William Rainey Harper.

The trend in higher education online

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discussion as this deserve consideration: first, that
thirty years ago there were in this country no great
universities; the second, that a great university can-
not be conducted except upon a business basis and
with large funds for expenditure. This larger
attention to the material side, inconsistent as it
may seem to be with the due appreciation of the
spiritual element, is nevertheless a necessity, growing



out of the present condition of things. Thus a
large part of the expenditures of a modern institu-
tion is incurred in the departments of science,
many of which did not exist thirty years ago; for it
is within comparatively recent times that it has
seemed necessary to have natural science fully
represented in an institution of learning. This is
true also of the historical departments, for chairs
of political economy, pohtical science, and sociology
are comparatively modern. Nor is it a long time
ago, even in some of our largest institutions, that
the Romance and Germanic languages, not to speak
of EngHsh, were given a proper status. The larger
expenditure has been occasioned, furthermore, by
the introduction of modern methods. The labora-
tory method in the departments of science, and the
library method in the departments concerned with
literature and history, have revolutionized college
and university work; but the revolution has been
attended with great cost.

The increased expenditure in universities has
also come about because of the demand for better
arrangements in connection with student and pro-
fessorial hfe. The student of 1901 will not endure
the economies practiced by the student of 1801.
The professor, moreover, is an entirely different
being — no longer a recluse, but a man among men
mingling in the life of the world, and for that reason
compelled to live in a fashion utterly unknown to
his colleagues of a century ago. If, therefore, the


financial side of a university in these times is some-
thing vastly more important than it was a century
ago, the fact is easily explained, and does not in any
sense convey the implication that the university of
today is less spiritual, less intellectual. These
great sums of money must be secured with which
to conduct an institution, because it is today a
university rather than a college; because its work
is of a vastly higher character than anything con-
ceived in former years; because there exist today
ten departments or sub-departments where a half-
century ago a single department sufficed; because
the work is infinitely higher, broader, and deeper.
The average college today spends more for work in
a single department of science than was spent by
an institution of the same grade fifty years ago in
all departments of science. In institutions which
had no Hbraries at that time, there will now be found
Hbraries of thirty to fifty thousand volumes. The
university of the twentieth century is compelled to
spend a hundred thousand dollars where the insti-
tution of the nineteenth century spent ten thousand.
This being true, the financial side of an institu-
tion must be organized as carefully and as method-
ically as its educational side; and the question
arises: What does the financial side include, and
what is involved in its conduct ? A consideration
of this question will show the particular sides of
university work and life which are affected by the
financial problems, the various elements which are


involved in the preparation of a university budget,
the agencies established by the university to conduct
and manage its financial matters, and the principles
which underHe the conduct of this financial work.
The university in its financial dealings comes
into contact with all the world, and with every class
of people who make up the world. The student
has business relations with the university in the pay-
ment of his fees. These are in most instances
adapted to the particular work in which he is engaged,
and vary with the amount and character of that
work. There is the examination fee, covering the
expenses connected with examination for admission;
the matriculation fee, paid once for all upon admis-
sion; the tuition, library, and incidental fees, paid
quarterly or for each semester; the laboratory fee
in connection with physics or chemistry or a depart-
ment of biology ; the library fine, if perchance a book
has been retained longer than the rules permit; the
special fee for extra courses, or perhaps for an
examination taken at some time other than that
regularly appointed, or taken perhaps because in a
former examination the result was not satisfactory;
the special fee imposed, if after once selecting his
courses he wishes, for reasons of his own, to change
the registration, this fee being imposed not so much
to recompense the institution for the extra clerical
work involved, as to impress upon the student the
necessity of reaching a definite decision and of then
adhering to it. Besides these ordinary university


fees, if the student occupies a room in a university
hall or lives at the university commons, there are
room bills and board bills, each one of which must
be adapted to the individual case, for rooms have
different values placed upon them, and the board
bill must be adjusted to the number of days during
which meals are taken. In many institutions the
university conducts a bank for the accommodation
of students, receiving deposits and making payments
on demand, exactly as in a well-regulated bank.
Probably one in four of all the students in an insti-
tution of learning has financial deahngs with the
university in the way of scholarships and fellowships,
or in the way of money received in return for serv-
ices of some kind. One well-known institution
distributes each year, in amounts ranging from $100
to $600, the sum of $100,000. And, finally, when
the student finishes his work, a graduation fee is
collected. In part to educate the student in business
methods, and also in part as security for bills payable,
it is an inflexible law of institutions of learning to
grant no certificate or degree to a student who is in
arrears in the payment of his obligations.

