William H. (William Harvey) Allen.

Self-surveys by colleges and universities online

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questions, to require answers, and to hold themselves re-
sponsible for remembering and for imparting the answers
to legislators and public.

16. National Conventions for Trustees

There are over 5000 trustees of colleges and universities
in this country. They are responsible for $800,000,000 of
property and for the annual expenditure of $120,000,000.
What is more to the point, they are primarily responsible
for the way higher education is headed and for the use of
its opportunity. Yet never in the history of higher educa-
tion has there been a gathering of these trustees or a gather-
ing to which trustees have been invited, nor has any device
been worked out by which they can communicate with one
another, ask questions, and exchange experience.

How we could have developed innumerable associations
of educators, professional men, and college athletes without
having found a niche for the college trustee is hard to under-
stand.

There must be a change. The need for it has been felt
for some time and is now being expressed. On December
22, 1916, the regents of the University of Michigan took up
formally the question whether they should extend to college
trustees and university regents an invitation to hold a first
convention at Detroit. Once having seriously considered
the advantages of comparing notes, of exchanging ques-
tions, of cooperatively studying policies involving funds
and opportunities, the trustee group will insist upon inde-
pendent means of informing itself.

When national conventions have been organized, a sur-
veyor will do well to ask how many and how often the re-
gents of any college surveyed have attended national con-
ventions, and what steps they have taken to see that their
own college was represented by problems to be discussed
and questions to be answered, and furthermore what steps



Questions or Notes 45

For Questions or Notes by the Reader



46 Self -Surveys by Colleges and Universities

they have taken to utilize convention proceedings locally.

Ex-President Trottman of the regents of the University
of Wisconsin has for years urged the incongruity of the
trustees' status, and compares it to the unthinkable situa-
tion of railroad directors shut out of transportation con-
ventions.

Of a national convention for trustees, President Burton
writes :

" I am particularly interested in your suggestion of
a conference of the regents of state universities and
trustees of colleges. Surely there is genuine occasion
for such conferences. I imagine it would stimulate
the interest and make the problems of educational in-
stitutions far more tangible and appealing to those who
are responsible for our institutions if they came to-
gether and discussed the problems."

17. College Organization

To learn who's who and what's what about a college the
shortcut is to secure a chart showing the distribution of
powers and duties and the interrelations of trustees and of-
ficers. This the college authorities will prepare. Don't pay
surveyors to do it. Its purpose is to help the study, not to
encumber the report.

Except so far as legislatures or donors have prescribed
distribution of powers and duties, the board of trustees is
legally and morally responsible to society for the working
conditions in colleges. If there is confusion or conflict of
authority, if duties and powers are vague, if no one is ever
unevadably accountable, if the machinery is antiquated and
feeble, the trustees are at fault. Even where faculties have
inadvisedly used the powers vested in them, the fault lies
with the trustees.

Several different forms of organization are found which
express as many different beliefs about centralization and de-
centralization of authority. It is not safe for surveyors to
be dogmatic about forms of organization, for as Pope says,



Trustees Will Study Organisation 47

" Whate'er is best administered is best."

If Efficiency says, " Elect the ablest man for department
chairman," Democracy replies via President Mezes, " The
department should be the unit and the chairman only a
presiding officer and spokesman."

In some colleges the business manager should be re-
sponsible to the president. In others this is impossible with-
out changing presidents, which may not be desirable yet.
Here the deans are wisely elected by their faculties; there
the deans are chosen by presidents ; elsewhere the deans are
best chosen by trustees.

One dogmatic statement, however, can safely be made,
that whatever the form of organization or the distribution
of authority, there should be no uncertainty or duplication
of accountability.

1 8. Written Agreements with Faculty

Much unhappiness in college circles has been due to dif-
fering recollections of verbal agreements. The president
or dean or department head remembers that Professor A
was promised nothing but " the best the college could do."
Professor A remembers a definite promise of change in
rank, increase in salary, only eight hours of instruction,
freedom from quizzes, opportunity for research, special va-
cations, etc.

