Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/80

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76
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

THE SOCIALIZATION OF THE COLLEGE
By Professor WALTER LIBBY
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

THE expression socialization of the college is here used not to indicate a process to be set going at some time in the future, but to denote a development which can be observed in the history of institutions of higher learning and which educational leaders as the conscious guides of evolution may now further, direct, and render consistent with itself. A comparison of the Oxford clerk of the fourteenth century, ascetic, other-worldly, sententious, immersed in scholastic logic, with some of the alert, yet philosophical, public men produced by the English universities of to-day, shows the line that academic evolution has followed during the intervening centuries. On this continent these contrasted types of university man find their analogies in the Harvard man of the middle of the seventeenth century, a clergyman trained by the clergy for the clergy, and the Harvard man of the twentieth century, educated under more democratic and less clerical influences.

The tendency of colleges to change in adapting themselves to changed social conditions is obvious enough. At the same time it is generally admitted that through economic and other changes society is marked by greater and greater complexity. How must we shape the college curriculum, methods, administration, etc., in order that our graduates may prove themselves efficient in the complex social conditions of the present day? This is the problem whose solution we and all interested in the progress of higher education have to discover. To the settlement of this question as it presents itself at this time I wish to offer a slight contribution from the standpoint of the college professor of pedagogy.

In the first place, for an American college to-adopt at this time the narrow curriculum that two centuries ago introduced the student to professional studies would be a reversion dictated by despair. Fundamental as Latin, Greek and mathematics are to our civilization, our culture, our science, they do not of themselves afford an adequate preparation for life under modern conditions. Helpful as Latin and Greek are to our esthetic appreciation and sense of ethical values, filled with illumination and bristling with suggestions as are the ancient literatures, they could not mean so much for us had our minds not been formed and informed by other studies. Even as a step toward the dif-