Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/410

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
404
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the same sense of personal ownership; the same board of trustees, with authority and privileges as in the days when the college was the whole and itself little better than an academy. In other words, we are controlling the great university with its thousands of students in many schools, with its many groups offering hundreds of courses, after the fashion which prevailed when there was but one group of courses, arranged expressly with reference to the needs of those looking forward to the clerical profession. The method is not adapted to the conditions; as well try to manage the New York Central of to-day by the railroad methods of forty years ago.

The time has come for a complete reorganization of the system; the educational work and the business management must be under separate boards, and the boundaries of the provinces should be definite.

The faculties, each for itself, should control appointments of professors and instructors; should determine all matters concerning curricula; should decide questions as to expansion or contraction of work; should have the final word respecting internal arrangement of buildingsā€”in short should be the supreme authority in all matters directly affecting the educational work. Matters affecting the work of the university as a whole should be referred to a council composed of representatives from all of the faculties whose determination should be final. In very many institutions most of these powers are still vested in the board of trustees, which means simply that in these matters the whole control is in the hands of one or two members; since no board of trustees can possibly be competent to decide respecting qualifications of candidates for professorships or upon changes in curricula, decisions respecting these matters are most likely to be rendered in deference to the opinion of some trustee or officer who is suppposed by the rest to know something about them. In other words, the individual trustees have transferred their powers while nominally retaining them.

The presiding officer of the council, the educational head of the university, should be one who has studied the educational problem from all sides; not necessarily a great scholar in any one department, but a broad scholar, possessing tact and executive force. Such men are not rare, though one may be pardoned for regretting that so many have chosen other professions in preference to that of college president. The faculties should select this officer.

The trustees should have charge of the financial interests of the institution. In some of our universities, those interests exceed those of some western states; even in less pretentious institutions they are very large. They are sufficient everywhere to require not merely close attention but an amount of business skill and shrewd foresight beyond that demanded by ordinary business of equal extent. The trustees cannot be the architects or the builders; but their work, if confined to its