Popular Science Monthly/Volume 80/April 1912/On the Need of Administrative Changes in the American University
|ON THE NEED OF ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES IN THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY|
By Professor GEORGE T. LADD
IN the first of a series of articles on the higher education in this country, which were published in The Forum during the years 1902 and 1903, I designated the true functions of a great university as "chiefly these three: (1) The highest mental and moral culture of its own students; (2) the advancement, by research and discovery, of science, scholarship and philosophy; (3) the diffusion, as from a center of light and influence, of the benefits of a liberal, genial and elevating culture over the whole nation, and even over all mankind." On raising the question whether the universities of the United States had up to that time discharged these functions in a manner commensurate with their opportunity and with the demands made upon them by the size of their faculties and the wealth of their endowments, it seemed evident to me that we were forced to the confession, "They have not." And while no small part of the causes for this confessed failure must be charged to the general public, with its ignorant or mistaken views in respect to the interests, values and ideals of the higher education, no small part of the blame attaches itself to the internal management of these same institutions and involves their presidents, faculties and trustees.
Within the past ten years there has been a growing dissatisfaction with the character and the workings of the system of administration still prevailing in our larger and wealthier collegiate and university institutions. It has been pointed out that, while this system was admirable in its adaptation and praiseworthy in its results as applied a half-century ago to the small denominational college, it is ill-adapted and far from praiseworthy in many of its results, as applied to the indefinitely more complex and almost totally different conditions of the modern university. Particularly inept in its character and disastrous in its results—so it is claimed—is the relation which the president sustains to the different faculties of a great university, and to its trustees or corporation or other governing board. In too many instances, it is claimed, this relation interferes with the perfect understanding and cordial, intelligent cooperation, which should always be maintained between the faculties and the governing board. There can be no doubt that, among the men who know most about the secret working of the present system of university administration in this country, and who are best competent to pass judgment upon it, the need of some change is keenly felt; and if there is as yet too little unanimity of opinion as to what that change should be, there is a fairly uniform agreement that the time for a franker and fuller discussion of the difficult subject has fully come.
Before saying anything in consideration of the problem itself, I wish to define it—at least so far as this attempt is concerned—somewhat more carefully. In the first place it is evident that the scores of small denominational colleges are not to be reckoned in the same class with the larger private and state institutions which have some valid claim to the title "university." A constitution which worked on the whole so well for them in the older days may continue to work almost equally well under more modern conditions. In their case, the fundamental necessities are such that they can not become anything at all—not to say, anything great—without being for a considerable time under the almost unlimited control of one man, with a corps of a half dozen sympathetic colleagues who are subordinates. It must also be borne in mind, when urging the need of greatly modifying if not totally abolishing the office of president in the larger institutions, that the very importance of the personal element in the successful discharge of this office, can be converted into an argument which counts heavily in opposite directions. Certainly, the office of president in any one of these institutions, under the present system of administration, is no sinecure. He who accepts or holds it may not improperly claim sympathetic pity from his friends, and plead with them, if not with the public, to help him answer the question: "Who is sufficient for these things?" The answer would have to be: Few indeed are, by natural gifts or by training; and fewer—far fewer—of those who succeed by the current political methods in getting chosen to the position. And as in so many instances the final event makes evident, it would seem more fitting to regard the music and the ribbons, the pomp and the paraphernalia, of the inauguration ceremonies as consecrating a victim for a free-will sacrifice than as raising a deified monarch to a sort of imperial throne. It is neither becoming nor necessary to the argument to follow the example of a series of articles published not long ago one of our most influential newspapers and denounce the great majority of college and university presidents as habitually guilty of falsehood and selfish intrigue. Indeed, such a charge is to be convicted of the untruth of exaggeration. It is quite enough to point out that the accusation itself, accompanied by the fact that it could find admission to a respectable weekly paper and be so largely credited as it undoubtedly was, offers strong reasons for devising some system of governing our universities which shall help to remove the temptation on the part of any of its officers to resort to such means of carrying their measures; and so make the charge intrinsically impossible and absurd. We desire, then, to keep in the background all suspicion of indulging in personalities, favorable or unfavorable to particular persons, while treating freely of the person of the president, its power and relations to the true functions of the university, in the prevailing system of university government.
