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Title: William Hooper's Critique of Instruction at the University of North Carolina, December 19, 1833: Electronic Edition.
Author: Hooper, William, 1792-1876
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 14K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2005
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-06-23, Brian Dietz finished TEI/XML encoding.
Source(s):
Title of collection: University of North Carolina Papers (#40005), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: William Hooper's Critique of Instruction at the University of North Carolina, December 19, 1833
Author: W. Hooper
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 40005 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Editorial practices
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William Hooper's Critique of Instruction at the University of North Carolina, December 19, 1833
Hooper, William, 1792-1876



Page 1
The distribution of instruction & the conduct of business in the University of this State is attended with evils which cannot be denied & which ought no longer to be concealed or endured, if a remedy is practicable.
While ample provision is made for the tuition of the two upper classes, and the professors can hardly find recitations enough in those two classes to give themselves appropriate employment, the two younger classes are consigned almost totally to the instruction of the tutors. Yet do these two inferior classes compose a considerable majority of the youth of the University. While the Senior & Junior classes generally contain only from fifteen to twenty, the Sophomore & Freshman will contain often thirty & thirty five, each. Of the youth who enter, we may say half never reach the Junior year, certainly half never graduate. Is it then reasonable or right that so large a proportion of the academical youth of our Country should be under such incompetent instruction for two years out of four of their collegiate course? For who are the Tutors to whom their instruction is committed? Almost always recent graduates, taken just from the ranks of the Students, without authority of character, & of scholarship scarcely a whit superior to the classes they are destined to instruct. For the salaries given

Page 2
can induce none to accept the tutorship but such as are in immediate want of funds & then only for a year or six months. As soon as they hear of a vacancy elsewhere, they leave the College, all the benefit of their acquired knowledge & experience & authority is lost to us, & the business is again shifted into the hands of novices.
Nor is the effect upon discipline less disastrous than upon scholarship. Such tutors have no weight of character. Feeling their impotence they scarcely venture to interfere with the students, but let them have pretty much their own way, & get along as easily to themselves as they can. Indeed it is not much to be expected that such novices — equals today & superiors tomorrow — should command respect & enforce good order.
What has been the result of this state of things? We may fearlessly say, almost a total prostration of good scholarship and a considerable relaxation of discipline. The examinations bear testimony to the lamentable effects of tutorial instruction. It is in vain to attempt to repair the damage after they mount up into the superior classes. Inveterate habits of idleness & loose scholarship have been contracted. Rude, tumultuous manners & boisterous behavior at the door of the recitation room which we are compelled to witness too often, bear sad proof of the want of respect & authority of such tutors as we are now obliged to put up with.
The Professor of Languages, to whose Department

Page 3
two thirds of the studies of the inferior classes belong, has for many years seen & sorely deplored the state of things, & feels that he cannot be responsible for scholarship while it continues. Every man at all qualified to judge, knows, that a professor can do little to promote scholarship if those who train them for his hands are incompetent. If the Trustees consider the Classical part of education valuable, as they have shown that they do by assigning it so large a portion of the academical course, both preparatory & collegiate, let them make respectable provision for it, & not stigmatize it by consigning it to the hands of novices.
Unless this is done parents had better keep their sons in the academies during the first two years of the college course & not send them to the University till they are qualified to enter the Junior Class. For is it worth while, is it expedient, that such expense should be incurred as is involved in a University education, if better instruction can be had at their own homes? But if parents do choose to incur the expense, & to hazard their sons' morals at College, ought they to be imposed on with the belief that the University will of course impart more able & thorough knowledge, when in fact, for two whole years their sons are under teaching inferior to what they have left behind them at their own homes? Let us tell them in good faith, you had better keep your sons at home for they will be better taught there, with far less expense to you & less jeopardy of their virtue at that tender age.

Page 4
According to the present arrangement of professorships the whole instruction of 3 professors & the partial instruction of a 4th will be given to the Senior Class; the Junior Class will have the advantage of being instructed by three Professors, while the Sophomores & Freshman will not have any share of this large furniture of means but be thrown upon the mercy of any accidental tutor who may be willing to accept the pittance we give. That is, of 100 & more University youth, about 65 or 70 are starved with a meager taste of knowledge, while the favoured minority are stuffed even to surfeiting.
The above complaints might be made with as much propriety by the mathematical Professor, but as his studies occupy only about a third of the two first years while the classical Professor's occupy nearly two thirds, he does not feel the evil as heavily. But the new professorship will in some measure remedy the mathematical part because the Professor will be enabled to turn more of his attention to the inferior classes, while the classical Department will be left as defenseless as ever, unless the Trustees should be roused by this representation to employ tutors of higher qualifications. It is my sincere & deliberate opinion, that two tutors for $600 would be worth more than the 3 to whom we now give $400 both for tuition & government.

W. Hooper

Dec. 19th 1833