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students in large institutions who would live luxuri-
ously, from their point of view, on $300 a jear, and
I have known other students who would be quite
limited with an allowance of $1,200 a year. A two-
dollar-a-week room is luxury for some men, while
others find themselves cramped in a suite which
costs $400 a year. This holds good even in the case
of those who indulge in vice. One man will go to
ruin on a very small sum, while another, of equally
evil propensities, will find it impossible to do much
mischief with a sum many times as large. In using
the term, we must consider the temperaments of
different men and the temptations of different
environments.

That more money is spent by college students
today than was spent forty years ago is unquestion-
able. This is true, not only because people every-

I Copyright, 1901, by the Century Co.
312



LUXURY AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS 313

where spend more money than in former times,
but also because the men who go to college now are
not so prevailingly students for the ministry as in
past days. It is to be remembered, Hkewise, that
it is today more customary for the children of wealthy
and well-to-do parents to go to college, and that
five boys go to college where one used to go.

The average boy of wealthy parentage Hves at
college less luxuriously than he would live at hom^.
He is often satisfied with table board which he would
not endure at home, for the reason that he wishes
to live with certain men who are not able to pay a
higher price. His college room is rarely as large or
as well furnished as his room at home. He learns
a kind of life which at home he would never have
known — a life in many particulars more rigid, less
easy-going; more independent, less effeminate.
That effeminacy which luxury so often produces
seldom affects the college man. And, on the other
hand, the average boy who is poor lives far better
at college than he would have lived at home. For
one reason, the poor boy gets far more for his money
than does the rich one, and it is right that he should.
The college boy, furthermore, soon learns that
neither the possession of money nor the lack of it
determines his relative place in the college com-
munity. For college is a leveler of distinctions. It
exalts the valleys, and makes low the mountains and
hills. It makes the crooked straight and the rough
places even. In college life there is much give and



314 THE TREND IN HIGHER EDUCATION

take — I do not have reference to money. There is
an adjustment of man to man and of group to
group, and, generally speaking, every man finds his
true place.

A man may live luxuriously and not become
either effeminate or vicious, for luxury does not
necessarily imply vice. Such a man, however,
must have a strong character, and in such living
his character will become all the stronger. In col-
leges located in villages, however, whether the vil-
lages be large or small, luxury is more apt to mean
vicious life than in an institution located in a city.
A student has few opportunities to spend money
legitimately in a village, and if a large sum is being
spent, it is morally certain that the results are evil.
In a city, on the other hand, he may spend a very
considerable sum quite innocently. One man might
spend a thousand dollars with real benefit, while
another, with different habits, could not possibly
spend such a sum without serious injury — I mean
without faUing into vice. Luxury, therefore, though
it may prepare the way for a weak character to fall
into evil habits, may also mean only the gratification
of highly developed tastes in some quite legitimate
direction.

Is the college wholly to blame in case men have
suffered because their college life has been too
luxurious? In fact, the college may not be at all
blameworthy. For it was not the colleges, but the
parent, that furnished the money, and without the



LUXURY AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS 315

money to spend no luxury would have been possible.
Critics of the college, especially if they are parents,
should give heed to this point. I have known par-
ents who continued an allowance of $1,500 or $1,800
a year, although I begged them, for the sake of the
boy, to cut it down to $600.

Is there any real danger that college life is becom-
ing too luxurious ? If I had in mind only the sons
and daughters of wealthy parents, I would say yes;
for if the college student class consisted of this ele-
ment exclusively or in large part, the danger would
be very great. It cannot be denied, moreover, that
the number of this class of students grows larger
every year. But when I think of the still larger
number of young men and women who are actually
swarming into most of our institutions — boys and
girls who must live on a mere pittance (often secured
by the sacrifice of a parent), and who are eager to
perform any service, of however menial a character
it may be, to obtain the bare necessities of life — I
have no fear whatever that the average college life
will become too luxurious.

In any case, the college is able to prevent any
serious danger of this kind. In my opinion, the
whole trend of college work makes this danger a
fancied one. College work today is something quite
different from that of a quarter-century ago. It
may not be more difficult, but it is more real and
serious. Most college men today know what their
life-work is to be, and their college training is



3i6 THE TREND IN HIGHER EDUCATION

arranged to some extent with this in view. This
secures an interest in work and a zest for it which
makes temptation more easily resisted. They see
the practical connection of work with life, and this
removes, at least in a measure, the possibility of the
danger of too luxurious living.

