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William Richards Castle William Roscoe Thayer.

The Harvard graduates' magazine online

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warm friends of Literature, Science, Mathematics and Philosophy, but
among instructors in History, Goyemment, and Economics as welL It
seemed as though one branch of College instruction would be literally
swamped with students, while others secured fewer than they could readily
take care of. What afforded further ground for misgiving, moreover, was
the fact that a great many of those who selected subjects of reputed cur-
rent interest, such as History, GU>vemment, and Economics, as their field
of concentration were thought to be merely proceeding along the line of
least resistance. In the year following, 1912, programs were filed by the



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70 The End of the Fear. [September,

class which gradaated at oar last Commencement These students du>
'played a somewhat more cosmopolitan interest in the yarioos groups of
study, the figures showing a decline in the partiality for the subjects of
Group III and some increase of favor for Uie other groups. In 1913 this
propensity was again marked, bat on this occasion a decided drift be*
came noticeable toward the subjects of Group I, that is to say, Classics,
Literature, and the Fine Arts. This feature was not sufficiently pro-
nounced to evoke much comment, but a year later, in the spring of 1914,
it developed more strongly still. A glance at the table of percentages will
show that 47 per cent of the Class of 1917 selected the first group as their
field of concentration, while the group which includes History, Govern-
ment, and Economics declined to 25 per cent. This did not imply, how-
ever, any pouring of students into the classical subjects ; nearly all of the
shift in figures is accounted for by the increased concentrations within the
Department of English. And, finally, the choice made by the Class of
1918 and deposited with the College authorities last May seemed to show
that the pendulum is once again swinging back in the other direction.
Group ni has recovered somewhat from its setback. The languages and
literature have lost a portion of their high percentage. Whether this swing
will continue next year and the year following until we have something
like cycles of undergraduate partiality for various fields of study, it is of
course impossible as yet to tell.

From this statistical data, however, a few generalizations may be pos-
sible, although they must be accepted with a good deal of reserve because
many factors in addition to his own intellectual interest are certain to
affect the average undergraduate in making his program. Parental ad*
vice or the suggestions of his Faculty adviser count for much with some
students and for something with all of them. The f avorableness or other-
wise of the hours at which some courses meet also has some determining
weight. It is not unlikely that the new requirement as to oral examina*
tions in French and German and also of the general examination imposed
by the Division of History, Government, and Economics have had some
influence. With due allowance for all these things, however, there seems
to be no question that the undergraduates are, in the main, consulting
their own preferences and what appear to be their own interests concen>-
ing these programs and, furthermore, that these interests and inclina-
tions differ considerably from class to class. Perhaps they will not be
shown to differ grreatly over a substantial number of years. In other words,
the various groups will probably have their ups and downs from time to
time, and no one is likely to have a permanent supremacy over all the
others in the favor of Harvard students. It is clear, however, that Group
IV, which includes Philosophy, Mathematics, and Social Ethics, is to



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1915.] The End of the Tear. 71

have the smallest percentage of all. This is in large measnre explained
by the fact that the number of available courses in this group is relatively
small compared with those of the other groups.

As for the effect of the new plan upon the resort of students to those
subjects which are commonly known as the ^'humanities," the above
iigives tell their own story pretty well. This year 21 students elected to
concentrate in the classics. They represent an increase over the choices
of the year preceding, but the number does not surpass that of choices
made in the second year preceding that again. So with such subjects as
the Fine Arts and Mathematics. These seem to be holding their own as
fields of concentration, not gaining much, not losing much. It may be
well to call attention to the strong hold which Chemistry enjoys as a
favorite subject of student concentration. It is this year exceeded by two
other subjects only, that is to say, by English and by Economics. It is,
therefore, the mainstay of Group II; without Chemistry this group would
make a rather humble showing in the figures of concentration.

