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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/343

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339
ACADEMIC ASPECTS OF ADMINISTRATION

sion seems to be that of a joint council of trustees and faculty, or an advisory council to the president as at Stanford University. With the establishment of these reforms or their equivalent, the rest may confidently be left to the wisdom that universities have already shown themselves to command, and to the cooperative spirit which these changes inevitably incite.

Should it be said that by my own argument, administrative methods are secondary and that the great struggle needed to effect these changes will not be justified, I reply first with a decided assent, and second with a vital reservation. Naturally administrative measures are of minor importance if academic ends are secured; but it is because the current methods are directly subversive of such ends, and because, most of all, they imperil the academic career, and wantonly deprive it of its due standing, that the change of such methods becomes the major concern of the present educational situation. "The constitution of our universities is an appearance of their indwelling mind, and therefore it is of moment for their future" (Stratton).

The outward semblance and public garb of the university, no more than personal beauty, is skin deep. Or if, indeed, we consider it such, the retort is at hand, that at all events ugliness goes right down to the bone. The unfortunate and distorted features of the academic system are not superficial; and the remedy likewise must be radical. While I make my plea for administrative reform dominantly because I am so deeply convinced that the rehabilitation of the academic career is possible only upon that condition, I yet emphasize that the welfare not alone of the profession will be secured by the change of front which is the consummation alike to be wished for and to be worked for, but equally that the good of the student community and of all that, makes for the strength of the university will be similarly advanced. Measures will then be the issue of an inner harmony, of a slow maturing conviction, of sensibilities and perceptions fostered by the experience of the academic life. As has been well said, a university—like much else in this world and very different from the advertising fusilade of commercial blank cartridges—a university works best when its work is quiet and deep; and all its forms and organization should express and strengthen this idea.

Ordinarily, amid the routine of pressing duties, in the leisure between obligations, under the ever-present sense of accountability, the dweller in the modern grove checks his enthusiasms, and withstands the temptation to unfold the future. But in surroundings, such as these and under the incentive of occasion and with a sympathetic body of hearers, he is emboldened to disregard the overcast horizon and contemplate distantly, yet hopefully, the things that are to be.