As is often remarked, the atmosphere of the col-
lege is the most democratic possible. This, the
most precious possession of our American college,
should be zealously cherished, and as long as it
continues to exist Httle fear of luxury need be felt.
In the practical work and working of the college
there is much substantial teaching of an economic
sort. Many men learn how to live and how not to
live, and though not every man learns to apply these
lessons at the time, there are few indeed who are not
strongly influenced by the simple, inexpensive, and
sturdy life of the body of professors and students in
the midst of whom their lot is cast. As I have ob-
served extravagance in the world, I have seldom
seen its worst phases among those who were college-
bred, for the educated taste of a college man for-
bids it.



XX

THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF THE
STUDENT^

A NEW stage in the life of an institution is, at
the same time, like and unhke a new stage in the
life of an individual. The likeness rests in the
fact that in both cases the new stage indicates
growth based upon experience of life, and, therefore,
unless abnormal influences prevail, a forward
progress. This progress signifies, as the result of
experience, greater breadth, and, as the result of
the lapse of time, greater strength. There may-
have been experience without a corresponding
breadth; and there may have been lapse of time
without corresponding gain of strength; but without
experience and without time there cannot be breadth
or strength. The unlikeness is to be found in the fact
that, while the individual, in becoming old, of neces-
sity loses the properties of youth, and with them
the possibilities of self-renewal, the institution,
however old, may take on new youth, and, being
thus old and young, may have all the strength and
experience of age, together with the freshness and
vigor of youth.

In the life of Brown University we celebrate

I Read at the inauguration of Rev. W. H. P. Faunce as pres-
ident of Brown University, October 17, 1899.

317



3i8 THE TREND IN HIGHER EDUCATION

today a new stage, and the celebration takes on
significance because it is a new stage in the life of an
institution already old — an institution whose his-
tory is marked by many stages of glorious achieve-
ment. It would seem that at such a time all the
mighty forces of this magnificent past were still in
existence, waiting only to be summoned; and that
these forces, with their collective influence, might
easily be wielded in conjunction with the new
forces which are now being set in motion. A heri-
tage from the past is either a great blessing or a great
curse. In this instance it is a blessing the greatness
of which the future prosperity of the institution will
only make more certain.

This occasion has, at least for many of us, a peculiar
significance in the fact that we celebrate the begin-
ning of a new period in the life of an institution
which represents a type of education by which our
country has been so signally blessed. The New
England college stands second only to the church in
the beneficent influence which it has exerted through-
out the length and the breadth of these United States.
This type of institution has, indeed, controlled the
lower and the higher education of the entire land.
It is the New England college that has given the
New England states the supremacy in higher life
and thought. It has been men trained in the New
England colleges who have founded similar colleges
throughout the middle, western, and southern
states. It is to this type of institution that the coun-



SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF THE STUDENT 319

try at large owes the measure of intelligence with
which affairs of government, as well as private
affairs, have been so admirably administered,
and that the church is indebted for the steady
forward movement which has characterized its
history.

This institution, under whose roof we are gathered,
together with others of hke purpose and organiza-
tion, has lived a hfe so strong, and so helpful to our
American humanity, that any event in this life
which indicates renewed vigor or strengthened
activity deserves to be celebrated as an event of
high and holy character.

It seems to me, however, for still another reason,
that this hour is one of solemn significance. The
period upon which the institution now enters,
under the guidance of its new leader, is, essentially,
synchronous with the beginning of a new century.
The first and last years of every great division of
time are felt to be full of meaning. The new admin-
istration of this university begins with the opening
years of the twentieth century, and will justly share
the significance of these years. The progress of
the world at large during the closing half-century
has been phenomenal. As examples of this progress
we are accustomed to cite the advances made in
methods of transportation and communication.
The college man knows that the progress in the
college world has been equally great. The trans-
formation in method and matter of college work



320 THE TREND IN HIGHER EDUCATION

wrought within fifty years has been as marked as
any that has taken place in the business world.
And the principles underlying these changes are
for the most part identical in the business and
the college worlds. If, then, in these last moments
of the nineteenth century we stand amazed at what
has taken place in the sphere of commerce, we may
likewise be astounded at what has taken place in
the sphere of education. And it is at this peculiar
juncture that the new president takes up his work.
It is for him, therefore, to appropriate all that has
been estabHshed, and with open mind to await the
unveiling of the secrets of the new century — secrets
which in number and importance will surely equal
those of the days gone by.

In this connection I may be permitted to dwell,
for a moment, on one of the many features which,
as the signs of the times would seem to indicate,
will characterize the twentieth-century college
education.

