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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/331

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ACADEMIC ASPECTS OF ADMINISTRATION

(I ignore the pardonable exception of those still overawed by their own doctor's dissertations), he entertains no illusion that the fate of culture rests in his hands. He recognizes the many forces that sympathetically with his own endeavors are making for a common goal. He recognizes with deep concern the many other groups of influences that display the lure of cheap success, that crowd out the nobler, calmer virtues by an insistent demand for immediate returns, and bring the money-changers back into the temple of learning. Thus coming to his own, looking backward for the benefit of experience, looking inward for the illumination of what might be, he is emboldened at times to look forward to a future in which shall be more freely realized the career that he cherishes, to a release in greater measure from the hampering restrictions amid which he has become resigned to adjust his own service.

A sensitive barometer of the academic atmosphere is to be found in what we have learned from the Germans to call Lehrfreiheit; but which as made in Germany is by no means a cheap article or easy to secure. This delicate instrument must be adjusted to each climate; and to read its indications is something of an art. The facetiously inclined like to repeat the dictum that Boston is not a city, but a state of mind; but so is every locality with a title to distinction. America is a state of mind; the university reflects, fosters and imbibes states of mind. The state of mind marked on the intellectual map as academic freedom is difficult to localize. One is tempted to say that it is bounded on the north by the overshadowing mountains of the check-book, on the east by the tidal waves of current opinion, on the south by the chain-and-compass survey of past generations, on the west by the undrained marshes of political venture. Its contours are evasive and shifting. It is best recognized by the cultures it favors and by the serenity and charm of its landscape. The condition it implies is much more than the untrammeled freedom to teach fearlessly what reason finds true or holds plausible. It is a declaration of the right of this domain to develop its own academic life, academic liberty and academic pursuits of happiness.

The university's conception of its own function and the development of men and measures to further its own aims, naturally and properly reflect, as they have ever reflected, age and people and condition. But loyalty to its own ends as conceived with such wisdom as the leaders of men could command, was and is indispensable to the academic life. The purpose must be large, the service comprehensive, the honors worthy, the career attractive to enlist the life-long devotion of ability, character and ambition. The loyalty concerned flourishes only when those who bring it feel themselves spiritually akin with the larger life with whose fortunes they have linked their own. It is