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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/571

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STUDY IN THE COLLEGE CURRICULUM

THE PLACE OF STUDY IN THE COLLEGE CURRICULUM
By Dr. P. H. CHURCHMAN

CLARK COLLEGE

IF some acute and unconventional enquirer should raise the question whether the governing ideal of the American college is and ought to be severely intellectual, the man who takes things at their face value would experience a shock. He has never supposed that any other sort of ideal was conceivable. Look at the catalogues; do they not give sufficient evidence of a passionate interest in things intellectual by their whole-hearted devotion to courses and honors, to admission and graduation, to fellows and faculties? Such a theory may perhaps be pardoned in one who is on the outside, but a bowing acquaintance with the realities would suffice to show that this opinion held by our trustful friend simply proves that he has not investigated the facts;[1] for, if he cared to take up such an investigation, scores of college teachers could provide him with interesting evidence indicating what many students, alumni and parents, and even some faculty members, really think about this matter. As the first exhibit in their case against the great academic illusion, critics might present a vigorous article on the subject of college "cutting," recently published in the Harvard Graduates' Magazine[2] by Dean Hurl hurt, for therein the writer incidentally pays his respects to the intellectual ambitions of some students and parents whom it has been his rare good fortune to know. He cites one especially interesting case—that of a father whose son, in spite of notable success in athletics, had been dropped from college. This father was a college graduate, but the educational conception of the college does not seem to have troubled him greatly, and he appears to have been perfectly

  1. If any reader should feel that the position of this article is extreme, he is invited to read President William T. Foster's able book on "The Administration of the College Curriculum" (Houghton, Mifflin, 1911), Part II., passim. There he will find views no less radical—to say the least—than those defended in these pages, and he will also be supplied with a detail of argument and some scientifically marshalled evidence that are impossible in a brief article. President Foster's conclusions frequently agree strikingly with those of the present writer, but the fact that his book was not read until after this article was practically completed is sufficient proof that most of these coincidences are undesigned. Some of my contentions, however, have been considerably revised after reading his book, which, for this reason, and for the purpose of presenting the other accidental confirmations of my arguments, has been freely quoted in the notes.
  2. March, 1911, pp. 400 sq.