This feature is, itself, one of several outgrowths
of the application of the doctrine of individuahsm.
Individualism, in education, as distinguished from
collectivism, is the greatest contribution of the
nineteenth century to the cause of college education.
The application of the doctrine is seen in numerous
modifications already introduced, as in the intro-
duction of the elective system in courses of instruc-
tion, the encouragement of officers of instruction
to specialize in this or that department, or in this



SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF THE STUDENT 321

or that subdivision of a department. The work
of the student has been, in large measure, trans-
formed as a result of the wide choice of subjects
placed before him, and by the freedom given him
to make his own choice. But, now, in order that
the freedom may not be abused, and in order that
the student may receive the assistance so essential
to his highest success, another step in the onward
evolution will take place. This step will be the
scientific study of the student himself. Today the
professor's energy is practically exhausted in his
study of the subject which he is to present to the
student. In the time that is coming provision
must be made, either by the regular instructors
or by those appointed especially for the purpose,
to study in detail the man or woman to whom
instruction is offered. ■ Just as at present, in many
institutions, every student upon entrance receives
a careful physical examination, for the discovery of
possible physical weaknesses, and for the provision
of special corrective exercises; and just as from
time to time such student is re-examined physically,
to note the progress of such remedies as have been
applied, or to discover the rise of new complications ;
so in the future it will be a regular function of the
college to make a general diagnosis of each student.
This will be made (i) with special reference
to his character — to find out whether he is responsible,
or careless, or shiftless, or perhaps vicious; (2) with
special reference likewise to his intellectual capacity



322 THE TREND IN HIGHER EDUCATION

— to discover whether he is unusually able, or bright,
or average, or slow, or dull; whether he is industri-
ous, or irregular, or lazy; (3) with reference to his
special intellectual characteristics — to learn whether
he is independent and original, or one who works
largely along routine lines; whether his logical
sense is keen, or average, or dull; whether his ideas
are flexible, or easily diverted, or rigid; whether
he has control of his mind, or is given to mind-
wandering, and to what extent he has power to
overcome difficulties; (4) with reference to his
special capacities and tastes — to determine whether
these are evenly balanced, or whether there exists
a marked preference for some special subject;
whether he prefers those aspects of study which
are of the book type, or those of a mechanical
or constructive type, or those of a laboratory type;
whether- his special gift lies along lines of an aesthetic
character, or those of a literary or scientific or philo-
sophical character; whether his special aptitude,
supposing it to be in the literary field, lies in criticism,
or interpretation, or creative work; whether his
preference in scientific Unes is for the observational
or the experimental side of work, or for general
principles; and, finally, (5) with reference to the
social side of his nature — to judge whether he is fond
of companionship ; whether he is a leader or follower
among his fellows; whether he is a man of affairs,
or devotes himself exclusively to his studies; the
character of his recreation; the way in which he



SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF THE STUDENT 323

spends his leisure hours ; whether he is compelled to
work for self-support, or for the support of others.

These details, and many others which I may not
now describe, will be secured in various ways:
in part from preparatory teachers, in part from
parents, in part from the student himself, in part
also from careful observation of his work in the
first months of his college hfe. It will be no easy
task; but the difficulties will not be greater than its
importance.

Such a diagnosis, when made, would serve as
the basis for the selection of studies, in the different
stages of advancement; for it is as certain that the
student up to a certain age should be required to do
work for which he has no special taste or ability,
as that after such an age he should be guided to
take that for which he has special taste or abihty.
The facts set forth in this diagnosis will be of para-
mount value also in determining the character of
the instructor under whom he should study; for it is
clearly manifest that students of different disposition,
and of different attitudes of mind, cannot work
with equal success under the same instructor even
in the same subject. It is here that the large institu-
tion with several instructors in a given department
will have the advantage over the smaller institution.
For it is as important that students should have
election in the matter of teachers as in the matter
of subjects. A student who will utterly fail to do
good work under one instructor will often do excel-



324 THE TREND IN HIGHER EDUCATION

lent work in the same subject under an instructor
of a different temperament, though both instructors
are of equal ability as teachers.

The data thus gathered will determine the char-
acter of all advice given the student and of any pun-
ishment administered; for punishment as well as
advice must be adapted to each individual case, and
no two cases can possibly be ahke.

This material, likewise, will determine in large
measure the career of the student. The most
pathetic experience of college life is to find a man
at the end of his college course as uncertain with
respect to his life-work as he was at the beginning;
an uncertainty due for the most part to the fact that
he has not yet discovered his powers and tastes;
that he has not studied himself so as to know him-
self; that he has not been studied by the instructors
so as to be known by them. Here, in some degree,
is the difference between college and university.
The college is the place for the student to study and
test himself, in order that he may learn for what
God made him; the college is the place for the
instructor to study each student, and to point out
his weak and his strong points, that the former
may be corrected and the latter still more greatly
strengthened. The university is the place for men
who have come to know themselves, and who have
learned what they can do and what they cannot do,
to study in the line of their chosen calling. For,
strictly speaking, university life begins only when a



SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF THE STUDENT 325

man has discovered the subject or subjects which
are to be connected with his life-work. No man •
has any business to enter the university until his
life-work has been determined. And to this end
some remedy must be found for the confusion as to
the respective functions of college and university
which now exists almost universally in our country.

