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(9) Is the sum paid for teachers of all grades so used as to obtain the maximum teaching results, keeping in mind both the ability of the teachers and the size of their classes? While classes should be reasonably small, the size of the class is not of first importance. A competent teacher, with a class of 30 students, may accomplish much more for each individual student than two less competent teachers with classes of only 15 students each. Maximum and optimum sizes of classes will, of course, vary for different subjects. You probably all know of the valuable study recently made of the student-hour costs of instruction in one American college and the comparison of these costs with the student-hour costs in other colleges, the purpose of the study being to arrive at some standard of costs. To have such a standard is no doubt important. Student-hour and per capita cost of instruction will depend on the average salary of instructors and the average ratio of number of instructors to number of students. Fifty thousand dollars for 25 teachers to teach 250 students in classes averaging 10 students each, and fifty thousand dollars paid to 15 teachers to teach 250 students in classes of 15 or 16 students each, will give the same per capita and student-hour costs, but this does not at all prove that the one policy is as wise as the other. In teaching, as elsewhere, and more than in most other things, one who can do the work well is worth more than two or five who can not. In elementary schools I have seen one teacher with a class of 60 children do for each child more than twice as much as another teacher in the same school did for a class of 30 children. In some subjects classes may well be large, in others they must be small. The survey committee should consider the skill with which these principles are applied in the college.
(10) What is the attitude of members of the faculty toward their work, the work of other members of the faculty, the student body, and the college as a whole? This is, or is close akin to, that indefinable but all important something generally known as esprit de corps. Something is wrong with a college in whose faculty there is not such a spirit of a very fine and high type. A right attitude of all members of a college faculty in these respects will counterbalance much lack of equipment and other defects.
(11) Next must be considered the student body. Where do the students come from? What classes of society do they represent? Are all classes represented in proper proportion? A State university supported by the taxes of all the people of all parts of the State is failing in its duty if it does not draw students in just proportion from all classes of society and all parts of the State. If there is not such a just representation, why not? A careful investigation will frequently reveal the fact that the university has failed to put itself equally in close and vital contact with all classes of the people and all sections of the State. A State university must remember its equal duty to all and direct its interests and energies accordingly.
(12) How are students distributed among schools, departments, and classes? Students should, of course, be given much freedom in the choice of their courses and the direction of their work. Nevertheless, if the survey of the State, section of country, or portion of society served by the college indicates a fairly definite need and demand for men and women with certain different kinds of college training in somewhat definite numbers, the colleges on which the State, section of country, or portion of society in question depends for its educated men and women must see to it that these are prepared in about the relative numbers needed. The work of the colleges should not result in an overproduction of any one kind of ability and injurious underproduction of another kind. The colleges of a State in which many engineers of various kinds are needed for the profitable development of its resources should not persist in a policy which sends most of its students into the law and the ministry. To bring about a right proportion in the number of students taking various courses may be difficult, but it is essential to the best service on the part of the college. Where it has not been done the survey should call attention to the failure, and if possible show how it may be remedied. Sometimes one or more popular professors in one department will draw students in undue proportion from other departments in which the professors are less popular. Parents advise their sons—they used to do this more than now-to take professors rather than courses. “It is the man that counts, and not the subject,” they say, and in a measure this is true. The personality of a man does count for much in the high school and in the lower classes of the college and for something in the higher classes, but for these higher classes and in technical subjects the man counts for less and the subject for more than in the lower classes.
(12) What is the spirit of the student body? Is it one of work, earnest endeavor, and high ideals, or the opposite? Colleges differ much in this respect. This general attitude of the student body differentiates itself into the attitude of the student body as a whole toward the college, toward the faculty, toward college work and student activities," and the attitude of individual students toward each other. Are “student activities” lacking or do they assume an undue relative importance? Are the students united for all legitimate work of the college or are they divided into unsympathetic factions? That the student body should have a spirit of earnest work is, of course, of the greatest importance. It may be a good thing for boys to live about a college, but it is certainly much better for them also to work at college, forming habits of work to be taken with them into the world as well as gaining whatever knowledge and skill may be gained by work at college.
(14) How long do the students of the college remain? The ability of the college to hold its students must be counted as an important factor in its success. Few young men and women of this day of economic prosperity and the low cost of living (as measured in terms of labor) are obliged to leave college to go to work. Whether they remain long in college or leave early depends very largely on the appeal college life makes to them and the extent to which the college inspires them with a desire for that which it can give.
(15) What are the standards of admission, promotion, and graduation, and how well are they enforced? There is no longer any good reason, I believe, why any institution calling itself a college and giving college degrees should admit students who have had less than is offered in a good high school of four years. There are now approximately 14,000 high schools in the United States. Nearly 10,000 of these offer four years' work based upon the full amount of elementary school work of seven, eight, or nine years. Few communities are unable to maintain one or more good high schools. If any community feels unable to maintain such a school, it will usually be cheaper, and I believe almost always better for the boys and girls of that community to attend high school in some other community than to go unprepared to a low-grade, cheap college which attempts to do both high-school and college work without adequate equipment for either.