During the past year there was some movement among the undergradu-
ates for changes in the lecture hours so as to leave the larger part of the
afternoon, if not the whole of it, free for recreation and athletic RMonmsliiff
appointments. Under the present arrangements most of the iMtnn &011XB
courses in Harvard College are held during morning hours from 9 o'clock
until 1. A few, however, including some courses which have a strong
following among the undergraduates, meet at 1.30, 2.30 and even at 3.30
in the afternoon. These afternoon courses probably do not represent more
than 15 or 20 per cent of the entire list and in all likelihood would figure
up to less than that percentage in terms of attendance. Nevertheless,
there are always some students who must choose between a strong incli-
nation to elect one of these afternoon courses and an equally strong de-
sire to have the whole afternoon free for rowing, tennis, or other athletic
recreation. It is true that under the existing rules no intercollegiate games
are played during the afternoon hours in which instruction is being given ;
but practice goes on throughout the afternoons without much of any re-
gard for what is happening in the relatively few classrooms which are
being used at those hours.

It is now urged that if the College day could be begun an hour earlier
it would no longer be necessary to have classes at 2.30 or 3.30. Every
one could be through the day's work in the early afternoon. This would
facilitate, it is claimed, the plan of getting everybody interested in some
form of athletics, encouraging undergraduates to build up their physical
as well as their mental equipment. To this proposal, which sounds plaus-
ible enough, there are some serious objections. In the first place, some of the
avulable morning hours are already overcrowded. The 10 and 11 o'clock



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72 The End of the Tear. [September,

appointments are huge favorites both with instructors and with stadents,
so that there is a mai'ked concentration of instruction in this particular
portion of the day. One need only to examine the conspectus of hours
and examination groups which is printed every year in the University
Catalogue to realize that the peak of the load, if one may apply an engi-
neenng phrase to a matter of college education, comes in the middle of
the forenoon. The 9 o'clock lectures are not nearly so numerous, although
some of them are given to very large bodies of Freshmen. It is altogether
probable that 8 o'clock appointments would be even less popular with
both instructors and students. The proposal to set the afternoon free,
therefore, would probably result in a f urtber overcrowding of hours that
are already congested. £ven as things are at the present time, the aver-
age student is often greatly disappointed in being unable to elect the
courses he desires because of the fact that two or more of them meet at
identical hours of the day.

But there is another objection even more serious. The afternoons have
been largely used by students of Science for their laboratory work. They
have also been used to some extent by the larger courses in Histoiy,
Government, Economics, and allied subjects for weekly section meetings,
written tests, etc. To take from the afternoon hours only the regular lec-
tures given in courses would not avail to set the students free in the way
they desire. It would also be necessary to eliminate afternoon laboratory
work and section meetings. It is doubtful if any one would regard such
a scheme practicable without serious injury to our whole program of in-
struction. No doubt the undergraduate would himself realize this fact if
the matter were fully presented to him. What is in reality more to be
desired is an increase in the number of instruction hours at present
available.

In connection with the same proposal the Crimson makes the suggestion
that the morning chapel service be held somewhat later than at present.
This service now occupies a 15-minute period preceding 9 o'clock. The
attendance has been remarkably good when one considers the hour and the
casual habits of undergraduate life ; but it would doubtless be greatly in-
creased were a change made to some time a little later in the day. The
difficulty is to find an opening for the chapel service at such later time.
The 9 o'clock classes might meet a quarter of an hour earlier, which
would certainly diminish their popularity in the undergraduate mind, and
in this way a brief interval be obtained for chapel at 10.45 or even later.
That plan would, however, have the rather dubious merit of populariz-
ing chapel at the expense of the early morning classes.

In a recent number of the Harvard Alumni Bulletin a correspondent
from the Middle West once more brings the Harvard entrance require-



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1916.] The End of the Year. 78

tnents under fire and intimates that the failure of the College to make
any substantial gain in students daring the last half-dozen ^^ antnuuM
years has been due in part, at any rate, to oar rigid ad- SrSfrSr?'^^
mission reqairements. A plea is made for the policy of w^
admission on certificate such as exists at the varioas state universities.

