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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/334

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

Apollo to make his report and engages the Muses at modest stipends upon condition of good behavior. But in truth there is no danger that the very important services of liberal-minded men of affairs to the maintenance of our universities will go unrecognized. The association of such a body as a board of cooperation is at once high token of regard for a high type of citizen, and is of definite benefit to the institution concerned. This contribution of external cooperation is quite in keeping with the genius of our national practical sense. The great and overwhelming misfortune is that its function has been so wholly misunderstood in the light of legal authority and of a popular conception growing out of relations in the business life wholly unrelated to what must and should obtain in the academic world. When the board recognizes that the university is not a business concern; that it has laws of its own; that the faculty alone can determine the mode of advance within the university, that the position of a professor is that of a counselor, free, authoritative and independent, there will be no externalism in the objectionable sense, but only external cooperation. American conditions are individual. We can not copy either the English or the German mode of government. We can secure our own type of efficiency without sacrifice of what is the essential end of all institutions of learning. Hence boards have their place, but a place determined by the subservience to the cultural ends of the university, which must ever be paramount. Business procedures must be secondary to educational ones; those who control the former should not in the least control the activities, status and decisions of those entrusted with the educational conduct of the university.

Dominated by this business view—even in its comparatively enlightened form—comes an imperious demand for results, tangible, visible, audible to the popular sense. The curve of the annual freshman crop must not compare unfavorably with that of the other indigenous products of the soil; new departments with smart heraldings must be added; the catalogue must put on pages of adipose tissue; the campus must suggest the inspiring appearance of a western town site. If a stranger had been present at a memorial exercise which I have in mind, he would have concluded that the deceased had been a mason contractor and not a college president. The addresses dwelt with loving fondness upon the buildings erected during the administration, giving the area of the floors in square feet and the cost in dollars. Now quite apart from the conspicuous and vulgar extremes of this attitude, let it be acknowledged in a meek confessional spirit that enough of it obtains in the best of our institutions to decidedly guide the direction of activities and warp them away from the path of true academic progress. This factor helps to account for both externalism and the exaggerated contours of the presidential silhouette.