Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/285

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the interest of increasing its numbers every intellectual ideal has been compromised, athletics have been made the determinants of college policy, and college life has become a carnival of "student interests." Nothing, however, has done more to depress the salaries of professors, and at the same time to cheapen the type and character of men considered eligible to the profession. To this, indeed, we owe the preference over the scholar, the student, and the teacher, of the academic entrepreneur, or "educator." It is most noteworthy that the Carnegie Foundation, in its search for the obstacles to the advancement of teaching, has landed upon this point first—namely, the cheapening of salaries and of men which comes from reckless expansion. And it is not pleasant to reflect that, while the laboring man is prepared more or less to stand for himself, the function of a trade-union for college professors is left to Mr. Carnegie's foundation; or, further, that the college professor, while eager to share in its benefits, has shown thus far no very hearty sympathy for the purposes of its investigations.

For, in the end, it is the college professor himself who is largely responsible. I doubt if many college men fully realize the intimate connection between the policy of inflation and their own economic position. Most of them are as naively enthusiastic over a gain in attendance as a student over a foot-ball victory. And when it is otherwise they are content to lay the burden of responsibility upon the head of "the administration." It is not my intention to absolve the administration; yet there must be few cases where the choice of the administration is not more or less determined by the faculty themselves. In any case, a hostile administration could not long survive a serious and well-considered opposition. As President Schurman says in his last annual report, "A faculty will not be dominated or over-ridden which justly asserts itself." It must always be remembered that, with the exception of the president, the only persons who are with the college all the time, and whose interests are continuously identified with its welfare, are the faculty. And they are the professional experts. Consciously or unconsciously, positively or negatively, they are bound, therefore, to have a large influence upon its policy.

In the matter of inflation they have been more than negatively responsible. Under the opportunities for competition afforded by the elective system, nearly every professor is struggling to magnify the importance of his courses by increasing the attendance. He knows that, under the present conditions, attendance will count for promotion, and further that a large attendance is incompatible with very severe standards; and he finds it easier to conform to the conditions than to raise his voice in protest. Likewise every head of department is striving to make his department the largest, to print the longest list of names upon the department letter-paper, without regard to quality or