear that the new plan of election served to accommodate the "spiritual requirements" of many young men who began to flock to higher education.
had ever before known and in fields which the old curriculum had closed to most of the earlier generations of college students. The sciences, for example, were now given a place which had formerly been occupied only by the ancient languages. Art, music, letters and the social studies came into the curriculum of higher education even if they sometimes had to creep in through the back door.
The third period, which roughly covers the past two decades, has been marked by a strong swing away from freedom of election to a measure of prescription by the faculty, a change that appears to have come about as a result of several influences. Before the World War began chaos was threatening to reign under the rampant elective system, many of whose romantic promises were unfulfilled. Meantime, there was a growing belief among many educators who were agonizing with the problem that the college students of this country needed acquaintance with "a common intellectual world" and opportunity to develop more social intelligence. This recent tendency in the curriculum, therefore, took the form of experiments with required or elective orientation, general, or over-view courses in the social and the natural sciences, and of the establishment of group requirements, major and minor sequences, fields of concentration, and specialized curricula. There has been increasing effort also to guide students without hampering them and to adjust the work of the college to their needs, interests, and abilities. This change has been due in part to the changed student personnel (the colleges now have many students who were not the well-instructed students whom Harvard had in Eliot's day), to the new necessity brought about by an increasingly complex world, to the influence of the fact of individual differences and to the growing need for
educational guidance. Psychology, for example, has given to educational workers instruments for knowing students better and social developments have brought about a need for the integration of knowledge. Modifications during the past two decades do not indicate that the elective system has been abandoned but rather that the principle of election has been adapted, through the means of increased knowledge of the educative process and of the human material with which the colleges work, to changed conditions. These changes have been made, as changes in the college curriculum have always been made, after much contest against the "momentum of inertia," against open opposition, and the doubts and fears of vested academic interests and departmental aspirations or ambitions.
The commonly accepted attitude toward the college curriculum appears in discussions of that subject during the three periods briefly described above. While the periodical literature does not abound in discussions of the curriculum during the first period, there is a surprisingly wide interest in it. Following the inauguration of Eliot at Harvard the discussions increased rapidly. And since the World War the literature has become voluminous. Hundreds of books and thousands of magazine and newspaper articles have dealt and continue to deal with the problem of the college curriculum. Some of the writing on this subject has, of course, been somewhat vague; but the discussion shows that higher education has become a subject for serious concern in recent years; and the re-examination of the curriculum is undoubtedly a very wholesome sign in the educational life of the United States.
The emphasis in the first period is too wellknown to be
discussed at length here. Most of the educational writings, particularly of college presidents, concerned the importance of the classics and their place in the curriculum. The doctrine of mental discipline was as fashionable in education as was that of original sin in theology. The high veneration for the traditional curriculum and particularly for the classics may be seen in the founding of Alleghany College in a frontier town of 700 people in Pennsylvania in 1817. Encased in the corner-stone were a chip of Plymouth Rock, some mortar from what was said to be the tomb of Virgil, and a piece of marble from Dido's temple. And at this institution's first commencement a citizen of the village gave an address in Latin to which the president of the college responded in the same language. Other features of the exercises included an oration in Latin, an oration in Hebrew, and a dialogue in Latin, which "proclaimed the intellectual kinship of the new community with the older centers of learning," and showed Alleghany's constituents that the new college spoke the cultured language of Harvard and Yale and therefore deserved support.1 1 See Schmidt, George P., The Old Time College President, New York, Columbia University Press, 1930.
The contents of the cornerstone of Alleghany symbolized educational ideals which were paramount in the colleges of this country until after the middle of the nineteenth century. Moreover, the religious and political philosophy that emerged in New England was a powerful influence in determining college work from one end of the land to the other during the period under discussion.2
1 See Schmidt, George P., The Old Time College President, New York, Columbia University Press, 1930.
2 The college presidents prior to the Civil War numbered about 276, and forty per cent of these educational leaders were born in New England.
A few prophets of new ideals in higher education appeared during the latter half of the eighteenth century. One of the earliest of these was an Anglican clergyman, William Smith, the first provost of the University of Pennsylvania. His "A General Idea of the College of Mirania," was written in 1753 as a guide for a group of New York citizens who were considering the establishment of a college there. Smith held that the object of all education was to perpetuate peace and prosperity by "forming a succession of sober, virtuous, industrious citizens, and checking the course of growing luxury." The plan laid much emphasis upon the selection of teachers.
Benjamin Franklin was definitely liberal in his views on education and proposed for the College of Philadelphia near the middle of the eighteenth century such subjects as surveying, navigation, physics, chemistry, history, government, civics, and modern languages; but this enlightened plan, which is conspicuous in the history of higher education in the United States, was too advanced in perspective; and soon the grip of tradition forced Pennsylvania practically into the pattern of the other Colonial Colleges. George Washington looked upon higher education as a useful servant of the new order and through it he would have the citizens of the new nation prepared for the strange task of self-government.
Another important educational proposal had come from Benjamin Rush, a colleague of Franklin, who insisted that the youth of this country should have opportunity to study those subjects and things which would "increase the conveniences of life, lesson human misery, improve our country, promote population, exalt the human understanding, and establish domestic and political
happiness."1 1 See Hansen, A.O., Liberalism in American Education in the Eighteenth Century. The Macmillan Company, 1926. 2 Williams College, chartered in 1793 by the legislature of Massachusetts, at once permitted French instead of Greek as a subject for entrance and shortly afterwards created a department of French language and literature. Bowdoin College, organized about 1802, showed a slight liberal tendency in its curriculum.
Thomas Jefferson's modern view of education is well known to all students of the social history of the United States. To him "ignorance and bigotry, like other insanities," were incapable of self-government. He had high confidence in education as an instrument of democracy and free government. And the change made at the College of William and Mary about 1779 was a radical departure from the restricted curriculum that had been followed there since the college was founded. For the scholastic and theological program of nearly a century Jefferson would substitute a scientific and modern curriculum that was more practical in character. Modern languages, law, political economy, and history were introduced; and these subjects have to the College of William and Mary a broader curriculum than that of any college in the country.2
Moreover, the students were granted a degree of freedom in selecting their subjects and the honor system in examinations.
1 See Hansen, A.O., Liberalism in American Education in the Eighteenth Century. The Macmillan Company, 1926.
2 Williams College, chartered in 1793 by the legislature of Massachusetts, at once permitted French instead of Greek as a subject for entrance and shortly afterwards created a department of French language and literature. Bowdoin College, organized about 1802, showed a slight liberal tendency in its curriculum.
The perspective which Thomas Jefferson had for education has not yet been widely gained in this country. He considered popular education the most efficient means of successful democratic government. He would draw the power and leadership of the State from the people themselves through education. He would bring the fundamentals of education within
the reach of all so that worth and genius could be found in every condition of life and the State could profit by "those talents which nature has sewn as liberally among the poor as among the rich, but which perish without use if not sought for and cultivated." He would rake "from the rubbish" the best geniuses of the commonwealth.
It is interesting to note also that Jefferson was among the earliest advocates of "adult" education. He would link up the school to the work shop, the farm, and the office. He proposed convenient classes for elementary and practical instruction by lectures, to be given in the evening so as to afford opportunity for those who labored in the day time. To such schools, he said, "will come the mariner, the builder, the metallurgist, the druggist, the tanner, the soapmaker, and others to learn as much as shall be necessary to pursue their art understandingly of the sciences." Probably no man in our entire history has urged so bold an extension of activity in education as did Thomas Jefferson. Moreover, he drew no line on state administrative enterprise other than the needs of the community. He insisted on no rigid forms; he was not tenacious of the mold in which education should be introduced: "Be that what it may, our descendants will be as wise as we were, and will know how to amend and amend it until it shall suit their circumstances."
When Samuel Johnson was chosen the first head of King's College (now Columbia University) he was asked to prepare its course of study and the ideal program which he laid down has probably not yet been realized. In his "Advertisement" of the new institution he announced:
"The chief Thing that is aimed at in this College is, to
teach and engage the Children to know God in Jesus Christ....and to train them up in all virtuous Habits, and all such useful Knowledge as may render them creditable to their Families and Friends, Ornaments to their Country and useful to the public Weal in their Generations...." But, with the exception of a somewhat early development of courses in economics and political science the curriculum of this institution was not very different from that of any other college until 1866 when F.A.P. Bernard became president and started the work which transformed the college into a university.
Between 1779, when Jefferson proposed a liberal plan of education for Virginia, to the time when Charles W. Eliot began to change things at Harvard, the growth of the ideal of a liberal college curriculum was slow. In practice the traditional program generally continued to be followed for many years. In 1842 Francis Wayland said, in his "On the Present College System," that "the Northern Colleges are so nearly similar that students, in good standing in one institution, find little difficulty in being admitted to any other." Mental discipline was the chief purpose of the college and any effort to alter this was not looked upon with favor.
In 1802 the trustees of Union College in Schenectady permitted those students who were not headed for the learned professions to substitute French for Greek; and by 1828 Union had established a course in which neither Latin nor Greek was required for admission or graduation; modern languages had taken the places of the classics. This was a revolutionary change and brought violent protests from representatives of the old order who cried out that all that was wise and good had been repudiated and that Union was faithless to the old tradition, had lowered
scholastic and ethical standards and was demoralizing higher education. But it appears that President Eliphalet Nott held to his educational convictions.
Among the small group of dissenters and independent thinkers in higher education during the first six or seven decades of the nineteenth century must be included President James Harsh of the University of Vermont who sought to liberalize the curriculum and to humanize the discipline of that institution. He undertook to break down the rigidity of the old curriculum and to provide the students with more natural motives for real study, by appealing to their interests, as his "System of Instruction....in the University of Vermont" (Burlington, Vt., 1931) shows. In the forties and fifties Francis Wayland of Brown advanced some noteworthy views in his writings, especially "Thoughts on the Present Collegiate System in the United States" (1842), "Report to the Corporation of Brown University" (1850), and "The Education Demanded by the People of the United States" (1855). He was among the earliest college leaders to re-examine the base of higher education in this country, following a visit to Charlottesville. The University of Virginia impressed him as an institution that was measurably emancipated from the slavery of scholastic tradition; but he saw afflictions in the emphasis which the colleges of New England placed upon academic precedent and authoritarianism. He believed that "God intended us for progress, and we counteract his design when we deify antiquity and bow down and worship an opinion, not because it is either wise or true, but simply because it is ancient." He argued in "The Education Demanded by the People of the United States" and in an address at Union College in 1854 that the college curriculum should not be looked upon as a fixed pedagogical faith anciently
delivered to academic saints. But, the curriculum of a college should be intelligently adapted to the talents of its students and the needs of those who support the institution and to the needs of the community, state, or region which it presumes to serve. This view of education, advanced four years before John Dewey was born, also questioned the validity of the doctrine of mental discipline nearly two decades before Edward Lee Thorndike saw the light of day, and urged that science have its place beside the classics more than a dozen years before Eliot took over the direction of Harvard. The mediaeval subjects of the classics and mathematics, as Wayland called them, could not meet the needs of the American people, he argued. Moreover, the outmoded arguments that these subjects provided mental discipline were only lazy excuses of poor teachers, he said. He argued that entirely too much time was given to drill in language and that the college graduates could scarcely translate the Latin printed on their diplomas. The old curriculum was supported only by traditional authority and should be required to stand upon its own merits.
When Josiah Quincy became president of Harvard College in 1829, the theme of his inaugural address was "The Spirit of the Age,2 in which he discussed the "wants of the age; and the duty of literary seminaries to keep pace with that spirit and to supply those wants." The tone of this address was moderate and Quincy's statement of his educational faith was probably acceptable to most of his conservative contemporaries. But there is in the address an uncommon liberality for the time. Moreover, it showed that criticisms of the college course and the methods of the schools had been very frequent in those years, "for their lack of advancement to meet the spirit of the age."
The mission of the college, as Quincy saw it, was to guide and inspire the community. This service could be rendered, he thought, not only without loss of dignity by the institution but with added fame to its reputation:
"On the one hand it is the duty of those who conduct or influence the institutions to foster the spread of intellect in the community and to encourage that noble disposition, which characterizes the age, to take delight in literary works and attainments, and seek in them a refuge from meaner and grosser pleasures. On the other hand it is no less their duty to yield nothing to any temporary excitement, nothing to the desire of popularity, nothing to the hope of increasing their number; nothing to those morbid cravings for farther supply which the cheapness and abundance of exhilarating literary elements and their evaporating qualities have a tendency to create. If anything be done under such circumstances of the nature of innovation having any critical effect, it ought to be after a thorough investigation of the consequences on the permanent interests of science to the community. In this respect the conductors of such institutions have a great trust confided in them, nothing less, perhaps, than the intellectual health and power of the coming and future ages. Whatever is done in respect of innovations in such institutions ought to be for distinct and well-defined purposes, with known limitations and restrictions, which on no condition should be permitted to be passed."
During the first half of the nineteenth century numerous magazines contained articles and editorials dealing with higher
education. The discussions dealt with such topics as: "Colleges and Discipline," "The Relation between the Trustees and the Faculty," "Defects of the American University," "Reforms in Colleges," "Liberal Education," "Improvement in Colleges," "Improvement Practicable in College," "The Consolidation of Colleges," "The College Code of Honor," "Instruction in Colleges," "College Ethics," "College Secret Societies," "Scholarships in College," "Compulsory Attendance in College," "College Government by Students," "Reform in School and College," "Objects and Claims of Higher Education," "What is the Use of Colleges?" "University and College Reform," "Entering College," "Colleges on the Defensive," "Method of Culture in Colleges," "Scientific Teaching in Colleges," "The Poverty of the Colleges," "College and Scholastic Quackery," "The Improvement of Colleges," "College Examinations," "Colleges, Can They Reform Themselves?" The numerous discussions of "Liberal Education" indicate how persistently this subject has defied adequate definition and how slowly and grudgingly scientific and social studies were admitted to the college curriculum.
The charge of the stubbornness of tradition in higher education is amply confirmed by the literature of the period under discussion. The theory of higher education that had so long prevailed, and prevails even now in some quarters, seemed to maintain that through it minds should be formed by one pattern and human characters fashioned in a uniform mold. Most of those who were responsible for the direction of higher
education seemed to see beauty and completeness in the curriculum. To them there was little or no opportunity to improve its effectiveness. It was defended eloquently and emphatically and criticism of it was resented. The college curriculum was a definite thing, and the required subjects were believed to furnish the best discipline of minds and to be indispensable to liberally educated men. A report of a committee appointed at a meeting of the president and fellows of Yale College September 11, 1827, which seems to have been intended for the governing board of that college, emphasized discipline as the basis of higher education. A committee of the trustees who commented upon the report said:
"What subject which is now studied here, could be set aside, without evidently marring the system, not to speak particularly in this place of the ancient languages? Who that aims at a well-proportioned and superior education will remain ignorant of the elements of the various branches of the mathematics, or of history and antiquities, or of rhetoric and oratory, or natural philosophy, or astronomy, or chemistry, or mineralogy, or geology, or political economy, or mental and moral philosophy?"1
1 See Snow, Louis Franklin, College Curriculum in the United States, Columbia University Contributions to Education, Teachers College Series, No. 10, New York, 1907.
"But why, it is asked, should all the students in a college be required to tread in the same steps? Why should not each one be allowed to select those branches of study which are most to his taste, which are best adapted to his peculiar
talents and which are most nearly connected with his intended profession? To this we answer, that our prescribed course contains those subjects only which ought to be understood, as we think, by every one who aims at a thorough education."
This report denied that Yale was not progressive and insisted that the institution had properly found "what was and what was to be the best college course possible for American youth. Any change from the existing order was to be resisted as one resisted a dire calamity to students, college, and the commonwealth. For the safety of all the present excellent, adequate and comprehensive system of collegiate education must and should be preserved." The influence of these ideas on other colleges appears to have been strong, for graduates of Yale were then moving into the western and southern states as educational workers and were carrying with them the ideas of discipline, of thoroughness, and of the completeness of the Yale program under which they had themselves been nurtured. The report of the Yale faculty stated that the college should not be opened to the general public because in doing so "we would lower our standard and would lose prestige and students." The report also insisted that badly prepared students constituted one of the chief difficulties of the institution. Another difficulty was the notion of the students "that some difficult studies have no practical utility." Yale had an "abundant supply of this Lombardy poplar growth, slender, frail and blighted. We should like to see more of the stately elm; striking deep its roots, lifting its head slowly to the skies, spreading wide its grateful shade and growing more venerable with years." The report also insisted that "We must set the standards for the lower schools."
One of the Yale professors who highly commended this report
declared that there was no "wide demand for change. By persevering in the course of conferring degrees on those only who have been thoroughly disciplined in both ancient and modern learning, the college has much to expect and nothing to fear, but by deserting the high road it has so long travelled and wandering in lanes and by-paths, it would trifle with its prosperity and put at hazard the very means of its support and existence." The college was not opposed to improvement, declared the Yale professor, nor was it stationary. Examinations were not a farce but a "powerful incentive to study." The faculty endeavored to meet its teaching obligations as well as it understood them.
The committee of the governing board of Yale praised the faculty for cooperation in the preparation of the report and even called them educational "experts", a name that was later to resound down the decades of American educational history. This committee pointed out that the system at Yale was "all-inclusive and nothing can be omitted." Everything in it could be comprehended by every student. A parallel or different course was out of the question because it would invite poorly prepared students and gave lazy students a superficial course which would be easier than the one then followed. Thus the Yale degree would be cheapened. Innovations were dangerous because censor would follow them. There was not need for change, although the college was not stationary or opposed to change. It kept abreast of the times and did its work well. Here appeared a complacency which was not unlike that found in some higher educational institutions today; but a faculty that resists suggestions for changes of the curriculum has many precedents to invoke in its defense.
But other ideals then the conservative were beginning to
take form in this country more than a hundred years ago. The faculty of Amherst College made two reports to the Board of Trustees of that institution about 1827 which stated that the idea of college reform was a "popular question" even in those days. The report also stated that the American public was not "satisfied with the present course of education in our higher seminaries;" and that the course was "not sufficiently modern and comprehensive to meet the exigencies of the age and country in which we live."1 1 See Snow, op. cit., pp. 155ff.
The popular voice was not hostile alone to the ancient languages but there appeared to be a growing belief that the colleges should open their doors more widely to those young people who would not go into the learned professions but whom the colleges could help. "The complaint is, and if our ears do not deceive us, it daily waxes louder and louder, that while everything else in on the advance, our colleges are stationary; or, if not quite stationary that they are in danger of being left far behind, in the rapid march of improvement."
1 See Snow, op. cit., pp. 155ff.
This is one of the earliest of the progressive notes struck by a college faculty in the literature dealing with the curriculum of higher education in the United States. Complaints were being made "by men whose strong good sense, education and standing in society entitled them to be heard." It was also argued that, these people would likely contend that in times of progress and in a country like this "It is absurd to cling so tenaciously to the prescriptive forms of other centuries"; it was ridiculous to
meet demands for improvement "without cry of innovation." Here as in most of the quarrels about the college curriculum in most of the nineteenth century in the United States the contest was largely over the monopoly of the ancient classics. It is interesting to note also that in this report of the Amherst faculty arguments were made for the establishment of a department of "The Science of Education."
In 1867 Cornell set forth some educational ideals which were not unlike those published at Amherst forty years earlier and promised that "every effort will be made that the education given be practically useful." There was to be no fetichism in regard to subjects of study. "All good studies will be allowed their due worth." An effort was to be made to give every student studies which would take a "practical hold on the tastes, aspirations and work of his life." There was to be no "petty daily marking system, a pedantic device which has eaten out from so many colleges all capacity among students to seek knowledge for knowledge's sake. Those professors will be sought who can stir enthusiasm, and who can thus cause students to do far more than under a perfunctory piecemeal study." The plan adopted by the Board of Trustees of Cornell also called for "a closer and more manly intercourse and sympathy between Faculty and students than is usual in most of the colleges."
Other leaders occasionally expressed liberal views. Jasper Adams of Hobart College, who went to South Carolina in 1824 and undertook to put life into the College of Charleston, while a conservative in education, was not inhospitable to suggestions for improvement. Jonathan Maxcy, who preceded Thomas Cooper at the University of South Carolina, introduced French into the
curriculum of that institution and as early as 1811 was interested in putting science into the course of study. Courses were arranged for those students who did not wish to take Greek or Latin, and a chair of political economy was established. The interest of Thomas Cooper in the natural and the social sciences is wellknown and his lectures on geology and political economy were distinguished for their stimulation. Joseph LeConte and some other progressive members of the faculty of the University of Georgia planned some reforms in 1859 but the Civil War kept the proposed measures from being put into operation. Horace Holley, of the University of Transylvania in Kentucky, maintained that education should be adjusted to changing conditions, "much more with a regard for the present, and a prospect for the future, than from a retrospect and rememberance of antecedent times." Philip Lindsley, of the University of Nashville, had a progressive view of education, and sought to make use of a plan similar to that in operation at the University of Virginia. Henry P. Tappan of Michigan would give students freedom of choice and stimulate them not by authority but by developing their natural interests. He advocated self-direction and not compulsion. F.A.P. Barnard, who went from a professorship and later the presidency of the University of Alabama to the presidency of the University of Mississippi and then to the presidency of Columbia, changed his views on higher education and apparently became more and more progressive. While in Alabama he was an avowed conservative, but in Mississippi he had a slight change of heart as he faced actual conditions and needs in that State, and at Columbia, where he became president in 1866, he became even more liberal. There he maintained that the classics as taught in the colleges were "not
a stimulus but a sedative." When Joseph Caldwell came from Princeton to Chapel Hill he found a rather liberal curriculum in the University of North Carolina, with an unusual amount of science, history, and political economy and provision for electives, but he gradually substituted the traditional curriculum and North Carolina soon returned to the classical fold where the institution remained until the Civil War and for some years afterwards.
College presidents and faculties in the first period here discussed should not be too severely censured for failure to study the curriculum, which was fixed, unchanging, and sacrosanct. Any alteration of it would have been profanation. Moreover, even if it had seemed wise to change the program of study it probably could not have been done, because the energies of the faculty were so absorbed in making and enforcing rules of conduct among the students that they had no time to employ in curriculum reconstruction. The early American college was a patriarchial institution and the life of the student was not unlike that of a soldier in barracks. His existence for the twenty-hours was regimented and each hour was covered by a rule.
The laws of Union College in the early part of the nineteenth century contained eleven chapters running from seven to twenty-three sections each. President Eliphalet Nott, who showed a liberal tendency on questions of curriculum, said that perhaps no college had over provided so complete security as Union for "the manners and morals of youth, or a course more likely to ensure a thorough education." The rules at the University of Georgia consisted of sixteen pages. Princeton students were covered with rules, one of which required them to raise their hats to the
president at a distance of ten rods. Students at Transylvania could not lean on each other in class. James Russell Lowell was forced into "rustication" for two months in his senior year at Harvard and compelled to read John Locke and other difficult authors during the period. A visitor at the commencement at Yale in 1847 was shocked to see so many members of the graduating class wantonly break "the glass in their rooms. Very dignified and honorable beginning of the world for them." President Samuel Smith expelled 125 of the 200 at Princeton in 1807, following a riot, which was far from the last trouble in that Presbyterian stronghold. President Hale of Hobart "was kept at bay by a shower of beer-bottles" and at another time was forced to climb through a window and down a ladder to escape trouble from students in his classroom. At Chapel Hill the students "rode horses through the dormitory and 'shot up' the place generally"; at Charlottesville a student shot and killed a professor in 1842; and President Jeremiah Chamberlain of Oakland College in Mississippi came to his death at the stabbing hand of a drunken student.
Francis Wayland's first job at Brown "was to frame a new set of laws for the college....It made a vastly greater amount of labor necessary for both officers and students." Caldwell of North Carolina and McLean of Princeton are reported to have taken nightly walks about their respective colleges to catch student offenders, and the latter often chased them to their rooms and up trees. The president of Miami in Ohio prayed in Chapel "with one eye open." When he saw a trouble maker he would dart off the platform, attend properly to the offender, and then return to his post and resume his prayer. In most of the colleges there were long lists of merits and demerits and systems
of fines for offences. Discipline was made more difficult, too, because parents were more troublesome in those days; and in some of the smaller colleges a few students and a few "tuition fees might be the margin of financial solvency." Indulgent parents of wealth and "the alleged laziness of Southern youth" were pointed out by Basil Manly as two afflictions of his administration as president of the University of Alabama; and Phillip Lindsley told a commencement audience at the University of Nashville in 1848 that the interference by parents in his efforts at the discipline of students was one of his gravest difficulties. Irate parents caused much trouble when their son was not promoted, or got into trouble, or was sent home. The impatient president states the case this way: "The son is a high-minded, honorable, brave, generous, good-hearted young gentleman; who scorns all subterfuge and meanness, and who would not lie for the universe: Not he. In this particular at least, he is above suspicion; and, like the Pope, is infallible. While the Faculty are a parcel of paltry pedants, pedagogues, bigots, charlatans-- without feeling, spirit, kindness, honesty, or common sense." President Nisbet of Dinkinson College often complained of interference by the trustees; and Andrew D. White gave the same condition as the basis of "the anarchy at Hobart"; the expulsion of wealthy boys meant a loss of revenue for the college and such a loss was difficult to take.1
1 The College of William and Mary seems to have made considerable disciplinary use of the honor system. The student's relation to the faculty is shown by a faculty regulation of 1830: "He comes to us as a gentleman. As such we receive and treat him....He is not harassed with petty regulations; he is not insulted and annoyed by impertinent surveillance." If a student denied "on his Honor as a Gentleman" the offence the denial was taken as "conclusive evidence of his innocence."
1 The College of William and Mary seems to have made considerable disciplinary use of the honor system. The student's relation to the faculty is shown by a faculty regulation of 1830: "He comes to us as a gentleman. As such we receive and treat him....He is not harassed with petty regulations; he is not insulted and annoyed by impertinent surveillance." If a student denied "on his Honor as a Gentleman" the offence the denial was taken as "conclusive evidence of his innocence."
It should be noted, in defense of such extra-curricular activities, that mischief-making was about the only outlet for college youth who bore in the old days such a burden of original sin.
In the same year that Cornell made its announcement, John Fiske, writing in the Atlantic Monthly, said that many of the colleges needed minor reforms. He thought that even Harvard could stand a little improvement. But reform was one thing; revolution was another. So, he warned against sweeping changes. He favored a degree of the elective system and argued for "comprehensive" examinations to include fields of knowledge rather than particular subjects. A closer and more friendly relation between the students and the faculty was necessary if the colleges were to become truly democratic and liberal. The Atlantic Monthly for September 1866 contained an article, the substance of an address to the alumni of Harvard University, which attacked the prevailing system of college marks and compulsory tasks. It argued for a reduction of the college course to three years and urged that the freshman year be made a probationary period. The interests and needs of the individual student were subjugated to traditional academic forms and procedures; the first duty of the college was to offer students broad opportunities and inspiration.
In December of 1868 the Nation published a letter which discussed "University Reforms." The vacancy in the presidency of Harvard afforded a good opportunity for that institution to improve its work. The need was for a new form of discipline, for the old system had led to the preoccupation of the students with "grades," to emphasis upon trivialities, and to dishonesty in the relations of students and faculty. The police-like attitude of the faculty should be changed; students should never be spied
upon. The letter was promptly replied to and the charge of faculty espionage at Harvard was denied. The faculty did not spy upon students but merely tried to maintain order and dignity through cooperation. It was argued that discipline there was modern, liberal, and conducive rather than coercive. But in June of 1869, shortly after Eliot had been chosen to the presidency of Harvard, the critical Godkin noted that the battle between science and religion over the control of the universities still waged. He thought college students should be taught by lay professors rather than professional moralists. A college education, he said, should be a period of influences for the student and not a period of coercive learning, which rarely remains long with the student. And in 1882 Godkin was pouring a broadside into "Teaching in American Colleges." A middle course in the elective system would be the wisest of all, rather than too many electives or none. But it was very important for the student to choose not isolated subjects but general courses or groups of subjects. Many people feared that athletics was becoming too important in college life. But Godkin differed with them: athletics had such definite physical and spiritual values that much more time should be devoted to them.
Two months after Adams had taken Harvard to task, Godkin took Adams to task for failure to realize that the student who refused to learn Greek would probably refuse to learn any other language, as Godkin seemed to believe. Besides, the chief trouble was with the students. These fell into three classes: a small group, generally poor, who found that learning was worth all the effort and sacrifice they could make; the group who were concerned only with the benefits of the degree itself; and the idle and dullards who were beyond help. The second and third
groups included seventy per cent of all college students, Godkin said. The average college student failed to see reality in college life and so entered upon it haphazardly. Only when he saw its connection with his later life and career did he give it his full interest.