And now let us consider what are some of the more important objections to the workings of the form of administration almost universally in vogue. These may be all summed up in saying that, in many, if not in the majority of cases, it hinders rather than helps the smoothest working and most valuable results of a university education. At once we must plant ourselves squarely and immovably upon the proposition that all the legitimate work of the true university culminates in its teaching. From this it follows that all the acquisitions of the university are subordinate to the quality and force of its faculties. Such an "institution of learning" may offer fine and even luxurious dormitories, and a cheap and well-served dining-hall for its students; it may give them agreeable and even refining opportunities for social life; it may have expensive appliances and large and splendid fields for athletic sports and culture; but if it has not the sufficient number and right sort of men in its faculties, it fails just where success is most imperatively demanded of it. All these other advantages, so far as the work of the university is concerned, are entirely subordinate. All the other officers are the servants of the teachers. Good health is indeed of vital importance; but in securing it, to refrain from dissipation and to take an abundance of open air in unexhausting exercise, is vastly more profitable than the existing extravagances and absurdities of college athletics. Social life is indispensable for the best development of the human individual; but it is not best obtained in the saloons, or clubs, or even in most of the sodalities popular with university students. I repeat: Everything else must be kept subordinate to the efficiency of the teaching, if the university is to discharge satisfactorily its chief functions. But that I am pleading for no narrow conception of these functions, let me refer to the sentences quoted above. It then appears that, not the students alone who are gathered under her walls are the pupils of the great and good university; her pupils are also the nation and the world.
What now are the principal obstacles which have stood, and are still standing, in the way of the most efficient discharge of their obligations to their pupils, to the nation and to mankind, by the institutions of the higher and professional education in the United States? If we confine our attention—as indeed our theme demands—to those obstacles which arise more strictly within the university circles themselves, we may say: On the part of the students, the chief are the vices of extravagance, lawlessness, superficiality and idleness. All these are, to an extent, difficult to determine, connected with the grosser vices of certain forms of dissipation. The obstacles arising from the existing form of administration, on the part of the trustees, are chiefly due to ignorance, indifference and a species of cowardice which too often takes the fashion of reluctance to oppose the president or the majority of their colleagues on the governing board, or even to inquire too curiously into the motives or the significance of the measures brought before them by their presiding officer. And, finally, the smooth and efficient discharge of the functions of the university areby insufficient education, lack of didactic skill, tactlessness, indifference or low moral tone, in any or all of its several faculties.
It would by no means be fair to charge the deficiencies and vices of the student body to the administration of the university, whatever the exact form of that administration might happen to be. The particular list of vices mentioned above are the national vices. And no amount of painstaking or system of discipline can keep life in the university free from infection by its public environment. It is not at all clear for what proportion of the extravagance, lawlessness, superficiality and indolence of the students the university may justly be held responsible. And, of course, previous to prolonged experience it is difficult to prove that these vices would be minimized or better held in check by a somewhat radically different form of university administration.
Of late years, the presidents who have been wise at the beginning, or who have become wise through experience in the early period of their career, have been more and more inclined to leave most of the discipline of the students in the hands of the faculties, or of the appointees of the faculties, to which the various classes of the students belong. In a large institution, the less there is of the one-man-power discipline, on the whole the better. Especially is the president tempted by favoritism, prejudice, various kinds of fears and by personal or family or friendly sympathies, to act unwisely if any power of punishing or pardoning is left in his hands alone. It is a misfortune for him and for the institution even to seem to have any such power. Too often has the professor, on bringing forward the name of some member of his classes who had failed in his studies or cheated in an examination, been made by the presiding officer, through the latter's anxiety to save some notable athlete or the scion of some family of wealth or high social standing, himself to appear the delinquent, either in the artifice of detecting cheats or in the art of teaching those that will not to learn if they can possibly help it. Even stronger than any of these other motives may be the desire of the individual officer, if he is the nominal head of the entire show, to be popular with the "boys" and with their parents, the alumni and other constituency of the institution. And so long as such a large proportion of these "friends" (?) look leniently upon, if they do not largely indulge themselves in, the practise of these same vices, how can any one lonely man stand against the multitude for firmness and due severity in discipline? But a body of men like the faculties, or their selected committees, in a great institution, is much more likely than any one man can be, to administer even-handed justice, tempered with reasonable mercy. While, then, I am by no means prepared to quote with unlimited assent the following declaration taken from a pamphlet, entitled "The Demoralization of College Life": "College presidents are not willing to enforce the law or even to allow it to be enforced when it will cause them to lose students, especially rich and influential ones." I am fairly confident in the belief that the total elimination of even the appearance of one-man power or influence would greatly improve the morale of the student body. And this morale, whatever is to be said about it as compared with other countries and earlier days in this country, is certainly quite too low at the present time. It can be raised, and that without any very severe difficulties; and it would, in no very long time, be raised, if the men in the university faculties who sincerely want to see it raised, were given a free hand. Perhaps they might not have the "nerve" at once so to check the extravagance of college athletics as to make it no longer possible to spend a half-million dollars on a single game of bootball; or difficult for the sons of impecunious teachers or country parsons to embarrass their parents by calling for a goodly slice out of their salaries, in order to attend in proper style a dance that rivals in magnificence a state-ball at Government-House in Calcutta.
