Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXXVIII
IS A NEW INDIVIDUAL TRAINING NEEDED AND ATTAINABLE?

THE evils which are spoken of in this book, while serious, are largely unnecessary and not inherent in our institutions of higher learning, which have reached a magnitude and prosperity formerly undreamed of, and are backed by public sentiment and generosity, the future meaning of which we cannot appreciate. As institutions they can take care of themselves, and they will do so unless they themselves do something to shake the confidence of the people in them; but they must carefully avoid putting themselves into any false position which will make the community feel that it is not getting its money's worth in real results among the individual students.

Present evils unnecessary.

We are somewhat like the man who felt that he would retire when he had a hundred thousand dollars, and then when he had a million, and then when he had ten millions; and when he had gotten that, wanted in addition some things he had when he was a boy but had lost in the process of amassing the millions. The goal which we set before us a few years ago has long since been passed. In number, wealth, size and power we have exceeded our fondest hopes. Yet there are distinct signs of dissatisfaction. It is proposed to shorten the college course from four years to three; or to unite the senior year with the first year of the professional course; or to make it possible for a man to get through college by passing a certain number of examinations, entirely regardless of anything but the marking system and the diploma; or even to advance the high school course and push back the professional course, so as to cut out the college altogether. Everybody is asking what is the trouble with our colleges and our college students? Recently a committee, appointed by the Associated Harvard Clubs to consider the question of the three years' course, has issued two printed

Dissatisfaction with our colleges.

-331-

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