Lest there be any idea that the authorities of Harvard College are not
awake to the fact that eternal vigilance is the price of keeping the admis-
sion requirements in touch with the work of the public high schools, it may
be well to point ont that four or five years ago a committee of the Faculty
made a thorough study of the certificate plan and its possibilities for
Harvard's use. The committee was unanimously of the opinion that,
while admission by certificate might serve very well in state universities
where there are proper means of safeguarding the system through the
university's control of the high-school standards, the plan would certainly
not be likely to succeed at Harvard in view of our inability to inspect
even a small portion of the schools which send students to us each year.

Much has been said from time to time concerning the advantage of
the certificate as being based upon a thorough personal knowledge of the
pupil by his teacher. The Harvard committee's investigations showed
that in many large high schools there was no real basis for this contention
whatever. It was demonstrated that in many of these schools certificates
for admission to college are granted solely on the basis of results in a
series of examinations held by the school authorities. The pupil who
makes the required mark at the regular school examinations is certified
to any college as a matter of course. The pupil who fails to reach this
standard is denied a certificate by the school. The headmaster's opinion
of the boy's general attainments or of his character or promise has little
or nothing to do with the question in these larger public schools. In plain
terms, the certificate system simply means that a boy is admitted to col-
lege by an examination which his own school conducts instead of by an
examination which the college conducts. The choice is, therefore, not
between a system of admission based on thorough personal knowledge
and one based on a written examination, but between examinations con-
ducted in different ways by different authorities and according to alto-
gether different standards. It is merely a question as to whether the
college or the school can best determine, in each case by examination,
whether a boy is prepared to do work of coUegiate grade.

Attention has been called to the fact that the Harvard admission
examinations result in the rejection of from 20 to 25 per cent of the can-
didates. While accurate figrures on the point are not easy to obtain, there
can nevertheless be little doubt that fully as large a percentage of the
graduating pupils in any good high school would be refused a certificate



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74 7%e End of the Fear. [September^

to college by the sohool anthoritieB themselTes. In many Behools, for ex*
ample, the standard for graduation is 50 per cent, but the standard for a
certificate for admission to college is 70 per cent or even higher. One
may very properly doubt, therefore, whether the adoption of a certificate
system of admission would prove either a practicable or a judicioos means
of increasing the size of onr Freshman class.

The failure of the University to gain substantially in numbers during
the past decade is due to factors quite apart from requirements for ad*
mission, as is shown by the fact that Harvard College has not been alone
in its failure to make marked progress. Most of the endowed institutions
throipghout the eastern part of the United States have shown a tendency
during the last ten years to remain stationary in numbers, or nearly so*
The tremendous gains made by Columbia University have in large meas-
ure been due to the establishment and expansion of new departments of
instruction. There is the huge enrolment in the summer school, for ex-
ample, which is counted in Columbia's total and which is due mainly ta
the excellent facilities for such work afforded by the Teachers' College
in connection with that university. As for the state universities, it is only
natural that they should expand vigorously in number of enrolled stu*
dents ; since in newer and growing communities the number of young
men and women who go to college may be expected to increase steadily
year after year. State universities like those of Wisconsin, Minnesota,
Michigan and Illinois, ought to be growing rapidly no matter what their
scheme of admission. All of these States are getting to be better recruit*
ing gsounds for higher education every year. It is natural that their own
universities should reap the advantage.

Harvard's alternative admission scheme, which has been closely fol-
lowed by Yale, goes a long way in the direction of articulating college
requirements to high-school programs throughout the length and breadth
of the land. It goes as far as the situation today seems to warrant It
has brought us a moderate number of students each year, who possibly
might not have come to us were only the old plan of entering the Uni-
versity available. Perhaps it has given ns 40 or 50 Freshmen a year
whom we should not have had otherwise. No one can estimate exactly,
but this is a liberal guess. The complete adoption of the certificate plan
might bring us a hundred additional Freshmen, but that would not give
us the primacy in point of attendance among universities of the United
States or anything like it The reasons for Harvard's slow prc^rress in
point of total student enrolment are not wholly or even largely connected
with the rules relating to admission. They relate to far broader and
more g^eneral factors. The increase of population in universities follows
to some extent the same general principles which guide such increases in



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r



1916.] Tht End of the Year. 76

eommonities at large. The Middle West ib forging ahead more rapidly
than New England. Why shoold not the institations of higher learning
in thoee two areas show the effects of this disparity ?

