Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/187

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177
THE APPOINTMENT OF COLLEGE OFFICERS.

and incompetency; in short, all the worst features of personality may be introduced into a contest which above all others ought to be unaffected by personal considerations. Many a college war has sprung from conflicts over appointments; and only an exceptionally strong president can long hold out against the difficulties which such contests are apt to raise against him. With but few men is the method of personal appointments successful; with many it leads to in harmony and overthrow.

The third method of appointment, namely, upon recommendation from the faculty, seems to be the most satisfactory of all. Of course, it is not absolutely perfect, for it may give rise to dissensions; but, on the whole, it leads to better results than any other. The unsuccessful aspirants for position can not blame and harass one individual, as when the power of appointment is practically vested in the president alone, for the annoying responsibility is divided among several persons; neither can favoritism be urged as the reason for any particular choice. Furthermore, since any good faculty consists of a number of men actively engaged in scholarly work, its judgment as a body concerning the fitness of candidates is more likely to be accurate than the opinion either of a president or of a board of trustees who can not be expected to give more than superficial attention to the matter. The members of a faculty know of their own knowledge what standing a candidate -has as an educator, what work he has done, and what he is probably capable of doing; and this knowledge, which frequently involves long personal acquaintance with the aspirant, is worth much more than any information derived from mere formal letters of recommendation or from hearsay. Whoever is recommended by them will be a safe per-son to appoint, and will be likely to work in harmony with his col-leagues. They, on the one hand, calling a man to a vacant chair, will be gratified by his acceptance; while he, on the other side, will feel grateful to them for their consideration. It is well known that this method of appointment is in vogue at the Sheffield Scientific School; and it is said that no professor has been called to that institution except upon the unanimous recommendation of the faculty. The natural result is a harmonious and efficient body of teachers, and an exceptionally strong school.

Inasmuch as this third method of appointment presupposes a faculty already in existence, it can not of course apply to those schools which are in process of organization. In such cases it is best for the trustees to select a strong and competent man for president in whom they can have full confidence, and give him almost autocratic powers. Let him choose the first faculty, drawing about him such teachers as will work in unison with him and with each other; and then refer all subsequent appointments to that body. Of course, in no case should a board of trustees surrender its own authority, but the recommendations of a faculty should be ignored only for the most substantial of reasons. Be-