In determining the standards of a college, consideration must also be given to the extent to which "conditions” are allowed and the way in which they are made up, and to the extent to which work credited for admission is also credited as college work and counted toward graduation. If the college requires on paper four years of highschool work, or 16 units, but admits a large per cent of its students on three years of highschool work, 12 or 13 units, and permits these more poorly prepared students to make up their conditions during the regular time for college work, it can hardly claim that its standards are as high or that it can offer as much to its well-prepared students as a college allowing no admission conditions to be made up in the regular time for college work; nor are the standards really what they appear to be if work accepted for admission is not used as a basis for the college work. A college may accept for admission two or more units in chemistry, physics, and biology, but not base its own work in these subjects on the beginnings already made by the students, requiring these students to do their high-school work over again with freshmen who have had no work in these subjects, or else to wait until other students have done the beginning work
and then join them in a higher class. Under these conditions students offering for admission work in a subject and then taking the college work in the same subject do not get an amount of work in that subject equal to the sum of the years of work done in the high school plus the years offered in college, but only the work represented by the number of years in the subject offered by the college. Again, it may well be asked how much of the college work really is work for which college credits should be given and how much is only high-school or even primary-school work. Much of the work in foreign languages and the elementary phases of the physical sciences now given in American colleges is of this nature. Thechild of 6 in the primary school reads “acat," "a black cat," "it is my cat," "I see the cat." At 18 the same child enters college and reads similar matter in German, French, or Spanish through a good part of a year and receives for it dignified college credits. The lessons in the primary school and in the college involve the me kind of work and require the same kind of mental ability. Much of the science work in our American colleges is also such work as should be done, and can be done, better in the high school or even in the elementary school. How much of this kind of work is done in the college under survey? To what extent does the college build its work on the high-school work accepted for admission? How well are its courses organized? How much of unity and continuity is there in them? What is the proportion of advanced work, second, third, and fourth year work, in the same subject or allied subjects, to single-year or even half-year work? These and other similar questions must be asked and answered before standards can be determined with any degree of certainty. How well is the work of the individual students organized? What help do instructors give undergraduate students in organizing their work? Students should have the largest possible amount of intelligent freedom in making up their courses of study, but intelligent freedom requires much wise guidance.
(16) What standing do students of the college take when going to other colleges of known standards? Is the work of the college accepted at its face value? It is especially desirable to know what standing its graduate students have taken when entering standard schools for advanced work. Though this may be a narrow test, it is one of the most definite for any college which has sent many students on for graduate work. It is also one of the fairest. It reveals clearly the results of the policy of the college in admitting students and of its own work for its students through the full college course.
(17) If the college has been established long, it may well be asked what part its graduates have performed in life and how well. President Gilman used to say that the work of a college at any period must be judged by the work that the students of that period have done and are doing 25 or 30 years later. A State university supported by all the people to prepare men and women to serve the State in every place in which knowledge and skill are required may well be judged by the fullness, variety, and efficiency of the service rendered by its graduates.
(18) How well are courses of study of the college adapted to the purposes the college should serve and the conditions under which it must work? It is especially desirable to determine whether the income and equipment of the college are adequate to the work undertaken or advertised. College work of the best type now requires costly equipment. To hope to hold a place in the first rank, a college must now have a much larger income than was necessary only a few years ago. If the income is relatively small, the college must be content to offer a relatively small number of courses, and these of a kind that do not require large expenditures. Several of our larger institutions now advertise more than one thousand courses. The University of Wigconsin ten years ago advertised an even one thousand. Only a generation ago few advertised more than two or three hundred. The larger number of courses is made necessary by the increase of knowledge and the complexity of modern life and should be offered by some at least of the larger and richer colleges, but from the multitude of possible subjects most colleges must select those which they are able to give and which are best adapted to their constituencies. Since a State constituted of the whole body of the people and representing all their interests and needs must assume the responsibility of supplying all its wants and may not transfer this responsibility to any part of the people less than the whole or to the possibilities and chances of private benevolences, the State university must, therefore, provide instruction in all subjects that are of vital interest to its people and the State must make it possible for it to do so.
(19) The survey should make a careful inventory of the equipment of laboratories, shops, and libraries to determine to what extent they are adapted to the demands upon them and the work which the college should undertake to do through them, and should indicate clearly their shortcomings and needs. It should also include a careful inspection of buildings and grounds to determine their fitness for the purposes for which they are used, their sanitation, and the manner in which they are equipped. Attention should also be given to environment of the college and to the possibilities and means of improving this environment. Special attention should be given to the question whether the location of the college is such as to make it possible for it to succeed in certain lines of work. Is it undertaking to maintain a medical school without the possibility of adequate clinics? Is it attempting to give advanced instruction in engineering without the possibility of bringing its students into contact with modern industrial plants? Is it undertaking to teach agriculture without sufficient and suitable land for agricultural experiments and demonstrations and without the possibility of constant observation of practical farming under normal conditions? Is it trying to prepare students for modern, democratic, social, and civic life witnin the walls of aristocratic or monastic seclusion? What provision, if any, is made for the nomes of members of the faculty and for students? That they may do their best work, both teachers and students should live comfortably and under wholesome sanitary conditions. Whatever affects the health, the strength, the vitality, the comfort, or the economy of time and effort of either students or teachers must be a matter of interest to the survey.
