Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/159

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WHAT MAKES A COLLEGE?

high scholarship in social service, it has not looked after the character and effectiveness of its resources from the point of view of changing social needs.

No one will deny for a moment that the colleges have rendered indispensable service to the country in spite of their lack of resources and of their point of view with regard to scholarship—some indeed will say because of it. It is time, however, that every institution of higher learning should eschew the old notion of compulsory morality and of the paramount desirability of personal influence irrespective of rhyme or reason. Other things being equal, the man of the greatest intellectual equipment will be the most moral man because in the long run he will be most effective in advancing the social welfare. The chances are that he will have just as much desire to do good as his less well-equipped brother; and he will have in addition the very essential capacity of directing his forces to the good end he desires to accomplish. The small colleges have worked faithfully to make other things equal, but only in the universities and in the larger colleges is there yet much true insight into the social value of genuine scholarship, or sufficient recognition that morality and knowledge go hand in hand. If the universities have erred in one direction—letting "moral discipline" go by the board—the colleges have erred in the other. What the colleges have now more explicitly to recognize is that the world to-day needs men and women whose good intentions, whose Christian "character," are directed and made effective by scientific knowledge of things as they are, by hardheaded capacity and courage to think, by energy to act rationally and with sympathetic understanding, even in the face of complex difficulties and unkindly criticism; and that it is the business of the college to develop the potentialities of such capacity.

To develop these basic powers we must have the right processes, and, back of the process, sufficient resources, for without resources the education needful to-day is an impossibility. The educational resources of the college are its material equipment, its students, and its faculty—and the greatest of these is the faculty. When all is said, the faculty makes the college—and scholarship makes the faculty. But even now the colleges recognize this but vaguely, and with some reluctance, perhaps because the men the universities have supplied to them as teachers have had often a sort of non-human, pseudo-scholarship of useless erudition, rather than the real scholarship and the real enthusiasms of men and women who not only know their own subjects passably well, but are deeply enough interested in human life to wish their work to have some direct and tangible relation to it. Given a faculty with genuine scholarship of this kind, with a reasonable average of experience in teaching and acquaintance with educational theory, with a consciousness of the problems of the college in its relation to the educational needs of a democracy undergoing the strains of growth and