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The trend in higher education online

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the opportunity which it furnishes for gambling?
Shall a higher institution of learning cater thus to
the lowest passions of the multitude?

It is true, as has been urged, that tickets must be
distributed according to some plan. Is it possible
to devise a better or more economical plan than that


now in vogue ? Here, again, there is danger of los- )
ing sight of the fact that by the present plan, in^
accordance with which a high price is placed upon)
tickets of admission, many members of the faculty'
and still larger numbers of the student body are,
actually prevented from attending the games becaus^
of their inabihty to meet the exorbitant charges^
Attendance upon the athletic games throughout aj
single year in a certain institution involves a cost of;
not less than $30. This sum of money is a very^
serious matter for a large proportion of the students.
A plan which would permit the presentation of fre(
tickets for all games to members of the faculty am
to all students would contribute largely to a strongei
and higher institutional spirit, and, at the same time,
be of financial advantage to those who need help.

The most serious objection to the suggestion thus
far offered is, perhaps, the charge that such a policy
would develop still further that much-dreaded specter,
of patemaHsm; for would it not almost entirely re-
move responsibiHty from the students themselves,
and make the management of the athletic interests a
perfunctory thing so far as student activity is con-
cerned ? One might ask two questions : If the stu-
dent management of athletics has been so thoroughly
satisfactory, and if it has contributed so greatly to
the legitimate education of the student body, why is
the tendency of recent years so strongly in the direc-
tion of substituting for it a more or less definite
faculty control ? And, furthermore, if it is distinctly



to the advantage of the student body to be admitted!
in a substantial way to the control and direction of
the college affairs, why should the principle not be
carried still further and the control and management
of other college interests be placed in student hands ?
Is there really any considerable danger of so great
an increase in the development of patemaHsm as
will prove a serious menace to the best interests of
the colleges ? This frequent raising of the bugbear
of paternaHsm, in connection with every college
question that comes up for discussion, tends to
weaken the force of the cry, especially inasmuch as
the freedom today accorded the student body of the
larger institutions is greater than ever before. If a
careful examination were made of all the facts, it
would probably be found greater than the best inter-
ests of the student body really demand.

An important difficulty, of course, Hes in the fact
that it would be impossible to secure uniformity of
policy in any large number of universities. Some
might be able to secure such an endowment, while
others could not. But would this, after all, be
serious ? There is great diversity in the endowment
of institutions in other departments; why should
uniformity be necessary in this case? Could not
those institutions which are closely related in athletic
work have a common fund, the weaker in this case
receiving some advantage from the stronger? Co-
operation of this kind would surely tend to develop
an institutional spirit which in itself might be of


distinct advantage to other educational interests.
It is apparent, therefore, that many difficulties lie
in the way of realization of any such plan as that
which has been suggested, but it may be worth while
to note in passing a few of the points which are urged
in favor of the policy.

If college athletics were endowed, and those
precautions taken in reference to the expenditure
of money which control in other departments, the
actual cost of athletics would be greatly reduced.
Some beHeve that this saving would amount to 50
per cent, of the total sum expended. No one doubts
that the saving would be considerable. This state-
ment does not imply that at present there is any
gross mismanagement. It means simply that with
the elimination of certain rivalries, the strict control
of expenses, the more definite knowledge of resources,
a real improvement could be effected in the financial
administration of the work. When it is recalled that
the amount now expended in the case of single insti-
tutions ranges from $25,000 a year to more than
$100,000, it can easily be understood that, at all
events, there is a field for the practice of economy.

It is contended, moreover, that this policy would
remove a large measure of that element in college
athletics that is now recognized as illegitimate. That
this element exists, in the East as well as in the West,
no one can doubt, after the recent disclosures in con-
nection with the difficulties at Brown University.
The adoption of this new policy, many believe,


would take away the motive for encouraging this
illegitimate side of college athletics. The rivalry
between institutions would be less intense. The con-
tests would be lifted to a higher level. The sport
would become in a true sense a gentleman's sport.
The necessity of securing large returns from games
and certain unpleasant features fostered by the ath-
letic management for the sake of financial success
would no longer exist. In brief, the character of the
game would be transformed. The evils so manifest
today may be traced, in nearly every case, to the
financial side. Change the poHcy and the occasion
of evil will disappear.