(20) What is the total necessary cost of attendance at college, including fees, living, and incidental expenses? Is this total cost kept well within the limits of the means of those who attend the college? What are the actual expenses of students? Are the actual expenses little or much in excess of the necessary minimum? Are the sons and daughters of the rich permitted without protest to introduce extravagant habits of living or is this discouraged? It is easily possible for the cost of living at college, including fees of one kind and another, to become so high as to keep away many who should, both for their own good and for the good of society and state, enter and remain until they graduate. When a college becomes a rich man’s club or the center of a dilettante society, its usefulness as a democratic institution is much impaired. While students and faculty alike should be able to live without stint of anything that may be necessary for the best work and the fullest life, the actual value of the work of any college will probably decrease in proportion as the expenses of either are in excess of this limit; more probably as the square or cube of this excess. What opportunities do the college and the community in which it is located offer students for profitable employment by which they may pay some portion of their college expenses when necessary? What attempts are made to induce all young men and women to get the benefit of the college regardless of their financial condition, if only they are willing to help themselves and are able to profit by attendance at college?
(21) What relation does the college bear to the general system of public education (all agencies of education are public in its function and purpose) and to the several parts thereof? Does the college interest itself in the elementary schools, earnestly trying to foster their interests? What is its attitude toward the high schools? Is it preventing their full development by its own low standards, or is it imposing upon them the narrow and rigid limitations of college preparatory schools? Is the college striving to help high-school principals and teachers find just what is best for the schools charged with the education of a rapidly increasing number of boys and girls through the golden period of early and middle adolescence, and then wisely and patiently adjusting its own work to the results of these improved high-school courses,
so that more of those who go through the high school may be inspired or induced to enter college, while those who do not shall have gained from their years in the high school the best possible preparation for life? What is the relation of the college to other colleges within its territory, to professional and graduate schools? Is it helpfully sympathetic or is it hurtfully antagonistic? What attempts have been made toward desirable adjustments between the college and all other educational institutions to the end that the whole community served by them may receive the largest benefits?
(22) What extension work does the college do? In what spirit is it done? Is it regarded as an opportunity for wider service or as a burden imposed? Is it organized as an integral part of the college work and inspired with the spirit and ideals of the college or is it disconnected, disjointed, and lifeless? Is it well chosen, arising out of the needs of the community, or has it been adopted in imitation of some other college that has won reputation for such work? What facilities has the college for its extension work? Is its income sufficient to enable it to do this work without detracting from the value of its legitimate intramural work? The campus of the modern college should be as large as the territory it serves. Wherever people labor in the sunshine or toil in the shadows, wherever they are attempting to do any legitimate work which requires an understanding of fundamental principles and the guidance which the college may give, there it should be of service. But no college should undertake work for which it is unprepared outside its walls at the expense of the legitimate work which it is already doing within its walls. To determine what extension work it should undertake, or if any at all, is not always an easy task for the college. The survey should assist it in arriving at a wise decision.
(23) What are the possibilities of growth for the college? In what direction should it extend its work? Is its income sufficient for its present needs and its future growth? Can this income be increased? Are the present sources of income sufficient to respond to new demands? What other sources of income are available or can be made available? What changes in the college and its work may and can be made to enable it to demand and obtain the larger income which it should have? These and other similar questions the survey must answer or put the college in the way of answering for itself if it is to result in much good. The final value of the survey will depend not only on the keenness with which it analyzes conditions and the justness and fairness with which it points out weaknesses and failures, it will depend also on the fullness and helpfulness of its constructive recommendations and suggestions. It is not enough for the physician to diagnose a case, however thoroughly and accurately; he must also prescribe the remedy if his services are to be of much value. The college survey committees must be able both to diagnose and to prescribe. To this end, I repeat, every such committee should be made up of men and women who have power to contribute to the work of the committee in both respects. Critics who can merely detect faults have their place, no doubt, but it is not in connection with high constructive work like this. Here, as in every other place, we must doubt the value of the judgment of men who can not also do. We all value most the criticism of those who are possessed of the knowledge that comes from experience and have proven the soundness of their judgment by the success of the work in which it has been applied.
Of such surveys as I have here attempted to describe and of which I have attempted to point out some of the elements, I believe we may not have too many. To a survey undertaken by competent persons in this spirit, I believe, no self-respecting college will object. All of which is respectfully submitted.
P. P. CLAXTON,
Commissioner. To the SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.