This feature of twentieth-century college educa-
tion will come to be regarded as of greatest impor-
tance, and fifty years hence will prevail as widely as '< -
it is now lacking. It is the next step in the evolution
of the principle of individualism, and its application
will, in due time, introduce order and system into
our educational work, where now only chaos is to
be found. May the institution under whose auspices"^ 7
we meet today be one of the first to make this scien- / ^
tific study of the student a part of its regular |
work. -^

I bring on this occasion the greetings of the Uni-
versity of Chicago, and also those of the great West
and Northwest to which Chicago is the gate of
entrance — a territory which includes many institu-
tions of learning, and which numbers among its
citizens many alumni of Brown University. * The
West gratefully acknowledges its debt of gratitude
to the East for the eastern life and thought which,
transplanted and adjusted to its new environment,
we now call western life and thought. The West
gladly acknowledges the particular debt which it
owes to Brown University for the many men of



326 THE TREND IN HIGHER EDUCATION

strong character and forceful influence whom Brown
has contributed to the uplifting of the West.

And, finally, the West unites with the East in a
prayer for the long and prosperous administration
of the distinguished man who now becomes the
president of Brown University.



XXI

THE COLLEGE OFFICER AND THE COL-
LEGE STUDENT'

The growth of interest shown in the field of
higher education during thirty years or so has been
as marked as the growth in the industrial world.
The changes which have come about in connection
with this growth, and in part as a consequence of it,
are greater than can be appreciated without a careful
comparison, point by point, between the usage
of today and that of a quarter-century ago. A
multitude of agencies, all of which relate themselves
to the thought of democracy, and which owe their
life to the spirit of democracy, have exerted influence
upon the minutest details of higher educational life
and method. The changes, therefore, in the educa-
tional field are due to the same causes, and indeed
are the same changes as those which have taken
place in every kind of life about us.

Thirty years ago there were no universities nor
large institutions. Harvard had 655 students;
Yale, 664; Michigan, 432. The American univer-
sity is something entirely new; and, side by side with
its development, important modifications in the
method and aim of college work have come in.
No one questions for a single moment the fact that

I Read at the inauguration of Professor Rush Rhees as presi-
dent of Rochester University, October ii, 1900.

327



328 THE TREND IN HIGHER EDUCATION

these changes in general have served to advance the
cause of education; and yet one will be slow to make
the distinct announcement that in every detail
these changes have proved to be a source of added
strength. What I have in mind to speak of today,
however, is the actual relationship which exists,
or should exist, between the college student in his
student life and the college professor. I use the
word "college" rather than the word "university."
In real university life the question of this relation-
ship is one which has not yet received even the
slightest consideration. I am myself persuaded
that in the university as well as in the college the
members of the faculty have large and definite
responsibilities outside of those pertaining directly
to the work of the lecture-room; but the oppor-
tunity this afternoon permits but few words at best,
and these I shall restrict to the college life as dis-
tinguished from that of the university.

The college professor of today is not an oflEicer
of the state, but a fellow-student. The truth is
that he is not an officer at all, although, in view of
the old traditions or with a new meaning for the
word, the term may be employed. The higher
institution of learning is not, as it once was, an
institution empowered to try its students for civil
or criminal offenses. University courts are a remi-
niscence of the Middle Ages. The college professor
is neither a judge nor a member of a jury. He
is not set to pass judgment on the conduct of the



COLLEGE OFFICER AND STUDENT 329

student, if that conduct should violate the state
laws. The college community is one made up of
older and younger students, all of whom have
joined the community in order to make progress
in intellectual hfe. If some of the members of the
community for good reason violate its common
sentiment, they should retire, and naturally it
will be the older members of the community who, as
fellow-students, shall have most to do with deter-
mining the particular spirit that shall be character-
istic of the community. In that incitement which
those more advanced in the same kinds of work may
furnish to those who follow, in the sympathy which
binds together those who hold interests in common,
in the ambition which leads a student to emulate
and to out-distance fellow-students — in all these
and in other ways the college professor will show
himself to be as much a student as any other in
the college; as intense a worker, as sympathetic
a Hstener, as humble a learner as any member of the
community. The _. only difference between the
professor and the pupil is that the former has the
advantage of maturity and of experience. This
advantage he shares unselfishly with his fellow-
student, the pupil. Maybe the pupil is just beginning


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Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe trend in higher education → online text (page 20 of 24)