A writer in Education for July 1882 urged a division of the college period, the first two years for a general foundation and the last two years for concentration in a chosen field. Such a plan would afford the student a more nearly complete and generous education and at the same time provide him with the best disciplinary values. Improvement in the organization and instruction of the colleges would mean improvement of the work in the lower schools. All studies should be "integrated" with actual life needs, he said, and, whatever reorganizations were undertaken, only the best teachers should be engaged. "The essential test of a school system is to be looked for in the quality of its teachers."
A writer in the Atlantic Monthly the following year deplored the multiplicity of college studies and the elective system and proposed in place of the chaotic curriculum of the time the principle of general courses in the social and biological sciences not unlike the orientation or overview courses such as have found their way into some higher educational institutions in recent years. Such courses, he said, would give a good foundation for life and for further study in specialized fields. The college must fit men for living in the actual world of men, he insisted.
The next year Daniel Coit Gilman of Hopkins was asserting in the Nation that although colleges had powerful forces in their tradition yet these institutions required adaptability to change, to keep up with the times and the "circumstances of the country."
James Bryce pointed out that the ideal university would exclude no worthy knowledge, would be open to all applicants, allow freedom of choice to the students, and be a great teaching institution and not an austere examining board. To him the imperative need was for stimulative teaching. The university should adapt itself to the needs of general social progress, and no man could dictate immutable principles which would serve for all time. Friendly personal relations between the students and the faculty should be encouraged.
A writer in the Atlantic Monthly for August, 1885, insisted that among the fallacies then present in the educational thought of the country were the elective system, preoccupation with practical considerations, and the insistence upon education for the "struggle of life." The same year Andrew F. West employed the North American Review to assail President Eliot's elective system as unsound in theory and to assert that all educational experience taught that the ancient classics and mathematics were the foundations of mental training. He said that the elective system struck at the heart of what collegiate prestige the United States had built for itself, by lowering entrance requirements, by destroying the meaning of the academic degree, and by encouraging students to forsake those twin roots of culture: Greek and Latin. The monster was feeding upon the vitals of education and should be resisted and dispatched. On the other hand, the breezy Godkin of the Nation (November 1885) saw hope in the modern attitude of Harvard which offered a student 189 courses in twenty departments. He believed the college was becoming modernized and liberal and that this changed condition was due to the substitution of lay control for ecclesiastical control
in its management. A few months earlier the same publication editorially deplored the position of college professors in this country. They were at the mercy of the boards of trustees who were generally business men, usually ignorant, uncultured, money-grabbing people who cared not a whit for the actual educational work of the colleges but only for filling the institutions with tuition-payers. The editor believed that the professors could manager better.
The next year the Atlantic Monthly declared that college or university classes should not test "the freightage of the memory," but should have "an enduring influence upon the thought of the people." It should put sociology, the study of human society and of human institutions, laws, and relations in the place of subjects that promised so little to the students who pursued them. The University should teach, among the subjects, the history of the family and society: the University exists for the students rather than they for it,--a view of higher education that has not yet been gained generally in the United States.
In the late nineties Cosmopolitan provoked considerable discussion by its questions to leading educational administrators on "Modern College Education--Does it Educate, in the Broadest and Most Liberal Sense of the Term?" Later the magazine invited students to give their side of the question, in a prize contest which many college and university presidents objected to for the reason, stated or implied, that the opinions of students on such matters were not valid.
An article in the Atlantic Monthly in 1900 urged that the college course be reduced to three years and that the college encourage the planning of the student's course far enough ahead so that his study would assume a definite direction. Articles in
the Independent in that year urged that a period of three years was sufficient for a college course. The Outlook urged that the college curriculum be liberalized, to meet the changed conditions of modern life; and the Nation contended that the increased academic machinery for the sake of the system was not good for the students or the public. The following year the Independent asserted that the college should stand for broad and liberal education rather than specialties. School Review for that year pointed out an affliction that has increased in American education during the past thirty years: that students were required to repeat during their first or second year in college work previously done in the high school; it warned against the unguarded system of election that was already finding its way into secondary education. About the same time Dean Briggs of Harvard advocated a few subjects in the secondary schools, "a modest general education" in the early years of college, and the opportunity for the students to specialize energetically later.
Education conducted in June of 1900 a symposium on "The Problems which Confront our Colleges at the Opening of the Twentieth Century," in which a number of distinguished university presidents participated. Among the pressing problems listed were the elective system, personal freedom of students, the controversy of the classics, interest of students in merely earning degrees, the tendency toward specialization, the lack of interest of students in politics and government, the failure of the colleges to imbue students with public spirit, the need for the integration of the cultural and the disciplinarian values in the college curriculum, the loss of simplicity in college education, the growing complexity of administration, the predominance of athletics, the apparent failure of the colleges to integrate their programs
with actual life, and the danger that the colleges would unwittingly blunder into or be led to by placing emphasis upon crass materialism. It is distressing to learn that this affliction of higher education in recent years and even since 1929 should have appeared impending more than three decades ago.
By the turn of the century the subject of higher education had a more prominent place in magazines and newspapers than it had ever before held in such publications, and between 1900 and the close of the World War there was wider discussion of higher education in the United States than this country had ever witnessed. While the increased number of students attending colleges and universities was regarded as a good sign in 1900, a slight uneasiness was felt here and there because of the apparent tendency to create a group of scholars who could not do "the common work of the world." A writer in World's Work for that year noted that "men of fortune endow schools which train youth who win success and in turn endow schools to train other youth," presumably to win success. The same publication the same year asked whether education was "the great panacea for social ills that our fathers thought it." Dr. Butler's Education in the United States, which gave an excellent summary of education in this country in 1900, sought to refute the idea or notion that education caused crime, a subject that led a colleague of his three decades later to argue that the kind of education given in the United States had caused or appeared to have caused crime.1
1 Bagley, W.C., Education, Crime, and Social Progress, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1931.
1 Bagley, W.C., Education, Crime, and Social Progress, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1931.
An editorial in a prominent magazine in June of 1900 praised the general trend of education but criticized some of its practices, such as the elective system, the growing demand for Ph.D's in the colleges, and the lack of contact between teacher and student. Scribner's deplored the tendency toward "Teutonizing in Education" while a writer in Education urged the colleges to train their students for business, to foster business, and to give specialized courses leading to all kinds of business. The heads of the colleges should be business men, he said. "Culture for its own sake has gone up in smoke."
An editorial in Scribner's warned against our acquiring the faults of the German system in the tendency to let learning swamp common sense, tact, the sense of proportion, and the sense of humor. An article in Review of Reviews in 1901 undertook to answer the charge of business men that college graduates were "commercially inefficient." The writer urged that the colleges attend more seriously to the task of guiding students "to sane and self-directed manhood" and asserted that the luxury indulged in by college students was parasitic and was partly paid for by the miserably paid college professors. The Forum deplored the standards of the market place and the counting-house in education and also its lack of touch with public affairs. A closer connection between higher education and public service would save politics from becoming materialistic and education from becoming monastic. Woodrow Wilson, in his inaugural as president of Princeton declared that the colleges should deal with the spirits and not the fortunes of men. An editorial in the Forum discussed the need for shortening the college course; the Nation editorialized on "Education as a Public Peril,"
and warned against the relaxation of discipline; Lyman Abbott in the Outlook made a plea for the "Educational Rights of Man," urging the colleges to provide a broader education and the inclusion of religious instruction in the schools; Hamilton W. Mabie made a plea for the teaching of internationalism; Andrew S. Draper charged that the chief trouble in education was with disagreeing experts who kept the schools stirred up; another writer cried out against uniform universal education; Professor George Trumbull Ladd, in "Disintegration and Reconstruction of Curriculum" in the Forum, urged that the curriculum be made over, that certain courses should be required, and that the liberal arts course be reduced to three years. He frowned upon the excessive and injudicious use of the elective system. For an increasing multitude of students education was "cram, cram to get into college and sham, sham to get through." Jealousies, prejudices, and the inhospitality of professors toward fields of study outside their own specialties prevented an intelligent reconstruction of the curriculum. Departments should cooperate and offer integrated courses, he said.
Michael Sadler, in an article in Educational Review in 1903 deplored the tendency of higher education to become superficial and soft and the apparent efforts of business men to dictate its curricula; the National Education Association was told in 1903 that the perils facing education came from common defects of American civilization, the confusion of counsels inside the college and the feverish pursuit of that which "pays" as the end of life; that of all the perils to education commercialism was the most dangerous. And when the Amherst class of 1885 celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary its alma mater was vigorously wanned against going off after the strange gods of technical and vocational education and against the fashionable tendency to train
men "with a direct view to gaining a livelihood;" Barrett Wendell wrote in the North American Review in 1904 on "Our National Superstition" in which he pointed to the "flabbiness" of college students. An article in the Atlantic pointed to the growing materialism, regretted the passing of good the old-fashioned virtues of New England, and questioned whether real progress had been made; an article in the Educational Review pointed to the dangers of the utilitarian emphasis in education as did also the editor of The Dial who saw outside pressure on the schools; an article in World's Work in 1907 declared that the colleges, instead of being abreast or ahead of the nation's best life, were lagging and remote; and in 1909 the same magazine published an article on the "Bankruptcy of Education" which declared that the whole curriculum needed to be changed; the same year articles in Scribner's and Educational Review called education back to discipline; an article in the Nation harked back to Plato in pleading for state control of the future of each child by sending him to a manual training school, to college, to work, or to whatever task the State thought best for him; one in Educational Review the following year, on "Straws and Sticks and Dust," railed against the elective system, the utilitarian emphasis and the "insistence on the money value of education;" as early as 1911 a writer in another magazine seriously questioned whether education enabled men to make more money and asserted that "If money is not the whole thing I think it is safe to say that it is probably seventy-five per cent of the whole thing," and he made a plea to the colleges to keep alive the spirit of general culture and to provide more general education.
A writer in The Classical Journal in May of 1912 reported that the average minimum foreign language requirement for the
degree of Bachelor of Arts in 155 representative institutions studied was seven years. Only one institution out of five required Greek for that degree, the amount of that language averaging between three and four years. There was a classical language requirement (mostly Latin) in five institutions out of every seven, the average amount of the language being five years. The writer of the article suggested that the minimum requirement in foreign languages for the degree of Bachelor of Arts should be seven years with half of that requirement in the ancient classics.
During the early years of the present century protests were being made widely against emphasis upon the business preparation of college students and also against the increasing departmentalism and those professors who knew little outside their own specialties,--evidence of a definite influence of the graduate school. Preserved Smith, writing in Educational Review in 1913 charged that lack of coordination in instruction in the colleges and the disconnected way in which fragmentary information was imparted accounted for the unreality, unpracticality, and lack of inspiration in higher education. The professors should integrate their work instead of side-stepping for fear of treading upon another's subject. The Nation compared the university to a department store, saying that it was ceasing to be the home of idealism and perhaps of ideas, and bemoaned the tendency to early specialization in college due to the influence of the business world; an article and an editorial in The New York Times in early October of 1913 charged that the colleges were turning out flabby dilettantes and substantially said that the last two years should be professionalized because business men
demanded that the graduates whom they employed should have more mettle and determination; and the same paper three years later charged that higher education had not done its part in providing intellectual leaders, bewailed the lack of insight among so-called educated men, and in a measure made direful prophecies as to the economic future after the World War; an article in Educational Review in April of 1917 urged the ideals of a liberal education as against "the insidious and baleful influences of these omnipresent, well-meaning, wingless-minded educators who unconsciously conceive young men and women as more or less sublimated beasts and who regard colleges and universities as agencies for teaching the animals the art of getting shelter and raiment and food;" and a few months later the "Bigotry of the New Education" was assaulted by the great classicist Paul Shorey in the Nation who protested against giving up all methods of education except those advocated by his former colleague at Chicago, John Dewey, and the latter's disciples; and in the year of the armistice William James made satirical war in Educational Review on "The Ph.D. octopus," ridiculed the baleful domination of the American system of graduate instruction which insisted that professors must be decorated with a degree before they can teach in a college: "....the three magical letters were the thing seriously required. To admit a fox without a tail would be a degradation impossible to be thought of." In this remarkable piece of satire the great psychologist was pointing an accusing finger at a tyranny that was to grow more and more modish in higher education and whose blind worship was to afflict undergraduate instruction.
These and many other discussions of higher education in this country prior to the World War seem to indicate the stubborn
resistance of educational institutions to proposals for changes in their work. The explanation of this stubbornness since the days of the mediaeval universities may be found in the class or departmental struggles of the colleges.1 1 In his unpublished report, The College and Society, written for the General Education Board, President Ernest H. Wilkins, of Oberlin College, gives evidence of the conservative character of higher education. He notes that the American college today has a curriculum of four years because Harvard in the seventeenth century took form as a four-year college, and that Harvard apparently had followed the University of Cambridge which required a four-year course for the bachelor's degree in the seventeenth century; that Cambridge had followed the University of Oxford, which required four years for the bachelor's degree, and that presumably Oxford required four years for the degree of bachelor of arts because "the students of the English Nation at the University of Paris had followed such a course," as shown by a statute of 1252. See also President Wilkins' paper, "The Relation of the Senior College and the Graduate School," in Proceedings and Addresses, The Association of American Universities, Twenty-Eighth Annual Conference, pp. 59-60.
These struggles, which have waged since the stormy days of Abelard still wage in the sheltered American colleges and universities where earnest if sometime vague academic ideas continue to do battle among themselves as violently as that which has gone on among the economic forces that periodically drive men to despair. Moreover, in the story of these struggles may be seen a tendency of the colleges to lag behind movements for economic and social change until accumulated disaffection without or within the institutions compels readjustment, sometimes even by the methods of revolution.
1 In his unpublished report, The College and Society, written for the General Education Board, President Ernest H. Wilkins, of Oberlin College, gives evidence of the conservative character of higher education. He notes that the American college today has a curriculum of four years because Harvard in the seventeenth century took form as a four-year college, and that Harvard apparently had followed the University of Cambridge which required a four-year course for the bachelor's degree in the seventeenth century; that Cambridge had followed the University of Oxford, which required four years for the bachelor's degree, and that presumably Oxford required four years for the degree of bachelor of arts because "the students of the English Nation at the University of Paris had followed such a course," as shown by a statute of 1252. See also President Wilkins' paper, "The Relation of the Senior College and the Graduate School," in Proceedings and Addresses, The Association of American Universities, Twenty-Eighth Annual Conference, pp. 59-60.
Since 1929 the colleges and universities of the United States have been under severe criticism. Probably not all the cuts in their budgets have been made merely as economy measures. The ancient theory, so often invoked by the institutions of higher learning, that they are "free" may have appeared to the supporting
public to carry the implication that they feel no responsibility to help the society that supports them to solve its economic, social, and political problems. But, unless all depression signs fail the relation of the work of these institutions to those pressing problems will become increasingly a matter of serious concern to the public which supports higher education and to which it must finally account.
It seems a social misfortune that so much of the super-structure of any worthy social institution must occasionally weaken or crash to meet the needs of changed conditions among the human beings that support and depend upon it. Higher education has often been called upon to respond to really human needs before being forced to do so. But even the adventurous and serene Eliot who refounded and enlarged Harvard was forced to turn "the place over as a flapjack," as Oliver Wendell Holmes said of the young chemist-president, and in doing so he made out of a provincial college the most eminent university in the United States. This happened after 1869. And when Engineer Arthur Willard was elected president of the University of Illinois in March of 1934 he was reported to have promised the taxpayers of that State "a model of economy and service. This much I know," he said, "the universities are going to have to do a better job of turning out men and women who can take care of themselves. The average college graduate.... has been prepared for everything but life." This is substantially what Adams had said fifty years earlier. President Willard's stricture on higher education is not new in the United States. Nor was Adams's bold criticism of Harvard entirely new. For, many of the questions that have agitated American educational
leaders particularly since the World War had been raised often in this country for nearly a hundred years before that catastrophe, as this chapter reveals.
In the next chapter an effort is made to indicate changes and tendencies in the undergraduate curriculum during the past two decades, which mark the third period in the history of higher education in the United States.
As noted in Chapter I the curriculum of higher education in the United States since the World War has tended to swing away from freedom of election to a measure of prescription. This tendency has often taken the form of experiments with orientation, general, or overview courses especially in the social and the natural sciences, and of the establishment of groups requirements, major and minor sequences, and fields of concentration. During this period also there has been an increasing effort to guide students more intelligently than before and to adjust the work of the colleges more definitely to their needs, interests and abilities.
No attempt will be made in this chapter to appraise or even to describe fully those new college plans which have been so widely discussed in recent years. If time permits, however, after the present report is prepared an effort will be made, in a supplementary report, to discuss more fully than is possible here some observations made by studying in the Fall and Winter of 1933-34 some of the new plans, especially the Columbia Plan, the Chicago Plan, Sarah Lawrence College, Bennington College, and the General College of the University of Minnesota. The literature of other innovations in undergraduate instruction has been examined rather carefully. Although it is doubtful if any one of the plans here mentioned
the University of North Carolina, it does seem clear to me after a visit to these institutions and after attending many classes in them that they have some valuable lessons for undergraduate instruction here. The purpose of the present chapter, therefore, is to consider those features of undergraduate work studied at other institutions which appear to have significance for such work in the University of North Carolina.
During the period since 1918 more serious consideration has been given to the problems of higher education than at any time in the history of this country. And yet, it seems partly within the limits of the facts to note that one of the greatest afflictions yet remaining in this area of education is that deadening habit of the academic mind that assumes that what is in the curriculum is what has been in it and is, therefore, best and must remain. The story of the present period reveals how definitely reverential are college faculties for their subject matter and how highly subject-centered are the colleges and universities. Many college faculties still appear to look upon their subjects as ends in themselves. And it is often justifiably charged that too few college faculties appear to view the work of the college as a social function, as a means of social evolution, and as a way toward the betterment of human society.
During the period under discussion there has been a definite tendency toward "general education," however, especially in the first two years, for the purpose of relating the work of the college more directly than did the older curriculum to the life needs of the students. These changes have been made also in an effort to offset the obvious disadvantages that followed the rapid
increase of courses during the past two decades under the influence of the elective system. An examination of the catalogue of any representative higher educational institution shows numerous new courses which cover only a limited section of a field of knowledge and which in most cases proclaim increasing departmentalization. This increase of courses was a natural result of conditions that appeared after the World War when multitudes of students crowded into the colleges and universities and governing higher educational authorities were zealous in expanding their plants and their educational facilities. This condition was conspicuous in the University of North Carolina as the next chapter will show. In due time, however, the economic crisis brought depression to education and college administrators and faculties were forced to re-examine and re-appraise their work.
Some consideration was being given here and there throughout the country to the improvement of college work even before the collapse in 1929. But during the past two decades the literature on higher education has enormously increased, as noted in Chapter I. Thousands upon thousands of articles have been written on various aspects of the subject, associations of college administrators and of college teachers have been more energetic than ever before, and numerous committees have labored almost incessantly over problems of the curriculum, improved methods of instruction and personnel work among students. And the relation of higher education to secondary education has been studied more thoughtfully than at any time in the past.
Courses in so-called general education appear, however, to have begun not from concern of the administration and faculty for the welfare of students but from the interest of the students themselves, from such organizations as fraternities and sororities
and religious associations that sought to assist entering students to adjust themselves to campus life.1 1 See Thayer, V.T., Junior College Curricula and Courses in Colleges of Liberal Arts, an unpublished study made for the General Education Board, 1932.
The students, therefore, appear really to have taught the administration that they needed something that the colleges were not providing; and the responsibility for "orientation" of freshmen, for example, soon became a recognized function of the institutions.
1 See Thayer, V.T., Junior College Curricula and Courses in Colleges of Liberal Arts, an unpublished study made for the General Education Board, 1932.
As early as 1911 Reed College offered its freshmen a three-hour credit course known as "College Life Course" in which the history and purposes of the institution were studied. Brown University about the same time undertook to do much the same thing. A few years later Amherst developed and offered a course on "social and economic institutions," one of the aims of which was "to teach freshmen to use the library, read newspapers and magazines, make reports and carry on discussions of live topics and issues." Antioch College offered a course called "College Aims" in which instruction in methods of study was emphasized. These early orientation courses also treated problems of adjustment to college environment, offered advice regarding the choice of curriculum, in an effort to provide a program of guidance, a practice that has now been inaugurated in a great many of the most progressive educational institutions of the country. Some institutions now even go so far as to give advice to seniors in high schools through information furnished by the colleges to the high school principals. Ohio State University publishes and distributes such information for students who
contemplate attending that institution; Oberlin and Colgate prepare bulletins on academic and vocational advice; and Yale has recently greatly increased its efforts to bridge the gap between the secondary school and that institution.
Just after the World War, whose aftermath stimulated colleges to provide orientation, general, or over-view courses, Columbia, Indiana, Williams and several other institutions began to pay serious attention to the problem of general as opposed to specialized undergraduate instruction. By 1922 forty-one colleges were making provision of this kind for their students as compared with only eleven institutions before the World War; and by 1926 seventy-nine institutions were offering orientation or general courses for standard college credit. Such courses are numerous now and are annually being introduced throughout the country by institutions that see the need for basic courses which promise to bring some order out of the chaos which followed the rampant elective system.
In 1918 Princeton established a course known as "Historical Introduction to Politics and Economics." For sometime Dartmouth has had special required courses for freshmen which deal with an introduction to industrial society, with evolution and with physical education. The first of these is intended to acquaint the student with the materials and methods of the social sciences. After presenting a few of the more important forces which have produced the present civilization in the United States, there follows a discussion of some of the more important problems confronting American citizens at the present time. "As far as possible," says the catalogue, "the presentation makes use of the subject matter and techniques of the various Social Sciences. Final judgments, based on the necessarily meagre data which the course
presents, are actively discouraged; rather the course emphasizes the complexity of modern civilization and the necessity of long and painstaking study if an adequate understanding of modern American is to be attained. It is hoped that the course will demonstrate the necessity and desirability of further work in the various Social Sciences."
The course dealing with evolution is intended "to acquaint the student with the nature of the universe in which he lives and the methods of science by which an understanding of this universe has been attained. Specifically the survey embraces the fields of physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and biology. In each of these fields the subject matter is presented only to a sufficient extent to prepare a background which will be adequate for an understanding of their evolutionary phases. In addition an effort is made to give the student some acquaintance with the vocabulary of these sciences and some conception of the purpose and significance of scientific investigation." The course is required for all members of the Freshman class in either the first or second semester.
Dartmouth places physical education on an equality with other subjects. The course is not regarded merely as a means of training the body but as a vital educational force which will contribute to the health of both body and mind. There are lectures on physical education and hygiene, the prevention of disease, gross human anatomy, physiology and muscular exercises, personal hygiene, dietetics. Attention is given to nutrition and medical gymnastics, to recreational activities, posture, correction of physical defects, underdevelopment and improvement of carriage and the like,--"in general, sanitary and moral prophylaxis."
The new plan inaugurated at the University of Chicago in 1931 grew out of a long and careful study of conditions in that institution. Just as other important new plans in undergraduate instruction, the Chicago Plan has been widely publicized and rather high claims have been made for its merits. Improvement seems to have followed most of the changes that have been made in it from time to time and by 1934 it was possible for the dean of the college to assert that the plan, which represents a wide departure from the traditional undergraduate procedure, had been successfully proved.
The success of the plan is doubtless due in considerable part to the time that the institution took to formulate and inaugurate it. The report of the Senate Committee on the Undergraduate Colleges in May of 1928 represented long and laborious study by a group of distinguished faculty members. A reading of that report alone reflects a most careful consideration of the problems facing the University of Chicago and the determination of the institution to improve its work. Important guiding principles were set out in it. The essential educational requirements for admission called for "an appropriate degree of attainment in respect to general education" and 2a demonstration of the power of independent and informed thinking." The report also asserted that in both general and special education ample opportunity should be given to the students in the first two years to receive "inspiration by work under, and by contact with, men who by their research work are contributing to the advancement of the boundaries of human knowledge." Candidates for the upper two years of the college were to pass five examinations which were to be designed to test their breadth and depth of
preparation for concentration after the first two years. Each candidate was to be required to show that he could write correct, clear and effective English; and performance in writing all of the examinations was to be the basis of judging whether the student had this ability in the mother tongue. The ability to read a foreign language was to be demonstrated; and whether the student had course credits in the language was not to be questioned nor taken into consideration, "since the method by which the student has acquired this tool skill is of little consequence so long as he can demonstrate that he has it." The plan proposed by the report substituted fields of study for course units, made provision for the exceptional student to make more rapid progress, abolished the system of credits for a degree and substituted comprehensive examinations on fields of study or some other method of demonstrating accomplishments, and placed greater emphasis upon the student's opportunity and responsibility for his own education. Several survey courses were contemplated in the report and later established, and comprehensive examinations on three such survey courses were to be passed by each candidate for the bachelor's degree. One of these fields was to be selected by the student as his major for concentration in the last two years of his undergraduate work.
As already noted, this plan has been substantially followed since its inauguration in 1931, occasional changes, however, having meantime been made in it. In general, broad privileges have been given the students to pursue courses in accordance with their needs, to attend lectures and study as they think best, and to proceed toward the examinations for the bachelor's degree at rates determined by their own abilities. Great emphasis was placed upon substance rather than form. Moreover, the
function of examination was separated from the function of instruction by the creation of a Board of Examinations, and this remarkable innovation appears to have greatly improved the relationship between the students and the instructor. It is claimed that greater reliability in the measure of the general intellectual achievements of the students has been attained by the new plan of examinations.
The distinguishing features of the Chicago Plan are fairly well-known, but they may properly be set out in summary here. The admission requirements are liberal and the requirements for the bachelor's degree are stated in terms of educational attainments which are measured by comprehensive examinations. One of these examinations is set at the level of the junior college and is intended primarily to test the general education of the student. The other examination is set at the level of the senior college for the purpose of testing the student's depth of penetration in a large but special field selected by the student. The conventional, time-serving, routine requirements of course credits and grades have been given up, attendance upon classes is not required, and the relation between the student and the teacher has been greatly improved, as already noted, by separating the function of teaching from the function of examining. Examinations are in the hands of a university examining board. A full year-course in each of four large fields has been established: one in the biological sciences, one in the humanities, one in the physical sciences and one in the social sciences. These courses are intended to meet the general educational needs of the students, who have access to carefully prepared syllabi with well selected bibliographies. A variety of instructional methods has also been adopted, such as discussion groups, personal guidance of students,
and the like. A faculty adviser is also provided for each student, and is reported to take his responsibilities seriously, always ready to serve the student as "guide, counselor, and friend." The difficulty with the discussion groups appears to be a lack of skilful lenders of discussion. Many of these groups, when observed in the fall of 1933, were in charge of younger and less experienced teachers. President Hutchins appeared to be in a mood to abandon this feature of the new plan.
Although the entrance requirements at Chicago were not increased, the institution has had more applicants than ever before from students who ranked in the top tenth of their classes in excellent preparatory and high schools. The average score of the class that entered in 1931 on a scholastic aptitude test was ten per cent above the average of the three previous freshman classes and that of the class entering in 1932 was ten per cent above that of 1931. Dean Boucher reported in January of 1933 that reports from instructors and advisers and from the physicians in the university health service showed that the freshmen of the past two years averaged "higher as interesting and attractive personalities" and better "as specimens of humanity than previous classes."
Voluntary class attendance under the new plan is almost exactly what it was when class attendance was required. In some courses the attendance is even better while in other courses it is lower than under the old plan. Apparently the students attend the courses when they think that the class period is profitable to them. The attitude of the students appears in an informal statement which a group of them made, but not for publication: "So many able and distinguished lecturers and instructors have been provided for the Freshman courses that we would no more think of 'cutting' a class
than we would think of throwing away a ticket for a concert or the theater for which we had paid good money. If we 'cut' we are sure to miss something of value to us for which we have paid a tuition fee, and the instructors are only interested in helping those who endeavor to help themselves."
Particularly interesting is the increased demand made upon the library. Apparently the students are reading more under the new than they did under the old plan. The problem of the library is to provide enough books and enough attendants to give adequate and prompt service, according to a report of the library officials. Members of the faculty also report that the students show a greater breadth and wealth of reading as a result of the general courses.1
1 This problem of the library was found to be acute in the General College of the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1933.
It appears also that the general courses in the experimental sciences at both Chicago and at Minnesota answer those scientists who insist upon the necessity of an abundance of laboratory experimentation. These general courses in the experimental sciences are intended first to serve the general educational needs of the students and only secondarily to provide training for future specialists in science. Laboratory work is done by laboratory demonstration lectures; the students who are not planning further work in the subject are not required to spend long hours in the laboratory. But those who look to specialization are given intensive laboratory training in the second year course at Chicago. When faculty members protested against the arrangement for the course in the first year, laboratory provision was made for the members of introductory class who requested it.
