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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/335

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ACADEMIC ASPECTS OF ADMINISTRATION

As thus analyzed, the situation is explicable, in part even justified. As evolutionists we bear in mind the rapidly shifting, indeed the unprecedented character of the conditions in which our academic practises have been evolved. Under such conditions organization must be elastic, initiative open, adjustments ready to meet emergencies. Power is naturally concentrated in a few, even in a single hand; and once more, the democracy of our ideals asserts itself in the keeping in touch with popular demands of what academic service may be expected to supply. But it is still more true and very much more significant, in so far as this is an excuse, that we have outgrown all that, except where the frontier still holds. The time is here for most of. our universities and is close at hand for the rest, when we must cease to ask special consideration for our educational provisions. "We are not a weakling nor an unfortunate people. Let our universities stand as worthy embodiments of our national resources comparable with those of other lands, as do our railways, our factories or our public library system. This is not a matter of time, but of tradition. Some of the foremost of the German universities are about as old or younger than the college whose anniversary is now observed. But the traditions under which these were established and under which they have developed are decided traditions of the supreme right of Lehrfreiheit and of the great distinction and worth of the academic career. If such is to obtain amongst us we must develop perceptions keen to that which is educationally sound, to what is culturally good; we must trust implicitly those who have these perceptions; we must secure for the career devoted to this cause, honor, encouragement, responsibility, authority and a suitable living.

From whatever side we approach the situation we reach the same conclusion, for the factors thereof are of a nature all compact. We measure academic success by unsuitable standards, derived from the market-place; and as a consequence there is a sorry contamination even within the fold. That the professor has not been able to withstand these several influences must with like frankness be confessed. The law of the grove is compromised, evaded or forgotten. Professors become statistically minded, dwell upon sizes of classes, offer inducements for the hesitant student, seeks the favor of those in power and further the ends preferred by those who mete rewards. We find them also discouraged by the unfair struggle for existence, with everything rising except the price of postage stamps and professors' salaries; we find them acquiring a disturbing interest in commercial ventures; we find them losing the finer qualities of their service because of the trying elements in the intellectual climate. The excuse is not far to seek. When men of the academy find, as years go by, that their own preferment is largely determined by utility, not in direct development of their personal