The registration in the Harvard Summer School during its recent
session was the largest in several years. A year ago the growth in nam*
hers was regarded as striking and exceptional. Daring the naSnnmtr
pest summer, however, this gain has not only heen held, SBbM^oiiOU
hat slightly improved upon. The following tahle gives the figures of total
e nr o l l m ent and shows tlie relative number of men and women students
enrolled in the Summer School during the sessions of 1911-1915, io-
dusive:



i \ \ \


1911
. 400
. 887


1912
433
405


1913
382

411


1914
488

47a


1915
446
470


ritadento


. 787


828


79S


906


916



It will be seen that the instruction in the Summer School proves about
equally attractive to each sex. At no time during the last five years has
the proportion varied more than two or three per cent in favor of one
or the other.

It is interesting to notice the make-up of our Summer School constitu-
ency from the standpoint of occupation. The appended table affords
information on this point. It will be noted that teachers and school offi-
cers form the backbone of the attendance. Their total number during the
recent session of the Summer School amounted to 365, or nearly 40 per
cent of the entire enrolment. The next largest group is made up of
students in the physical-education courses, 215 in all. These students are
for the most part instructors in college and school gymnasiums, super-
visors of playgrounds, or other persons more or less closely connected
with the school Sjrstems of the country. Thus it appears that nearly two
thirds of the attendance at the Harvard Summer School is drawn from
the ranks of those who are directly or indirectly connected* with the active
work of instruction and school administration. A small group comes from
various other professions and occupations, including clergymen, lawyers,
physicians, and persons engaged in secretarial, literary, and social work.
There is the usual batch of Harvard undergraduates and students from
other colleges. The majority of these are young men who are seeking to
finish their undergraduate studies in three years ; 36 of them, however, are
designated as *' undergraduates with deficient record," which means that
an attendance at the Summer School is somewhat in the nature of a penalty
imposed for failure to pass in a sufficient number of courses with satisfac-
tory grades during the last winter term. These ^< deficient *' students are
not allowed, by the way, to scatter around in the various Summer School



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76



The End of the Tear.



[September,



coarses at their own discretion. Certain courses involving strict mental
discipline are provided for their special benefit. Here are the statistics :

Statistics of Students in the Summer School of 1916



Mm



WomcH



Total



Harvftrd itiidaiits of preoediag acmd >m ic jmr :

Memben of graduate and profetiiooal aohooli.

Undergradoafcat in good standing

Undergraduates with deficient record

RadcUffe atodenta of preceding academic year ,

Students from otber colleges

Students from preparatory schools

Other students

Teachers and school officers :

Profenors and college inatraotors

Normal school teachers

High school teachers

Grade school teachers

Endowed and private school teachers.

other teachers

Supervisors and principals

Superintendents

Oceopations other than teaching :

Clergymen

Lawyers

Physicians

librarians

Secretaries

Literary workers

Clerks

Social workers

Chemists

Misoellaneons

Occupation not given

Students at Engmeerlns Camp

Students in Phifsloal Educatian ooursea

Totals

Karnes counted twice



21
66



60
8
9

21

2
22

8
SI

7
81

6

4
8
8

2

1

3

1

3

11

16

15

09



9
17

3
12

10
7
66
91
28
16



2
80



146



21
66
36

9
67

6
21

81
9
88
90
69
23
63
6

4
8
4
1
6
4
8
6
8
13
46
15
215



449
3



473
3



922
6



446



470



916



The elaborate program of building construction which the University
undertook about three years ago has been practically completed. The
Oomplvtlon of Freshman Dormitories, of course, were in readiness at the
^i"™"** beginning of the last College year. The Widener Libi'ary