But the provision was made on a voluntary basis. About half of the introductory class thereafter reported regularly for the laboratory work. It should also be noted that extra discussion sections were provided for students who expressed a desire for additional provision for the discussion of current problems in the light of principles developed in the four introductory general courses. According to authentic reports, one effect of the new plan is clearly on the conventional extra-curricular activities, such as athletics, social affairs, dramatics, and publications. There is now a new competition for the time and interest of the student. Although the traditional activities are not faced with extinction, there is evidence at Chicago, according to the officials of the University, that some of the student activities that flourished under the old plan will die unless they are made to serve more adequately the needs of the students. Those activities which now make the widest educational appeal to the students seem to be dramatics, publications, and the symphony orchestra.
The report of Dean Boucher shows the following results of the examinations in June of 1932 when a total of 649 students wrote from one to five examinations each:
The total number of examinations taken was 1,699, an average of 2.6 examinations per student. Of the 649 students, three wrote five examinations, thirty-six wrote four, 361 wrote three, 208 wrote two, and forty-one wrote one. One hundred and forty-one students failed one examination or more, and 118 received at least one "A." The letter marks of all examinations were distributed approximately as follows:
"The returns from the four general-course examinations given in June, 1932, show that there were forty-eight instances in which a student passed an examination after having attended the corresponding course only two of the three quarters, sixteen instances in which a passing student attended the respective course for one quarter only, and fourteen instances in which a passing student did not attend the respective course at all," reports Dean Boucher. "In these three groups were eight marks of 'A' and twenty-six marks of 'B'. An impressive number of students also passed departmental sequence examinations without having been registered for all or, in some instances, even part of the year course offered to assist students in preparation for a given examination. It should be remembered that this was the first occasion the examinations were offered. We expect the number who will avail themselves of this opportunity to demonstrate achievement by examination rather than course credit to increase in the current and succeeding years. We know that a number of students, encouraged to do so by their advisers, spent much of the summer, though out of residence, in preparation for examinations given in September. The returns from these September examinations show that there were eleven instances of students passing an examination after having attended the corresponding course only two of the three quarters, six instances of one quarter attendance, and twenty-five instances in which a passing student did not attend the corresponding course at all. Of these three groups of students, nine received marks of 'A' and ten received marks of 'B'.
"A few high schools have already begun to guide their superior students preparing for admission to the University of Chicago so that they may not only meet our admission requirements
but may also anticipate some of our junior-college requirements and, by examinations at admission or shortly thereafter, satisfy some of these requirements. This we encourage the high schools and their better students to do. We anticipate that many of our best students, having been wisely guided through their high-school courses, may earn our junior-college certificate in one year or even less than a year in college, progress at once in the upper divisions of their choice, and there in turn save more time in ratio with the degree of their superiority. Last June one student, after having been in residence only one quarter, wrote four examinations and received two marks of 'B' and two of 'C'. The passing mark is 'D'. Honors and scholarships are awarded for superior performance in the examinations. Our academic mortality rate (students dismissed for unsatisfactory work) was no higher last year than in the previous three years.["]
Of course it cannot be said that every student who enters upon the general courses at Chicago, Minnesota, Columbia, or elsewhere turns out to be ideal. Visits to each place and attendance upon these classes revealed a sprinkling of students who were not completely absorbed with intellectual interests. Some were seen to be talking, or reading newspapers, or otherwise paying little attention to what the lecturer was saying. In one class of freshmen a lad revealed to his instructor that the word "heretic", which the student had grossly mispronounced, came from the word "Heredity." Nor do these institutions lack "smart" undergraduates. In one discussion group visited the instructor was trying to make clear the causes of the vernal equinox. "What is the sun doing all this time?" the instructor asked. "Shining," piped up a student. Nevertheless, it does appear that general courses, wherever intelligently conceived, properly planned, and properly directed, have been successfully tested, and
that they are meeting the needs of the students more definitely than was the case under the old plan; the new plan at Chicago has also served to remove the affliction of departmentalism which was increasing under the old plan, under which every department was practically a school or college. Now a department or division must study its program and appointments to its staff in the light of the needs of other departments and of the University as a whole, as well as the needs and interests of the students. Departmental antonomy has yielded and the different fields of study are now more closely related to each other than formerly, in the interest of the general educational welfare of the University.
A student at Chicago may take one or more of the comprehensive examinations any time these are offered, whether he has attended all or part or none of the courses on which the examinations are set. Most of the students, of course, attend the courses before taking the examinations, but during the year closing June 1933, some 131 students took examinations after having attended the courses only two of the three quarters. Sixty-two students took the examinations after attending the courses only one quarter and seventy-eight took them without attending the courses at all. The average of these 271 students was well above that for all the students who took the examinations, according to a report of Dean Boucher.1
1 See The New York Times, April 29, 1934.
The percentages of the 271 and of all the students who
received the different grades follow:
|Faster group, percentage||14||30||36||12||8|
|All students, percentage||9||18||41||18||15|
It will be seen that the proportion of failures in the faster group was about half that of the failures in the entire group. These figures indicate also that the superior students took advantage of the opportunities offered under the new plan and that they may not only save time by completing the degree requirements in less than four years, but that students are encouraged to work "on their own" and to save themselves from perfunctory repetition; and to engage in work that tests their utmost capacity.
The superiority of the better students was also shown in an analysis of the results of the four introductory comprehensive examinations given in September of 1933. The examinations written numbered 272, sixty being written by students who had not registered for any part of the course, fourteen by students who had attended one-third of the course, twenty-five by students who had attended two-thirds of the course, and 173 by students who had registered for the entire course.
The results are set out in a table showing also the high and the low marks of the students who took the examinations in June of 1933, when 1,961 papers were written. But the June examinations were more typical of the student body than were the September examinations. The September group contained some of the best students who had used the summer for independent study and took the examinations without attending the courses; and it also contained some of the poorest students, who had failed in some
of the examinations in June and took them again in September.
The percentages of students in the various groups receiving the high and the low marks (with the number in each group in parenthesis) follow:
|Percentage Receiving A's||Percentage Receiving F's|
|Not taking course (60)||26.7||10.0|
|Taking part of course (39)||2.6||20.5|
|Taking whole course (173)||1.7||39.3|
|In the June group (1,961)||9.6||11.6|
Stated differently, the sixty students (22 per cent) in the September group who had not registered for the courses wrote 80 per cent of the A examinations and 7.3 of the F examinations at that time.
In the first examinations offered, in June of 1932, one student who had been in residence only one quarter (three months) "passed five of the seven examinations required for the junior-college certificate. Under the customary time-serving plan of measuring student progress, he would have met only one-sixth of the requirements.
"The first of the new plan 'guinea-pigs,' who entered with the initial freshman class in the Autumn, 1931, to complete the requirements for the bachelor's degree, was awarded the degree at the March, 1934, convocation. Instead of being in residence the customary four years he was in residence only two and two-thirds years. Incidentally, he has been quite active in student extra-curricular activities......
"For many years we have given the American Council on Education psychological examination to all entering freshmen.
The median scores registered a marked jump in the quality of these freshmen at the time the new plan was put into effect, and a rise each year since. The measuring figures for the years 1928 to 1930, inclusive, were .83, .83, .81, and for the years 1931--the start of the new plan--to 1933, .98, 1.04 and 1.14 respectively. In other words, the figure for 1933 is a 38.5 per cent increase over the average for 1928-29-30, the last three years of the old plan."
In the General College of the University of Minnesota appear some values which the University of North Carolina may well consider. That institution has for many years carefully studied its program, the personnel of its faculty and students, and its facilities in an effort to perform its educational task better and to make a larger contribution in social service and scholarship. The studies which the institution has carried on for a long time have dealt with the "three major and constant factors--faculty, facilities, and students--" and also have paid much attention to the individual differences, abilities, and interests of students, with the result that a visitor to that campus is impressed with the immense amount of information that is at hand there concerning every student in it.
The cost of the General College seems very reasonable. The tuition charges are $20 a quarter or $60 a year for in-state students and $30 a quarter or $90 a year for out-of-state students. Seven hundred students would give a budgetary income, exclusive of certain fees, of about $42,000 if all the students were in-state.
Out-of-state students add about $2,000, making a total budget of about $44,000. Because of the size of the classes and of concentration of the examinations in the hands of the Committee on Educational Research and the concentration of the visual education program in a single department under the management of the General College, this part of the University is operating this year on a budget of between $36,000 and $38,000. That sum includes all of the expenses of the office of the dean, the visual education program, the testing program, and the hour for hour proportion of the salary of each person who teaches in the General College. By and large, therefore, it appears that the General College is not only paying its way but is contributing to the general budget of the University in the sum of $5,000 or $6,000. This budgetary economy is one of the important features of the General College. There is, of course, opposition among some of the conservatives in the faculty to large classes, but that opposition is answered by pointing to the actual work accomplished. No matter what advantages come from small discussion classes, it is quite clear that there is no question between the value of having students take lecture-demonstration courses with large enrollments under a great teacher in preference to having them sit in small discussion classes with young and inexperienced instructors fresh from the graduate school. Some of the best teachers in the University of Minnesota are teaching freshmen and sophomores in large sections in the General College.
The General College is the result of studies made by university committees, one of which was charged with making a study of the educational problems in the several schools and colleges, and was known as the University Committee on Educational Research. Another committee, known as the Committee on Administrative Reorganization,
was composed of seven of the deans of the institution, whose task was to propose an improved administrative arrangement. In 1930 a committee was established on special curricula for students who had particular life purposes "in their education that could be better served by eclectic freedom in making an educational program combining the offerings of several colleges but not meeting the degree requirements of any one." The programs of the students in the special curricula vary somewhat from the standard course work of the various colleges. This special program is known unofficially as "The University College."
The General College was established, first as a junior college to serve a different type of student, under a separate administrative control and by special curricula. Careful studies by committees of the institution had revealed that fifty per cent of the students who entered reached graduation, that in the first two years there were from 1800 to 2000 who would not become juniors, and that there were some students in the University who could spend four years there and even graduate, but "who would be equally well served and equally well prepared for the part they would play in their communities by two years of work so directed that it would serve this purpose." The report of the Committee on Administrative Reorganization to the general faculty stated that such a change in the work of the institution would result in a saving of time and money to the students and to the State. In trying to secure these gains the institution recognized the fact of individual differences in students and declared that "no one profits by attempting the same college tasks, at the same pace, or by the same methods as everybody else who has graduated from any high school at any minimum level permitted by any high school." The aim of the proposed reorganization was provision for the fullest and largest
opportunity for every student. The students who were to go into the General College were to be those who were not expecting or expected to spend four years in higher education. They would include:
a. Those who desire to pursue courses or curricula in the new unit that are not offered in existing colleges or who for financial or other reasons have only a limited time to give to preparation for intelligent citizenship in their communities and to general orientation in their choice of, or general preparation for, a vocation.
b. Those who do not satisfactorily meet the entrance requirements of the existing colleges because of lack of training in specific subjects.
c. Students transferred from other institutions who do not meet the standards for advanced standing of the college to which they apply.
d. Students transferred by mutual agreement of the Junior College and the college in which they were first registered.
e. Those who might not be accepted by existing colleges because of an indicated lack of ability to pursue prevailing curricula.
Provision was also made to transfer from one school or college of the University to another during the two-year period of the General College those students who became adjusted and who showed ability to carry the work of any of the four-year schools or colleges. The administration of the General College was headed by a director, with the usual powers and responsibility of a dean in any of the other schools and colleges of the University, who associated with himself an advisory committee to consider matters of curricula, methods, and teaching personnel. The faculty was chosen from the general university faculty on the basis of fitness for and interest in instruction and guidance of students in the General College. President Goffman gave Director MacLean the authority to draw on the entire teaching resources of the
university for the teaching staff of the General College. As a result, some of the most spirited teachers in the institution established and gave courses in the new unit. Some of these teachers now offer courses both in the new college and in the college from which they were drawn. Whenever the best educational purposes of the entire institution are better served, the entire time of a teacher may be given to work in the General College.
The courses offered in 1933-34 were designed to provide the highest service for the students, consideration being given to their general educational and vocational interests and needs. Through these courses an effort is made to assist the students in solving their own problems and those of their own communities. The courses, which are general, over-view, and orientation, in the main, are constantly being revised in the light of experience and demonstrated needs. Although the purpose of the General College is to provide broadening experience and training for those students who do not need and do not desire the conventional college curriculum, the new unit has in no way affected the standards of admission to any other school or college of the University.
Except for Military Science and Physical Education the courses in the University College are elective and without prerequisites to all students. The first of the courses listed is "How to Study." Other courses deal with:
These courses were developed slowly and are being constantly revised and improved. Some are naturally better devised and taught than others. The courses in the general field of social science and in English appear to be the most difficult to manage. The courses in the social sciences at Chicago seemed to be better than those at Minnesota, where they appeared somewhat classical and conventional. The teaching of English under the "new plans" seems to be a troublesome problem generally. It was admittedly difficult at Chicago and at Minnesota although at the latter place the writing "laboratory," in which the students did their writing under the personal direction of instructors, seemed to be assisting definitely in the solution of the problem. Why the teaching of English should be so perplexing, as noted in chapter three, is a bit difficult to understand; but it may be due in part to the apparent fact that almost every English course, except the purely vocational, from the freshman year through the Graduate School is taught with the implied objective of getting a few students in every course headed toward specialization in the subject. Moreover, another fault may come from the combination of literature and composition. Further, many courses in English appear to be far too analytical, scientific, and objective.
The purpose of English courses in the General College is to stimulate interest in and give a love of reading. This is attempted through a non-analytical approach chiefly to contemporary material, which, it is believed, tends to reach the students where they live
and arouse their interests and lead them to read. The enormous amount of reading being done in contemporary magazines by students in the reading courses in the General College points to the success of this method. The periodical room in the library which formerly had twenty-five students how has five to six times as many faithfully reading. The magazines to which their attention is called are put on reserve from week to week and are so tattered by the end of the week's reading that they have to be replaced for filing and binding. It also appears that the use of contemporary material has aroused the curiosity of the students concerning classical literature.
Composition is not required in the General College. But when students come saying that they want English they are asked why they want it. If they feel a need for drill in grammar, composition and rhetoric and have not yet acquired enough knowledge to proceed, they are assigned to the sub-freshman English course in the Extension Division where they pay an extra fee and get no credit for the course. If they have progressed somewhat and want to make more progress they are given a tryout in the writing laboratory. If they prefer a standard course in composition under the old system, they are assigned to one of the courses in the College of Science, Literature and Arts. The General College refuses to assign themes, insisting rather that a student must draw upon his own interests for his writing rather than on specific assignments that may be given to him. In other words, courses in English in the General College are not designed as requirements or as units for credits but as opportunities for those who have needs or desires to meet them in composition or in the reading of good materials in English. The laboratory and the reading courses are intended to meet the needs of individual students, as far as this is
possible. The comprehensive examination in English in the General College is a substantial test that reveals whether the student has developed acceptable and reliable habits in English.1
1 Dean Boucher of Chicago stated in the fall of 1933 that English was a bit troublesome there and that constant effort was being made to improve work in it.
A course that seems to have had a tremendous success in the General College is in the field of psychology, and is known as "Human Development and Personal Adjustment," under the direction of Professor John Anderson, chief of the Child Welfare Institute. A course in human biology has been developed largely through the Department of Zoology which gave to the General College one of its best men is a general course dealing with the theories of heredity, evolution and genetics as applied to man, with some reference to other animals. This is the work of the first quarter. In the second and third quarters Dean Lyon of the Medical School presents work in the physiology, anatomy, pathology and physiological chemistry of the human being. Discussions of public health and hygiene follow, apparently with very useful results. The report is that the students in this course almost overrun the Medical School, which welcomes them. They go into the anatomy laboratories and the experimental animal sections, although not required to do so, and some of them want to watch operations.
The engineers undertook to set up a course in technology. They found it very difficult but after long effort were able to bring some order out of chaos. Now they are giving what is considered an excellent course which reveals to the student in the General College the implications of the machine age. The head of the
Department of Journalism has charge of courses in the formation of public opinion, dealing with the shaping of public thinking, the function of the newspaper and the periodical, and propaganda campaigns. When Mr. Casey was asked how he found time to conduct these courses, his reply was that he would not give them up unless he were forced to do so. He feels that his work with 200 to 300 students in the General College has important educational and social values. The courses in Euthenics appear to be not very different from those given at Vassar, Colgate, and some other institutions. These are among the popular courses at Minnesota.
The General College opened with an enrollment of about 460 in the fall of 1932. Only thirty left before the end of the quarter. In the second quarter the enrollment was 472, with a few withdrawals or dismissals before the end of that period. The third quarter was begun with 489 students. In the first quarter of 1933-34 the enrollment was quite above 700. These figures indicate the need for such work as the University of Minnesota is undertaking to do through its General College. Moreover, this new unit seems to have changed the attitude of the students, many of whom have become thoughtfully interested in a general education of two years or less. The program of study is adjusted to each individual student. It may be as low as three hours a week, although the other colleges or schools of the university require a minimum of thirteen hours. A close check is kept on each student both through the educational officers and the student health service. Apparently no student is dismissed unless he is an inordinate loafer and shows no improvement. Some students fail the courses but pass the comprehensive examination; and about fifteen per cent of the students have discovered themselves and at the end of the second year (June, 1934) will be transferred to other schools in the University.
If students fail to make proper adjustments in any of the other colleges they may transfer to work in the General College. The following students were transferred last year from the schools or colleges indicated:
Twelve of the above students did honors work in the General College, and 117 did passing work. Twenty-five failed.
Students in the other schools and colleges may take courses in the General College. Students in the College of Education who took such courses last year showed up as follows:
|How to Study||3|
|Chemistry and Physics||11||72||13||3|
|Appreciation of Fine Arts||11||22||2||3|
|Earth and Man||1||2||1|
|Formation Public Opinion||1||1|
*H is high
P is passed
F is failed
I is incomplete
Students in the College of Science, Literature, and the Arts took the following General College Courses:
|Chemistry and Physics||2||1|
|Appreciation of Fine Arts||1||1||1|
Students in the School of Nursing took the following General College courses:
|Appreciation of Fine Arts||2|
Students in the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics took the following General College courses:
|How to Study||1||1|
|Appreciation of Fine Arts||1|
Students in the University College took the following General College courses:
|Appreciation of Fine Arts||2||1|
Students regularly transfer from the General College to other schools and colleges of the University, as they become adjusted and discover their interests and abilities. Those students in the General College who last year registered in the College of Engineering and Architecture made the following showing:
General College students who registered in the College of Education did work as follows:
General College students registered in the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics last year showed up as follows:
General College students who registered in the School of Medicine made this showing:
The showing of those General College students who last year transferred to the College of Science, Literature, and Arts follows:
Following is the summary of the work of General College students who transferred to other schools and colleges:
Since the General College has no summer session Dean Johnston permitted the General College students to register in courses there. Again, as in the placing of these people in special courses during the academic year, the element of strong motivation entered. General College students who registered for courses during the summer session in the College of Science, Literature, and the Arts did work as follows:
The students listed below were transferred after one or two quarters in the General College. They are divided into two groups. Those who seemed to have become oriented to a specific vocational and educational plan and desired to get about their special work:
Those who through misunderstanding of their own interests, powers, and capacities, or through prejudice against the General College demanded--usually with emotional heat--a transfer:
A study was made to discover whether there was any correlation between interest and performance in the regular courses and the accumulation of information about current affairs.
|71--students who are in the upper quarter in academic work and in the Current Events comprehensive.||96--students who are in the lower quarter in academic work and in the Current Events comprehensive.|
|17--American Citizen and Government||17--American Citizen and Government|
|32--Basic Wealth||45--Basic Wealth|
|22--Chemistry and Physics||22--Chemistry and Physics|
|8--Earth and Man||13--Earth and Man|
|35--Economic Life||31--Economic Life|
|22--Fine Arts||30--Fine Arts|
|36--Formation of Public Opinion||37--Formation of Public Opinion|
|24--How to Study||30--How to Study|
|29--Human Biology||46--Human Biology|
|12--Human Development||31--Human Development|
|1--Making Music||7--Making Music|
|28--Modern World||13--Modern World|
|32--World Politics||27--World Politics|
|25--students who are in the upper quarter in academic work and lower quarter in Current Events comprehensive||20--students who are in the lower quarter in academic work and upper quarter in Current Events Comprehensive|
|1--American Citizen and Government||3--American Citizen and Government|
|12--Basic Wealth||10--Basic Wealth|
|5--Chemistry and Physics||8--Chemistry and Physics|
|4--Earth and Man||3--Earth and Man|
|5--Economic Life||8--Economic Life|
|9--Fine Arts||1--Fine Arts|
|5--Formation of Public Opinion||9--Formation of Public Opinion|
|6--How to Study||5--How to Study|
|18--Human Biology||9--Human Biology|
|14--Human Development||3--Human Development|
|3--Making Music||3--Making Music|
|2--Modern World||5--Modern World|
|1--World Politics||9--World Politics|
|129--students who are in the middle half in academic work and in the Current Events comprehensive.|
|27--American Citizen and Government|
|68-- Basic Wealth|
|33--Chemistry and Physics|
|28--Earth and Man|
|51--Formation of Public Opinion|
|44--How to Study|
Analysis of proportion of men and women in the General College who were removed from probation, continued on probation, put on probation, and advised to drop.
484 Students in the General College at the end of spring quarter 1933
81 Students removed from probation at end of spring quarter 1933
51 Students continued on probation at end of spring quarter 1933
37 Students put on probation at end of spring quarter 1933
17 Students advised to drop at end of spring quarter 1933
Certain cases that were discovered in the records of the General College in the fall of 1933 seemed so interesting that Dean MacLean was asked for fuller information on them, and this he generously furnished as set out below. These comments indicate how energetically the University of Minnesota studies its students and how much it is able to find out about them individually:
Let us take first the type of case for whom General College work was first and principally designed, that is the student who has two years or less to go to the University.
The case of Helen Johnson is as follows: Her father is a railroad engineer. The railroad is gradually cutting down its staff, and wages have been several times cut. Her family therefore while not on a subsistence basis has to watch its economies very carefully. There is an older sister who has finished all but one quarter of the University and who is anxious to come back and get her degree sometime before this year is over so that if a job should open up and a degree should be helpful in securing one she may have the label. She had felt that it was better that she take her last quarter in the spring quarter and there was enough money in the family to keep one girl in college. Therefore, they started out this girl, Helen, the younger daughter, in the General College this year to take the fall and winter quarters at least. Now, Helen admits that her chief aim is marriage. She believes that her higher education will be as complete as she wants it if she has in the course of time two years of General College work which she intends to get.
Her test records are as follows: She stood 58 in a class of 72 in a four year high school with 250 students. She has been given six intelligence tests and ranks I.Q. 113 on the Alpha and 122 on the Miller. She stood 113 on Pressey, 110 on Terman, 111 on Delta. Her College Ability Test Rating was 23, her Iowa English 49. Her principal describes her as socially inclined and having a high degree of special ability in social leadership; a girl in good health but without particular vocational drive. We consider it a vocational drive, however, when she has a definite purpose to plan for and prepare for marriage and for social life. She has, therefore, registered in the courses that she feels will best benefit her in that field. She is taking Practical Applications of Psychology and Human Development and Personal Adjustment. She is taking Our Economic Life in order to get the economic point of view towards life and to understand the background of those things in business, industry and politics which will affect her own family and household purse. She is taking likewise the course in Euthenics and the course in English Literature to develop her reading and study habits and
a course in Biography as a matter of interest. Likewise, she is studying in physical education Games and Folk Dancing with a view to knowing something about those things for the better raining and interest of her children. She is planning when she returns next year, if she is able, to round out her course with a knowledge of Human Biology since she admitted frankly that she realized that marriage and motherhood were biological problems in large part and that she wanted to know all she could about these things. Miss Johnson is not by any means a student nor should she be put she will be a charming and beautiful member of society and is entitled to all the higher education we can give her toward proper functioning in these fields.
Here is a boy, R.S., who knows that at the end of his second year he must withdraw from college and go help his father in business (There is a case of a similar boy who wants the General College background for his own enlightenment and personal happiness when at the end of this year he retires to his father's farm in North Dakota to continue farming probably for the rest of his life. The other brothers in this case have all left home and gone into other occupations. The father is getting well on in years and this boy is fond of framing and fond of his father but does not want to live under the mental restrictions imposed on many of his neighbors because of their lack of higher education. He is a highly intelligent fellow). Before coming to college the boy talked with his father and talked with a number of business men asking them what he would need and what he should get in the University to prepare him for carrying on his father's business intelligently. They all advised him to get everything in the world he could outside of business courses. They said that he would need to know some politics, a lot of psychology, some knowledge of the human body, as much as he could about agriculture and economics; in fact, everything he could learn about human beings in their various associations and activities rather than specific business subjects. He, therefore, is highly content with the General College since he feels that if offers him exactly the kind of general background that he wants, gives him information about current problems of society and business in its broader relationship. He is working hard, reading and studying broadly and intensely and is grateful to the University for setting up such a course.
Dorothy Mashek is another girl with a high degree of ability who is to be married at the end of this year to an instructor in zoology in a neighboring college. She is taking the courses in the General College, particularly the scientific courses, for the sole purpose of being able to understand her husband and his friends and as she puts it "in order not to appear dumb at the dinner table."
The following cases indicate the next major aim of the General College, which is to orient students vocationally and educationally:
Arnold Rosenfield, C.A.R. 28, H.S. 27, C.A.T. 29, Anal. 29.
Mr. Rosenfield wants to enter the School of Pharmacy. He is, however, lacking in his one high school unit of Latin. This he may take from the Extension Division by correspondence. He should then combine with this Latin course Junior College courses in: Physics and Chemistry, Human Biology, English, Practical Applications of Psychology, military training and physical education.
I have written Dean Wulling asking if he would accept Human Biology in lieu of their course in Preventive Medicine; English in place of their rhetoric requirement; the first two quarters of Physics and Chemistry in place of their general chemistry; in which case Mr. Rosenfield after a year in the Junior College, if he is successful, could transfer to the School of Pharmacy and would then have to make up his qualitative chemistry one quarter, one year of foreign language, one year of botany. I explained these deficiencies fully to him.
Rosenfield saw me before the beginning of the school year in September and after his interview decided he would try S.L.A. in preparation for pharmacy. He entered the General College this spring after two rather unsatisfactory quarters in S.L.A. His father is a pharmacist and the owner of several drugstores; in fact, his whole family are in the pharmacy profession and, of course, there is definite family pressure brought to bear on young Rosenfield to be a pharmacist. On the other hand, Rosenfield wants to get into the managing end of the business and he has a definite interest in the drug business, having worked for his father in the store since he was nine years old. He claims that he can't concentrate because he is constantly thinking of the store and of problems. I should say that this man has definite business ability from his attitude and conversation and that he hasn't got the makings of the scientist or the interest in and ability for the scientific training which one must have to be a pharmacist. He is pure business and his best plan is to stay two years in the University getting as much background information as possible and then step right into the opportunity that he has. If he has much difficulty with his father in the future he says that he will bring him in to talk to the University officials.
Arnold Rosenfield's father came in to see me today (November 2, 1933). It seems that young Arnold did not receive his record for the past year until late this fall on his return to school, the reason being that the boy was too lazy to return his military drill uniform to the military department. Accordingly, his grades were not sent out. The reason he gave his father was that he had a good uniform and wanted to keep it so that he wouldn't have to change this fall. Mr. Rosenfield is a graduate pharmacist, not from the University but from some school of Pharmacy, and is successful in the drug business. He and his wife have given Arnold and his two brothers every advantage. The boy, Arnold, is the oldest and has worked part-time in the store since he was nine years old. Mr. Rosenfield has always wanted Arnold to be a pharmacist and take charge of his business when he retires but young Arnold doesn't seem to be susceptible to susceptible to academic training. The father says that the boy just barely skimped through his high school work and that over at the University he doesn't seem to be able to concentrate on his work. He is amenable enough to orders from his father, will spend his time looking at the books but will not get anything out of them. In the business on the job young
Arnold is capable enough when his father is about but when his father is away he is not continually looking for work and making the most of his job in the store. Mr. Rosenfield says that the boy is young and likes to have a good time and that he knows all the beer parlors in North Minneapolis and that he excuses him somewhat on account of his immaturity. His father also stated that he and the boy get along very well together and talk over the business problems, and the boy himself can argue clearly and intelligently on any of the problems of the drug business.
I explained Arnold's record in S.L.A. where he failed German, D in Preventive Medicine, failed Zoology, D in Modern World History, failed How to Study, failed Spanish. In the spring he came into the General College and failed History and Vocations and passed Economics and Psychology. However, he passed the Current Events comprehensive examination with a 73 percentile. The boy now reports that he is having difficulty with Pharmaceutical Latin which he is taking by correspondence. Mr. Rosenfield seems to think that his difficulty is that he has no one to help him and to explain since he is not in class.
My talk with the father was about as follows: young Arnold has not shown any ability in the scientific courses which he has taken, namely zoology, preventive medicine and psychology and that, since he did not have a good scientific background, it would be impossible or very difficult at least for him to continue in pharmacy. Our best advice would be to continue for another year in the General College and then step over into the managing end of the business. Mr. Rosenfield reported that he could not make young Arnold study. It was no use. But that he wanted him to continue in the University for another year and then perhaps come into the managing end of his business. Mr. Rosenfield is very intelligent about his son's attitude, his capabilities, and as to what should be done for him if he can't do the work required in the School of Pharmacy.