1. With respect to how many agreements between offi-
cers and faculty has your college been making written
record ?

2. Are the invitation and its terms in writing? Y . . .
N...

3. Is the acceptance in writing? Y . . . N. . .

4. Are subsequent changes of terms in writing? Y . . .
N...

5. Which officers believe that written agreements would
handicap them in making discriminations between ex-



48 Self -Surveys by Colleges and Universities

ceptional ability and average ability or exceptional
desirability and average desirability ?

There have been college officers who were successful in
attracting unusual ability to their colleges which would
never have come if the agreements had been in writing. In
other words, men attracted by hopes, inferences, and words
open to double construction, would not have been attracted
by cold, written, unequivocal agreements. Whether net
benefit can result from such misunderstandings is an im-
portant question, especially for self -surveyors.

For the University of Minnesota, the president's office
keeps a record of " promises, assurances of promotion, or of
salary increases."

Pratt Institute's instructors agree, in writing, to be avail-
able for committee work or " for any work in connection
with the social life or activities at the Institute." More-
over, faculty members " are expected to care for their health
and take such recreation as is necessary for its preserva-
tion." Service is by the year and instructors may be
" called upon any time during vacations." They are ex-
pected to be present, prepared for work, at least one week
before classes open; to carry a minimum of not less than
20 hours a week in classroom work ; and to exceed this in
cases where less outside preparation is required " than it
is usual to expect for classroom instruction." Instructors
must teach in the evening classes if called upon, and " no
instructor giving full time to the Institute is permitted to
engage in any other teaching unless by special agreement
with the trustees." The Institute promises to pay one
month's salary in case of sickness, during which it may
call upon the instructor to pay his substitute. After one
month it is not bound to pay for sick leave.

An incipient scandal was started against the University
of Pennsylvania in 1916 because of a letter written by the
dean of the Wharton School, which required that all faculty
members notify the dean of out-of-university engagements.
The circular sent to the faculty read in part :



Outside Work by Faculty 49

"What other establishments, private or public, are
you connected with at present which have the right to
a portion of your time for which you receive fee, sal-
ary, or honorarium ?

" What committee or commissions of a public nature
are you connected with at present, with or without re-
muneration ?

" All members of the instruction staff are requested
to understand that hereafter no relations of the sort
included in the above questions shall be established,
nor shall old ones be renewed, without first consulting
with the dean, in order that, where necessary, the ap-
proval of the provost or trustees may be requested."

Morris Llewellyn Cooke intimated in a speech at Cleveland
which was printed broadcast that this might prove a muz-
zling device for preventing free speech; i.e., corporations
might thus make it impossible for faculty members with pro-
gressive ideas to keep the speaking engagements or the com-
mittee connections necessary to promote such progressive
ideas. I was interviewed by a Philadelphia newspaper,
which told me after I had stated my position that it had ex-
pected a different position from the following :

The Pennsylvania order was not limited to the Wharton
School. On the contrary, all deans united in issuing it.
Several deans imparted the information orally which gave
opportunity for discussion and promoted understanding.
It seems that members of the Pennsylvania faculty had been
accepting regular appointments as far away as Baltimore
and New York. Some had broken down physically for no
other discoverable reason except that they were trying to do
too much. The university naturally felt that it had the first
claim upon instructors' energy. It seemed fairer to raise
the question before incompatible and too exacting engage-
ments were entered into, rather than wait for a breakdown
in efficiency and health, or even for minor evidences of in-
jury suffered because of energy diverted from the university
to other obligations.



50 Self -Surveys by Colleges and Universities

So far as anti-social activities of faculty members are
concerned, it is obvious that the public will be protected and
not injured by a college requirement that the out-of -college
activities of instructors shall be matter of record with the
college. For the same reason that when accustoming a
horse to city diversions and dangers blinders are taken off
the bridle, it is safer that blinders be taken off one's col-
leagues and the public with regard to out-of -college rela-
tions of instructors. Infinitely more damage will result
from unfounded suspicion than from recorded fact.