But is not the present prevailing form of university administration the only one under which the trustees, corporation or otherwise named governing board, can successfully discharge their part of the administrative functions? In these days, universities can not grow in other respects unless they grow in their finances. And there is something appalling, even to the multimillionaire, in the remorseless appetite of the American university for an ever larger expenditure of money. The trustees by advising and assisting the president, and by answering generously to a certain obligation put upon, or gently hinted to them, when they are chosen to the position of trustees, are supposed to be under obligation to oversee the getting and the expenditure of the required money. But the obstacles which they may, for the most part unwittingly, throw in the way of the efficient work of the faculties of the university are chiefly due to their ignorance of the principles and right methods of education, or to their indifference toward the supreme ends of education, or to their reluctance to criticize—much more oppose—the will of the president or the majority of their own body. Indeed, their position and their action quite too often corresponds to that of the trustees of some bank or other large corporation, who altogether too late wake up to find themselves convicted of conniving at some imprudent or illegal transaction on the part of the official whom they have trusted incontinently.
The vice of extravagance in administration is being distinctly fostered by the system at present prevailing in our larger and wealthier universities. Money is much too largely given to bricks rather than brains, to mortar rather than men. In other words, too large a proportion of gifts and of income is being spent on needlessly expensive buildings; too small a proportion on teachers and explorers of first-rate ability in the several faculties. It is only a partial, but by no means a sufficient, excuse for this vice (?) of extravagance to say that we are now in the brick (stone) and mortar stage of our educational development, and that, when we have provided a splendid and complete equipment of the material sort, then we shall be ready to turn our full attention to raising the intellectual and spiritual equipment. For the drift of our experience and the point of the argument for a change lies in the fact that the present system is working toward the degradation of the professorial office and the depreciation of the functions and the personnel of the faculties. The fallacy for the other chief argument for this sort of extravagance is less obvious. It is said—and truly—that it is easier to get large sums of money for fine buildings than for great teachers or for stimulating scientific research. In reply, it is not necessary to credit the cynical saying of Europe—although there is much evidence in its favor—that the real scientific work done in the scientific laboratories of the United States is in inverse proportion to their magnificence. Nor could any real friend of the American universities feel otherwise than pleased and grateful to see them equipping themselves with buildings sufficiently commodious for calculable future needs, of good academic architecture, but above all, of the highest serviceableness. But such a friend can not in the same way approve the building of luxurious dormitories, where only the wealthy can really afford to live with any show of an honest independence. The simplicity and severity of the student life, in this and other similar regards, in the public schools and the colleges of the great universities of England are in refreshing and suggestive contrast to the extravagances and class distinctions of republican America. And when, contrary to the good judgment of the teaching force, scores and hundreds of thousands of dollars are unnecessari spent merely or largely to glorify the administration as a notable "building era" in the life of the university, it would seem that the foundations of an argument were laid for giving the men who have the work of teaching and research in charge, a much larger share in determining such matters.
These things, however, are of minor importance compared with the way in which the present system works out, too often, in practise, as affecting the very delicate and important but now remote relations between the faculties and their governing board. So long as these relations are chiefly—not to say wholly—through any one man, there are almost sure to be misunderstandings, heartburnings over real or fancied wrongs, jealousies and suspicion of favoritism and of intrigues, even if this one man is equipped with an inconceivable breadth of culture and of variegated scholastic interests, mingled in due proportions with the wisdom of a Solomon, the self-sacrifice of an apostle, and the temper of an angel. A few university presidents have had naturally, or have acquired, enough of this adorable mixture to pass courageously and patiently through years in so trying a position, and at the last to emerge with a large measure of respect and some measure of affection from their colleagues in the different faculties. But there are not a few other cases where great and irreparable injustice has been done to individuals and no small mischief to the university through lack of an appointed means of securing trustworthy communication between the governing board and the faculties under their control, irrespective of the representations and the control of the president. If the inside history of the mistakes made and the wrongs committed in this way were fully written—and it is probably not desirable that it should be and quite certain that it never will be written—it would be spotted with scandals of the most astonishing character. For example, several years ago a distinguished professor in one of our larger universities, who had given the greater part of his life to its devoted and efficient service, was as a part of the business of a single meeting of the trustees dismissed without further trial from his place; and after the action was taken and inquiry was made as to its grounds, not one of the trustees could be found who was willing to assume any responsibility or to state the grounds on which the action had been taken; or indeed, whether the letter written by the president to the professor fairly and truthfully represented the intention of the trustees. Subsequently, a number explicitly, and all implicitly, admitted that they had been deceived by the president.