As has already been suggested, the claim is put
forward that the work in athletics is a part of the
work in physical culture, and that since the depart-
ment of physical culture is a regularly recognized
department in many institutions, co-ordinate with
other departments of the university, it requires for
its proper conduct the same provision in its various
sub-departments that is made for other subjects in-
cluded in the schedule of the university. So long
as the most conspicuous work of the department of
physical culture is dependent for its support upon
gate receipts at public games it cannot occupy the
high and dignified place which should be accorded it.
If the athletic work of the department is not of suffi-
cient value to the department, to the men, and to the
institution concerned to warrant its support in a legiti-
mate fashion, this work should immediately be given


up. The evils which are associated with athletics,
as now administered, are so many that they bring
reproach upon this department, and, indeed, upon
the cause of higher education itself. Reorganization
of the athletic work, or its discontinuance, is de-
manded by public opinion inside, as well as outside,
of the universities.

Who will dispute the statement that if the adop-
tion of this poHcy would bring about the changes
that are predicted by its advocates, the endowment
of athletics would be fully worth the cost involved.
To dignify that which today is confessedly a source
of disgrace and reproach to the college authorities;
to remove the incentive which is so strong as to lead
to illegitimate and immoral representations ; to mini-
mize, at all events, the rivalry in institutions which
in so many cases has proved to be injurious; to Hft
the cause of higher physical education to a plane
co-ordinate with that of intellectual education — all
this is worth doing, if it can be done even at great

But how is it possible to accompHsh this ? The
most ardent advocate of the poKcy will concede at
once that the change, if it is to come, must come
gradually, and that it will be one of long process.
But if one could believe that within fifty years this
change might be brought about in several of the
largest institutions of the country, east and west, it
would be worth while to undertake the task. No
one certainly imagines for a moment that any real


results can be achieved within a short time. If, as
has been suggested, the expense of the athletic teams
could by this plan be reduced to one-half of the pres-
ent amount, the actual sum of money called for
might possibly be covered by an increase of the
student fees. If, for example, a $10 fee were charged,
this would secure in an institution of a thousand
students, $10,000; of three thousand students,
$30,000, and it may fairly be questioned whether a
larger sum should be expended; and, indeed, under
the management thus secured, would a larger sum
really be called for? For a time, perhaps, friends
of this or that institution might consent to make
annual subscriptions. Unquestionably many sub-
scriptions could be obtained for this purpose which
would not otherwise come to an institution. In
time an endowment fund could be established. A
quarter of a million dollars, or a half-milHon dollars,
is not too large a sum to be considered in connection
with such work, if we keep in mind the great interest
that it represents, and the fact that it is a part of a
rapidly growing movement, the interest of which
centers in the education of the body. Furthermore,
it would not be impossible to secure the co-operation
of institutions, and thereby the creation of a common
fund in which all should share, even if a larger por-
tion of this sum of money came from the constituency
of one institution than from that of another. In a
matter hke this no one knows what can be done or
what cannot be done until an effort is made. In


view of the progress already made along these hnes
within twenty-five years, marked by the erection of
so many magnificent gymnasiums, may we not ex-
pect that the next twenty-five or fifty years will bring
as a portion of their good fortune the proper endow-
ment of the work which these gymnasiums were
intended to foster ?



The question of requiring work in the Latin lan-
guage and literature, especially in the case of stu-
dents who are candidates for the bachelor's degree
in science, is one which has excited much interest.
This interest has manifested itself in the sessions of
one of our faculties, that of the Ogden School of
Science, which has held several important meetings
during the year (1898-99) for the consideration of
questions relating to the curriculum of the College of
Science. Two distinctly different theories have been
propounded in reference to this curriculum. Accord-
ing to the first, a specific amount of work in the study
of the Latin language and literature should be
required of all students of science after they have
entered college, and in addition to the requirement
for admission. The advocates of this policy have
endeavored to show that, in the education of those
whose tastes He in the direction of the natural
sciences, work should be provided which will at the
same time connect their thought with the past,
broaden their horizon, and assist them in the culti-
vation of a good English style; that the subject which
is best adapted to secure these results is the Latin
language and hterature; that the student who has
prepared for college by doing his work largely in



science, and who gives too much time to work in
science during his freshman and sophomore years,
is speciaHzing at too early an age; that in his first
college year it is to the advantage of a student to
turn away from science and to study Latin, thus
relinquishing for the time the opportunity to pursue
those subjects which are in accordance with his
tastes, in order that he may have a broader point of
view from which to do his life-work. The advo-
cates of the other theory have proposed that Latin
be made an elective in the curriculum for the degree
of bachelor of science, and that students who come
to the university without having studied Latin be
admitted and given permission to go forward with
their work without taking up this study. The
advocates of this policy urge that too much of the
student's time is spent on subjects with which he is
not in sympathy, and from which, therefore, no
considerable profit may be gained; that subjects in
science are as effective as those in any other field in
broadening the horizon and in teaching accuracy of
statement; that the subject of Latin as it is taught
does not and cannot accompHsh that which is
claimed for it; that it is a great mistake to turn men
away from science, on the ground that they enter
college without preparation in Latin, thus separating
them from the subject which would be of greatest
educational profit; that the results of the system
adopted at present in the University are seen in the
fact that so small a portion of the time of Junior