Without written agreement another general evil will
never be under control ; viz., absences by presidents, deans,
directors, department heads, and favored instructors. Be-
cause regulations and agreements do not specifically charge
the college officer to account for his time, neither trustees
nor executive officers can easily interfere when absences are
overdone. Not knowing how much officers are away from
duty, colleges of course cannot estimate what absences cost.
Self-surveys will note these facts :

1. What printed regulations say about the number of
days that belong to the college.

2. What unwritten or written understandings exempt
individuals from the general rules.

3. What is defined as absent for executive officer or in-
structor, whether physical absence or only failure
to have a representative in charge or failure to have
anticipated absence as by " making up " time.

4. How absences are notified ; e.g., in advance ? . . . ;
by request? . . . ; as information? . . . ; in monthly or
weekly report ? . . . ; to department head ? . . . ; to
dean? . .,.

5. How absences are summarized, times, duration, ap-
pointments missed for year, semester, department, in-
dividuals.

6. How reasons and occasions for absence are sum-
marized; i.e., departmental, college, by assignment,
by request, personal.



Questions or Notes 51

For Questions or Notes by the Reader



52 Self-Sun>eys by Colleges and Universities

7. How benefits and losses from absences are estimated
and reported.

Whether attempts to secure such information will stultify
and mortify educators can be told only after attempts have
been made. There is reason to believe that academic free-
dom will be enhanced, not desecrated, by agreements which
require all officers to record for all the extent and causes
of absence.

19. By-laws and Laws

College trustees not only make their own laws and regula-
tions, but approve or reject procedure adopted by faculties
for themselves. In cases where it is not practicable for sur-
veyors to catechize or criticize the governing board, it may
still be accepted as helpful if they ask the governing board
to join with them in reviewing by-laws.

The University of Wisconsin survey took up the by-laws
and laws of regents, page by page. In the hope of inter-
esting regents and officers in thinking over each step, ques-
tions were submitted. Oftentimes a governing board will
meet the surveyor on common ground if the latter instead
of giving advice asks a question ; i.e., " Page 59, line 2 :
Would it help to have a clause added to the effect that the
regents' report be audited by the business manager as to
correctness of statistics ? "

What have by-laws and other rules of procedure to do
with helpful surveys? A great deal more than appears on
the surface. In colleges as well as in states many ethical
gains are accomplished through legislation. Inherited rules
may crystallize action unfavorable to elasticity and initia-
tive. New rules may foster initiative and elasticity. In
many colleges present procedure divides responsibility where
concentration and definite location are desirable. Ambigui-
ties cause little trouble until some important issue calls
for clearness. Existing organization is usually defined in
existing rules. Where surveyors point out defects in or-
ganization, recommend changes or additions, it is important



Trustees Will Question By-laws 53

to see whether the rules permit changes and reflect the de-
ficient organization.

Other questions, particularly for self -surveyors, include
these :

1. Are the rules printed ? Yes... No...

2. Who is supposed to have them?

3. Are sections reprinted so that each group need have
only those parts which affect its actions ? Y . . .
N...

4. Are rules consulted by legislative bodies ? Y . . .
N. . . (I once heard a board of trustees discuss for
an hour a question which might have been settled in
one minute if they had consulted their own regula-
tions. )

5. Are there dead-letter regulations? How many?
Which?

6. Do the financial sections specify " receipts and dis-
bursements " or " revenues and expenses " ; i.e., re-
ceipts plus accruals and expenditures plus accruals?

7. Do the rules require that committees of trustees and
faculties keep minutes? Y . . . N. . . ? . . . Would
it help to require that all minutes record at least the
names of movers and seconders of motions and per-
sons speaking for and against them?

