Incentives to Study: A Survey of Student Opinion

Incentives to Study: A Survey of Student Opinion

Incentives to Study: A Survey of Student Opinion

Incentives to Study: A Survey of Student Opinion

Excerpt

The Student Survey described in this volume sprang from a very real interest manifested by certain leading undergraduates at Yale University in student personnel problems. These men were discussing such questions as: What, after all, is the real purpose or a college education? What processes might improve students' adjustment both to the college situation and, later, to the world of affairs? What factors chiefly motivate students academically and, if real apathy exists among a large body of undergraduates in this respect, to what is it attributable? How may the methods of selection of students for admission be improved? And above all how can genuine intellectual stimulus, such as students manifest in so many other ways, be reawakened in connection with the undergraduate's essential job of study?

Spontaneous interest in these matters found expression in a Survey conducted in April, 1926, largely along the lines which students themselves suggested. The purposes of the Survey were formally stated at that time as follows:

This survey has been formulated by students and endorsed by the Undergraduate Student Councils. It aims (1) to collect data of importance to future educational and administrative policies of the University; (2) to secure reliable information about the undergraduate body which should prove of interest and value to a large majority of present and future students; (3) to give undergraduates an opportunity, long sought, of expressing themselves on various questions of everyday concern to them; (4) to determine whether student opinion on such questions can, as a practical matter, be thus analyzed and utilized advantageously; (5) to ascertain whether a need for further investigations of an analogous nature and perhaps for a permanent University Personnel Bureau exists; and (6) if so, toward what specific problems, if any (e.g., selection, orientation, vocational guidance, etc.), such future studies might profitably be directed.

The growth of student interest in such topics, and the increasing attention paid to them by leaders of campus opinion recently, have been interesting to follow. At no time during approximately twenty years of my personal contact with Yale, first as a student and later as an officer, has the student body seemed to me as vitally concerned in questions related to the curriculum, as at present. At the same time, and as a perhaps not unnatural result of this concern, students are also more acutely critical now than heretofore. A Committee of the Student Council of Yale College, entirely on its own initiative, has recently spent months in discussing the course of study with student and faculty leaders and in the Yale Daily News of June 6, 1928, there appeared the admirable report made to the Yale Corporation by this voluntary Committee.

This Student Council report which is reproduced in the Appendix (Section "E") has no direct relation to the Student Survey of 1926 upon which this volume is based. In a certain sense, however, it represents crystallization of that same interest and criticism just mentioned, whose initial concrete manifestation was through the earlier Survey. Inclusion . . .

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