Here is a case, P.M., a boy of fair ability who does not know which of two things he wants, forestry or engineering. He enters the General College; he is given three of our background courses and then is assigned to the elementary freshman course in Forestry, a five hour survey of the field, and to Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Orientation in the College of Engineering. At the end of two quarters in these courses he has decided definitely for himself that he wants forestry. He has decided that he needs further general background before he enters upon the specific work in forestry and, therefore, completes his year in the General College and after transfer this fall to Forestry comes back to the General College for a course on an elective basis here.
Here is a case of L.V.W. His father, now dead, was the owner of two paper mills. His Mother is a college graduate. She is extremely anxious and eager to have the boy have a college education. L.V.W., however, on his test records, while he shows considerable academic ability if he wishes to exercise it, nevertheless finds
his whole interest in business and particularly in the sales field. He is a highly extraverted kind of fellow, a great mixer, with a high degree of practical ability. After several discussions with him and two with his mother, it is finally decided upon what we presume to be a fully intelligent basis that he should withdraw from college at the end of his first quarter and that he should attempt even in the middle of the depression to launch himself in some kind of a sales job. His mother is fully reconciled to the point of view that she would much rather have a smart salesman for a son than an indifferent or unhappy student for a son. In consequence, she crashes through with the suggestion that she give L.V.W., if he needs it, the same financial support in getting under way on his sales campaign as she would if he were in college. Before the end of the quarter, before he had left school, L.V.W. had made contact with a national organization, had won their approval as district sales manager, and was launched on what promises to be a successful sales career without any of the psychological or emotional explosions within his family, without any feeling of inferiority on his own part and with deep gratitude to the University of analyzing and bringing out into the open his problem and helping him and his mother to solve it for them.
Certain cases indicate how the very superior student fares in the General College program:
G.P. is an extremely brilliant boy of Jewish extraction with a sensitive, somewhat shy, and very lovable personality. His test records on all the skills but the mechanical and in all academic fields are up in the 90's. He entered a near by small college and was so bored with its curriculum and the classes he was taking after two or three weeks that he transferred to the University. He had heard of the General College and decided to enter here largely to find out what it was like and if it could be and was different from the things he had known in high school and the brief taste of the liberal arts small college he was attending. His first approach was to find out how many subjects and hours we would let him take. After a dull discussion with him he registered three weeks late for twenty-four hours of work. I saw him from time to time throughout the year and was increasingly impressed with his ability and his personality. He showed a growing enthusiasm for his work and an acute interest in social problems and the field of the social sciences generally. By the end of the year so intensively had he studied and so widely had he read that he had completed the equivalent in class of 71 quarter hours; had passed all but one quiz and examination in the honors grade above 85 per cent; and in the spring he took six of our major comprehensive examinations and passed every one of them above 90 per cent. In the spring he took a flying trip to Chicago, saw me the day before he left, asked if I might open the way for him to look over the University of Chicago Plan to see whether that was not what he wanted for the remainder of his college course. I corresponded with Dean Boucher who was impressed as I had been and arranged both for a scholarship and a job for self-support for this year. In consequence, after one freshman year this boy is now a junior in the social sciences field in the University of Chicago on scholarship.
Your own Dr. M.R. Trabue referred to me the case of J.P.K., who had applied to the Employment Stabilization Research Institute for analysis and guidance. On his test records J.P.K. was found to have all of his academic, aptitudes, abilities, his so-called intelligence in the upper five per cent of the human range. Nevertheless, he had been since he quit a little country high school at the end of his sophomore year, for nearly twenty-five years a victim of the American system of employment which asks not what a man can do but what he has done. The entire range of his vocational activities since adolescence had been in the day labor and the travelling commercial sales field. At the time of his application to Dr. Trabue he was employed as a janitor in the Board of Education. He was thirty-nine years old and because of the high speed and sensitivity of his mind was becoming increasingly radical in his ideas and his resentments against society. By special arrangement he was taken into the General College and in his case, as with that of G.P., we set no limit to the amount of work he might take. As a result he completed also over 70 quartershours of class work with honors grade and in addition to that visited from time to time each week most of the other classes offered by the General College. He read widely and in the spring took, as did G.P., six of the major comprehensive examinations and stood in the top two or three percentiles on each one. He is therefore this year registered after one year in the General College, in the University College of the University of Minnesota as a junior. He is doing intensive advanced work in political and social science and economics. I think that there is no question but what he will graduate with honors in another year and a half or two years and probably go on into the graduate field. His whole desire is to learn enough about the fundaments of social science for the rest of his life so that he may throw himself into the maelstrom and help American labor to solve some of its problems and difficulties.
The following cases illustrate what the General College is attempting to do with some of the battered wreckages of human society among its youth.
Because we are a state University and hence required to accept all high school graduates, L.T. was admitted to the General College. His College Ability Test Rating was 2, his Iowa English 1, he stood within three of the bottom of his large class graduating from one of our city high schools. On the back of his folder of application for admission his high school principal had written in no uncertain terms that this boy had no mind whatsoever for academic studies, that he was distinctly not collegeable and that he could not under any circumstances be recommended by his high school for college. L.T. was registered with us for five courses, fourteen hours of work. In all five he failed both the mid-quarters and the finals. He came to me on the opening day of the second quarter with tears in his eyes and said that he supposed he was kicked out of the General College and the University. I told him that it was not our purpose to kick anyone out who was working hard and who was profiting, who was getting full value in his own and
his parents opinion for the time and money spent here. With this suggestion the boy launched out on a three-quarter of an hour talk with me outlining in detail his own conceptions of his growth and of the values he had received from his first quarter's work in the University. I gave him permission to register for the winter quarter on the basis of his quite apparent eagerness and upon his own clear picture of a growth which had not been demonstrated by the tests given in his courses. The next day his father came in and said that he didn't want the boy to know that he was here because he didn't want him to think that a father would believe that he was lying but that he, the father, could not believe when he had seen the boy's grades that I had permitted him to re-register. I repeated to the father what I had said to the boy that so long as the boy himself and his father were convinced that he was getting full value for the time and money spent that he might continue. Whereupon, the father himself launched out into a vivid description of what he thought the values had been. He said that L.T. until his registration in college had been the source of the deepest concern to him and his mother. He declared that while the boy had a sweet and gentle disposition they were worried about him because he seemed to them to be a case of arrested development and they were contemplating sending him to a psychiatrist but hesitated because they did not want to confirm this opinion. They said that L.T., despite the fact that he is six feet tall, played only with little youngsters, never with those of his own age and kind. They said that in the presence of his own parents or other adults that he was perpetually silent with his eyes downcast. They said further that he never had showed in all of his nineteen years any interest whatsoever in reading and had never done more than was necessary for high school. During the first quarter in the General College, however, the whole pattern had changed with startling rapidity. He had thrown overboard his acquaintances in the youngster group and had begun to make friends among the college students. He had further insisted on his father ordering for him the Readers Digest, the Sunday edition of The New York Times and Time. And all three of these he read faithfully from cover to cover. He said, moreover, that L.T. in his associations with his elders had changed so radically that at supper table and at parties with older people almost none of them could get in a word edgewise because he was so busy telling them of the things he had learned in his classes and in his reading. By the end of the second quarter L.T. had passed two out of his five course examinations and by the end of the third quarter three out of the five. This year we expect that he may be able to pass most of his work and that, given time, the boy will develop, round out, and become a social asset rather than a social liability.
Ellis S. had during his early high school a very severe attack of scarlet fever. Up to that time he had been a normal boy, the younger brother of two of our brilliant University of Minnesota students, one of whom had graduated from the Medical School, the other from Dentistry, and who are now both practical and successful men in their fields. The scarlet fever left Ellis with a partially destroyed central nervous system and had some effect upon the pituitary and other glands so that he grew enormously and reached something over six feet two. It interfered with his speech habits
and so dulled his mind that it is very difficult indeed to get any light whatsoever to penetrate into the dark recesses. It took him four years to complete his last two of high school and then it was done by the hiring of tutors and incessant watchfulness and work with him. In our early discussions with his mother, it was made perfectly clear that although the boy was permitted to enter the University that he could never hope for nor expect normal student life, degrees, or credit. Nevertheless we were willing to undertake whatever seemed wise to attempt to rehabilitate this boy and to make him a useful member of society rather than a drag upon it. We began to probe for his interests and found that they lay in two fields. One, pharmacy, and the other in growing things, particularly plants and flowers. In consequence, by special arrangement with Dean Wulling of the College of Pharmacy the boy was permitted to audit the courses in Pharmacognosy and Medicinal Plants. By special arrangement with Dean Freeman of the College of Agriculture he was permitted to audit courses in Soils and Horticulture. In addition to that we permitted him to sit in on a few of our General College classes. He attempted examinations in all of these fields but failed them. Nevertheless, he enjoyed them and his mother and his brothers found an increasing alertness and interest on the part of the boy during the past year. On our suggestion a little plot of land was bought for him upon the Minnesota River near the Twin Cities, an assistant gardener was hired to do the heavy work, and during the course of the spring, summer and fall he grew several kinds of medicinal plants, distilled the essences from them and came back this fall highly enthusiastic, his pockets full of bottles of essences and digitalis and other leaves. These were tested by our Pharmacy Department and found to be well above the U.S.P. standards which again encouraged the boy. Now, it is not my hope or expectation that Ellis will ever make profits or do more than keep himself actively interested and busy with the growing and distilling of medicinal plants but I do believe that because of the work he has done and the training he has had here that he will be saved from further deterioration and from life time incarceration in an institution.
C.W. entered the General College last fall. He was a big fellow, good humored, pleasant personality, handsome except for a scar across his forehead. He appeared to be older than the other boys. I asked him where he had been and he said that he had been in a very bad automobile wreck and had his skull cracked, had been hospitalized for six months, and had spent two years and a half recovering. He said also that he had been awarded $10,000 for the accident by the insurance company, a sum put away for his use. The first plan then was to take this money and invest a part of it in a college education. For that reason he was here. Shortly after the year commenced I noticed in class that he would fasten his eyes on me with intense eagerness and interest and take full and copious notes but that after a few minutes the pencil would stop writing, his eyes wander to the window. I called him in and examined his notebook and found that the notes taken were good but that there were great gaps between one batch and the next. I had him tested in the Testing Bureau by Dr. Williamson; he and I discussed the case and came to the conclusion that there was certainly some interference with the central nervous system, perhaps
some free blood still in the cortex from the accident. We sent him to the University Health Service neurologist for a complete neurological examination. Dr. Williamson and I later had a full conference on the boy with the hospital neurologist and the chief of the Health Service. It was discovered that the accident had very definitely permanently damaged his central nervous system. The prognosis, however, was as hopeful as it could be under the circumstances; that is, that there would probably not be further deterioration. We found, however, that the presence of petit mal, a mild form of epilepsy, which shows itself not in violent fits but in these frequently recurring lapses, would quite definitely interfere with the boy's ever getting a college degree. We took the matter up, therefore, with the State Rehabilitation Department and they are sending their field agent to make arrangements with the boy's family so that the money may be put in trust for him and offer him a little leeway and support throughout life. Dr. Williamson and I are working with him to adjust him to the idea of working either on a farm or in a small country store. We have felt very definitely that if the University did not perform some such service for this boy that sharpers of one sort or another would get the money away from him and that he would be forced into social situations where deterioration would continue. A history of gonorrhea within the past year or two further enforced our opinion in this matter.
Cases representing the typically vocational adjustment may have some further bearing on the North Carolina situation. Now, obviously the General College is not designed as a vocational school nor has it any intention of becoming one. It is trying broadly to train these one-and two-year people for citizenship and for happier and more efficient lives on the basis of increasing their adaptability and adjustability. Nevertheless, in so doing, it is necessary to make various vocational adjustments. The following two cases give an illustration:
E.F. is one of the most charming girls on the University campus. She is a graduate of a very fine progressive girls' school, private in character, to which many of the wealthy society people of the Twin Cities send their daughters. She has a fine mind but refuses to use it on academic subjects because her major interests lie in art and music. She is, therefore, not a candidate for a four year degree but wants, nevertheless, all the training that the University can give her in the two art fields. She is, therefore, registered in the General College but taking only two of our survey courses for the layman for the better building of her background. In addition to that, however, she is taking a course in sculpture in the College of Engineering and Architecture, a course in pen and pencil technique in the College of Education, a course in design in the College of Home Economics, and piano in the School of Music,
think it is a quite valid supposition that this girl will marry in the next three or four years. In the meantime, however, she is getting training in the fields in which she has unquestioned talent; is developing likewise her background; and will for these reasons be a much finer mother, housewife, and person than she would be without this additional training.
B.G. is a smart, practically minded youngster who, likewise, in all probability is headed for marriage in the next three or four years. She, nevertheless, wants to do office work for a year or two or until such a time as she can find her man. In consequence, she is taking a combination course of General College work here and spending her afternoons in a commercial business college downtown training in office technique, filing, business machines, steography and typing. She has already secured the promise of a clerical job at the end of the year. She will, I think, be a much better clerical worker because of the courses she has taken here. She is succeeding in her technical work in the commercial business school quite in accord with her test records for clerical aptitude which ran very high.
A very interesting and useful feature of the General College is its visual education program, under the direction of Mr. Robert A. Kissack, Jr., who has had rather extraordinary training both in education and the motion picture field. His work has served the General College and other departments on the campus with more than 2,000 classroom and auditorium projections during the two years that the General College has been in operation. He has built up a sequence of showings for the courses in the Appreciation of the Fine Arts that demonstrates the development of the motion pictures from the first features to the great current dramas. He shows the development of photography, acting, stories, creative setting, costuming, sound, and other phases of this development. He has also developed the Newsreel Theatre for which attendance is required not only in several of the courses in the General College but in certain courses in Economics, Sociology, Political Science, and Journalism. The examinations in these courses include questions on things seen in the Newsreel Theatre. It is believed that vividness, accuracy, and retention
are vastly increased in students by means of these lectures.
Mr. Kissack does considerable work also in previewing with instructors and editing for their use films of all kinds. For example, in the course in Basic Wealth Professor Wilson found it effective to run a film called "Grass," which shows a primitive tribe on a long migratory journey for food for its people and flocks and immediately thereafter he showed another film called "The Feeding of a Great City" and the flow of food stuffs by boat, rail, and truck into the metropolis.
The first step was to provide adequate projection facilities especially for classroom purposes and also for general assemblies. This includes more than the projection equipment itself; it necessitates the darkening of classroom windows with special light-proof heavy shades, the installing of white (preferably not aluminum painted) projection screens, the installation of special heavy duty outlets and stands or booths for motion picture equipment, and the acoustical treating of the room or auditorium whose acoustics are not already adequate for sound motion picture projection. The next step was to build up a library of films, lantern slides, and film strips. The college has been purchasing such visual aids for its permanent library whenever their frequent use and the budget allowance make this feasible. It is also constantly reviewing many hundreds of motion picture reels, carefully cataloguing and briefing the contents and has, therefore, a large and valuable reference list of all such films available at present for loan or rental and perhaps for future purchase. The list is made up of films from every conceivable source: educational film companies such as the Eastman Teaching Film
Company and the Electrical Research Products, Inc., visual instruction or extension division film rental bureaus, industrial films, current theatrical films, United States Government films, and also films produced by other universities or by private individuals.
It was found impossible, however, to determine whether any of these materials were adequate for college-level teaching until arrangements were made to screen them for faculty previews. The type of films actually used in the General College classrooms has been highly eclectic and frequently composites from many sources. Much can and must be done by editing to fit films to teacher preference, class level, and subject taught. It has been this part of the visual education program which has been most difficult and yet most important for actual teaching purposes. The college has succeeded in organizing a mass of such material for almost all its courses.
Of very great importance in the carrying out of any visual education program is a crew of efficient and experienced projectionists. Without the hiring of at least two projectionists who have had experience in operating both 16mm. and 35mm. machines and who, preferably, are also competent electrical technicians, any program, however well planned, may fall through because of faulty operation.
Mr. Kissack has underway a number of productions including a complete set of eight reels dealing with elementary nursing procedures beautifully photographed, accurately done in the Nursing School and three of the Twin-City hospitals. These films are being used by the nurses to train students and by the General College for vocational information, orientation, and certain sociological and economic discussions. The General College
also uses a film on the bark beetle and its attack on pine trees, and another film on entomology, forest conservation and its economic implications. It is now in the process of taking a series of films on child behavior and another on the decerebration of the frog and pigeon which, it is believed, will be much more effective than the laboratory demonstration of it. The instructors in the General College are asking for more and more films and lantern slide service.
The General College of the University of Minnesota undertakes to give a well rounded terminal education to those students who can profit best by such a program. It attempts to make the courses, all of which are of the survey type, as realistic and as current as possible. Through these courses an effort is made to introduce the student in a realistic and vivid manner first to himself and second to the world in which he lives. The careful attention which is given to each student serves also to remove the feeling of inferiority which some of the students have and to prevent their failure by avoiding a fragmentary and incomplete sort of education. The University of Minnesota, through its general educational committee, is constantly making studies of academic ability and its prediction, and of individual differences among students, and these studies have revealed the various types of failures among students. In effect the work of the General College denies the right of a public educational institution to accept all technically qualified students and then within a brief period to dismiss them because they failed to fit into its formal work. To accept students and then allow them to fail because they do not fit into the traditional plan of education seems to the
University of Minnesota to be a bad educational policy. This institution apparently is trying to make failures of students less brutal than is commonly the case and to salvage as many young men and women as possible. In the first year of the General College those students who had a poor high school record or, on the test records, a comparatively low so-called academic ability were invited and urged to take the new type of work, although no student was required to do so. Those students who were below thirty-five per cent on the college ability rating of Dean Johnston, a rating that is made up of a combination of the college ability test ratings and the high school record, were advised to enter the General College. Nearly all of those students who ranged from twenty to thirty-five per cent on this rating accepted this advice and entered the General College.
The General College has also discovered that one cause of failure among college students is their lack of orientation and adjustment. Few of them know what they want to do or be. It has discovered also that most college freshmen are not ready for specialization although, even in the College of Arts, they are put into specialized channels at the beginning. The General College offers orientation and undertakes to supply to these students a wide and a rich background of man and the world. It also serves to breakdown in the University of Minnesota the barrier of departmentalism which, as already noted, is coming rapidly to be generally viewed as a real obstacle to real college education. Certainly this is one of the afflictions in the University of North Carolina, and any plan by which it can be removed promises to improve education there.
One part of the experimentation at the University of Minnesota appears to promise a great deal for collegiate education in the United States. This institution, as well as the University of Chicago and other institutions, has made considerable progress in the construction and use of examinations, on which two important committees have been working for two or three years. One of these is known as The Committee on Educational Research, consisting of fifteen members and representing the University as a whole. The Committee on College Examinations likewise has fifteen members and represents the entire institution. The work of these committees reveals the increasing emphasis upon examinations in recent trends in American education and the constant effort to discover the procedures by which trustworthy examinations can be made and adapted to the varied purposes for which they are needed.
The General College has been fortunate to have the advice of these two committees which are engaged in continuous research on the needs, abilities, and achievements of the students. Examinations and the individual counseling and conferences increase the effectiveness of work in the General College. As a result the students appear to look upon their work less and less as units to be partly mastered. Apparently the best students in the General College early learn to judge the courses and the teachers by their power to awaken curiosity and stimulate further study. It is claimed also that the comprehensive examinations serve to remove the terror of the students for tests. The purpose of the examinations is to attain a measure of individual progress of students in the mastery of any given field. Use is made of as reliable and valid pre-tests, finals, and comprehensives as can be devised. The important point, however, is that the experimentation in examinations
at Minnesota is a responsibility of the entire institution which is moving rapidly away from course examinations by individual instructors. The cooperation of the teachers and the counselors with the Committee on Educational Research and the Committee on College Examinations is a distinguishing feature of the General College. The serious study of examinations as a worthy project in research is one of the most promising educational movements of the present period.1
1 In the spring of 1934 more than seventy-five colleges were requiring comprehensive examinations of all their seniors as one basis for the award of the bachelor's degree. The New York Times, May 13, 1934. See also Gray, William S., (Editor) Recent Trends in American College Education. The University of Chicago Press, 1931, Part III, "Comprehensive Examinations and Tests," and Studies in College Examinations, issued by the University of Minnesota Committee on Educational Research, 1934.
1 In the spring of 1934 more than seventy-five colleges were requiring comprehensive examinations of all their seniors as one basis for the award of the bachelor's degree. The New York Times, May 13, 1934. See also Gray, William S., (Editor) Recent Trends in American College Education. The University of Chicago Press, 1931, Part III, "Comprehensive Examinations and Tests," and Studies in College Examinations, issued by the University of Minnesota Committee on Educational Research, 1934.
The courses in Contemporary Civilization in Columbia College, New York City, have attracted considerable notice since this work work was established in 1918-19. At that time the faculty of that institution voted to require a five-hour course for the freshman year, in the nature of an orientation course in contemporary problems, as these problems had been illumined by the economic, the political and the cultural history of Europe and of this country since 1300. The course was formulated by the cooperative efforts of the department of History, of Economics, of Government, and of Philosophy. The syllabus, prepared in September of 1919, has been revised seven or eight times. This syllabus has also been expanded to include a three-hour course on problems of the present only to be given in the sophomore year.
The freshman course, "Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West," is prescribed for all freshmen. Its purpose "is to inform the student of the more important factors in his contemporary society and especially to increase his understanding of the economic, political and intellectual background of the present day." In this course a study is made of the European foundations of contemporary American culture and particular attention is given to the economic and intellectual development of the United States, so as to prepare the student in the sophomore year for a more intensive study of economic and political problems in this country.
The second course, prescribed for all sophomores, is also called "Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West." This course, a continuation of the course for freshmen, outlines the organization of the industrial society of the United States in the twentieth century and "presents its technique, distributive mechanisms and financial structure. The effects of the industrial system on particular groups and interests are next considered with special reference to labor, the agriculturists, the consumer and the small competitor." Attention is given particularly to the recent expanding place of government and "the processes by which group ambitions crystalize into public policies." Studies are made of the activities which are gradually being brought within the control of government. Attention is given to the expansion of western influence throughout the world. The course also presents various estimates and criticisms of the present social order, and field work is provided to enlarge and make specific the classroom work. The students are required to visit three times each session representative industrial, financial and governmental institutions in or around New York.
In the fall of 1934 a Field Work Manual was issued to guide the students on these visits and in making first-hand contacts with the various instruments of industrial civilization. Among the subjects treated are: The Port of New York; Bush Terminal; The New York Dock Company; Union Inland Terminal; The Barge Canal and the Terminal at Gowanus Bay; The Holland Tunnel; A Modern Bread Baking Plant; The Production of Soda Crackers and Sweet Cakes; The Manufacture of Corn Products; The Production of Cane Sugar; The Printing Industry in New York; The Food and Products Markets of New York; The Walker Gordon Farm; The Production of Coal Gas and Water Gas; The East River Generating Station; The New York Steam Corporation; Ford Motor Company; The Mergenthaler Linotype Company; The Empire State Building; The Federal Reserve Bank of New York; The New York Stock Exchange; H.C. Bohack Company; R.H. Macy and Company; The Board of Estimate and Apportionment of New York City; The Police Department of New York City; The Courts in New York City; and The Department of Sanitation.
Columbia College pays much attention to the individual student. Probably few institutions in the country study their students more carefully. In addition to the immense amount of information gathered about them through the Office of Admissions, various examinations enable the officers of the college to discover as nearly accurately as possible the varying interests and abilities of the freshman class, which is limited in number. The freshmen are placed in the course in Contemporary Civilization according to their ratings on these examinations. But neither the students nor their parents (it is understood) know the rankings of the
1 The numerous studies in "collegiate educational research" conducted by Dr. Ben D. Wood, Dean Hawkes, and others have been widely publicized. Columbia College, through this work, has contributed a great deal to the study of individual differences and of examinations.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the courses in Contemporary Civilization at Columbia College is the cooperative effort made in the formulation of these courses. The best advice is used from the department of History, of Economics, of Sociology, of Philosophy, and of Government. The instructors of the various sections of these courses are drawn from these departments. The sections are small, varying from twenty to thirty students. A syllabus is followed by the instructor in each section of the freshman course and the same method is followed in the sophomore course. It was observed, however, that if the instructor came from the department of History, for example, his emphasis was likely to be in that field; if he came from the department of Economics his emphasis would be on the economic aspects of the subject; if he came from the department of Philosophy, his emphasis would likely be in that field; and so on. Also, it was noted that the readings and examinations called for by the syllabus were referred to and made as would be the case in a conventional course. The general methods of the instructors varied, of course, in the various sections. Here and there an instructor would lecture a bit, ask a few questions, and provoke a bit of discussion. In another case there would be more lecturing. In still another case it was noticed that the students did most of the discussion under the guidance of a very spirited teacher. It should be noted, however, that the
director of the course, Professor John J. Coss, of the department of Philosophy, who has had charge of these courses since they were established, makes a continuous effort to get and retain for this work the best teachers in the college. These men are invited to teach in these courses; and if they fail through lack of interest or indifferent teaching skill they are relieved of the work. Moreover, weekly luncheon meetings of the staff in these courses serve to maintain a fine esprit de corps. At these meetings individual students are so fully discussed that it seems difficult for a student to get lost or to be neglected.
Here, as in the other new college plans, the success of these courses depends upon the teachers. Those instructors who do not wish to teach in the courses on Contemporary Civilization are not made to do so. Nor are they allowed to do so. These courses at Columbia are probably among the most conspicuous examples of careful planning and careful direction, both of the material and the method of instruction, in this country today.
Columbia College depends considerably upon examinations. All freshmen must take placement examinations in English, Modern Foreign Languages, Mathematics, and Physical Education. These examinations are required in an effort to avoid as far as possible failures of students due to misplacement in courses. The readiness with which a student can adapt his knowledge to the demands of college work is carefully tested. In Modern Languages separate aural tests are given. The purpose of these examinations is to determine where a student will be placed not only in a course but in a section of the course.
Columbia College also places considerable emphasis upon physical education which is prescribed for all students during the first two years of their residence. The purpose of this work
is to enable the students to care for their bodies intelligently, to maintain their physical vigor in later years, and to make more effective use of their leisure time. Health, acceptable carriage, strength, neuro-muscular control, bodily efficiency, and endurance are among the objectives of this prescribed work. Attention is also given to those exercises and games which may be of value to the students after they leave college.
The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts include satisfactory examinations on the two courses in Contemporary Civilization, on physical education, and on English. Attendance upon orientation lectures for freshmen given weekly during the first winter session is also required. By these lectures, it will be noted, Columbia has extended the conventional "Freshman Week." The purpose of the orientation lectures is to acquaint the students with the history and traditions of Columbia College and "with their urban environment, to give them the point of view of the College in their education, to show them methods and means for their work, and to develop class unity, thus establishing them on a firm footing at the beginning of their college experience."
Any student who has anticipated in his preparatory work the subject matter of the degree requirements or of any other college course has an opportunity to take an achievement test on such a prescription or course. If he reveals a sufficient mastery of the subject matter the prescription is waived and he is allowed to proceed to more advanced work in the subject. However, the passing of the achievement test does not give the student point credit towards the bachelor's degree.
The purpose of the courses in Contemporary Civilization is to give the student a general "overview" of broad fields of
learning. In the first course an effort is made to give him an understanding of the course of events in Western Europe and in this country from about 1300 to the present time and of the interrelation of economic, political, and intellectual forces in the various periods of Western History during that time. Another purpose is to give the students the spirit of inquiry regarding social and intellectual changes. In the second course, expanded from parts of the first course and required for the first time about five years ago, the purpose is to enable the student to study and analyze some of the important economic, political, and social institutions: production, distribution, finance; law and government; social welfare and social planning. The functions and limitations of these institutions are carefully considered as parts of the social order, which is presumed to be helpful to all groups. In other words, the main objective of the course for sophomores is "the realistic orientation of students in their own social order."
As already noted, these courses demand an unusual degree of cooperation by the various departments. Apparently departmentalism has been somewhat broken down as a result of these cooperative enterprises in which so many of the faculty participate because apparently they have seen the need for providing more general education especially for those students who enter upon professional studies at the end of two or three years. Through the work in Contemporary Civilization many students are able to make contacts with important subjects which hitherto were isolated in separate courses. It is the testimony of Dean Hawkes and Professor Coss and their colleagues in this work that these survey courses enable students to gain an insight into many broad fields of knowledge and, therefore, to select more intelligently the fields
in which they will later concentrate. It is interesting to report that the number of students who continue work in the fields represented in these courses is twice as large as the number who had previously continued work in those fields.1
1 Coss, John J. "The Contemporary Civilization Course in Columbia College,["] in Columbia University Quarterly, December, 1932. For a description of the organization and teaching of these courses see Coss, John J., "The New Freshman Course in Columbia College," in Columbia University Quarterly, January, 1919.