8. Should faculty minutes be required to record names
of persons present?

9. When referring to annual reports, should rules call
for classification of information ; i.e., instead of call-
ing for the " number of instructors and students,"
should they call for the number of instructors of
each grade and number of students in each group,
such as lower classmen, upper classmen, graduates,
and special students in each department ?

10. Is an outside audit required of financial transactions
and accounts? Y... N

11. Would it be worth while to require an outside audit
of operation reports and educational statistics ?



54 Self-Surveys by Colleges and Universities

12. Should requests for special meetings be required to
state the purpose for which the meeting is called and
subject or subjects to be considered, together with a
digest of the facts which make a meeting seem neces-
sary?

13. Would it help secure definite service from trustees if
the rules included among their duties that of reading
official communications?

14. Do colleges need regulations which require separation
of salaries for instruction from salaries for research
and for administration?

15. Should regulations stipulate a definite minimum num-
ber of hours for lecture and recitation, and an equiva-
lent number for laboratory or mixed laboratory and
classroom work, with provision that charges be made
to the right accounts ?

1 6. When mentioning the duty of the president to make
recommendations, should by-laws require that facts
be submitted upon which recommendations are based ?

17. Instead of charging a president or dean with the duty
to report any inefficiency that may come to his knowl-
edge, should by-laws require that executive officers
make the investigations necessary to ascertain where,
if at all, there is inefficiency?

18. Is the line of responsibility definite so that sugges-
tions and facts will come to each officer through re-
sponsible subordinates? Y. . . N... f...

19. Is provision made for receiving complaints, sugges-
tions, and criticisms, including anonymous communi-
cations? Y... N... f...

20. Has the time come to have by-laws specify the min-
imum essentials of annual reports, if for no other
reason than to charge trustees with responsibility for
receiving and reading such minimum essentials?

20. Investigations for Trustees

In the early days of the University of Chicago, one of
the most popular songs was entitled, The Profs Make Stu-



Investigations for Trustees 55

dent Customs at the U. of C. The spirit and fact of this
song might be parodied in another entitled, The Profs Make
Trustee Reports in Universities. Investigations by college
trustees too often result in investigations for trustees. For
example, the board appoints a committee to investigate the
efficiency of instruction for under classmen. Seldom does
such a committee make its own investigation. Instead it
calls in the president or dean, and he does the investigating ;
drafts a tentative report; submits it to trustees; explains
verbally why it is correct; and presto! his findings become
the trustees' report.

Ought this to be so? Will it always be so? Surveys
will ask rather : Is it so? What can be done about it?

When investigating for trustees and they are in effect
doing that whenever they make even routine reports pres-
ident and faculty either obey or disobey the laws of scientific
investigation. Whichever they do, surveyors and self -sur-
veyors should frankly answer questions like these :

1. Does the investigation start with a desire to know?
Is the right unit of inquiry sought? Is the count ac-
curate? Are comparisons made? Are subtractions
made and differences reduced to comparable fractions
or percentages? Are returns classified and sum-
marized ?

2. Is the general question for investigation broken up
into its various elements?

3. Is each element segregated before being studied?

4. Is the whole of each element examined or only a part ?

5. Are all the essential facts about an element examined
or only a few ?

6. Are facts of record examined, or only opinions and



guesses



7. Are the facts properly classified and summaries sub-
mitted to trustees apart from recommendations and
as the basis for conclusions and recommendations ?

8. Do conclusions square with the facts reported?

9. Are the findings briefly summarized?



56 Self -Surveys by Colleges and Universities

10. Is the report sent to trustees for perusal before the
meeting which acts upon it?

The minutes of college trustees will show many questions
investigated for them both upon their initiative and in ad-
vance of their expression of interest. As more adequate
information becomes available, the number of subjects in-
vestigated for trustees will greatly increase, especially in
colleges where trustees are helped to take each step of an
investigation rather than merely to accept faculty conclu-
sions.