To this there should be added further the business
element involved in providing work inside and out-
side of the institution for needy students — a task in
some instances assumed by an allied agency inde-
pendent of the institution, in others undertaken by
the university itself. The amount of business in-
volved in dealings along these various lines with


three or four thousand students is not inconsider-

Each member of the teaching staff, like each
student, has regular business relations with the
institution. The preparation of the monthly pay-
roll is an important piece of business, including as
it does not only the regular members of the staff,
but also the fellows and scholars of the university,
and the employees. There are university pay-rolls
which include more than five hundred names.
Nor is the conduct of the pay-roll the simple and
regular task which it at first might appear. Changes
are continually taking place; men come and go;
promotions are made, and in many cases special
accommodation must be given. And in these days
a very considerable proportion of the staff of a uni-
versity spends a portion of the year abroad. In
each case a special arrangement is made for the trans-
fer of money, and at one time the university may be
dealing with its officers in ten or twelve foreign
countries. The question of promotion on the staff
is frequently a simple business matter; for mani-
festly a promotion which carries with it increase of
salary cannot be made unless there are funds with
which to meet the additional expense; and, more-
over, it is a business question as well as an educa-
tional question to determine to what extent this or
that department shall be developed in view of the
resources of the institution. In many instances the
university serves as landlord to some members of


its staff, and in a few cases (the fewer the better)
it encourages the members of its staff to build per-
manent homes by lending to them on proper security
university funds.

At times an officer of the institution becomes dis-
abled, or is taken away without having made proper
provision for his family. The relationship of the
university is of such a character that in each case
some financial arrangement must be effected. In
some institutions a pension system has been estab-
lished which in a more businesslike way makes
proper provision for those to whom the university
is under obligation. Such a pension system, from
the business point of view as well as from the phil-
anthropic, would seem to be an absolute necessity
in every institution that pretends to manage its
affairs upon a business basis.

A large university needs, also, a considerable
body of business officers and employees who are not
directly associated with the educational work. Here
belong the business manager, the auditor, and the
registrar, or bursar. It is these who have to do
directly with the fiscal interests. Each of these
officers is aided by a force of stenographers and
clerks. There is also the general stenographic and
clerical force of the university distributed in the
offices of the president, the various deans and
directors, the pubhcation department, the university
bookstore, the* extension work, and the library. It
is true that until three or four years ago a certain


university of high rank did not have a single ste-
nographer in its employ. It is probable, however,
that in a well-regulated institution the service in this
particular will always be increasing, since experi-
ence proves that it is economy to furnish as much
assistance of this kind as can be well used. The
superintendent of buildings is aided by a force of
engineers and janitors. If the university build-
ings are all situated in one place, it is posssible to
exercise great economy by establishing a central
building and equipment for supplying heat and
light, but even at the best the undertaking is a
large one and requires careful business manage-

Perhaps the most difficult piece of business in
the entire university administration is that relating
to the university's function as landlord. The modern
university is in a true sense a great hotel, managed
on the European as well as on the American plan.
Men generally adopt the European, and women
the American plan. In some cases this work is
conducted only indirectly as a part of the university
administration ; but in every case the general responsi-
bihty rests with the institution. In these days it is
considered no small business task to handle the
affairs of a hotel capable of accommodating three
or five hundred guests. What shall be said of the
task, when this number becomes one thousand, or
fifteen hundred, or even twenty-five hundred? It
is in this connection that the business ability of the


administration finds itself most severely taxed, and the
housekeepers, janitors, cooks, servants, and watch-
men constitute, in fact, almost a regiment of employ-
ees, for whose board and lodging provision must
also be made. It is impossible in a large institu-
tion to leave the matter of board and food to take
care of itself. Experience has shown that under
these circumstances the student invariably suffers.
There must be mentioned also the staff of the
bureau of information — something necessary in a
large institution; the telegraph and telephone service;
the express office ; the faculty exchange ; and, besides,
the constantly increasing staff of student service,
that is, students who do work for the university in
various offices and departments, thereby earning a
portion of the university fees. Through the bureau
of student help a university may secure thousands
of dollars in outside work for worthy and needy
students. The large institution, Hke the large
business house, finds it necessary to employ its own
force of compositors, even when the university does
not engage in the publication of journals, for the
amount of job-printing of all kinds required daily,
and the various university documents constantly
in demand, make it economical for the university
thus to control its own force. If now the university,
as in some cases, undertakes the publication of
journals, the staff of compositors becomes a large one
and carries in its train a force of proofreaders, and,
in some cases, of pressmen and binders. In many