It has been noted in the accounts of the Chicago Plan and the General College of the University of Minnesota, as well as in this brief account of the Columbia Plan, that departmentalism becomes less stubborn when cooperative courses are established. Not only have survey courses such as have been mentioned in this chapter proved of great benefit to the students but such courses also have had decided advantages for the teachers who participate in them. Courses of this sort apparently have a broadening effect upon all of the teachers. A professor of Economics, for example, may continue his research and writing in that field but if he participates in a general survey course, intelligently conceived and formulated in cooperation with other specialists, he must soon realize how intimate are the problems of his own subject with those of other fields of learning; and such an experience must make him more hospitable to areas of knowledge outside of his own specialty.
No effort has been made in this chapter to describe all of the new plans in undergraduate instruction. As noted at the beginning of the chapter no effort has been made to appraise the
few plans studied during the year. The list of the colleges which are experimenting with attempts for improving undergraduate instruction is a long one. However, it remains to denote very briefly two experiments in the education of women: Sarah Lawrence College, at Bronxville, New York, and Bennington College, at Bennington, Vermont, two progressive colleges which are very similar in purpose, in curriculum, and in methods of work. Each of these institutions recognizes that its primary function is to enable its students to develop their own capacities as fully as possible "for effectual and significant living."
Sarah Lawrence College was opened in October of 1928 as a junior college. In September of 1931 the provisional charter gave way to a permanent charter under which the college may now grant the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The work in this institution is probably unlike that to be found at any college in the United States. Each student is regarded as an individual but also as a member of an intelligent and cooperative group composed of all the students and faculty. There is little if anything traditional about the college and there is much that is novel. Its purpose, however, is to provide conditions most stimulating to the intellectual growth of the individual student whose curiosity and initiative are encouraged. Nevertheless the college does seek to provide for the student a "coherent direction of cultural interests rather than the specialized education of one or more talents."
Individual differences are taken as fully as possible into account in the selection of students, in the arrangement of their programs of study, and in measuring their achievements. Each student is advised to select for study those subjects which will broaden her understanding of the society in which she lives and
increase her interests through independent study. In many ways the college is a very select place. It undertakes to select from those who apply for admission the students who show promise of ability to profit most by its plan of college education. The programs of the students fall within four general fields: the arts, modern languages and literature, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. The institution has made a very energetic effort to avoid departmental divisions within these areas of learning by recognizing the relationships among them.
There are no required courses. Each student selects in careful consultation with a faculty adviser the field of study which most interests her and in which she thinks she prefers to do her major work. Once a major field is chosen the student is encouraged to include some work in each of the other fields, especially those subjects which will broaden and at the same time relate to her major subject. Regular conferences with her adviser are intended to determine the student's steadiness of her original interest and the development of new interests.
The class meetings are very informal with most of the work carried on in group discussions and reports by the students. Considerable time is given to each student in individual conference with each of her instructors. She is encouraged to investigate and to select and to organize material for presentation to her group. She is allowed to proceed as fast as she can, and for eager students this plan seems excellent. Moreover, the "schedule" is so arranged as to provide for uninterrupted study, but she may apportion her time as her needs demand. She keeps a chart of her time on which is recorded the amount spent on academic work, on her major activity, on her leisure time activities, and on her sports.
The student's progress is constantly being measured, and to measure her progress as systematically and as accurately as possible is a major responsibility of the institution. For this work an important faculty committee on research is continuously engaged. No grades or marks are given, but an effort is made to measure the achievement of the student in relation to her own ability rather than comparatively or in relation to other students. An appraisal by the teacher of the work of each student is an important part of the records of the college. The content of her work also becomes a part of that record, on the basis of which a committee of the faculty in consultation with her teachers determines whether she has qualified for the diploma of the college. Written analyses of the work of each student are furnished twice a year and additional reports of similar kind are prepared upon special request. Examples of "contract" reports, reports to parents, and general reports to the office of the president follow:
January 3-March 17, 1933
The organization and clarity of her written work has improved. She understands easily and speaks fairly well. She has developed a serious interest in historical studies of certain forms, notably the drama. She has done good work.
Her work is adequate from an objective standpoint. She has mastered the factual information in this subject well, shows good judgment in the organization and presentation of her project material and grasps the general aspects of the field of study satisfactorily. I should like to see her make a more concentrated effort to penetrate beyond the obvious phases of some particular subject and study to a deeper and more personal appreciation of it.
An interesting student doing very good work. She gives a promise of real accomplishment. There has been a marked improvement in her attitude toward criticism. She is a valuable member of the group and a student capable of independent work.
She has shown general improvement in writing. She has studied faithfully and intelligently and shows a steadily growing maturity in dealing with the work of the group. Has done some special work on the anthology and on subscriptions in addition to her work as a reporter. I look for continued development in her work during the rest of the year.
January 3-March 17, 1933
She has been working for sometime on the place of literature in the modern world. She has been trying to find out in what manner literary forms and expressions have changed under the impacts of the contemporary culture pattern. The work has required her to engage in research in the true sense of the term, and she is conducting it admirably. She is growing almost visibly from conference to conference in breadth and stability of judgment, and she is acquiring an abundance of new knowledge that I think will be permanently hers because it is actually a by-product of her own endeavors. Her interest and enthusiasm have been exceptionable from the start. I am not sure at this point how numerous or how important her ultimate conclusions will be, but I am certain of the educational value to her of the work she is doing. She has been willing in the past to work, but her mind has been (I believe) a little content with superficial ramblings over the surface of knowledge.
Miss--, besides showing an unusually good literary background, has a good critical approach to her subject and a thoughtful attitude toward progressive education. She seems to be profiting in a real way from the experiment.
Today was the most satisfactory conference I have had with her; she showed real grasp of the problem of parent-child relations in her novels of China and a real interest in pursuing their backgrounds.
---- is getting better oriented in this work. She is showing more initiative in finding material to read and informulating her problem. She seems sympathetic both in class and conference, happy about the prospects of coordinating her German with the Social Psychology in a project on children's attitudes in the Nazi regime, to be carried out a little later. She is now rounding up a discussion of parent-child relations in China which, though more superficial than I had hoped it would be, will give background for study of parent-child relations here and in Germany.
A written discussion of some questions on the Pre-Socratic philosophers. Showed that she had done a good deal of reading, and represented, on the whole, a rather intelligent selection of ideas from the material read. The language, however, was rarely her own and the discussion did not reflect any sure understanding of the subjects. This student works very slowly and laboriously. I am unable to estimate the extent either of her effort or her enthusiasm. I believe that on the whole she works conscientiously though a certain tendency to be flippant, combined with the fact that she has taken nearly three weeks to do this particular piece of work than most members of the group makes me wonder whether she is working to capacity.
Her notes indicate more than average ability to comprehend the ideas in the books. When interested in the class discussion (not always) she is quick to see the drift of an argument and often contributes questions that lead right to the point. She is beginning to reflect about some of the ideas in the reading, though she is not yet aware or interested in points of style or the form of books. She feels, as many students do at first, that it spoils the book or at least the enjoyment of it to analyse how the effects are obtained or the difference in style of this or that author. She may get over this, and for this reason, that she is not at all
indifferent to theoretical discussion of such generalities as realism, romanticism, idealism, etc., I was completely surprised by this theoretical interest shown last week in the small group. She reads very slowly. Should discriminate in her reading; read some of the books fast and some that she particularly enjoys more slowly, doing what she can in notes on those she reads fast and a more thorough job with those she reads more slowly. At present she is having a hard time keeping up with the class assignments which most (not all) the class do readily.
---- has done some very careful work in zoology. She has a definite appreciation for precision and careful, neat workmanship. Although I feel that she is interested and has done somethings exceedingly well, she has actually accomplished less than the great majority of the class. This is due, I think, in part to her lack of training in methods of study and partly to the fact that her interest or ability to sustain attention fluctuates. I have a very clear impression of the unusually splendid way which she accepts criticism. I feel that if her enthusiasm can be maintained upon some special project in which she becomes specially interested, and if she can be helped in methods of work that she will have some new intellectual experiences which will bring new satisfaction. I feel that she is vaguely grouping for some such things. I am hoping that as her experience in the laboratory increases that she will later be able to undertake a special study related to the comparison of the structure of the foot of the horse and of man, a subject in which she has already expressed some interest and one which will lead to interesting observations and theories.
A keen interest in the subject, a directness and an intellectual modesty are her most observable points of strength. She contributes occasionally to the class discussion, but prefers not to state an opinion unless she has some information on the subject. She will probably do her best work by herself. In the few pieces of short written work, she has been scrupulous in details, anxious to go slowly and carefully, and to question. She is sometimes content with an oracular explanation which does not really explain.
Very intelligent, observant and real capacity for reflection if her interest was stimulated. Interest varies from occasionally keen analysis in discussion to apathy. Has real possibilities - development depends on interest.
Says she may be interested in acting professionally. Is quite sensitive. Dislikes, I think, doing sketches in front of others, which indicates a nice sense of privacy, but is a drawback at present.
She is preparing a report on the Barrymore family and helping with the sets and costumes for "Sister Beatrice."
Every student has a faculty adviser who occupies a very important position in the educational life of the college. The first obligation of the adviser is to encourage the development of independent judgment on the part of the student. The adviser keeps in constant touch with the plans and achievements of the students by means of frequent written reports from and conferences with her instructors. This cooperation between the student and her instructor, the student and her adviser, and her instructor and her adviser becomes the basis upon which an appraisal of the work of the student is made, rather than upon a system of marks and grades.
The work of the college may be said to be built upon the theory in progressive education of the "activities program." Almost complete freedom is allowed the student both with reference to her educational program and her social life. The college promises to provide full educational value from activities which in the conventional institutions of collegiate grade are generally known as extra-curricular. Such activities at Sarah Lawrence are organized on a systematic basis and are considered important parts of the curriculum. Each student elects one major activity through which she is expected to get training in group work, to develop qualities of leadership, to work under the leadership of others, to contribute to the interests and richness of the community life of the college, and to develop her latent talents.
Activities, directed by faculty advisers, include activities in art, in music, in dramatics, in creative writing, in natural history, and in social service.
Much attention is given to the plastic, graphic, and applied arts,--drawing and painting, sculpture, appreciation and history of art. There is emphasis also upon music, literature and language, and modern drama. Mathematics and the natural sciences constitute another important field of study. The field known as "Man and Society" includes an introduction to psychology, general psychology, child psychology, social psychology, anthropology, a study of family process, economics, modern economic problems, foundations of modern politics, modern institutions and ideas, religion, Far Eastern civilization and culture, as well as some courses in history which appear somewhat conventional. There are courses also in international relations, history of American life, problems of philosophy, and the literature of philosophy.
The work of this college has been variously defined. There are those people who see in it emancipation from the restrictions of the traditional education for women. There are others who look upon it as a "country club" college. Free election and almost no conventional requirements make the institution unique; in these respects it probably differs from any other college anywhere. Some very excellent work was observed there in the winter of 1933, especially in psychology and in contemporary literature, in which the discussions were very animated, although some students literally stuck to their knitting of sweaters and other garments while the class proceeded with its two-hour period. Instructors and students alike were smoking throughout the class meetings. A course observed in the history of Modern Europe
closely resembled courses usually found in this subject in representative American colleges. However, here as elsewhere, the liveliness of the work depended upon the spirit of the teachers who naturally differ in teaching skill and enthusiasm.
Apparently Sarah Lawrence (as perhaps Bennington College and some other innovation in college education) is already facing a practical difficulty in the transfer of its students to other institutions. If a girl wishes to leave the college after a year or two and go to Vassar or any other standard college for women she will probably be embarrassed because she will not have the usual marks and grades which are still required for admission and for graduation. And there will probably be many young women who may wish to transfer to other institutions. However, apparently a great many of the students at Sarah Lawrence are interested in the work of a junior college or of a four-year college (such as Sarah Lawrence has now become) where they may have freedom to study whatever they like even though the work does not lead to a standard degree.
Bennington College differs little from Sarah Lawrence except that it is younger. It, too, is an experiment in higher education for women along the most progressive lines. This institution has undertaken to offer a curriculum especially adapted to the actual needs of women in modern society. The plan is to develop a four-year course leading to the degree of bachelor of arts "with standards equal to those of the best American colleges for women." The ideas of the institution include the following: what education is a continuous life process; that the college should develop in its students "the habit of engaging voluntarily in learning rather than of submitting involuntarily at certain periods to formal instruction;" that educational self-dependence
can be developed in students who work at tasks which have meaning and significance for them; that external devices such as compulsory attendance, grades, periodic examinations, and the artificial accumulation of credits interfere with real incentives to develop educational interests and purposes; that intellectual development should not be isolated from the development of the whole personality of the student; that the college should provide individual guidance; that the college should develop in its students attitudes of social cooperation and responsibility; that it should encourage among its students a realistic understanding of the world in which they now live as well as an understanding of the past.
The college has no formal requirements nor does it have traditional rules of residence. There are no regulations regarding class attendance or examinations. "Your degree will be given only on the basis of your demonstration that you have learned how to stand on your own feet and how to work with skill and understanding in your own field," says the college to girls who seek admission there. The institution undertakes to discover and select girls from public high schools as well as private preparatory schools who are interested and show real promise in at least one of the following fields: literature, the fine arts, music, the natural sciences, and the social studies. The required minimum for admission is creditable completion of a secondary school course but persons of maturity, serious purpose and excellence "who can offer satisfactory substitutes for formal or regular schooling" are considered for admission. The best subjective and objective evidence available is examined carefully in the case of each applicant and the quality of her previous school work receives the greatest weight. Here, as at Sarah Lawrence, transfer to and from other colleges call for special consideration because of the difficulty of definition of traditional requirements.
At the present time (1933-34) the college has only first-year and second-year students, but its plan is to develop into a four-year college. The work of each student is individually arranged but it is not left to her unguided choosing. Many meetings and individual interviews are employed for her guidance in an effort to discover her needs, interests, purposes, and to explain the curriculum of the college adequately to her. After a week of such conferences her program is made. Each student has an adviser, usually selected with reference to the student's major interest. Reports of the work of the student and her difficulties are made directly to the adviser. The program of each student is likely to differ from every other student; much emphasis is placed upon individual work. Here, as at Sarah Lawrence, "activities" are essential parts of the curriculum. The student houses, an important part of the college, are its centers of social life, which encourage neighborly contacts and serve as "a laboratory for education in the problems of social control, individual liberty, group deliberation and cooperation, choice and support of group leaders." Another interesting feature of the college is the "winter field and reading period" which provides the students with opportunities for independent work that can best be carried on away from the college during a two months' winter recess. Each student is required to make a written report at the end of the period in her use of that time and this report becomes an important part of her record.
Promotion does not depend upon grades or course credits. At the end of each year the student receives a report showing whether she has succeeded or failed in the work which she has undertaken. Judgment on the success or failure of the student, whose work is periodically and confidentially estimated by her teachers, is
based upon many types of achievement: reports, investigations, projects, discussions, pieces of creative work, and formal written tests when these seem necessary. There are no regular final examinations. Nor are there any requirements of written examinations. The total student record provides evidence of her ability to do independent work in the field of her major interests.
Promotion from the Junior Division to the Senior Division is made in similar manner. The work in the Senior Division is not unlike the "honors" work in some of the American colleges. Here freedom from formality and routine is permitted in the belief that it encourages initiative and self-dependence. The degree is to be awarded by Bennington, after the completion of the work of the Senior Division, "as the result of examinations, theses or other objective tests designed to reveal objectively the accomplishment of the student in her field of major study." The college does not object if students transfer to other institutions for the degree, but it does point out that until other institutions permit more freedom in requirements for students who transfer" it can seldom be arranged with any degree of satisfaction to the students themselves. To facilitate complete transfer at the end of two years Bennington would have to revise its curriculum so that its students could meet the varying requirements of other undergraduate institutions. This would strike at the heart of the College's educational program."
The new plans examined and studied for this report revealed considerable acquaintance by the administration and faculty with the facts of American educational history and with changing conditions within the colleges that have encouraged or demanded
educational reform. Among these facts and conditions are: (1) the vast increase in human knowledge in recent decades and the resulting expansion in materials of study and the need for reorganizing the subject matter of instruction; (2) the unfulfilled promises of the elective system which point to the needs of changes in the curriculum; (3) the scientific study of man and his education and of the learning process which has called for changes both in the materials and the methods of teaching; and (4) the practical recognition of the fact of individual differences among human beings. These new plans also appear to face squarely the fact that extreme departmentalism is an unfortunate affliction that withers everything truly educational that comes under its shadow and should, therefore, be removed. Moreover, the colleges that have improved their work in recent years have gone definitely from emphasis upon quantitative measures, as revealed by the artificial Carnegie units, to qualitative measures of the individual student.
The next chapter deals with the University of North Carolina.
The present study of the University of North Carolina has grown in part out of studies conducted here in the winter and spring of 1933, by a committee composed largely of the deans of the institution. The report of that committee to President Graham at that time threw considerable light on both the fiscal and general educational problems of the institution. It dealt with costs of administration and instruction, increase in courses, the ratio of students to teachers, the teaching load of the faculty and other matters. The report indicated that the administrative costs were a bit out of line with 114 other degree-granting universities and colleges of the country and that during the five-year period from 1927 to 1932 these costs had increased 9.8 per cent and that the percentage increase in the salaries for instruction had been 5.5.1
1 United States Office of Education Bulletin (1931), No. 20. In this study administration and general control includes "such items as salaries and expenses of Boards of Trustees and Directors, presidents, registrars, treasurers, and other non-teaching officers, and other expenses incident to control and management of the institution." Instruction includes in that study "salaries, classroom supplies, and other expenses of faculty and teaching assistants." Of course financial accounting in institutions of higher learning is still an undeveloped science and there is no standard system of financial reporting among them. However, without reference to practices elsewhere, the figures here seem to indicate that the administrative costs of the University of North Carolina are excessive.
That report and information gathered for the present study seem to indicate that the University of North Carolina has
a rather large administrative organization with numerous boards and committees which hold frequent meetings and are often called upon to deal with matters that should be handled directly and promptly by deans or heads of departments. There is a growing complaint in the faculty against the increase in meetings of boards and in committee work. Apparently also the fields of some committees often over-lap. Informality of life in Chapel Hill is one of its conspicuous charms, but there is danger that it may become a costly indulgence in the University where informality in the meetings of committees and administrative boards often makes for waste of time and for delayed action.
The problems which claim attention in the present study, it should be noted, have arisen almost entirely since 1918. Prosperity and the widespread educational aspirations that followed the World War led to a large increase in student enrollments generally. The size and the suddenness of this increase quickly taxed both the physical plant and the administrative organization of the University of North Carolina. The physical plant was more than doubled in capacity and the administrative organization was greatly enlarged. This response to a measurable actual demand appeared to be an imperative duty of the institution, and expansion at that time was projected in terms of optimistic future increases in enrollment. On the basis of conditions between 1920 and 1925 it was a reasonable assumption that the University of North Carolina should prepare for a student body of four to five thousand within a decade. As a matter of fact, the present administrative organization could probably handle effectively such a student body without any appreciable enlargement; with a slightly greater increase, the instructional staff could probably teach as large a group of
students. The depression and decreased enrollment, however, have left the University of North Carolina with a rather heavy overhead in organization and physical plant. The obvious responsibility now facing the institution is to understand the source and nature of its present difficulties and set about to make the necessary revisions in its structure and work without destroying the essential basis of the larger possible opportunity which must follow with recovery from the depression. Some of the actual conditions in the institution may now be noted.
Courses (outside of law, medicine and pharmacy) have increased 73 per cent during the past ten years. The increase in students during this period has been 76 per cent. The increase in faculty has been 89 per cent.1 1 A small part of this increase may be accounted for by the part-time instruction of members of the Institute of Research in the Social Sciences and by the members of the Training School.
The increase in courses in the 114 universities and colleges referred to above is unknown. The increase in students in these institutions during the past ten years is 86.2 per cent; and the increase in faculty during the same period is 67.2 per cent.
1 A small part of this increase may be accounted for by the part-time instruction of members of the Institute of Research in the Social Sciences and by the members of the Training School.
Many courses (outside law, medicine, pharmacy and engineering) offered in the regular quarters are rarely ever given and some such courses have not been given in the regular quarters for several years. Between the fall of 1929 and the fall of 1932 seventy-seven such courses were not given at all and eighty-five were given only once. It has not been possible to find information on this matter for other institutions in the country.
The tendency toward concentration and specialization has been quite marked in recent years. In 1922 there were 26 (fall), 31 (winter), and 19 (spring) lecture courses with five or fewer students. In 1932 (spring) there were seventy-four such courses and in the winter sixty-one such courses.1 1 These figures are based upon the cards and the examination reports sent in to the registrar and not on registration.
A few courses have been given that have not at any time appeared in the catalogue. Some elective lecture courses beyond the freshman and sophomore requirements are often repeated during the year and a few of these are divided into small sections.
1 These figures are based upon the cards and the examination reports sent in to the registrar and not on registration.
The ratio of students to teachers seems low.2 2 These figures are for all teachers in the University, full time and part time, and may not be conclusive.
In 1922 the ratio was 10.9; in 1927 the ratio was 11.13; in the fall of 1932 it was 10.7. The ration of students to teachers in the 114 public degree-granting institutions in the United States is 13.5, which is an increase of 1.4 during the past ten years.
2 These figures are for all teachers in the University, full time and part time, and may not be conclusive.
The teaching load is uneven and in most cases probably not excessive. The teaching load of the entire staff in non-laboratory courses in 1932 was: fall, 9.3; spring, 9.35; winter, 9.48. The teaching load in non-laboratory courses of full professors for the same quarters was: fall, 8.45; spring, 8.67; winter, 9.3. Tables showing these and other facts appear below.
A very large percentage of the students is taught by instructors of little experience in college teaching, and many of the more experienced teachers have small and often very specialized classes. Most of the students are not coming in contact with the best teachers in the University.3
3 This may be and probably is a general condition throughout the country. It presents a serious problem in this institution.
|Average of 9.3 hours a week.||Average of 9.35 hours a week.||Average of 9.48 hours a week.|
|Average teaching load of entire staff in non-laboratory courses in fall of 1922 was 11.3.|
1 This table shows the teaching load of all teachers in non-laboratory courses, including the part-time instruction of members of the Institute of Research in the Social Sciences and the members of the Training School.
|Average of 11.3 hours a week|
|Fall (1932)||Spring (1932)||Winter (1932)|
|Av. 8.45||Av. 8.67||Av. 9.3|
1 This table shows the teaching load of all teachers in non-laboratory courses, including the part-time instruction of members of the Institute of Research in the Social Sciences and the members of the Training School.
|Fall (1932)||Spring (1932)||Winter (1932)|
|Rural Social Economics||4||2||2|
|Ten years ago (1922) the number of lecture courses with five or fewer students was:||26||19||31|
|These figures are based both upon the cards and the examination reports sent in to the registrar and not on registration.|
|Rural Social Ec.||17||24||19|
|Professors||Asso. Prof.||Asst. Prof.||Inst.||Fellows||Total|
|Fall (1932)||Spring (1932)||Winter (1932)|
These figures are for all teachers in the University, full-time and part-time, and may not be conclusive.
The number of Seniors in the College of Arts who majored in the various departments for the years indicated are set out as follows:
|Zoology and Botany||2||3||7||4|
Approximate number of Juniors and Seniors in the College of Arts majoring in the various Departments in the Spring of 1935:
The major interests of Juniors and Seniors in the College of Arts in the Spring of 1934:
It appears that the increasing departmentalization of the work in the undergraduate years has made for a complex if not costly administrative machinery. As noted in the early part of this chapter, the increase in courses during the past ten years has been 73 per cent, which is larger than that of the average of 114 public degree-granting institutions of collegiate grade. New courses covering limited sections of a specialized field of knowledge and often representing extreme departmentalization have been introduced so fast and often so casually that even the university faculty seems to have lost the sense of unity in the curriculum. It is not amazing to find, therefore, that our undergraduates seem generally not to discover that these courses are parts of a whole. Nor is it clear that this increase in courses has been made with the University's conscious recognition of the needs of its students or even their assumed vocational interests. On the other hand, it may reasonably be asked whether this increase has not been due to the advanced research interests of ourselves, to departmental ambitions or aspirations, or to our failure to discover and provide for the interests and needs of the masses of our students. Whatever the explanation, this increase in courses conspires with the elective system to make unification of the work of our undergraduates increasingly difficult. Too many of them go out miserably uneducated and unprovided with intellectual disciplines or wholesome interests that support themselves. The unity of the undergraduate curricula has almost disappeared.
Findings of the present study seem to give fresh emphasis to the great importance of a closer and more vital working relationship between secondary and higher education in North Carolina. Our students come in the main from a widely scattered and unorganized secondary school curriculum, built around and emphasizing the unit system of credits. Under our admission requirements students may present units from about 28 different high school subjects as follows:
|History||1 to 4 units|
|Mathematics||2 to 4 units|
|Greek||1 to 3 units|
|Latin||1 to 4 units|
|French||1 to 3 units|
|German||1 to 3 units|
|Spanish||1 to 3 units|
|Biology||½ or 1 unit|
|Botany||½ or 1 unit|
|Chemistry||½ or 1 unit|
|Physics||½ or 1 unit|
|Zoology||½ or 1 unit|
|General Science||½ or 1 unit|
|Physiography||½ or 1 unit|
|Civics||½ or 1 unit|
|Economics||½ or 1 unit|
|Scouting||½ or 1 unit|
|Music||½ or 1 unit|
|Military Science||½ or 1 unit|
|Commercial Geography||½ unit|
|Drawing||½ or 1 unit|
|General Agriculture||½ to 2 units|
|Commercial Arithmetic||1 unit|
|Stenography and Typewriting (together)||1 unit|
|Manual Training||½ to 2 units|
English, Mathematics, and Modern Foreign Languages absorb most of the time of the Freshmen and much of the time of many of the Sophomores. Certain facts concerning the preparation of many Freshmen in these subjects may now be noted.
English. For some time it has been necessary for the University of North Carolina to provide for some entering freshmen a course called English A, a sub-freshman course which carries no college credit. In the fall of 1933 this course contained sixty-one members of the freshman class which numbered 559. A study was made of these ill-prepared students in English, their failures and their retardation, and a comparison was made of the students coming from North Carolina schools and those coming from schools outside the State. The data indicated that:
(1) North Carolina schools furnished three times as many English A students as were furnished by schools from outside the State;
(2) The North Carolina Schools furnished one and one-half times as many failures;
(3) The North Carolina schools contributed twice as many retarded students;
(4) The indicated preparation of the North Carolina freshmen in 1933 averaged about that of 13,233 freshmen of other colleges in 1929, though less evenly distributed, but was considerably lower than that of 3,127 freshmen in other colleges in September of 1933. It should be kept in mind that each one of these freshmen came to the University of North Carolina with a diploma or certificate from a North Carolina high school.