College students may be given to the study of

The line between these two policies has been
sharply drawn; and it is significant that the members
of the staff in the various departments of science, as
well as the members of the Senate, are almost
equally divided.

A study of the situation from the point of view of
an outsider would seem to indicate that both sides
are right and both wrong. The conservative party
is right, and the radical party wrong, in the conten-
tion which relates to binding the student closely to
the past and all that is bound up in the past. We
have learned that the embryonic child passes
through all the stages of animal life — from the lowest
to the highest, during the embryonic period; that,
in other words, the growth and development of each
child born into the world presents an epitome of
millions of years of animal development. We have
learned that the child, as it proceeds from stage to
stage until it reaches manhood or womanhood,
passes through all the phases of life through which
the human race has passed, and that many, if not
all, of those who are vicious are cases of arrested
development. It is said that one may trace the
history of art, from the most early times to the pres-
ent, in the efforts of the child as he grows to years
of maturity and slowly develops what would today
be called art-talent. If all this be true, it is essential
as one of the first elements in education that the


college man become familiar with the thought of past
generations, as that thought has expressed itself in
institutions and as it has found expression in litera-
ture. This heritage of the past is an essential
element to culture and breadth of view. Science
has been greatly hindered in her progress because
too many of her advocates have not possessed them-
selves of this heritage, rightly theirs, which, had it
been obtained, would have rendered life, and all
that enters into life, more satisfactory. Any system
of education, therefore, which will permit the student
to begin at the end (for to begin with science is to
begin at the end) does the student a distinct injury.
The student, of course, is not expected to know all
this, and is, therefore, not himself responsible. The
very fact that the student is to do his work in science
later is an argument in favor of giving the earlier
part of his education to the humanities which repre-
sent the past. On this point the older view seems to
be the better and truer view. And the efforts made
by scientific men to dislodge those subjects which
represent the culture of the past are efforts which in
the end will prove hurtful to the best interests of
science itself.

On the other hand, the radical party is right, and
the conservative party wrong, in the contention that a
given amount of study of the Latin language properly
represents this culture of the past to which reference
has been made. The Latin language, as it is ordi-
narily taught, studied for the period of two or three,



or even four years, by a student without incerest in
the study of any language, certainly does not bring
the student into living touch with the institutions and ^
literature of the past. The great majority of stu-
dents who pass through this routine fail to gain any


man, and especially in that of the scientist, is a
study of the great heritage we have received from
the past. The pohcy would be in agreement, how-
ever, with the contention of the radical party, that
this end is not conserved simply by a study of the
Latin language. It would propose that in the case
of students who are familiar with French and Ger-
man, and after a reasonable amount of language
work exhibit a real inability to do such work with
ease and profit, there be required, instead of the
specified number of courses in Latin, a specified
number of courses in the study of the history, the
institutions, and perhaps the literature of the past.
Inasmuch as the difficulty of testing such work is
greater than that of testing acquisition made in the
study of Latin, it is proposed that at first a relatively
larger number of courses in history and literature be
required. This proposition is very different from
the one already adopted in many institutions, which
involves an omission of the Latin requirement, but
does not demand a substitute for this requirement.

In accordance with the proposition here suggested,
every student would be required to gain a certain
familiarity with the life and thought of the various
nations which have contributed most to our modern
civilization. This life and thought is revealed in the
institutions and literatures which they have trans-
mitted to us. These form an integral part of our own
life and thought, and it is because a man does not
possess that which is really his own that he is called