From the point of view which regards its morally deteriorating influence on the faculties, the present arrangement is equally unsatisfactory. The men of standing in the world of science and scholarship, and of a high sense of honor, will not willingly resort to the trustees, either as individuals or as a body, unless they are officially authorized or requested to do so. Of all men, too, they are least likely to run to the president with either complaints or defences, or to take any measures to "make themselves solid" with him. If they are being undermined or traduced by any one, whether on the outside or among their younger and more ambitious and place-seeking colleagues, they are even unlikely to know anything about it, so busy are they in their own work; or if they do know about it, they are not unlikely to scorn to pay any attention to it. But if no action touching the professional standing of any member of the faculties could be taken on the initiative or recommendation of the president alone, there is little doubt that this kind of maladministration would occur much more infrequently.
Indeed, it would seem as though this one contention did not require prolonged or subtle argumentation. Granted even that "the cotton-mill policy" is suitable for the administration of a great university: yet the head of this form of industrial enterprise ought to be, as a "boss," no lest strictly limited than the bosses in other no more important or intricate industrial enterprises. This is the one thing that the labor unions are most vigorously and most righteously insisting upon—namely, that there shall be some adequate and trustworthy means of employers and employees coming near, in a frank and friendly way, to each other.
But of all the objections to the continuance without change of the present system of administration in the great universities, the most weighty and imperative is this: it is one of the most productive of the several causes which are working together to bring about "the degradation of the professorial office." That this process of degradation is really going on, I ventured to assert in one of the series of articles to which reference has just been made. The response which the assertion called forth at the time went a long way toward confirming the opinion. Careful inquiry into the history of the last decade of collegiate and university movements would, I am sure, show that the process has in the meantime not been checked. It is the rather to be feared that it has gone forward with a quickened pace. The causes of this process do indeed chiefly lie beyond and below the power of any form of management largely to control.
Let us briefly consider the case of the young man who decides to devote his life to a university career. The more intelligent and deliberate the decision is, the later it is likely to have come in the course of his secondary education. But under the working of the system of almost unlimited electives which has prevailed in our higher institutions of learning during the past half-generation or more, the candidate for a future professorship is almost certain to discover that he has neglected to lay the foundations of any particular subject solidly and thoroughly well. He knows no elements, as the elements of every species of science and scholarship must be known, in order to proceed safely and with joy in hard work to its ever higher stages of study, research and discovery. But our intending professor can not go back into the fitting-school or into freshman year, and begin over again. He enters the graduate department. Here he has, with few exceptions, as colleagues in study, men who, like himself, are not well-grounded and who are unable or unwilling to submit to the prolonged and severe discipline which is necessary for the training of the intellectual athlete. He is prematurely set at "a problem" and works with an aspiring eye on the degree of Ph.D. That this description is not true alone of the few advanced students trained by the secondary educational system of this country, who are without serious purpose, I may cite the unanimous testimony of the professors and other officers at Oxford respecting the Ehodes scholars in general, as it was given to me on occasion of a recent visit there. They are, for the most part, fine, manly fellows, earnest in work and anxious to pick up whatever might seem fit for their advantage, but superficial in their attainments, eager to specialize minutely while as yet they know little or nothing thoroughly as to elementary matters in their chosen specialty, and restive under all manner of control, whether as touching manners, petty morals, the prompt keeping of appointments, or conformity to university regulations.
Now that our candidate is ready for his professorial career, how shall he get into a place which will at least give him a foot-hold for beginning a life-long race? He must be, as a rule, recommended by somebody (often some president) to some president, who will, if he thinks best, recommend him to the appointing board. This latter recommendation is usually equivalent to an appointment, although of late the sane custom of consulting some members of the faculty into which the candidate is to be introduced has begun to prevail. In popular parlance, he must push and be pushed. But every one who has had the long experience of the writer in such matters knows perfectly well that the willingness and skill to push one's self, and the vigor and success with which one is pushed by others, are quite as often in inverse as in direct proportion to the merits of one's case.