The list and tables which follow, were furnished by Professor A.P. Hudson, Chairman of Freshman English. The material has reference to students in English A (sub-Freshman course, without credit, given in the fall of 1933.) Students were placed in this course on the basis of the showing they made (1) on an initial placement test consisting
of 300 words and the Barrett-Ryan English test and (2) their performance of class work (themes and exercises) during the first two weeks of the fall quarter. The first score given is that of the theme (100 points); the second, that of the Barrett-Ryan Test (150 points); the third, the total of the two. On the basis of the total score made (highest possible mark, 250), students making 125 or below were tentatively classified in English A. If their class performance confirmed this placement, they were kept there. If they did better work than the placement test indicated that they might do, they were promoted to English 1 (the regular first-quarter credit course). On the other hand, if students whose placement scores seemed to qualify them for English 1 failed to confirm this classification, they were reduced to English A. It is for this reason that a number of students with placement scores above 125 appear on the list. The grade given is that made by the student in English A during the fall quarter of 1933.
|Anderson, Fred||Military Acad.||Ga.||45||73||118||D|
|Arnold, L.M.||Fuquay Springs||N.C.||38||65||103||D|
|Bodenhamer, Wm. H.||Clemmons||N.C.||50||91||141||F|
|Bruton, C.W.||Mt. Gilead||N.C.||62||97||159||C|
|Capasso, Frank||Neward Prep.||N.J.||35||87||122||B|
|Carr, Jos. D.||Wallace||N.C.||20||81||101||F|
|Coleman, M.A.||Christ S. (Arden)||N.C.||25||70||95||C|
|Crater, A.M.||Oak Ridge M.I.||N.C.||20||46||66||D|
|Cooperstein, Jack J.||Jamaica||N.Y.||26||62||88||D|
|Dickens, J.W.||Roanoke Rapids||N.C.||61||47||108||C|
|East, Malcolm||Oak Ridge Mil.||N.C.||55||67||122||D|
|Feimster, C.J.||Riverside Mil.||Ga.||30||72||102||D|
|Ford, Wm. H.||Lakeview||N.C.||51||58||109||D|
|Fleming, John||J. St. Jos. (Phila.)||Pa.||35||76||111||D|
|Killingsworth, H.H.||Kitterlinus Inst.||Fla.||47||68||115||C|
|Leake, J.W.||Mt. Airy||N.C.||63||40||104||D|
|Pavalakis, John||Chapel Hill||N.C.||15||38||53||C|
|Price, James H.||China Grove||N.C.||69||85||154||Dropped|
|Riggsbee, Bruce H.||Chapel Hill||N.C.||60||45||105||C|
|Ritter, Charles A.||West End||N.C.||60||51||111||D|
|Rucker, Pierce C.||Greensboro||N.C.||64||30||94||D|
|Sapp, Malcolm R.||Winston-Salem||N.C.||47||84||131||Absent|
|Southerland, C.W.||Mt. Olive||N.C.||43||51||94||C|
|Starke, Elmer A.||Roanoke Rapids||N.C.||25||40||65||D|
|Taylor, S.B.||Mt. Olive||N.C.||34||63||107||D|
|Taylor, Yates||Mt. Olive||N.C.||60||57||117||D|
|Tonkel, Jos. I.||Louisburg||N.C.||25||75||100||D|
|Thurman, C.H.||Oak Ridge M.||N.C.||38||35||73||D|
|Ward, Melville C.||Spencer||N.C.||63||62||124||C|
|White, Carey C.||Mt. Pleas. Coll. I.||N.C.||49||83||132||D|
|Waller, C.W.||Mt. Olive||N.C.||53||103||156||C|
It will be noticed that of the nine out-of-state students who were placed in English A in the fall of 1933, six appear to have come from preparatory rather than public schools. All of these students passed the work in English in the fall quarter. Three of the out-of-state students appear to have come from public schools and they also passed the course. Four of the students in English A in the fall of 1933 appear to have come from preparatory schools in North Carolina and these passed the course.
|New students Fall 1933 in Freshman English||Prepared in N.C.||Prepared Elsewhere||Total||%N.C.||%Elsewhere|
|Placed in English A||51||10||61||10||2.5|
|Of 301 in-state students, 51, or 16.6 per cent were practically illiterate.||Of 175 out-of-state students, 10, or 5.7 per cent were practically illiterate.|
|Of the 61 students in English A, 10, or 18 per cent did not pass the course. All of these 10 students were from North Carolina schools.|
The list and the tables which follow have reference to students in English 1 (the regular fall quarter credit course) and English 3 (the course given to normal freshman students in the spring quarter but in this case given to second-year students who for various reasons, chiefly failure in English 1 or 2 during their freshman year, had got behind in their college English). The English 1 students are those who, on the basis of a placement score of 126 (out of a possible 250) or above, or on their showing in English A during the first two weeks, were regarded as having a chance to do passable college work. Most of the students in English 3 took a slightly different placement test (the Pressey Diagnostic Test, 112 points), but the same type of writing test (100 points). The grade given is that made by the student in English 1 (not otherwise indicated) or English 3 (indicated by the numer 3 in parentheses).
|Name||School||State||Theme||Test||Total||Fall Qr. Gr.|
|Barrow, J. Van||Snow Hill||N.C.||77||BR 98||175||F|
|Beaty, C.B.||Mt. Holly||N.C.||34||Pr. 72||106||Dropped|
|Bell, John Cleve||Bailey M.A.||S.C.||94||BR 94||189||F|
|Breckenridge, Arnold||Chapel Hill||N.C.||90||BR 92||182||F|
|Brown, F.D.||Ithaca||N.Y.||78||BR 78||156||F|
|Burnette, W.S.||Whitakers||N.C.||50||BR 78||128||F|
|Burroughs, J.R.||Greenbrier Mil.||W. Va.||55||BR 81||136||Drop. (W)|
|Capps, E.U.||Fay||N.C.||55||Pr. 65||120||F (Repeater)|
|Carraway, W.W.||Snow Hill||N.C.||68||Pr. 75||143||F (Repeat.)|
|Clark, Sam N., Jr.||Va. Episcopal||Va.||72||Pr. 68||140||Drop 3 (W)|
|Crawford, Harry||Mt. Vernon||N.Y.||81||BR 116||197||Drop|
|Cross, R.H.||Lynchburg||Va.||75||BR 110||195||Drop|
|Darden, W.T.||Fay||N.C.||64||BR 94||158||Drop|
|Doggett, Lewis||Coal Springs||N.C.||80||BR 91||171||F|
|Dunham, W.G.||Winston-Salem||N.C.||53||BR 77||130||F|
|Dupree, Carl||Kinston||N.C.||86||Pr. 78||164||Dcc (3)|
|Fisher, J.J.||Staunton Mil. A.||Va.||74||BR 75||149||Inc.|
|Goodes, Eugene L.||Burlington||N.C.||72||BR 85||157||F|
|Hopkins, Wilson||Durham||N.C.||82||BR 102||184||F|
|Hunter, James E.||Clemmons||N.C.||62||BR 86||148||F|
|Huth, Carl||U. of Chi. H.S.||Ill.||85||BR 72||157||Dropped|
|Jenkins, Frank||Mars Hill Coll.||N.C.||Transfer student||F (3)|
|Hanff, Sam||Va. Episcopal||Va.||50||Pr. 64||114||F (3)|
|Jerman, D.S.||Raleigh||N.C.||45||Pr. 69||114||F (3)|
|Jordan, W.M.||Mt. Airy||N.C.||61||BR 77||138||F|
|Lasater, Robt. L.||Broadway||N.C.||70||BR 97||167||F|
|Leach, Ralph||Aberdeen||N.C.||50||Pr. 70||120||F (3)|
|Lefkowitz, Laurence||Berkeley-Irving||N.Y.||59||BR 81||140||F|
|Lorch, Hubert F.||Albemarle||N.C.||84||BR 81||145||F|
|McMahan, T.C.||Coal Springs||N.C.||20||BR 55||75||F|
|McMillan, F.E.||Red Springs||N.C.||58||BR 87||145||F|
|Minor, S.W., Jr.||Danville||Va.||No tests||Dropped|
|Mitchell, W.C.||Greensboro||N.C.||62||BR 83||145||F|
|Mizel, J.I.||Newport||N.C.||55||BR 97||152||F|
|Morrison, John Jr.||Rockingham||N.C.||53||Pr. 63||116||F (3)|
|Murphy, K.M.||Belmont||N.C.||86||BR 81||187||Dropped|
|Neal, Albert||Marion||N.C.||61||BR 69||130||F|
|Popkin, Murray||Hamilton Inst.||N.Y||41||BR 87||128||F|
|Parker, W. McG.||New Bern||N.C.||--||PT 108||--||Dropped|
|Price, J.A.||Wilmington||N.C.||72||BR 89||161||F|
|Rice, G.A.||Yanceyville||N.C.||79||BR 82||162||Dropped|
|Robertson, S.W. Jr.||Fayetteville||N.C.||No tests||F (3)|
|Rowland, Randolph||Riv. Mil. Acad.||Ga.||58||BR 93||151||F|
|Smith, James T.||Penn's Grove||N.J.||45||BR 97||142||Drop (W)|
|Steward, R.M.||Kiskiminetas||Pa.||64||BR 86||150||F|
|Stimpson, C. Jr.||Riv. Mil. Acad.||Ga.||61||BR 67||128||F (3)|
|Venters, Elmer J.||Richlands||N.C.||53||BR 81||134||F|
|Wexler, Theo.||Hamilton Inst.||N.Y.||39||BR 88||127||Dropped|
|Womble, W.H.||Greensboro||N.C.||85||BR 97||172||F|
|Wright, L.W.||South Mills||N.C.||77||Br 77||154||E (3)|
|Enrollment . . . .||Total||State of N.C.||Out-of-State||%State of N.C.||%Out-of-State|
|English 1 . . . . .||427||262||165||61.6||38.4|
|English 3 . . . . .||59||43||16||72.5||27.5|
|F (Failing) Grades . . . . .||35||25||10||8.2||5.5|
|English 1 . . . . .||27||19||8||7.2||4.8|
|English 3 . . . . .||8||6||2||14.0||12.5|
|E's, Inc.'s Drops (1 & 3)||15||7||8||0.23||4.4|
|Failure to receive credit from all causes||50 (10%)||32||18||10.5||10.0|
Viewing the whole problem resulting from (1) preparation certainly insufficient for entrance into college English and (2) preparation probably inadequate for satisfactory work after admission, we have the following distribution of high school responsibility:
|Freshman Enrollment:||Total||State of N.C.||Out-of-State||%State of N.C.||%Out-of-State|
|New (1933) Entering Students . . . . .||547||356||191||65.1||34.9|
|Retarded in English A||61||51||10||16.6||5.7|
|Failures English 1 & 3||35||25||10||8.2||5.5|
|Total Retardation||96 (17%)||76||20||21.3||10.4|
Why should instruction in our mother tongue be such a difficult task? This may not be the place to note one of the faults of the speech and even the writing of American students. Few seem willing to permit themselves to strive to use good, not to mention excellent English. They seem to incline the other way. There is among them a definite objection to speaking well. Good articulation is considered an unhealthy condition. But this condition reflects the national mood. We are afraid of appearing to strain after correctness in our speaking
and writing habits and often seem energetic in our carelessness.1
1 A member of the teaching staff of the University of North Carolina who also teaches science in the Chapel Hill High School was interested in the material discussed above in regard to our Freshmen in English. After reading it he wrote as follows:
"I note the same difficulty in reading and composition in my high school classes. A mere rough shot at a grammatical form or a spelling of a word seems to satisfy. Sounds and letters seem unconnected in pupils' minds and order of letters seems quite immaterial in many cases. Sometimes I am inclined to wonder how far faulty pronunciations--careless elisions, etc.--affects spelling. The same types of error often appear in such correspondence papers, written by teachers in service, as I have occasion to handle....."
Most of our freshmen come from homes of few or no books, careless habits of speech, indifferent habits of reading. They as other human beings, learn to do by doing worthwhile things they are interested in doing. Just as they learn to swim by swimming in the water, they learn to talk by talking to real people about things they are interested in talking about; and they should learn to speak and write by speaking and writing about things they are interested in speaking and writing about.
For nearly forty years this country has had a more or less wide discussion of the teaching of English composition and literature in the freshman and sophomore years. This discussion has been pertinent because of the strategic place such courses occupy in the curricula of our schools and colleges. As a rule it is required and for most of our undergraduates it furnishes about all the training and experience college students ever get in English. These courses are, therefore, very important and those who teach them have an extraordinary responsibility in general education.
Notwithstanding this long discussion, the prevailing method of teaching English composition and literature appears still to place the emphasis upon form rather than ideas, although most thoughtful people
would say that the value of English literature is distinct from an analysis of its form and technique or from its history. So, also, of English composition. It is now generally agreed that the most interesting and effective as well as the most economical way to study composition is in connection with the study of other subjects. Few teachers can really teach and encourage students to write unless they lead the students to think about what they are writing instead of how they are writing. People write well only when they have something to say and not when they have to say something.
Some idea of the meaning and the value of literature is one of the most important things to be taught in these elementary courses. From the best of the writers should be selected as much material as can be studied and interpreted well. This material should be read primarily for its meaning and value and only incidentally, if at all, for its history or form; it should be studied in an effort to cause the students to think about life intelligently and seriously. It appears that the best course in English literature for the individual student would be that which, with the greatest degree of thoroughness, interprets human life to him and that shows him its relation to science, religion, politics, education and all other great human interests and concerns. Literature, as other arts, appeals to the emotions. It reflects many elements of civilization. To provide such a curriculum in English is one of the most difficult of all the tasks that confront those institutions which are seriously examining and trying to improve their undergraduate work.
The problems of the articulation of high school English with freshman and sophomore English are familiar to most teachers of the subject. One of these is the tremendous increase in the number of high school graduates who have been going to college. Perhaps the colleges have admitted indiscriminantly and have not always been sufficiently concerned with the gruesome fact of mortality among college students
during their early years. This condition is often explained by the weakness of the individual student and the type of instruction which he has had in high school. Competent studies show that the entering college freshman is on the whole similar to or only slightly different from the high school senior.
Another problem concerns what is called the tyranny of entrance requirements in the college,--the magic units which must be accumulated by the student before he can enter college. Another problem in articulation between the college and the high school is involved in the evidence that high school methods of teaching are believed to be superior to college methods. This is an old quarrel which need not be brought up here. And still another problem concerns the skepticism of college teachers of English about the fitness of high school graduates to continue work in that subject in college. The professors seem not to be aware that the high schools have made real progress during the past few decades. Moreover, the professors are sometimes inclined to charge their own failures with students to conditions which preceded their efforts at instructing them. It should be noted that college teachers prepare most of the materials of instruction (textbooks and manuals) used in high school and that they train the high school teachers. Also, there seems to be some ground for the criticism that in many institutions practically every English course is taught with the purpose of specialization, as preparation for some other course, primarily for the purpose of heading a few students toward the upper reaches in English rather than undertaking to provide the greatest good in English for the largest number.
Significant, in this connection, is Dr. Dora V. Smith's "Instruction in English," National Survey of Secondary Education Monograph No. 20, the substance of which was released for publication March 18,1934. In this monograph Dr. Smith gives an analysis of 156 courses of study in
English, published since 1925, for junior and senior high schools in 127 representative cities of 35 states, with records of visits to classrooms and conferences with teachers and supervisors in 70 prominent junior and senior high schools. The study reports "an unwarranted emphasis upon grammar drills, technicalities, and other matters of form, with surprisingly little concern that the pupil have something to say." The study reveals a considerable amount of uncertainty about the formal study of grammar, on which emphasis varies. Some courses of study list 45 principles to receive attention while others enumerate as many as 149. The report indicates "no agreement as to what grammar is absolutely needed."
The study also shows that written composition is less successful than oral composition "in breaking with tradition. Even letter writing seems neglected in certain quarters to a degree not warranted in everyday life." The preoccupation is with matters of form and not with teaching the pupils to have "something to say." It is also noted that "the aim of developing vivid imagination occurs only three times in 120 courses of study." Only 57 of the 156 courses in literature agree "upon any one classic which should be studied by all the children." Silas Marner ranks first and Julius Caesar second. The list most frequently required of all pupils is practically that fixed for college entrance requirements in 1890. "Teachers who insist upon some classic offer as an excuse that colleges require it, although studies of college entrance requirements fail to show a single college insisting upon any one classic; nor does the College Entrance Examination Board place such a requirement."
Because the colleges and universities prepare the teachers in high schools, as noted above, and because college and university teachers produce most of the materials of instruction used in the high schools, the "nine serious problems" which Dr. Smith lays down to be considered in the teaching of English in high schools may appropriately be set out here:
What should be the relationship of high school English to the general objectives of secondary education?
How far does the present program in composition and in literature meet the present or the future needs of adolescent boys or girls?
To what objectives other than mere correctness should the composition course contribute?
To what extent does the present program in English grammar influence speech and writing: What is its relative importance in an overcrowded program of instruction?
Granted that a pupils is of low intelligence and has but a year or two to remain in school, what program of English instruction will contribute most to his future welfare and efficiency?
What is preparation for college; that is, what are the actual demands of higher institutions? To what extent should they dominate secondary school practice?
Is there a common body of literary material with which all pupils should be familiar?
What are minimum essentials and on what bases should they be selected?
Granted that the major objectives of the teaching of literature are breadth of experience and interests and a habit of life-long association with good books, what literature content and what methods of classroom instruction are best calculated to achieve these ends?
The Modern Foreign Languages. For several years the Department of Romance Languages of the University of North Carolina has been endeavoring to reduce the large number of failures among the freshmen in its courses; since 1930 placement examinations have been used, apparently with considerable success. The failures in the fall of 1929 were as follows:
In the fall of 1930 the figures were as follows:
For the year 1930-31 the figures were more encouraging:
These figures indicate a reduction in French I of 20.2 per cent from the fall quarter of 1929 and a reduction of 12.9 per cent in the three courses.
The member of the Department1 who has reported the results of these examinations asks why such a large number of pupils who have had two years of French in high school fail in French III. 1 Giduz, Huge. The High School Journal, February, 1932, and November, 1933.
He also asks why pupils who receive grades of from 70 to 95 in high school French are unable to achieve the minimum passing grade required in college in their next course in the subject. He says that in the light of experience here it does not appear that the college instructors are too severe in grading, too exacting in standards of achievement, or that the amount of work required is excessive, arguments that have often been pointed to in explanation of the large number of failures in freshman language work in the colleges. In 1931, the students who passed the placement tests sufficiently well to be put into French III were able to pass that course, and similar results have been achieved
1 Giduz, Huge. The High School Journal, February, 1932, and November, 1933.
since that time.
For the purpose of placement, The American Council Beta French Test, Form A, and the American Council Alpha French Test, Part I, Form B, have been used by the Department, the former in 1931 and the latter in 1933. Not all of the items were required in 1931. In the Vocabulary Test only the first 60 out of the 100 words were chosen; in the Comprehension Test 45 out of 60 items were used; and in Grammar 45 out of 60 items were used. Each student had a chance to make a grade of 150 for a perfect score. The Department decided that those who made a score of 100 or more should be put into French III, those who made a grade of 60 to 99 into French II, all those who fell below 60 placed into French I.
The table below shows the number of students who failed to answer correctly each question in the examination in 1931. In the Vocabulary test, marked I, it will be noted that the number varies from 7 (No. 2), which is 2.1 per cent of all who took the examination, to 263 (No. 52) or 81 per cent. In the Comprehension Text, II, the variation is from 8 or 2.4 per cent, (No. 11) to 167 (No. 39) or 51 per cent; and in Grammar, III, from 55 (No. 3) or 17 per cent to 260 (No. 35) or 80 per cent.
Forty-eight or 18.1 per cent of the students who had had two years of French were put into French I; French II received 135 or 51.3 per cent; and 80 or 30.4 per cent were placed into French III. When these 263 students were grouped, those from schools within the State and those from schools outside the State, the figures were very discouraging. Of the North Carolina students 49 or 19.4 per cent were placed into French I; French II received 105 or 49.8 per cent; and 65 or 30.8 per cent were placed into French III, making a total of 211 students. Seven or 11.3 per cent of the out-of-state students were placed into French I; French II received 30 or 48.4 per cent; and 25 or 40.3 per cent made French III, a total of 62 students. It will be noted that the percentage of out-of-state students was decidedly lower in French I, slightly lower in French II, and markedly higher in French III. A similar condition has been revealed in the subject of English. The examination also showed that the students who come from the best schools have far better chances of making French III than have those students who come from the poorer non-accredited schools. Moreover, the results of the examination showed the need for more careful teaching by teachers of French in the high schools of the State. Professor Giduz concluded that if more of the pupils had been taught by an oral method fewer errors would have been made.
In the fall of 1933 the Department of Romance Languages gave the American Council Alpha French Test, Part I, Form B. Only 50 of the 75 words in the Vocabulary Test were used. All of the 50 items in Grammar were used, making a total score of 100. It was decided that all students who made a score of less than 25 were to be placed into French I; those who made from 25 to 49 were to be placed into French II; and those who made 50 or more into French III. But there were so many students who made from 45 to 50 and so few who made above 50 that the entrance score to French III was lowered to 45.
The examination was taken by 247 students who had had two years of French in high school. Of these 172 came from North Carolina high schools and 75 from high schools outside the State. French I received 90 or 36.44 per cent of the total, the same number were placed into French II, and 67 or 27.12 per cent were placed into French III. Seventy-eight or 45.35 per cent of the North Carolina Students were placed into French I; 62 or 36.5 per cent were placed into French II; and 32 or 18.60 per cent were placed into French III. Students from high schools outside the State did better. Twelve or 16 per cent of these made French I; 28 or 37.33 per cent made French II; and 35 or 46.66 per cent made French III. The results of the placement test in Spanish, given in the fall of 1933, were similar to the results which the French examination showed.
According to the findings of the National Survey of Secondary Education, American high schools are now placing more emphasis upon the reading of foreign languages in the early courses than on writing and speaking them, as has been the traditional practice. This shift in emphasis has resulted from scientific studies and testimony from teachers and is said to be in accord with the needs of the pupils. This trend is believed to be influenced by the Classical Investigation of 1924 and the Modern Foreign Language Study published about 1928. It is also known that about 83 per cent of the students of a Modern Foreign Language in a high school pursue it only for two years at most and that only 57 per cent of those who begin the subject continue it even through the second year.
Most teachers of these subjects generally agree that the teaching of Foreign Languages has two cultural aims: to provide a knowledge of the foreign country and its people; and to increase the student's knowledge of English words and English grammar and to establish the relationship between English and the foreign language. In addition
to these two cultural aims, the immediate purposes of the first two years' study of a foreign language are: the ability to read books, newspapers, and magazines in the language within the scope of the student's interest and intellectual ability; and such knowledge of the grammar of the language as is demonstrated to be necessary for reading the language with understanding; the ability to pronounce correctly, to understand, and to use the language orally. According to a monograph "Instruction in Foreign Languages," issued by the Federal Office of Education early in 1934, the greatest need is the clarification of aims in the light of conditions in the high school and "the determining of principles of procedure, the organization of content, and the preparation of teaching materials to attain these ends." Studies of the subject indicate a tendency on the part of high schools to emphasize college entrance requirements, an emphasis that often leads to the overcrowding of the course.
Mathematics. Two to four units in Mathematics are now required for admission to the University of North Carolina. For some time the Department of Mathematics has been aware that many of the freshmen were deficient in the fundamentals of this subject, and it did not seem quite fair to place adequately prepared students in the same classes in Mathematics with those students that were deficient in that subject. Accordingly, a simple examination in Mathematics was given to all freshmen in September of 1932. The examination consisted of six problems in Arithmetic, six in Algebra, and six in Geometry. The time allotted for the examination was ninety minutes. The problems were short and simple and did not involve complicated arithmetical or algebraic computations. A copy of that examination follows:
1. Express as a single fraction 5/11−3/7
2. Express as a single fraction 91/110×6/7
3. Express as a single fraction 1 5/16÷64/26
4. Divide 73.21 by .93 carrying out the answer to two places of decimals.
5. In 1910 the population of a town was 62,400. In 1920 it was 69,800. What was the per cent of increase? In 1930 it was 67,000, what was the per cent of decrease below the 1920 figure?
6. A man wants to obtain $100 from a bank for 60 days at 6% interest but must pay the interest from the amount borrowed. What amount must he borrow in order to have $100 after paying the interest?
1. Simplify 1/x−1 + 2/x+1
2. Simplify 1/b + 1/a / ab
3. Solve for x and y and check 6x−5y = 3
5x−6y = 8
4. Solve for x and check 2/x = 9/4
5. Find the fourth term of the proportion 3:11 = 18:x
6. Solve for x and check. (x + 2)2 = 9
1. A point P is 10 inches from the center C of a circle whose radius is 6 inches. What is the length of the tangent from P to the circle?
2. The height of a trapezoid is 6 ft. and the two parallel bases are 12 ft. and 8 ft. What is the area?
3. In two similar triangles ABC and A'B'C', AB=21, BC=18, CA=30, A'B'=7. Find B'C' and C'A'.
4. A circular pool of water 20 yds. in diameter has a walk around it 3 yds. wide. What will it cost to cement the walk at $2 a square yard?
5. Given a rhombus 10 inches on each side and the shorter diagonal 12 inches, find the longer diagonal.
6. Given a triangle whose sides are 6, 8 and 10 inches. Find the length of the median to the side 10 from the opposite vertex.
The results of this examination, taken by 596 members of the freshman class, are set out in Table I and Table II below. The papers were graded by members of the Department of Mathematics on the basis of the number of questions that were correctly solved. The highest possible score was 18 and the lowest was zero. An examination of Table I shows that no student received a score better than 16 and only four students received a socre as high as 16. Eight students were unable to solve correctly a single one of the 18 problems. The median score was 6.99 and the average was 7.2. Table II shows that 52 students solved correctly less than three of the problems. These 52 students were required to take without credit a course in Mathematics the purpose of which was to prepare them to do college work in the subject. This table also shows that 80 of the 596 students failed to solve the first example, that 306 failed to do the second, and that 378 failed to do the third problem in Arithmetic. Only 8.4 per cent solved the last problem in Arithmetic. Only 23.7 per cent of the students solved the first problem and only 12.8 per cent solved the second problem in Algebra. Only 5.7 per cent worked the fourth problem in Geometry.
|18 . . . . .||0|
|17 . . . . .||0|
|16 . . . . .||4|
|15 . . . . .||10|
|14 . . . . .||12|
|13 . . . . .||22|
|12 . . . . .||32|
|11 . . . . .||36|
|10 . . . . .||42|
|9 . . . . .||50|
|8 . . . . .||62|
|7 . . . . .||53|
|6 . . . . .||57|
|5 . . . . .||68|
|4 . . . . .||61|
|3 . . . . .||35|
|2 . . . . .||22|
|1 . . . . .||22|
|0 . . . . .||8|
|Total . . . . .||596|
Number out of 596 who answered each question correctly and the per cent each is of 596
|No. of Question||Frequency of correct answers to each question||Percent of answers correct||No. receiving ½ credit||Percent of whole receiving ½ credit|
|No. of Question||Frequency of correct answers to each question||Percent of answers correct||No. receiving ½ credit||Percent of whole receiving ½ credit|
|No. of Question||Frequency of correct answers to each question||Percent of answers correct||No. receiving ½ credit||Percent of whole receiving ½ credit|
"Viewed not from the standpoint of college entrance at all but from the standpoint of preparation for life, what is the significance of these results?" asked a representative of the Department of Mathematics who discussed the results of this examination.1 1 Munch, H.F., in The High School Journal, November, 1932.
He deplored the consequences that would result when the schools turn out "such a product into public and private life. No doubt those who go to college are the cream off the top, the best of the product of our public schools." The study revealed that many students come from high schools with diplomas but are deficient in the fundamentals of mathematics, lack ordinary skill in its elementary processes, and are unable to apply these skills to common problems. There was even some evidence that the elementary school had been delinquent in the teaching of arithmetic. Those who gave the examination believed that all of the arithmetic problems should have been solved by "any good graduate of our elementary school".
1 Munch, H.F., in The High School Journal, November, 1932.
Mortality and Survival of the Class of 1934. Although the University has had a personnel record of some sort since 1923, kept in the office of the Dean of Students, it was not until the fall of 1930 that, through cooperation with the office of the Registrar and through the purchase of cumulative record cards from the American Council on Education, that really comparable and objective data were accumulated on practically all students admitted to the University. The class of 1934 is the first University class on which a study could be made. This study was begun last spring by an assistant in the office of the Dean of Students who began finding out the total number of individuals and their names who had entered in the fall of 1930. The registration for every succeeding quarter was checked to find out the members of the entering class in 1930 who were enrolled in the University in each of those quarters. This study was brought up-to-date by including the fall quarter of the present year (1933-34), this being, of course, the senior year of the class. It was on the basis of this list that most of the figures presented below have been collected.1
1 The material of student mortality was prepared through the office of the Dean of Students.
In the fall of 1930 the office of the Registrar reported 823 registered freshmen. Of this number 771 took the psychological test. (It seems impossible to get a full attendance at any of the placement tests.) Because there were several men not registered with the freshman class who took the test, the number of students in each quarter or quartile of the class is slightly different. The difference, however, is not large enough to be important. The following tabulation shows the number of those entering in the fall of 1930 who have been registered each quarter since the beginning of the freshman year:
In addition to those listed above as having entered in the fall of 1930 together, there have been additions to the class from previous residents as follows:
Adding the totals of these it is found that the total enrollment of the class in the University by quarters is as follows, excluding transfers from other institutions:
In addition to former students returning to enter the class there were transfers from other schools as follows:
The addition of all these figures gives the total size of the class in the University including both its own members, previous students, and transfers as follows:
These figures give the quantitative picture of the University's task in greater detail than it has been seen before. The most startling single aspect of it is the fact that we have here in the University now only 255 of the 823 that we originally admitted, a total of 568 having dropped out and gone somewhere. Nobody at present knows where they have gone. The assistant in the office of the Dean of Students who began the study last spring is now cooperating with the Tennessee Valley authority in an effort to find out what becomes of people admitted to this institution, both those who stay here and complete their course and also those who do not complete their course. If he can succeed in doing this the picture will be more nearly complete.
A list of the students who entered in the fall of 1930 and who are registered also for the fall of 1933 was studied, the students being grouped according to their score on the psychological test. Group I refers to those in the poorest quarter of the test, Group II to the next poorest, Group III to the next to the best and Group IV to the best. Members of Group IV who are not now in the University were also listed. It would be helpful to follow up this group in order to find out what happened to those students who were so well qualified but did not stay here.