Typical of important questions to be studied everywhere
is this: How efficient is the instruction received by under
classmen, especially first-year students? In answering it a
noticeable difference will be found between the method fol-
lowed where president or faculty want additional instructors
and where they want to refute criticisms such as that fresh-
men are taught by less competent instructors and see too lit-
tle of the older, stronger men. Obviously the information
given the trustee ought not to depend upon the motive of
those who investigate. Obviously, too, a procedure like the
following will be necessary:

1. The total registration of under classmen each year
in each class will be given. Whether this ought to
be the registration is not the question.

2. The person teaching each class will be named
again a question of fact, not of ought or ought not.

3. Registration totals will be redistributed in groups ac-
cording to the titles of instructors.

4. Because titles may not express previous teaching ex-
perience, the registration totals must be redistributed
further according to previous teaching experience.

5. The summary will state what percentage of the total
student hours for each of the two years under study
are taught by instructors in each of the title groups
and in each of the experience groups.

6. Because thus far we have learned the facts about
under classmen only, it is necessary to compare these



p




RESIDENCE OF STUDENTS

ENROLLED IN

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
1914-1915

LIVING WITHIN 50 MILES

OF MADISON 1,770

LIVING WITHIN 75 MILES

OF MADISON 2,639

LIVING WITHIN 100 MILES

OF MADISON 2,961

TOTAL LIVING IN WIS-
CONSIN 3.644



University of Wisconsin Survey Report



Show graphically whence students come



Facts, not Opinions, for Trustees 57

facts with similar facts, for upper classmen to see
what part of each instructor's time and each in-
structor group's time is given to upper classmen ; what
part to research or other duties; and further to see
what part of the instruction and contact received by
upper classmen is from each instructor group.

With these facts in hand there still remains the most fun-
damental question of all: Is the instruction received by
under classmen efficient ? But because this is a fundamental
question is no reason why trustees should not have an-
swered for them definitely the question which starts the in-
vestigation; viz., the total registration of under classmen
each year in each class.

Annual reports are beginning to reflect the highest type
of scientific research by college officers. For example, in-
stead of bewailing the poverty which compels overcrowding,
a president shows how many hours in a week how many in-
structors have a specified excess of students. Instead of
vaguely protesting against untrue claims that instructors are
underworked, presidents are beginning to report in detail
the teaching loads and extra-teaching loads of faculty
members.

What kind of supporting information trustees received
during the year preceding a survey or self -survey will be
found a productive field for examination. Among investi-
gations which should be currently made by and for trustees
are these: Advance steps taken during the year; notable
steps taken by other similar institutions and not yet tried
here; benefits obtained from conventions attended; tests
used and with what result, to see whether the college is ac-
complishing what it aims and what it advertises to do.

21. Visitation by Alumni and Other Visitors

In theory trustees are official visitors. In practice
trustees are apt to confine their visits to the offices of presi-
dent and deans or to those particular segments of college
machinery for which they have committee responsibility.



58 Self -Surveys by Colleges and Universities

Few trustees consider themselves visitors with a roving
commission to represent patron, student, and faculty. In-
stead they come to feel that they represent the management.

To insure some one's seeing the college " as ithers see it,"
many colleges have arranged for semiofficial visitors ; i.e., of-
ficially invited visitation by alumni or special board. The
University of Wisconsin has such official board of visitors :
one third appointed by the alumni; one third by the gov-
ernor; one third by the regents. In a short time official
visitors come to know more phases of an institution than the
trustees whose channels of information are practically con-
fined to officers. Whether facts and suggestions from these
quarters are welcomed or resented, heeded or neglected, by
trustees and officers is an important survey question.

In how many ways an official board may be helpful is
illustrated by a list prepared by Mr. Lynn S. Pease, alumnus
and lawyer, for Wisconsin's governor and legislature in
I 9 1 5> when a central board of education was being debated:

1. A course of practice as a substantial part of the cur-



Online LibraryWilliam H. (William Harvey) AllenSelf-surveys by colleges and universities → online text (page 5 of 31)