cases the university library finds itself justified in
establishing and conducting a bindery for its own
service. In connection with the distribution of
university documents, there must be, of course, a
regularly established mailing department, and in
connection with the care of buildings and grounds,
it is wise for the university to have its own carpenter,
plumber, and electrician. This list does not, of
course, include the artists, photographers, and arti-
sans employed directly in the various departments
of sciences in connection with the educational work.
The university must have or control also a univer-
sity bookstore, which is managed in the interests
of professors and students, and not for the purpose
of making money. The annual business of such a
store will sometimes amount to hundreds of thousands
of dollars. And, besides this, there will be the
storehouses for chemistry, physics, and the biological
departments, with storekeepers and purchasing
agent. Through the bookstore, the Hbrary, and
the scientific storeroom, the university is all the time
in business relations with publishers, importers,
manufacturers, and custom-house officers. It is
well known that special laws exist for the importa-
tion by universities of books and apparatus. The
library in its work directly or indirectly has business
agents in all the principal book centers of the Old
World, and ordinarily its importations and pur-
chases are collected from various quarters and for-
warded monthy to the institution.


A growing institution is always building. And
here the business side of the university clearly mani-
fests itseK. In the work of building a new field of
business is entered, and the university comes into
relations with architects and contractors. The
university may have a single architect to whom
recourse is had under all circumstances, or it may
select different architects for different buildings.
The building committee of the university has always
under consideration the subject of material, form,
style, and practical utility of the buildings that are
to be erected in the near future. It is a matter of
experience that a building needed by the university
is most easily secured, if the plans for it are prepared
in advance. The drawings sometimes excite the
interest of a patron to whom they may be presented.
It is therefore unnecessary, and indeed unusual, to
wait for the gift of a building before doing the pre-
liminary work involved in the plans and specifica-
tions. It is almost inconceivable in the large institu-
tion that there should ever come a time when addi-
tional buildings will not be called for. The building
committee is as necessary a part of the university
administration as the committee on faculty and
equipment; for if an institution is to continue its
work, it must add to its facilities. The business
manager of an institution is therefore selected, at
least in part, with reference to his familiarity with
the work of building. It is perhaps to be noted
that many of our American institutions have not con-

f OF THE "^^X



ducted this part of the university business with much
care or forethought. It is unfortunate, to say the
least, that in America university architecture has
been so commonly neglected. This is perhaps only
less criminal than a shortcoming in reference to the
handling of investments, since in the latter particular
mistakes may be corrected, while in the former case
this is impossible.

A large university usually has business dealings
with the public at large. These for the most part
appear in connection with the work of a university
press. For it has come to be true that in one form
or another every large institution has its own univer-
sity press. This press may be directly under the
control of some publishing house, the university
being in this case only indirectly connected with
the business side; or the press may be associated
with a large publishing house, the university in
this case sharing in the business deaHngs; or the
university may undertake for itself the organization
and management of its own press. On the whole,
the latter plan has seemed to be the most successful.
Such organization calls for every phase of business
activity which is involved in the work of manufac-
turing and distributing books and journals. As
has been said, it is a matter of business economy
for the university to have its own composing-rooms
and to do to some extent its own press- work. This
makes necessary an organization with a director,
superintendent, foreman, pressmen, compositors,


and proofreaders, and involves the work of selecting
and purchasing type, presses, paper, and all the
additional material and equipment required for
book-making. But shall the office be a union or a
non-union office ? Shall it employ women as well
as men? What shall be the relationship of the
university in this phase of its activity to the prob-
lems which are all the while arising from the point
of view of the interests of labor ? This work involves,
moreover, distribution as well as manufacture; and
thus the university enters one of the most interesting
fields of business known to the modern world,
including its relationship to the post-office authorities,
its agencies established in great centers, its connec-
tion with booksellers, and its contact in its adver-
tising departments with the business world at large.
If the advertising field is to be cultivated success-
fully, there must be representatives in the East and
the West whose only work shall be to fill the pages
set apart for advertising.

