Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/280

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

from undue burdens has led him to assume tasks that his colleagues needed to perform for the sake of their own educational growth; a belief in his own divine right to rule—a belief born of his ecclesiastical ancestry—has carried with it the corresponding belief in the right of others to be ruled; a conviction that if it is his duty "to break in" an unruly team, it is the duty of the team to be broken in; all of these and still other inherited and accumulated beliefs explain the origin of conditions that in the great majority of colleges to-day result in probably more or less friction between the president of the college and the faculty. If there is little friction evident, it is because of strong personal attachment between the president and the members of the faculty individually—there is occasional lack of friction in spite of the system, not because of it.

But explanations, however reasonable and satisfactory they may be, do not alter the fact that the college president has not only freely expressed his opinion in regard to his own place in the educational system, but he has also on occasions shown why the present arrangement has been foreordained to perpetuity.

The first reason alleged for the continuance of the present system of external legislation and autocratic administration is that college faculties are unable to do business. "It goes without saying, and properly and without adverse criticism, that the temper of mind which turns a man to the higher forms of scholarship and to investigation and research is not the temper which fits him for executive work," is the statement of a former university president, but it was made before the election of President Wilson. Another president finds that "a faculty is made up chiefly of specialists, for the most part untrained in the business of administration and without special responsibility for the college and the larger relationships." Still a third finds "that a faculty that governs itself in an extreme degree is likely to be extremely conservative; it is likely to perpetuate traditions; it is likely not to be in touch with progressive thought," though the danger to be anticipated from faculty government is, in the opinion of a fourth, "its radical tendencies." This difference in point of view may, however, be explained by the geographical location of the two institutions whose presidents have given these judgments—one is east and one is west. And yet another emphatic, unqualified statement is made that "the very worst form of government for college or university is that of a faculty."

This very insistence on the inability of the corporate faculty thereby tends to make a faculty incompetent. That a man quickly becomes what he is thought to be has been learned in nearly every other field but that of normal education. Even those who deal with criminals are learning that the quickest way to make a man guilty of crime is to believe him capable of committing a crime, that trust and confidence