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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/503

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THE ADMINISTRATIVE PERIL IN EDUCATION

ministration: in policy, in measures, in personal relations, in all the distinctive interests of education, and the welfare of ideas and ideals. What is imperiled most directly is the academic career: its worth, its service, its security, its satisfactions, its attractiveness to the higher types of men.

The professorial career is in its requirements distinctive, though not unique; it is by nature institutionalized. The professor can not very well be unattached or very much of a free lance; yet his creative energies demand a sympathetic, unhampered environment. He can not sell his birthright and remain a freeman; the institution can not place a mortgage upon his output without injury to its value. The university can best provide the collective facilities, the communal stimulus, the larger environment, in which intellectual products flourish. Institutionalism carries a menace to personality, at the worst reducing those enlisted in its service to a set of cogs in a wheel; yet the intimate association with a corporate body offers a worthy communion if worthily administered by those free to follow the wisdom that in them lies. The corporate university can be no more and should be no less than the reflex of its spirit; to express the quality we borrow the term esprit de corps—the indigenous sentiment holding that corporations have no souls. Under present conditions it is a needlessly difficult task to make the inevitable institutional quality of the professorial service a source of strength; to reduce its disabilities is the first step. American professors are not disposed to call one another "Herr College"; what he professes shapes the manner of the man above the bare fact of his profession; and thus the professor loses the solidarity of interest more readily attained in other callings. His professional sense needs stimulation. The requisites of a true profession are that its members shall authoritatively represent, advance and control its interests, as well as the qualifications for membership; each member thereof shall be subject definitively to the judgment of his peers. The profession forms a peerage in the best sense. Thus weighed, the professoriate is found sadly wanting; and until this privilege is restored or acquired for the American professor, the career must continue to suffer a serious, almost a fatal handicap. Present tendencies are aggravating this unfortunate influence; the current is set strongly in the opposite direction;


    Education, 1912") as a potent factor in the comprehensively unsatisfactory character of our educational system, methods and product. He regards the limitation of the authority of school boards and the establishment of school faculties with authority over educational matters as essential steps to permanent improvement. The present system wastes the intellectual force and enthusiasm of good teachers; it deadens initiative and cultivates prudent acquiescence. In its place a true professionalism would advance the status of teaching and teachers more effectively than any other single measure, and would bring with it the benefits now sought for in vain by petition and complaint.