The university deals with the public in a business
way, also, through that department of its work
which has in some instances been designated the
extension division. In this work it enters the busi-
ness field of the lecture bureau on a plan intended
to be higher than that occupied by the ordinary
lecture bureau. The business side of the extension
work includes the selection of agents, the organiza-
tion of committees, the renting of halls, the proper
distribution of announcements, the selling of tickets.


the contracts with lecturers, negotiations with socie-
ties, churches, clubs, the arrangement of railroad
schedules, the procuring of hotel accommodations,
the transportation of traveUng libraries and the
distribution of the same at the local centers, the
publication and sale of syllabi of lectures, etc., etc.
A single organization conducting on these lines a
business which amounts to fifty or seventy-five or
one hundred thousand dollars in a single year must
adopt business principles in its work, if it is to be
successful or permanent, and if, because of the lack
of special endowment funds, the extension work is
expected to be in large measure self-supporting, the
business side becomes all the more definite and

The university, again, deals with the general
public through its bureau of recommendations.
A large institution will receive daily requests to make
a recommendation for this or that position. These
requests, by correspondence or in person, come from
business men who wish clerks, agents, etc.; from
superintendents of schools who wish principals or
teachers; officers of the federal, state, or municipal
government ; from parents who wish tutors or travel-
ing companions for their children; from publishers
who wish agents; from churches who wish pastors;
from newspapers wishing reporters or editorial
writers ; from lawyers who wish clerks ; from boards of
libraries asking for librarians ; from college and uni-
versity authorities asking for recommendations for


presidents and professors. These requests must be
answered, selections made, and testimonials fur-
nished. It is not an uncommon thing for a large
university thus to place in positions directly or in-
directly hundreds of men and women in a single
year. This is largely a business question, involving
the educational quahfications of the persons recom-
mended, and carrying with it also a large responsi-
bility on the part of the university. Closely asso-
ciated with this is the task undertaken by many
institutions of finding work which may be performed
by students while in residence, and from which they
may secure at least a portion of the means necessary
for their maintenance. Such work includes clerking
in stores, bookkeeping, typewriting and stenog-
raphy, pubHc-library work, selling railway tickets, can-
vassing for city telephones, soHciting advertisements,
collecting accounts, dehvering newspapers, acting as
laundry agents, Hghting street lamps, doing house-
work, waiting on tables, tutoring, and teaching in
night schools. In these various ways many thousands
of dollars are secured annually by energetic students.
The university comes into contact with the pubHc,
furthermore, in its department of physical culture
and athletics. In recent years it has come to be
seen that this work must be handled directly by the
university and not be left entirely to the students.
Whatever may be thought of the increased emphasis
laid upon athletic contests, it will be conceded that,
in the management of these contests a business ability


of high order is required; for there are included the
maintenance of athletic grounds valued at several
hundred thousand dollars, with full equipment of
grandstands, seats, racing-track, baseball and foot-
ball fields, ticket offices, entrance gates; also the
contracting and arranging for intercollegiate contests;
the advertising; the pubHcation of souvenir pro-
grammes; the sale of tickets, which sometimes
amounts to from ten to thirty thousand dollars in a
single game; the proper accounting and division of
the receipts ; the arranging of a schedule of trips ; the
management of training quarters ; the purchase of all
the outfit required for football and baseball games;
the keeping of trainers, rubbers, officials, and sub-
stitutes. All this involves a great amount of busi-
ness and the handhng of large amounts of money.
There might also be counted here the business con-
nected with the pubHc appearances of the various
musical clubs of the university.

The investments of a large institution constitute
one of its most serious responsibihties. The ordi-
nary risks may not be incurred; every step taken
must be supposed, at least at the time, to be per-
fectly secure. This naturally increases the amount
and the responsibility of the work. A large univer-
sity will have from five to fifteen milHons of dollars
of endowment funds invested in various forms. A
portion of this will be in real estate which must be
kept in repair, on which taxes are to be paid, and
from which rents are collected. City business


property is usually regarded with especial favor as
fulfilling in a satisfactory way the most rigid demands
imposed by the nature of the trust, but residence
property will in all probability form a large factor in
the situation; and the university is thus brought
into contact as landlord with perhaps hundreds of
tenants. Other desirable forms of investment are
fees, mortgages, and bonds — especially railroad
bonds which are properly and sufficiently secured;
and stocks, especially when gifts are paid in this
form, for ordinarily a board of trustees will hesitate
to buy stocks. The business of a university, with
eight or ten milHons of dollars which continually
require to be reinvested, is therefore equivalent to
the work of two or three large banks, and the strictly

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Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe trend in higher education → online text (page 11 of 24)