The following table gives the survival rate by fourths of the class:
|(Note: GROUP I is the poorest group of the class on the basis of the American Council Test.)|
It will be noted that there are nearly three times as many people of Group IV now registered in the University as there are of Group I and that there are twice as many of the upper half of the class as there are of the lower half.
An examination of the figures of survival by groups on a percentage basis shows that of Group I about 17 per cent are now in college, of Group II about 29 per cent, of Group III about 39 per cent and of Group IV about 44 per cent.
An examination of the matter of regular attendance shows that 20 students in Group I, 44 students in Group II, 69 students in Group III, and 62 students in Group IV have so far attended the University ten quarters. The number in Group IV, however, includes students who have joined the class after having been out of the University for a time. The fall quarter of 1933-34 may have been a bit confused on account of the financial difficulties of the students. If this quarter is omitted, it will be seen that those students who have had perfect attendance in the University for three years are as follows: In Group I, there are four students; in Group II there are 17; in Group III there are 16; and in Group IV there are 29.
Regulations of the University may have made many students in Group I ineligible for residence work after two quarters; and a considerable number in the lower levels of Group II and a few in the other two groups were also ineligible. Statistics of ineligibility have not yet been made up, but this is the way the matter appears.
Summer school and correspondence work do not appear in the above figures because of the irregularity of such records and the small number of cases involved. In construing those figures, the fact should be noted that 10 men in Group IV and one man in Group II have already taken their degrees. These 10, added to the 62 of Group IV having perfect attendance for 10 quarters, would raise that to 72 students who had remained in college
steadily. No men in Group I have yet received degrees.
This study of material concerning survival in relation to the psychological test score was extended to the freshman classes of 1923, 1925, and 1927, a total of 2118 cases. The study showed that in the entire group 16.4 per cent of the class graduated on schedule four years from entrance. These percentages were distributed, with regard to standing on the American Council test as follows: the lowest quarter graduated 4.9 per cent on schedule, the next lowest 13.3, the next 19.8, and the top group graduated 27.6 per cent on schedule. It is clear from this that a student in the top fourth of the class on admission here has more than six times the chance of graduation than has a student in the bottom fourth and furthermore that of all students who enter only approximately one out of six graduates on schedule.
In all these figures which concern the American Council test it is safe to assume that this test measures something very nearly identical with academic ability. Continued use of it in more than 100 colleges all over the country for a seven year period, together with the experience of the University of North Carolina and with many special studies made here and elsewhere concerning its relationship with scholastic achievement, show that it is fairly representative of academic ability. In any one case many conditions, such as temporary physical, attitude, distracting surroundings, homesickness, may influence the score; but the total results are large enough to justify the opinion that students in the upper fourth would certainly be desirable people for us to keep in the University. This accordingly raises the question as to why so many of these people do not stay here through their education.
The preceding figures deal with those students who drop out. Figures concerning students who are forced out are also interesting. The office of the Dean of Students studied the records of 1922-27 involving 3500 freshmen to see what sort of freshmen students were ineligible to return to the University. In this case, tenths instead of fourths of the freshman
class on the basis of the psychological tests were used. The percentage of students in each tenth who failed, regarding the first tenth as the bottom or poorest tenth and the tenth tenth as the best or highest tenth, is listed below:
|10th . . . . .||1.8|
|9th . . . . .||7.0|
|8th . . . . .||4.2|
|7th . . . . .||13.3|
|6th . . . . .||14.1|
|5th . . . . .||20.2|
|4th . . . . .||23.8|
|3rd . . . . .||28|
|2nd . . . . .||24.3|
|1st . . . . .||20|
A glance at the figures shows that there are approximately three times as many failures in the bottom half of the class as there are in the top half. In other words, the top half on the psychological test furnishes approximately three-fourths of those who graduate on schedule and only one-fourth of those who are prohibited by University regulations from returning. The student in the bottom tenth is twenty times as likely to fail as the student in the top tenth.
This condition naturally leads from the question of student mortality to the question: What sort of students are actually received here? Comparing ourselves with other institutions which use the American Council psychological test, we are a little below the national average in student academic ability, half of our students ranking better than the lower third of the national group, whereas two-thirds of our students should so rank. Again, among the institutions cooperating sometime ago in a general culture test, administered to sophomores, the University of North Carolina stood exactly at the average position. The two lists of institutions in these instances are not exactly the same, but both lists are large enough to be fairly representative.
There does not seem to be a great deal of change in the quality of the student body in the University of North Carolina. The distribution of the class that entered in 1928 and the class that entered in 1929 is
almost exactly the same, the mid-point of the two classes being exactly the same in spite of some variation in distribution at the extremes.
In the fall of 1933 the Trabue Test, given to high school seniors in this state in 1927, was used. This made possible a comparison of the academic preparation of the present freshman class with that of the class that entered the University in the fall of 1927. It appears that there was no great change in six years in the qualifications of those people entering this institution. There was very slight difference in favor of the group that entered this fall but so slight as to have no real significance.
The variety of ability among the students here is impressive. This conditions makes very important the question: What shall we do for them in terms of the curriculum?
In the fall of 1933 the freshman class made scores on the English Placement Test ranging from 40 to 234; the maximum score was 250. In other words, the best and fastest student in English was more than five times as good as the poorest. In mathematics the scores ranged from 0 to 25. On the test as a whole, the scores ranged from 53 to 175. In general, on the American Council test, it was found that the fastest and most accurate student was more than 30 times as fast and accurate as the poorest student.
It is difficult to see how students so far apart in ability can profit by exactly the same materials and methods of instruction. The Dean of Students reports that there are numerous cases of conscientious but slow students who are frustrated and driven "into what approximates a nervous breakdown" by our requirements; while well prepared students, frequently with a post graduate year at some preparatory school, develop habits of loafing and half-hearted work during a freshman year, because they had done most of that work before they came here. Here is additional evidence that we need to recognize more fully, in our undergraduate work here the fact of individual differences in the students.
There is further variation in the type of student as to whether he is versatile or extremely good at part of the curriculum and extremely poor at the other or extremely poor at all.
For example, H.E.A. in this freshman class made a grade of 25 on the English test, a grade of I on the Mathematics test and a grade of 11 on the general test. Contrast him with H.S.B. who made a grade of 96 on the English test, a grade of 99 on the Mathematics test and a grade of 100 on the general test. Then there is a third type of student, as C.C.M., who made a grade of 19 on English, a grade of 96 on Mathematics and a grade of 72 on the general test.
The way in which these interests and abilities have significance is shown by the findings of Strong at Stanford where students in the Engineering School with high I.Q.'s and low engineering interests were making low grades and students with low I.Q.'s and high engineering interests were making relatively high grades. Of course, the best grades, as one would expect, were made by students with high I.Q.'s and high engineering interests. There seems to be no doubt whatever that interests and aptitudes, which are fairly well stabilized by the age of eighteen, must be taken into consideration in a college course.
This condition leads to two questions: Where do we get our students? and What sort of students do we get? It was possible to collect some information regarding the students who were graduated from representative North Carolina high schools in the spring of 1930 and those students who entered the University of North Carolina in the fall of that year. The senior high school examination records for 1930 in 25 counties, scattered over the State, and representing both rural and urban communities, were examined and the names of the five boys who made the highest scores on the senior high school achievement test were taken in each case. The result of this study seems to indicate that the larger high schools furnished a larger proportion of the pupils
with high scores; that in only two instances did a small school lead a large school in the ability to produce pupils with high scores; and that the schools in the more remote counties of the State furnished pupils with the lower scores. It also appears that in only three of nineteen counties did the pupil with the highest score come to the University; and that only thirty-three of the 125 students whose records were studied came to the University with the class of 1930. Twenty-one of these 33 pupils took the psychological test when they entered. Twelve of these 21 pupils belonged to the highest fourth of the freshman class, on the psychological test; eight belonged to the second highest; one belonged to the second lowest; and none was in the bottom fourth of the class. The figures in this study of 25 counties, set out below, indicate a condition that bears directly upon our policies and practices of admission.
An effort is now being made to discover where the better qualified students who did not enter the University of North Carolina did go and what has happened to them. Through Professor Woofter, arrangements have been made for the University to cooperate with the Tennessee Valley Authority in a study of the subsequent vocational and educational careers of the approximately 3000 students who entered this institution in the fall of 1926, of 1927, of 1928, and of 1929. This study should provide considerable information about those students who failed here and also those who dropped out and perhaps tell something about the relation of their subsequent careers to their standing as students in this institution.
|Alamance||Burlington||Moore, Chas. Fletcher||124|
|Graham||Smith, Currie Otis||103|
|Ellington, Hillis R.||101|
|Hardee, Aldridge Kirk||101|
|Mebane||Thompson, John Melvin, Jr.||101||4*|
|Anson||Wadesboro||Atkinson, Hal. W.||127|
|Maynard, Julian Decatur||112|
|Covington, Fred H.||110|
|Barnes, William W.||106|
|Gulledge, William Henry||106|
|Buncombe||Asheville||Starnes, Jesse B.||121|
|Hazelman, Herbert R.||113|
|Wheeler, Edward E.||111||4|
|Parker, Fred M.||108||4|
|Candler||Francis, Joseph S.||115|
|Caldwell||Granite Falls||Jenkins, Ernest N.||115|
|Robbins, Robert W.||103|
|Lenoir||Nenon, Ulmer H.||109|
|Collettesville||Gragg, Ralph S.||104|
|Glass, Joseph G.||102|
|Cherokee||Murphy||Bell, Marshall Cornett||118|
|Hall, James Leonard||98|
|Tilson, Samuel Ovid||93|
|Thompson, John William||91|
|Chowan||Edenton||Hollowell, Samuel Lee||109|
|Pruden, Jack McM.||98|
|Bunch, John McM.||82|
|Chowan||Modlin, Wilbur R.||98|
|Brinkley, Claude R.||67|
*This means that only one of the students, John Melvin Thompson, came to the University of North Carolina from the three schools in Alamance County whose scores were examined. This student was in Group IV, the best fourth of the students examined from the schools in that county.
|Craven||New Born||Dixon, Walter N.||124|
|Chesson, Andrew Long||122|
|Simonds, Hubert G.||106|
|Styron, Chas. W.||102|
|Cumberland||Fayetteville||Price, Wm. Oliver||125|
|Stecker, Wm. Wallace||122|
|McLeod, James O.||120|
|Stein, Raymond Oscar||119||4|
|Stedman||Hall, Joseph Cullen||119|
|Davidson||Lexington||Newsom, James Wyatt||124|
|Burkehardt, Belvin C.||123|
|Smith, Everett Foy||123|
|Greer, John Allen||120|
|Sechler, Howard Jerome||118|
|Edgecombe||Tarboro||Martin, Ed. Watts||109|
|Pitt, Wm. Colvin||96|
|Clayton, Ed. Lewis||91||4|
|Keech, Robt. Stanley||89|
|West Edgecombe||Brake, Robt. Earle||98|
|Forsyth||R.J. Reynolds||Diehl, James L.||126|
|Moon, Dabney Van K.||116|
|Campbell, Clairborne M.||111|
|Granville||Oxford||Greenville, Thompson P.||102|
|Usry, Sidney Harmon||95||3|
|Jones, Albert John||94|
|Henderson||Mill's River||Fowler, Randall Wm.||117|
|Hendersonville||Whitehurst, Averette M.||114|
|Moring, George Wm.||108|
|Honeycutt, Allison W.||102|
|Gunter, Samuel Woodson||101|
|Lincoln||Lincolnton||Costner, Beverly P.||94|
|Canipe, Jack Edgar||90|
|Beal, Elmer Wilson||85|
|Lincoln (contd)||Rock Springs||Canipe, Walter Grigg||92|
|North Brook||Avery, Lester||91|
|Macon||Franklin||Wilkie, Wm. Howard||115|
|Patton, Charles Robt.||104|
|Young, John Thomas||102|
|Slagle, Richard H.||99|
|Holbrook, John Leonard||97|
|Nash||Rocky Mount||Garris, John Marshall||126|
|Barnhill, Maurice Victor||113||4|
|Lane, Lewis Patrick||111|
|Nashville||Wheeless, V. George||114||4|
|Griffin, Marcus Samuel||111||3|
|New Hanover||Wilmington||Biggs, Robert Lee||120|
|Hammer, John Levering||115||4|
|Merritt, Wm. Worth||114|
|Berkheimer, Walton Pate||113|
|Cromartie, Henry H.||113|
|Orange||Chapel Hill||Odum, Eugene||113||3|
|Koch, George J.||105||3|
|Simmons, William L.||96||3|
|Council, Claude D.||83||2|
|Efland||Williams, Robert Edward||91|
|Pasquotank||Elizabeth City||Evans, Gilbert Russell||108|
|Stevens, Joseph H.||106|
|Lewis, Robt. Emmet||104|
|Central||Sample, James Alvin||102|
|Swain, Joseph D.||113|
|Scouille, Warren C.||110|
|Rivers, Henry Leonard||102|
|Farmville.||Hardy, Harry McK.||103|
|Polk||Tryon||Rockhill, William R.||98||4|
|Stearnes||Landis, Richard M.||68|
|Hague, Woodrow Lynch||63|
|Randolph||Asheboro||Lea, Hurdle, H.||114|
|Tyson, Thos. Eugene||98|
|Moore, Wm. Coleman||94|
|Trinity||Shelton, O. Lynn||104|
|Kennedy, Robt. Cicero||93|
|Rowan||Salisbury||Purcell, David Craig||116|
|Cruse, Emmet Eugene||108|
|Landis||Shue, Paul Alexander||103|
|Spencer||Dorsett, Frank W.||103||3|
|Wayne||Freemont||Corbin, Wm. Boggs||115|
|Hooks, George Leon||106|
|Goldsboro||Herring, Harvey B.||111|
|Meyers, Samuel S.||111||3|
|Taylor, Dan B.||101|
|Wilkes||Wilkesboro||Miller, Raymond Alfred||98|
|Pardue, Geter Alton||87|
|Profitt, Hight Moore||83|
|N. Wilkesboro||Shatley, Cody||93|
The highest possible score in these examinations was 175 and the highest score made was 127 (Wadesboro and Greenville). The lowest score made was 61 by a student in the Stearnes School in Polk County. The highest average county score was 122 and was made by pupils from the schools in Davidson County. The lowest average county score was 73 and was made by pupils from schools in Polk County.
From only three counties, (Cherokee, Orange and Polk) did the pupil with the highest score come at once to the University of North Carolina. Only 21 of the 125 pupils listed came to the University with the class of 1930. Of these 21 twelve belong to the highest fourth of the freshman class in the fall of 1930 and 8 to the second highest group. One belonged to the second lowest group. A summary of the scores by counties follows:
|County||Score Spread||Average Score|
Out of the 189 students who entered in Group I, 32 or 17 per cent were in the University in the fall of 1933. Out of the 196 students who entered in Group II, 57 or 29 per cent were in the University in the fall of 1933. Out of the 198 students who entered Group III, 78 or 39 per cent were in the University in the fall of 1933. Out of the 188 students who entered in Group IV, 82 or 44 per cent were in the University in the fall of 1933.
Those who have been in regular attendance:
|Number of students in Group I who have attended 10 quarters||20|
|Number of students in Group II who have attended 10 quarters||44|
|Number of students in Group III who have attended 10 quarters||69|
|Number of students in Group IV who have attended 10 quarters||62|
|Number of students in Group I with perfect attendance for 3 years||4|
|Number of students in Group II with perfect attendance for 3 years||17|
|Number of students in Group III with perfect attendance for 3 years||16|
|Number of students in Group IV with perfect attendance for 3 years||29|
Many students in Group I (the poorest group) were ineligible to return after two quarters, and so were many students in the lower levels of Group II and a few in the other two groups. Ten students in Group IV and one in Group II, had finished the work for their degrees before the fall quarter of 1933.
Record of class entering, fall quarter, 1930. The following tabulation shows the number registered each quarter from the fall of 1930 to the fall of 1933:
The following former students have joined this class for one or more quarters:
Total enrollment excluding students who transferred from other institutions:
Report on enrollment by quarters for class entering fall, 1930:
|Same Students||Former Students||New Students||Total|
Records of the Graduates of three classes. The freshman classes of 1923, 1925, and 1927 have been examined to determine:
1. How many of each class remained steadily in college and graduated on the regular four-year schedule.
2. From what quartile of each class the graduates came.
|NUMBER ENTERING FALL, 1923||QUARTILE (PSY. TEST)||NUMBER GRADUATING JUNE, 1927|
|166||II (next lowest)||21|
|165||III (third lowest)||35|
|Total 659||Entire class||115|
|Percent of class on regular schedule||17.4%|
|FALL, 1925||QUARTILE||NUMBER GRADUATING JUNE, 1929|
|162||II (2nd lowest)||25|
|163||III (3rd lowest)||33|
|Total 648||Entire class||103|
|Percent of class on regular schedule||15.9%|
|FALL, 1927||QUARTILE||NUMBER GRADUATING JUNE, 1931|
|204||II (2nd lowest)||25|
|202||III (3rd lowest)||37|
|Total 811||Entire class||103|
|Percent of class on regular schedule||16%|
|Enrollment||Quartile||Graduating on Schedule||Percent &|
|532||II (2nd lowest)||71||13.3%|
|530||III (3rd lowest)||105||19.8%|
|Total 2118||Three entire classes||348||16.4%|
CLASS OF 1934
SURVIVALS BY QUARTERS
The plan originally proposed at the University of North Carolina appears now to have followed the work of Benjamin Franklin at Philadelphia whose liberal view of education was discussed in Chapter I. The report of the committee on the original curriculum certainly was ahead of the times. Until 1804 there was an elective curriculum which emphasized English and placed Greek upon an elective basis with the subject of French only surpassing it interest. History, both ancient and modern, was proposed as a part of the program and Astronomy, Chemistry, Botany, and Natural and Moral Philosophy were to be encouraged. A professor in the University of North Carolina, himself a graduate of Princeton, wrote in 1795 as follows about the curriculum at the North Carolina institution:
The constitution of this college is on a more liberal basis than that of any other in America, and by the amendments which I think it will receive at the next meetings of the trustees its usefulness will probably be much promoted. The notion that true learning consists rather in exercising the reasoning faculties and laying up a store of useful knowledge, than in overloading the memory with words of dead languages is becoming daily more prevalent.
When Joseph Caldwell became president in 1804 he was able to make Latin a required subject and shortly afterwards he made Greek obligatory. The elective system was abandoned and the classical languages became and remained for a long time the heart of the curriculum. In 1837 the requirements for admission were increased and the place of the classics was strengthened and these requirements remained practically unaltered until the Civil War. Moreover, there was meantime an apparent increase in the course requirements in the ancient languages. During the late ante-bellum period almost no freedom was given the student from the classics until the second half of the senior year; and as late as 1854 practically one-half of the student's time was devoted to the classics, while English was taught only three hours
a week for one collegiate year. Orations in Greek and Latin were not uncommon. These were listened to with interest, says Battle in his History of the University of North Carolina, "although understood by few." In 1855 the catalogue declared that: "The Instructors in the Greek, Latin and Mathematical Departments have to complain that the applicants for admission are too often deficient in some part of their preparatory studies. There seems to be a disposition abroad to diminish the very limited amount of reading that is now required in Greek and Latin. There is also a lack of due preparation in the Grammars, Prosody, and construction of these languages, in Grecian and Roman Antiquities, and especially in Ancient and Modern Geography...."
The course of study adopted that year continued practically unchanged until after the Civil War and was crowded with the classics. The faculty refused to allow French to be substituted for Latin or Greek, but in 1858 the seniors were allowed to substitute German. It appears that the approximate distribution of a student's time during his four years at the University of North Carolina around 1860 was as follows: to the languages 60 per cent; to mathematics 18 per cent; to scientific subjects 14 per cent; to all other subjects eight per cent. The time given to languages appears to have been 65 per cent to Latin and Greek and 35 per cent to English, French and German. Irregular students, those who attempted to take what they needed or thought they needed rather than the "regular" course were often objects of ridicule by the regular students. In 1861 the Latin salutatory was omitted but it reappeared the following year. The story of the requirements for admission and for graduation at the University of North Carolina since 1880, set out later on in this chapter, reveals considerable conservatism. Interesting, however, is the fact that the subjects accepted for admission have increased from seven in 1900 to twenty-eight in 1934.
The twenty-eight different high school subjects, listed in the early part of this chapter, and from which students may present units for admission to the University of North Carolina led to an examination of the requirements for admission from 1880 to the present. A brief report of those requirements during this period is given below. An examination was also made of the requirements in English, Mathematics, and Foreign Languages for the degree of bachelor of arts during the same period and a statement of those requirements follows the statement about the admissions requirement. Further, some study was also made of the requirements in English, Mathematics, and Foreign Languages for the degree of bachelor of arts in the twenty-nine members of the Association of American Universities as follows: California, Catholic University, Chicago, Clark, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Johns Hopkins, Kansas, McGill, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, Texas, Toronto, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Yale.
This study showed that the University of North Carolina was quite out of line in its degree requirements in English, Mathematics, and Foreign Languages in that its requirements in these subjects were heavier than those in most of the other members of the Association. It was also found that the admission requirements in these subjects were somewhat higher in the University of North Carolina than at some of the other institutions. This condition was brought to the attention of the faculty in the spring of 1934, when that body was considering problems of the curriculum, and both the admission requirements and the requirements for the degree of bachelor of arts in these three subjects were reduced, to go into effect in September, 1935.
Requirements for admission to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 1880 to the present, follow here:
1880-1892: Entrance by examination only. For admission to the classical (A.B.) curriculum applicants were examined in Latin (four years coverage), Greek (seemingly a two years coverage), English (four years coverage), and mathematics (arithmetic and algebra, apparently about one year of the latter); for admission to the philosophy (Ph.B.) curriculum, applicants were examined in Latin or Greek, English, and mathematics; for admission to the science (S.B.) curriculum, applicants were examined in English and arithmetic.
1892-1895: Entrance by examination or on certificate from certain approved high and preparatory schools. Requirements for the classical curriculum continued as before; for the philosophy curriculum Latin was named as a requirement, Greek no longer being allowed; for the science curriculum English and arithmetic, as before.
1895-1896: History (Greece, Rome, and the United States) was added as a requirement for admission to each of the three curricula.
1898-1899: Entrance by examination or certificate, with seemingly no limitation on the high or preparatory school. The right to examine an applicant was reserved, however, if his certificate were not wholly satisfactory. Requirements continued as before.
1900-1901: To the mathematics requirement were added three books of plane geometry. Seven subjects could be offered for entrance: Latin, Greek, English, history, mathematics, physics, and French-German (counting as one subject). Each applicant was required to be prepared in five of the seven subjects. The A.B. curriculum required Latin, Greek, English, history, and
mathematics; the Ph.B. curriculum required mathematics, English, history, Greek or Latin, and one modern language (French or German) or physics; the S.B. curriculum required English, mathematics, history, French or German and physics.
1901-1902: Eight subjects could be offered, counting French and German as two of the eight. Requirements for the three curricula continued as before.
1903-1904: A.B. Requirement continued as before; Ph.B. requirement made physics a needed and not an alternative subject; the S.B. requirement specified French and German and physics, no choice being allowed.
1904-1905: History requirement was divided into two groups: a) United States history and history of Greece and Rome; b) United States history and English history. Either group satisfied the entrance requirement.
1905-1906: A point system, comparable to the unit system, appeared for first time.
1907-1908: Unit system was adopted. Requirements for admission to A.B. and S.B. curricula identical. A required subject list and an elective subject list now shown. Required subjects and unit value: English, 3 units; history, 2 units; algebra, 1.50 units; plane geometry, 1.00 units; science, 1 unit; foreign language (any language), 2.00 units. Elective units required for a total of 15 for admission.
1908-1909: Slight difference between A.B. and S.B. entrance requirements. A.B. requirements set forth in three groups: 1) Greek and Latin; 2) Latin and French or German; 3) French and German. English, history, mathematics were specified. Solid geometry (½ unit) was added. The S.B. entrance requirement specified that German must be offered. A total of fourteen rather than fifteen units was needed.
1909-1915: No changes. (The entrance requirements for the School of Education, added in 1913-1914, were the same as for the A.B.3 curriculum.)
1915-1916: For A.B.2 Spanish was added in same basis as French and German; for A.B.3 a student offered two languages from French, German, and Spanish. History requirement reduced to one unit and that American history. Solid geometry as a specified requirement was discontinued.
1918-1918: Fifteen units required for unconditional admission.
1919-1920: School of Commerce established. Spanish added to language list for School of Applied Science. Group plan for A.B. discontinued. Requirements for A.B. as follows: English, 3.00 units; history, 1.00 units; mathematics, 2.50 units; two languages from Greek, Latin, French, German, and Spanish, with 2 units from each of the two except Latin, in which 3.70 units were required. Requirements for S.B. in Commerce were the same as for A.B., except that only 2 units were required in Latin, if Latin were one of the two languages offered.
1920-1921: School of Applied Science: S.B. in Chemistry, in which French, 2.00 units, and German, 2.00 units, were required; prospective engineers; two units in Spanish, French, or German; S.B. in Medicine called for two units in French and two in German; the two-year pre-medical curriculum called for two units in one language: Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish.
1921-1922: The two-year pre-medical curriculum called for two units in French or German.
1922-1923: School of Engineering was established (previously a part of the School of Applied Science). Two units in one language (French, German, Greek, Latin, Spanish, required.
1924-1925: S.B. in Medicine language requirements reduced to
two units, in French or German, if the student carried through for four quarters in one language.
1925-1926: A.B. requirement reduced the Latin to two units. There were no further changes in the admission requirements until April, 1934, when the faculty adopted the following requirements:
|History and Social Science*||2||4|
|Electives to make fifteen units.|
*At least one unit must be in history.
It will be seen that these requirements differ only slightly from those adopted in 1907-8.
The requirements in English, mathematics, and foreign language for the degree of bachelor of arts at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 1880 to the present are set out below, stated in semester hours:
Same as for 1890-1891 except as follows: in third year Greek was dropped as a requirement. Third year allowed 16 s.h. free electives and fourth year allowed 18 s.h. in free electives.
Same as for 1891-1892. Third year allowed 14 s.h. in free electives; and fourth year allowed 18 s.h. in free electives.
Same as for 1891-1892. In the third year 14 s.h. in free electives were allowed; and in the fourth year 30 s.h., or the entire schedule were elective, nothing being specifically required.
Same as 1894-1895. In the third year 12 s.h. free electives and in the fourth year 12 or 14 s.h. free electives were allowed. In the third year of 1898-99 12 s.h. in free electives were allowed and in the fourth year 6 s.h. free electives were allowed.
Same as for 1895-1900 except that in the fourth year English, as a requirement, was eliminated and only 6 s.h. were required in the fourth year. In the third year 18 s.h. and in the fourth year 24 s.h. as free electives were allowed.
Same as for 1895-1896 for first and second years.
Third year: 6 s.h. from Greek, Latin, German, French, or English.
Fourth year: The major idea is expressed for first time--"9 hours of connected work in one department before graduation." The nine hours were not specified as to field or subject.
The A.B. was divided into A.B.1, A.B.2, A.B.3, and election was so free as to seem aimless.
Same as 1903-1904, for first and second years, A.B.1, 2, 3.
Same as 1903-1904 for first and second years, except AB 3 second year.
Same as 1907-1909, except A.B.2, first year which added French or German, 6 s.h.
Same as 1909-1914, first and second years.
Here and there in this report attention has been called to the evils of departmentalism, to the emphasis upon specialization in the undergraduate work, and to the apparent fact that the College of Arts has been forced to surrender to the demands of individualism and utilitarianism that have been sweeping the country. Some of the material presented in the early part of this chapter bears on each of these conditions. An examination of the catalogue makes these conditions appear even more prominent. The absence of "general" courses and the large number of highly specialized courses reveal the strength of departmentalism and vocational emphasis.
The need for more general education seems clear. Courses are needed in the biological, the physical and the social sciences for students who have had little or no work in these fields of learning and who should have an opportunity to gain an insight into them without having to follow the more extended and specialized sequences required of those students who intend to specialize in these fields. Even a casual reading of the catalogue reveals this lack in the University of North Carolina. The word "prerequisites"
appears scores of times in the descriptions of courses.
General courses are not only prominent in Chicago, Minnesota, Columbia and other institutions whose work is discussed briefly in Chapter II but are gaining in importance in many other colleges. The purposes of courses of this kind are to give such practical information about the sciences as is needed for a citizen in the modern world, to cultivate the scientific attitude of mind in those who do not expect to become professionals in the sciences, and to awaken interest in as many students as possible in the impressive machinery of the world and in the major concepts of the sciences. The experience of many colleges is that broad views of the general fields of science can be given in a highly satisfactory manner. Examples, in addition to those already noted, may be found in Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, and Zoology at an increasing number of the colleges of the United States. In striking contrast, courses in the sciences at the University of North Carolina are apparently designed for those few students who may specialize in scientific fields and not for the masses who are in Chapel Hill for relatively short periods. This condition appears in many other departments.
