Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/63

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59
SMALL COLLEGES

They prevail to-day in the "small colleges," for students' year books, with half-tone portraits of the faculty, prove that youthful professors abound. But the conditions have changed in the larger colleges, for they have recognized not only the need of a higher standard, but also the necessity for subdivision of the classes to give opportunity for better teaching. In those one finds a head professor with others known as instructors or assistant professors. The age of these associates averages not far from thirty years and, for the most part, they are men of experience in their work. In the "small college" on the contrary, all alike are professors, be they elderly men or callow youth. It is difficult to understand how a young man as professor in a small college can be more efficient as teacher or guide than he would be if called instructor or assistant professor in a large college. Perhaps there may be something in the atmosphere which hastens maturity and renders experience unnecessary.

It is very true that in the larger colleges, as indeed in some of the "small colleges," the fatherly president has been replaced by a business president, whose duties as administrator prevent him from coming into close contact with the students and lessen his efficiency as head of the educational work—and one can not help regretting that this new officer has retained the old title, since the duties are so different. Yet the old officer remains, at least in the larger colleges, though under a different name. A university is not a mass of several thousand students; it is made up of small units or schools, each of which has its dean, who deals with the students directly as did the old-time president. In many institutions, the guardianship is still closer than formerly, each student being placed in direct relation to some member of the faculty, who is required to look after him. Arrangements for personal supervision and opportunities for association with teachers are many times better than they were of old. The supposition that in ante-bellum days there was any genuine intimacy between professors and students does not accord with the facts. The two bodies were in opposing camps and the time of faculty meetings was consumed largely in discussion of discipline cases—a condition wholly unknown now in the stronger colleges.

The "old inhabitant" remembers some severe storms of his youth and asserts that the climate has changed because old-fashioned winters are so rare. The "old boy" remembers some sympathetic professor, who loved boys because they were boys, and thinks of him as the type of his time. The one forgets the more numerous mild winters, the other forgets the more numerous indifferent professors; each remembers only that which made the deeper impression and each is surprised, almost indignant, when the record proves his memory defective. Faculties in the olden time were like faculties now; what change there is is