was finished and dedicated at the last Commencement; most of the books
have been transferred to it or will have been moved before this issue of
the Magazine reaches its readers. The Cmft High Tension Laboratory
was ready for occupation early in 1915, the addition to the Peabody
Museum a little while earlier. The central part of the Gray Herba-
rium, which has been undergoing reconstruction during the last three
years, was completed in the course of the spring. No construction remains
under way except the new Grermanic Museum building which will be
ready, unless something unexpected intervenes, early in the next College
year. These various buildings, when taken together, represent the roost
elaborate and most expensive construction program that the Univer-



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1915.] The End of the Year. 77

sity has ever undertaken in a similar period of time. Everything has
been carried through in connection with them without any serious mishap.

Murray Anthony Potter, assistant professor of Romance Languages,
died at Lancaster, May 17, in the 45th year of his age. Prof. Potter
entered the University in 1891 and remained a student and
teacher until 1899, receiving his Ph.D. in that year. After
a short term of service at Dartmouth College, he became a member of
the Department of Romance Languages at Harvard and continued as
such until his death.

John Hildreth McCollom, professor of Contagions Diseases, emeritus,
died at his home in Boston, June 14, in the 74th year of his age. Prof.
McCollom received the degree of M.D. from the Harvard Medical School
in 1869 and the honorary degree of Master of Science from Dartmouth
College in 1910. His connection with Harvard as a teacher dated from
1893, when he became assistant in Bacteriology. He was superintendent
and medical director of the Boston City Hospital from 1909 to 1915.

C. N. Greenough, '98, has been promoted to a professorship of Eng-
lish, and Charles H. White, '97, to a professorship of Mining and
Metallurgy. — Arthur F. Whittem, '02, has been appointed AppdntmiailB,
assistant professor of Romance Languages. — E. V . Hunt- Sdn^SuL-
ington, '95, assistant professor of Mathematics, has been ^^^"^
made associate professor in that department. — William Anderson, A.M.,
has been appointed instructor in Municipal Grovemment, and Samuel £.
Morison, '08, instructor in History. — Oswald 6. Villard, '93, has been
appointed member of the Harvard Commission on Western History. •—
Hie resignation of Theobald Smith, h '01,Pabyan Professor of Compara-
tive Pathology, was accepted at a recent meeting of the Harvard Cor-
poration. — Prof. E. J. A. Duquesne, of the School of Architecture, has
resigned his position and returned to France. — Dr. H. L. Gray, *98,
assistant professor of History, has resigned to accept a professorship in
Bryn Mawr College.

Honorary degrees of LL.D. were conferred upon President Lowell
and Prof. G. L. Eittredge, '82, by Johns Hopkins University on May 20,
on the occasion of the inauguration of President F. J. Goodnow, h '09.
— The Ricardo PrisM Scholarship in Economics for the year 1915-16
has been awarded to William Burke Belknap, 2G., of Louisville, Ey.
Mr. Belknap graduated from Yale in 1908.— The red flag law of 1913,
which, by its prohibition of the display of any red flag or banner, pre-
vented the University from publicly using its crimson banners, has been
repealed by the State Legislature. All societies are thereby granted the
privilege of carrying a red emblem in any public demonstration. — The
CoUege Library has received recently an interesting photograph. This



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78 Commencement — BxereUes in Sanders Theafre. [September,

is one which has been taken of the earliest existing ^* broadside " trien-
nial catalogae of the University. The catalogue was printed in 1674
and contains a list of graduates of the University since 1642 and of
the undergraduates in College. The copy from which the photograph
was made is in the State Paper Office in London and is the only one
known to be extant. The photograph was presented by £dward Bell^
'04. — The first Freshman Jubilee was held in May with decided suc-
cess. This is a new departure and one which bids fair to become an



Online LibraryWilliam Richards Castle William Roscoe ThayerThe Harvard graduates' magazine → online text (page 9 of 103)