narrow from the point of view of education. I should
be willing to regard this as an experiment. A five
years' trial of such an experiment, at all events, will
make it possible to reach a wiser conclusion than we
are able to reach with the data now in our possession.
It will be urged, in opposition to such a proposition,
by the conservative party that this is only another
step in the downward path, the end of which means
demoralization ; that the student who is not interested
in the study of languages has no interest in literature ;
and that both history and literature are more difficult
to teach, and do not secure from the student that
accurate mental discipline. To these objections it
may be answered that the cry of danger has been
raised at every step which has been taken even in the
direction of progress; and that language and litera-
ture are two essentially different subjects. The stu-
dent will have had long disciphne in the study of
French and German. Many a student has failed
to have his interest aroused in literature because
literature has been confounded with language; and
if the college curriculum does not, at all events, make
provision for encouraging men to read, there is no
good ground for the colleges to continue their work.
The study of literature is the cultivation of the
fondness for reading. The great evil of college work
in these modern days lies in the tendency to under-
take everything except this, the greatest of all things
for which the college is founded. If greater emphasis
were placed upon the study of history and literature.


better methods of teaching would be developed, and
thus better students would be obtained. Already
the results of the teaching of history and literature
in hands of good teachers are eminently satisfactory,
even from the disciplinary point of view.

The radical party will, doubtless, propose the fol-
lowing objections to this proposition: (i) that, after
all, the student is not allowed to study the subject
which he prefers; namely, science; (2) that at the
most important age for the cultivation of observation
and for the training which science furnishes, he is
deprived of the privilege of such training; (3) that
the connection is broken between the work in science
which may have been done, and the later work to
which he may desire to devote his exclusive attention.

A careful study of these objections shows, how-
ever, that they affect the case slightly, if at all. It is
as important in certain stages of the student's pro-
gress that he study subjects which he does not like,
as that he should study subjects which are pleasing
to him. The best discipline is secured from doing
that which is not altogether pleasing; and, besides,
the student will never know what subject or subjects
may be in accordance with his natural taste and
ability, and what may be distasteful to him, unless he
shall have made an earnest effort in subjects which
represent the various groups of the curriculum. It
is not proposed that at any stage in the career of the
student he should be deprived of the possibility of
doing work in science. No reason exists why he


should not during the entire period have had a portion
of his work in the department of science. If the
scientist demands all of the time of a student from
an early age, he is demanding what will in the end
prove injurious to the student and injurious to the
cause of science; and with such demands there can
be no sympathy on the part of one who is interested
in the development of other departments of human

That the suggestion here made will meet with the
approval of all who stand arrayed in these opposite
parties I cannot hope. I permit myself, however,
to express the opinion that an unprejudiced con-
sideration of this suggestion will show that it meets
many of the difficulties which now confront us, and
that enough may be said in favor of it to warrant its
trial as an experiment, side by side with the policy
now in vogue.


Progress in the last forty or j&fty years has not
been restricted to matters in the realm of physical
science, nor to the solution of problems in the field
of industrial work. Wonderful as has been the
advance, for example, in everything with which
electricity has had to do, on the one hand, or in
everything which relates to transportation, on the
other, a careful survey of the whole situation will
show that progress equally wonderful has been
made in many other hnes of intellectual effort; and,
among all these, an exhibit can be made for progress
in education which will be as remarkable as any
other. It is customary to make remark upon the
widespread influence of commercial ideals and of
others closely related, and upon the enormous
growth of such interests within a given time. One
Hkewise may point out the magnificent development
in the educational field, and the very remarkable
growth which has taken place even within ten years.

A dozen or more problems of paramount interest
in the field of education have taken on more definite
form within these years, and some of them have
moved definitely toward solution. In the case of one
of these problems it is interesting to note that, while
all agree that important progress has been made



toward its solution, there is great difference of opin-
ion as to the direction in which the solutionis being
found. I refer to the problem of the coeducation
of the sexes.

The interest in the subject of coeducation is
something extraordinary. The word has become
almost a shibboleth in the contest between the pro-
gressive and the conservative. Those who accept
the doctrine of coeducation beheve in it with all
their heart; those who oppose it are ready to fight
it with every kind of weapon. It is maintained,
on the one hand, that at the present time a wave of
reaction is passing over the country, and that the
facts point clearly to a marked change of feeHng on
the part of those who have hitherto been the friends
of coeducation. It is just as steadily maintained,
on the other hand, that never before in the history
of education has the feeling on this subject been
stronger or more intense. It is impossible to sup-
pose, we are told, that in this day of advanced en-
hghtenment women are to be deprived of any of
the privileges which they have gained in the hard-
fought battles of the past.

The agitation of this subject, we must concede,
has been more pronounced and more widely distrib-
uted within two or three years than at any time in
the preceding decade. The immediate occasion of

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Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe trend in higher education → online text (page 18 of 24)