It is clear also that vocational emphasis in the University has grown heavy during the past two decades and that under this emphasis the College of Liberal Arts, as already noted, has been forced to function increasingly as a service agency to the professional or vocational schools. Moreover, the point of view that has dominated the selection, organization, and presentation of subject matter in the college has not been that of general and liberal education but rather of technical and vocational training. The best studies and the best opinion expressed on this matter in recent times indicate that too much vocational specialization
in the undergraduate years is disappointing. The University of North Carolina has been emphasizing the utilitarian promise of education to the neglect of the humanistic ideal, although it is the task of the college to serve the spirits of men and women as well as to deal with their fortunes, as Woodrow Wilson so well said in his inaugural address as President of Princeton.
It appears that much of the work now provided by the University of North Carolina is largely professional and vocational in nature. Many of the courses direct definitely toward vocational ends and in doing so closely limit to vocational implications any general educational applications that might otherwise be present in such courses. Education is or should be concerned with something more than professional or vocational ends. Students who enter and pass through highly specialized courses are to live and function in their communities not only as technicians but as citizens, as members of families and in many other relationships that are not strictly professional or vocational in character but that bear vitally upon social welfare. Those who are charged with the responsibility of the education or training of young people today cannot afford to ignore these facts. Our vocational or technical courses in the University of North Carolina should rest upon a more cultural and general educational basis. The cultural radiations from many of these courses are now very barren.
For the most part our students are preparing for occupations that turn out to be overcrowded or outmoded by the time they are ready to enter upon them. This practice of seeking occupational preparation by which they hope to secure salaries positions is the result of the emphasis placed by parents and students, and encouraged by the colleges and universities, upon the belief that
increased earning capacity naturally comes with a college training no matter how specialized or vocationalized it may be. Economic interests have doubtless tended to becloud the vision of the students, their parents, and the institutions also.
Neither group apparently has taken a long look ahead to the problems these young people must meet after they are out of college,--five, ten, twenty, or forty years later. Young men and women now or recently in college must, in the years ahead, help to direct our social, economic, and political policies, and shape family and community life. And little that they have had or are now getting in college will aid them intelligently and adequately to discharge their duties as parents and effective citizens. Unless the colleges and universities restore the emphasis of education to the place where it belongs and provide for their students a broader and more intelligent general education rather than the narrow and technical training so definitely encouraged in recent years by these institutions, these young people will be no more successful in useful and happy social living than has been the present adult generation and will meet no more wisely their domestic and social responsibilities.
The emphasis that has been placed by our requirements upon foreign languages may be considered wasteful for most of our students. Less work in these languages should be required, but that which is demanded should be taken to the point where the student acquires a creditable reading knowledge of it. Many of our students whose natural endowment and taste make it very difficult if not impossible to profit by these studies are, nevertheless, required to take them in the early part of their college careers. Some of them not only shirk from the language requirements but acquire bad general habits of study and,
surfeited it not disgusted with these studies, prefer to drop out rather than to pursue something which seems to them to promise so little value. Moreover, the requirements in languages crowd out other studies which, it is believed, would be of greater use to these students when they leave college, whether before or after graduation.
The question may seriously be raised whether the entrance requirements demanded in languages are not harmful to the work of the secondary schools which are forced to place emphasis on foreign languages and thus to lessen the opportunity for high school students to prepare more adequately for social living in the communities in which they are likely to live any way. If life is in large part the solution of problems and the making of decisions in cooperative living, any preparation for life must fit one for the intelligent solution of his problems and the problems of his community and to judge more surely and readily on the great issues of life. Although the schools may have been doing their work as effectively as some other social institutions such as the family, the state, and the church, nevertheless, the schools have not been living up to their possibilities. Nor are they now doing so. If men and women are to be called upon after leaving school to help in the solution of social problems, it would seem wise for the schools to enable them to acquire that habit early.
It is entirely probable also that a part of the lack of respect that students have for their school and early college work is due to the fact that in many cases they are called upon merely to exercise memory and not encouraged to think about real problems. The task of education is to prepare men and women to meet and measure themselves against real responsibilities in the modern
world. The charge, often made by freshmen themselves, that much of our instruction lacks reality and inspiration is not an unjust charge. The deplorable condition is due largely to a want of coordination in the curriculum and to the disconnected way in which fragmentary information is imparted in the various subjects which properly are and should be shown to be parts of one great whole. The undergraduate curriculum must appear to most undergraduates as a picture puzzle rather than a great painting. It would be far better for the student and for society if we should try to show the entire picture to him rather than to flash a light momentarily upon its Minute parts.
Under a highly elective curriculum students are compelled to be confused in the face of hundreds of courses (nearly 900 outside of the professional schools) not always properly related. Often they seem definitely unrelated. Under present arrangements a student is likely to drift and does in fact often drift from one subject to another by chance, or whim, or only by the opinion or gossip of other students for his guidance; and he is likely to come out of and probably does generally come out of four years in college with a doubtful educational growth, although he has met the institution's formalities by accumulating a certain number of credits and carries away with him a diploma and a degree. Moreover, most of the freshmen and sophomores in the University of North Carolina are placed in courses departmentally designed mainly as preparation for advanced courses in the various departments.
Does the institution now expend too much time and energy in what may be called, for lack of a better phrase, the "coddling" of students? Their absences must be regularly checked up and at strategic periods their deficiencies in course requirements must be ascertained and made known to the students or their parents, or
both. Even seniors often fail to show any sense of responsibility to keep watch on their academic programs. Nor do the students give to these duties the thought and effort which they put interestingly and even enthusiastically into their extra-curricular activities,--athletics, publications, social affairs, and migrations from the campus at weekends. No criticism of such activities is here intended. On the other hand, without them academic life here would be a dismal and dispiriting experience for most of the students. The immense increase in these activities here (as perhaps at other institutions) during the past two decades is not remarkable when we consider that the students are seeking and finding in extra-curricular matters outlets for their interests and needs which our academic offerings do not provide and meet for them. But this cannot be charged up to the students. It must be placed at the door of the faculty. And if it is to be improved, the faculty must elevate the whole tone of intellectual interests among the undergraduates so that they may know the more important from the less important matters of college life and insist that these latter find their appropriate level in the academic scheme of things. But improvement at this vital point can be made only when our undergraduate courses provide more unity, more of a common core of integrated educational experience, and when the elective system here is made to prevent confusion of the students and the necessity for their being treated as children and not as men and women.
It may well be questioned whether teaching, for which schools and colleges are established and presumably are maintained, has not become enslaved to the demands of administration. The large administrative machinery which we now have was set up in
the days of expansion that followed the World War, as pointed out in the early part of this chapter.
Proper administration of education is a creative enterprise, of course, but when it becomes the dominating feature of education it is not likely to improve teaching. The danger of the subordination of teaching to administration may still lurk in our feverish effort to imitate in the management of education methods employed in private industry with its huge capitalization, intricate administrative and supervisory machinery, and its vast armies of employees. In education it has become fashionable to follow closely the methods that private business employs; and mass production and standardization have become almost as characteristic of the American college as of the American factory. Emphasis often seems to be upon volume of output and some of the other practices of our colleges resemble those of the counting house. Some of the innovations and new plans in college education are in part efforts to emancipate education from the suffocation with which an imitation of the forces of machine industry threatens to stifle it. It is unfortunate that our college life seems unable to escape the monotonous routine of the machine in whose wheels teachers and students appear more and more to revolve. Excessive educational machinery tends to encourage a uniformity of minds and manners that have a metallic ring.
Finally and most important is the teacher, whatever the curriculum or the machinery of administration may be. The primary purpose of the college is to teach the young people who come to it. No other one of the many functions which it undertakes to perform should be allowed to obscure the original and the continuing purpose for which the college was set up and presumably is now maintained. Moreover, the quality of its achievement in teaching
is the best means by which its success is finally tested. Teaching is the soul of the college. And the first obligation of the administration to the students is to develop and maintain a faculty of effective teachers and to improve the conditions of teaching. Even the best teacher needs good conditions in order to do his best teaching. And no matter what innovation or new "plan" of curriculum a college may adopt or devise its ultimate success will depend upon its teachers.1 1 See Wilkins, E.H. The Changing College, The University of Chicago Press, 1927.
Only through effective teaching can real educational progress be made.
1 See Wilkins, E.H. The Changing College, The University of Chicago Press, 1927.
The art of teaching is not often revealed in a mere exhibition of technical and pedantic learning. It stands best revealed in the influence of the teacher upon others. In that interesting appraisal of teaching made several years ago by a number of Rhodes Scholars, who were asked to describe their best teachers, appears a characteristic of teaching which we are inclined nowadays to decry as old-fashioned. Some of these young men said that their best teachers were those who seemed to appreciate most fully the difficulties of their students. But all of them were in agreement that inspiration was an indispensable quality of a great teacher.
It is doubtful if any plan of educational reorganization of a college can really be depended upon to improve education in a college without teachers who are personally interested in students as individuals and who can and do invigorate life and interpret, vitalize, illuminate and humanize the accumulated information and knowledge which they are believed to possess. A teacher cannot
give that which he does not himself have. The real test of his work is in whether it endures. The college teacher helps to make real educational progress in his institution when he changes his students from irresponsible to responsible beings, arouses them to energetic action for the improvement of themselves and their environment, directs their effort toward consistent, worthy, and noble ends, helps them to form manly, tasteful, and proper habits, and creates within them a thirst for knowledge and for personal excellence. Teaching is the primary business of the college teacher and not his side issue, and his scholarship has larger obligations than those it owes to itself. True, we need the investigator, the research worker, the technical scholar just as we need auditors and accountants in business and engineers and consulting architects. And the Southern States need research,--more and more research; esteem for it cannot be too high both for itself and as a stimulus to teaching. Research has played and will continue to play a large and important part in the educational life of this region. Its value has been proved. Most of our students come from homes of few or no books, indifferent habits of reading and careless habits of speech. The college youth of the South need now, probably more than at any time in the past, teachers who can interpret, stimulate, energize, and inspire them.
Freshmen, especially in this part of the country, need lively teachers who have a passion for divesting knowledge of its abstract and professional character. They do not need teachers whose vows to scholarship may obscure the needs of the students. But the average college teacher of freshmen must remain loyal to scholarship; though it slay him and his students yet must he trust it. He is not encouraged to humanize his knowledge so as to emancipate it from the suspicions with which it is often beset.
It seems a great pity that we can even ask whether a scholar of eminence can be a great teacher or a great teacher can be a great scholar.
The preparation of a young college teacher should not end with the formalities of our graduate system of instruction, as is often the practice. It should continue especially during the early years of his work with freshmen and sophomores to whose instruction he is now generally assigned. The graduate system of scholarship in the United States may account in part for some of the unsatisfactory conditions that generally surround teaching undergraduates in the first two years. The training of the teachers of these young people is usually largely in research, which is the primary aim of the graduate school. Its task is to develop investigators and productive scholars and not teachers. We should not expect all the products of our present graduate system to be spirited teachers of undergraduates, although we know that the dissertation marks for most of them the end rather than the beginning of productive scholarship.
Schoolmasters and college professors in the old days were often policemen and detectives. There was an absence of friendliness between them and the students, little feeling that both were associated for the pursuit of knowledge. But within the past three decades teachers have become more intelligent at this point and education, therefore, more effective. There has been a remarkable change in the attitude of the teacher toward his students. Moreover, the curriculum has been modernized and enriched for their benefit. The requirements in foreign languages and in mathematics have been reduced and other subjects have been given prominent places in the curriculum. In the best places in this country today teachers are considered "physicians of the mind, whose duty it is to discover
differences in personality and make allowances for them."
Most of our students in the University of North Carolina are plainly to become average citizens in this and other commonwealths, but some of our practices in dealing with them are antiquated. When a student appears deficient in a subject the responsibility of the institution is to discover why he is failing and not to kick him out or crush his spirit with regulations and restrictions. He should be examined and studied as carefully as would be the case if he had placed himself in the hands of a physician. Moreover, education is now considered a continuous process from birth to death. It is more than passing grades in a series of fragmentary and unrelated courses.
"What can a teacher accomplish?" asks Headmaster Claude M. Fuess, of Phillips Academy at Andover.1 1 "The New Spirit in Education," in the Atlantic, June, 1934.
"He can encourage logic, arouse intellectual curiosity, inculcate the habit of weighing evidence, and foster a hatred for prejudice and bigotry. This the right kind of schoolmaster can do. And ultimately, in every discussion of this topic, we return, not to equipment or curriculums or policies, but to the personality of the teacher. If he himself has sympathy, fairness, tact, intelligence, tolerance, and a sense of humor, he can become a guide to life and leave his stamp upon a younger generation. In the hands of such a leader, education becomes what it ought to be--not just a job, but a fine art."
1 "The New Spirit in Education," in the Atlantic, June, 1934.
In the concluding chapter are set out a few brief suggestions for improving education in the University of North Carolina. These
suggestions are made in the light of conditions here and of the improvements that have been made in the work of the few institutions studied during the past year.
It is doubtful whether the University of North Carolina should undertake to imitate any of the new college plans discussed or referred to in this report. But certain features of some of those plans could be adapted to advantage by this institution. A few suggestions, drawn from observation and study during the past fifteen months, for improving undergraduate instruction here are set out in the following pages.
The High Schools and the University. We should use energetic efforts to make the break from high school to college less disruptive than it is at present. The articulation of high school and college work could be greatly improved through the cooperative efforts of the schools, the University, and the State Department of Education. More intimate contacts with the schools than heretofore established could well be cultivated by the University. Systematic visits to the high schools by responsible and sympathetic representatives of the University for the purpose of gaining a better acquaintance with the work of the high schools and their students should prove very fruitful. For through this means the University and its opportunities could be interpreted to the high schools.
But more solicitation of students is not sufficient. Conferences and correspondence with principals and with students in their senior work of the high schools and also in their junior year, if possible, would serve to prepare the students more effectively for the work they may wish to do in the University. Certainly more effective guidance of high school students for college work could be provided by this kind of plan. Such contacts
would also serve to stimulate high school students to try to prepare themselves whenever possible, for advanced work in the University in such subjects as English, Foreign Languages, and Mathematics in which, it is believed by some high school people and some members of the faculty of the University, the requirements are high. Explicit assurance to high school students that, if their work is done well, they can count upon admission to advanced work, would stimulate both the high schools and their students to improve the quality of their work. Moreover, such an opportunity would give significant intellectual vitality to the first year's work of such students in college, which is now largely a repetition of high school work and offers few intellectual adventures for freshmen. This opportunity would help to remove the complaint often heard among freshmen in Chapel Hill that their first college year lacks expected interest and stimulation. As intimated elsewhere in this report, it is highly probable that the mortality among the freshmen is due in part to the materials and methods of instruction with which they are confronted.
The need for stimulating, encouraging, and guiding the work of the high schools more definitely than now is glaring in North Carolina; and responsibility for this kind of educational assistance can no longer be escaped safely by the University. It cannot, of course, provide such assistance as adequately as can an institution of ample facilities for such a service. But resources for a modest beginning are already at hand. The University and the State Department of Education could each help the other and in turn the high schools of the State. Vital contacts with the high schools could be made by the academic officers of the University acting as an advisory council for such work. Special services
could well be performed also by the various departments of the University whose subjects are regularly taught in the high schools. The Department of English could help the high school teachers of English, that of Mathematics the high school teachers of that subject, and so on. Besides, attached to the Department of Education in the University are six specialists in the teaching of high school subjects (English, Mathematics, Latin, French, Science, and History) to whom the North Carolina high school teachers of those subjects should be encouraged to turn for advice and guidance. The High School Journal could be more fully employed than at present in this sort of service to the high schools. In short, the potential public educational resources of North Carolina are far from depleted; the pressing need is to unify, vitalize, and use them intelligently and cooperatively to build and advance in this State a significant public educational program.
Intelligent and Sympathetic Admissions Office. The office of admissions holds a strategic place in the educational progress of the University. The direction of higher educational progress in recent years has been definitely away from the quantitative features and toward higher quality of work and greater attention to the individual student. One of the first evidences of this progress has appeared in the changes that have taken place in the admission requirements, the administration of which is one of the important functions of the office of admissions. A second evidence of educational progress in which the office of admissions is vitally concerned is the increased interest in the analysis of the abilities of students and a study of all conditions that affect their achievement. Out of this new interest old record systems have been found inadequate for holding the more accurate and detailed
information about students and new record forms have been developed and are now in general use. These new forms provide a far greater range of information about the student than ever before: age, high school record, rank in high school class, examinations at entrance, subject matter tests, psychological tests, personality measures, curricular interests, vocational interests, reading interests, physical condition, medical record, high school activities, activities outside of school, disciplinary record, occupation of parents, education of parents, religious activities, college marks and college honors, and numerous miscellaneous facts designed to furnish the administration and faculty with information adequate to the proper guidance of the student. Only on such information can useful advisory programs be followed.
As important as are the bookkeeping, the accounting, and the record-keeping features of the office of Admissions and Registrar, these clerical aspects of that work are likely to become less and less important. As time goes on and improvements are made this office will become one of increasingly valuable educational functions, that is, functions in developing and advancing education. There is probably no college office here or elsewhere that has wider opportunity to study and to advance education on really high and practical levels. But its work needs increasingly to be formed into more fruitful activity. And as course credits and grades become less and less important in the educational process, as these are likely to become, the bookkeeping function of the office, as important as this may be, is likely to give way to more important functions. In the future the admissions officer will be required, in the nature of the case, to become a real educational leader and to keep informed about the best that is being done in higher education.
The duties of his office will then be less clerical and more educationally constructive.
Orientation Course. We should try to improve the work now undertaken during the few days of "Freshman Week" by enlarging its activities into a real orientation course. Perhaps this course should extend over the Fall Quarter and be required of all freshmen. It should consist of thoughtfully conceived and carefully prepared lectures by authorities and specialists in the University, and by others who may be brought in, on the history and traditions of the University, the best means by which the students can adjust themselves to life in Chapel Hill, and on any other subjects directly touching their needs and interests.
Administration. If possible, the administrative machinery of the University should be simplified so that the fullest possible time of the teaching staff may be released for teaching and research duties.1 1 See pages 119, 120.
Numerous meetings of boards and committees now absorb a considerable amount of the time of many members of the faculty and seem sometimes to make for duplication of effort and delayed action. Often, also, these boards and committees deal with minor matters that could be handled promptly, directly and safely by the deans or heads of departments, and without jeopardizing democracy in the life of the institution or negating the right of the faculty to participate in the making of its educational policies.
1 See pages 119, 120.
The Improvement of Teaching. If the main purpose of the school or college is to provide students with intellectual adventures, to stimulate their curiosity and interests, and to increase their sense of social responsibility, the institution should
devote more attention to the important task of making its intellectual appeal more attractive to students. This can be accomplished if certain conditions under which undergraduate instruction here now seems handicapped are improved or removed entirely.
It seems necessary for us to place a greater emphasis upon effective teaching of undergraduates and especially of the Freshmen and Sophomores. We should make a re-assessment of the relative importance of teaching effectiveness and of research skill; assure appropriate rewards for teachers of proved excellence; give more attention to the work of the inexperienced men who join the teaching staff; increase, if possible, the attractiveness of college teaching in an attempt to recruit more effective people into that field.
We should give increased attention and study to the needs and interests of the students, especially the Freshmen and Sophomores, with a view to fitting their work more closely to those needs and interests; and provide the students with such guidance in their work as will give them a progressively increasing sense of responsibility. We should give increased attention and study to the purposes of our undergraduate work and provide opportunity for those members of the faculty who teach undergraduates, especially Freshmen and Sophomores, to consider and discuss those purposes.
The Evils of Departmentalism. We should remove as promptly as possible the barriers of departmentalism which appear to breed many suspicions and fears and often to subordinate the needs and interests of the students to the aspirations or ambitions of vested departmental interests. We should give to the curriculum more coherence and integration by introducing into the Freshmen
and Sophomore years courses of a more general educational nature than are now provided. Departmental aspirations or ambitions stand revealed, in many cases, in the catalogue descriptions of courses. Moreover, those descriptions seem to indicate that our work is designed largely for the making of specialists in the various fields rather than for the general student.
More General Education. In April of 1934, when changes were made in the entrance requirements as noted on page 182, the faculty approved a system of placement tests in English, mathematics, and foreign languages for the purpose of determining the fitness of students for advanced standing in these subjects. Approval was also given to a reorganization of the work in the freshman year and the sophomore year. Under the plan adopted the program for the freshman year will consist of English, three hours a week throughout the year; a modern foreign language, three hours a week throughout the year; mathematics or a classical language, three hours a week throughout the year; a general course in the biological sciences, three hours a week throughout the year; and a general course in the social sciences, three hours a week throughout the year. Opportunity will be provided, however, for students to meet the requirements in English, foreign languages, and in mathematics or a classical language by examinations.
The program for the sophomore year is English, three hours a week throughout the year; a foreign language, three hours a week throughout the year; social science, three hours a week throughout the year; natural science or mathematics, three hours a week throughout the year; and an elective, three hours a week throughout the year. Two committees have been at work since the summer of 1934 on the proposed general courses in the social sciences and the biological sciences, to be put in operation in the fall of 1935.
About 1920-21 a committee was appointed by President Chase to consider a general course in the biological sciences for the freshman class. Considerable work was done on the proposal but the faculty never adopted the course. It may be of interest to set out here the statement prepared at that time:
General Freshman Course in Biology (proposed in 1920-21)
In the opinion of the Committee, the success of such a course will depend almost entirely on the personality of the man in charge. He must be a scholar, and, if possible, a productive scholar, but at the same time it is of primary importance that he be a teacher of eminent ability. When such a man is found it is obvious that the selection and organization of the subject matter should be left very largely to him, and the Committee can only outline in a general way the purpose and content of the course.
Purpose. We take it to be evident that he is a poorly educated man who is ignorant of Biology in its relations to the origin, development, health and economic welfare of the race:--its fundamental influence on all vital scholarship in the world today. It is not supposed that any course for freshmen can supply them with very much knowledge, but it is hoped that a sensibly organized course will give them some essential facts and a new and more enlightened point of view that will be reflected in their health, their thought, their reading and their citizenship.
Content. As said before, all detail in the organization of the course must be left to the professor in charge, but the Committee proposes the following tentative outline as a suitable basis for the course:
1st Quarter. Biology in its relation to production: (a) domestic animals and plants,--their origin, use and influence on the history, civilization and distribution of man. The improvement of animals and plants under domestication, by selection, hybridization, etc., for greater yield, better quality, resistance to disease, and development of new qualities to meet demands not yet supplied. (b) Wild life. Importance (economic and esthetic); preservation and encouragement, a few selected examples for closer study of their life and structure, as (suggested) oyster, house-fly, salmon, seal, whale, reindeer and caribou, elephant, buffalo and its hybrid with cattle (catalo), sea fowl (nitrate production); sequoia, pine, rubber tree, quinine tree, etc. An introduction to the problems of forestry.
2nd Quarter. Biology (a) in relation to hygiene, public health and eugenics, with special emphasis on the lives and works of the great founders of modern preventive medicine and eugenics -- as Pasteur, Lister, Koch, Reed and Lasea, Galton, etc. (b) Diseases of plants and animals; their prevention or control.
3rd Quarter. (a) Fundamentals of biology: protoplasm, the cell, nourishment, growth, reproduction, death, as illustrated in the study of a few typical plants and animals (one hour for each creature); as amoeba, spirogyra, hydra, a mushroom, a frog (circulation of the blood shown by lantern), fern, mammal, a flowering plant. (b) Evolution: Theory and proofs: heredity, variation, mutation, natural selection: work of Lamarck, Darwin, Mendel, deVries, Castle, Morgan, Bateson, etc. (c) Evolution of man in particular: prehistoric man: higher apes. (d) Influence of science on the progress of civilization.
The committee is convinced that such a course will prove a success only if it be entrusted to a strong man who shall make it his sole interest. A cooperative plan will not succeed chiefly, because it makes the course the business of no one in particular. There should be organized a special department responsible for the course, headed by a well-equipped professor whose career will depend upon the conduct and character of the work, and assisted by such instructors as may be needed to teach a group of some 600 men. It may be possible and proper to call upon existing departments to give special lectures, but the responsibility of the undertaking cannot be divided among several departments.
Physical Education. We should consider the development, as soon as possible, of a real course in physical education to be placed on equality with other subjects and to be required of all freshmen. Such a course should not be regarded merely as a means of training the body but as a vital educational force designed to contribute to the health of both body and mind. In providing such a course we would profit by the experience of Dartmouth College.2
Breadth and Depth. Action by the faculty in April, 1934, on admission requirements, the degree requirements in languages and
mathematics, and the plan for two general courses means that the University of North Carolina is now preparing to make a distinction between the first two years and the second two years of undergraduate work. In the first two years emphasis is to be more than formerly upon breadth and away from specialization. If the work in the upper two years is to be done less through departments and more through divisions, as is now proposed, the emphasis upon the work in the junior and senior years will be upon depth and toward concentration. Under the proposed reorganization the completion of the requirements of the first two years will be measured by comprehensive examinations so designed as to reveal the educational attainment of the students in the minimum essentials of factual information and in an introduction to the methods of thought and work in the subjects studied in the first two years.
The Place of Examinations. If the proposed reorganization now being debated by the faculty is properly established, we must develop examinations very different from those now in practice here. Moreover, in time we may have to discontinue the present emphasis upon marks that are now given at the end of each course and that count for almost anything, and state our requirements in different terms. As means of measuring the completion of the requirements for the first two years and for purposes of classifying and directing students into the upper two years, the examinations must be intelligently designed. They may include any kind of tests, investigations, problems, or creative work by which the abilities and the performances of the students may be measured. Provision should also be made for a periodic, perhaps monthly, report by the instructor on each of his students, a statement setting forth his observation of the student's habits, health, character, personality
and any traits or qualities which, in the opinion of the instructor, may influence the effectiveness of the student's work. By these means a student's past achievements and present interests can be measured more nearly accurately and his future needs can be more nearly determined than at present.
In order to enter an upper division each student should be required to demonstrate that he has developed acceptable and reliable habits of writing, to be revealed by appropriate English composition achievement tests and by the written examinations in all his subjects. The English composition achievement tests, administered by a competent board of examiners, and open to any student who desires to ascertain whether he has acquired the habit of writing good English, should be given at least three times a year.
It will be necessary to provide for a board of examiners to prepare and administer the examinations. This should be a faculty board and responsible to the faculty. In this undertaking we can profit by the experiences of Chicago and of Minnesota. At each of these places significant improvement in the quality of examinations has been made in recent years. Examinations made and graded in the manner here suggested should enable us to hold instruction more closely than how to the aims and objectives of the courses and also to measure the quality of our teaching. And if we should ever develop a definite policy of promotion and salary increase on the basis of superior teaching ability, an improved plan of examination would provide us with a means of encouraging and rewarding instructors for improvement in the quality of their instruction.
Special Program. We could well consider making better provision than is now made here for those students who are not
expecting nor are expected to spend much time in college. Such provision could be made by a program that would vary from the conventional requirements. From the experience of the General College of the University of Minnesota there may be useful suggestions for us. The students to be served by this special program would include:
Those worthy students who, for financial or other reasons, have only a limited time to devote to a college education and whose needs and abilities can be met better by a special program; those worthy students who show during their initial college experience that they probably cannot profit by the standard curricula of the institution; those worthy students who do not satisfactorily and fully meet the quality and quantity requirements of the standard program of the first two years; those mature students who presumably could profit by study here but who may not fully meet the University's technical requirements for admission because of lack of preparation in certain subjects.
A special program for these students would not invalidate the entrance requirements of the institution nor would it modify the requirements for degrees. The program for each student would be made with reference to his needs and abilities. The purpose would be to rescue and arouse as many of these students as possible and to enable those who can do so to carry on with the standard program of the institution.
It is believed that a special program for these students would result in benefits to many whose needs and abilities are not now well served by our standard program and who are lost to the institution. Besides providing for them more definitely than at present, the plan would save time and money for them, for their parents, and for the State. The plan would enable the University
to recognize more distinctly than now the facts, demonstrated by competent studies of higher education and by experience, that students do differ in needs and abilities and that not all students can profit by undertaking the same college tasks at the same pace or by the same methods. It should enable the University to meet more nearly its obligation to provide the fullest and richest educational experience possible for every student, after a careful examination of his needs and abilities. And the plan should enable the institution to spread its advantages to all students, to the worthy but slow and unambitious as well as to the able and ambitious.
Whatever the educational changes considered and undertaken in the undergraduate work of the University of North Carolina, we should be warned against expecting reforms to be worked only by changes in organization and administration. More than more change in our administrative machinery is needed. Clearly one of our pressing problems is to gain a better understanding of the needs and the abilities of our individual students. It is imperative also for us to provide our students, especially in the first two years of the undergraduate work, with opportunities in more vital materials of instruction. We should also provide for more spirited instruction for all undergraduates. And it seems clear that there is need for a shift in emphasis here from administrative routine to effective teaching for all students.
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