When all the preliminary stages are passed through, and the candidate has really the right to call himself professor—although the young ladies whom he used to meet at the summer resorts were wont to call him "professor" when he was in fact only a tutor or an instructor—unless he has a most self-sacrificing intellectual interest in his calling and a thoroughly ethical love for the work of the teacher, he finds that his position and its rewards are not at all what he fondly imagined they would be. His classmates who have gone into business or into the professions of law or medicine are in receipt of incomes two-fold or fourfold his own. They have a higher social standing; and those they have served with no higher degree of talents or of success are seemingly more grateful and ready in some form or other to show appreciation of the services rendered in their behalf. But let him never mind. Perhaps, if he is a true man he does really not much mind. But what he can scarcely help minding is this: His whole career, and the reputation and influence which he has won by a life of self-sacrificing labor, may at any moment be in peril through the caprice, or cowardice, or ill-will of a single man, or of a little group of men who have influence with that single man. Then he will have the choice between a silent submission or an ignoble contest with a probably inglorious—albeit triumphant—ending.
This last and worst of all the many influences tending toward the degradation of the professorial office is definitely connected with the present system of university administration. One can not wonder, and one can scarcely blame, the younger generation if they neither have nor profess the same unstinted devotion for an institution as that which sustained their forebears during lives of self-denial, hard work and low living. They are in it for what they can get out of it, much more than their old-time predecessors were. They need not be at all so careful as their elders were about any shadow being cast upon their reputation for the most upright and austere morality; but they are almost sure to be more careful about standing in with the power that has most to do with appointments and promotions. For the question may at any time be thrust upon them: Which shall I sacrifice, my hard-won position or my highly prized spirit of manly independence?
Immediately following the consideration of the evils of the present system of university administration in this country comes the question: Can these evils be abolished or lessened by any feasible changes in this system? And on the heels of this question follows another: If changes are to be made, what shall those changes be? In treating these questions it scarcely needs to be said that, as a matter of course, no system of administration, to whatever purpose that system may be applied, can avoid encountering and in all probability collecting about itself, a host of embarrassments and of obstacles to its perfect working. Institutions that have developed as large and old universities have, even in this comparatively new country, in fact developed, can not be subjected to radical changes, suddenly, and on grounds of theoretical significance alone. But as I have already said, so obvious and important in their power to defeat the smooth and successful working of the highest functions of a great and good university have some of these evils grown to be, that the time has fully arrived for a frank and thorough discussion of the topics suggested by them. And this discussion may be entered upon with the conviction that some of these evils, and those not the least of them, are so largely due to the nature of a worn-out system, that by changing the system we shall lessen if we do not wholly extirpate them.
In order to point the direction in which changes are both needed and promising, as respects the present system of university administration in this country, it seems to me that some fixed places of standing may be established. In closing this article I will mention the following as among the most important and perhaps they may be summed up in a tentative way, in this sentence: The administration of a large university requires for its most effective conduct two boards or bodies of men, which have largely different functions and for the most part a different personnel, but which are bound to cooperation for the welfare of the university by regularly appointed and trustworthy means of understanding each other's views, necessities, and measures enacted, and by a system of checks that shall operate in guarded ways to make each responsible for its initiative to the other.
Of these two boards which are necessary for the efficient administration of a large university, one should be chiefly responsible for its material affairs. For this reason it should be largely composed of men of sound business principles and experience; but also, as far as possible, of men possessed of a worthy knowledge of the needs and methods of a modern university education and with devotion to high educational ideals. There would seem to be no valid objection to, but much valid reason in favor of, having a small minority of this board chosen from the different faculties of the university. Why should not a professor of business law, a professor of economics, and a professor of architecture or engineering, be useful members of such an administrative body? Even a professor of ethics, if one could be found who combined a firm grasp on moral ideals with a fair amount of practical wisdom, might sometimes serve as a valuable control in the performance of the legitimate functions of the trustees of an institution of the higher education.
It is unnecessary to emphasize the fact that the business administration of a large educational corporation requires the same trained staff of competent and responsible assistants—treasurer, cashier, clerks, etc.—which are required by any other business corporation of equal magnitude; and these paid assistants should be held to as strict account in every respect as that which prevails in the best organized business corporations. If, besides the gifts which are solicited or directed to the endowment or income of a well-organized and well-administered university through the free-will devotion of its trustees, faculties, alumni and other friends, there is pressing need for yet more, it would always be within the province of this board to call to its help especially selected agents for meeting such need. But however the details of collecting and distributing the material resources of the university are managed, and whatever the success which attends their management, it should never be lost out of mind that all their value consists in the efficiency with which they minister to the real ends and promote the realization of the true ideals of a great and good university. These are not in any way necessarily connected with the glorification of any one man or of any single administration as a money-getter or a builder of magnificent buildings.
The other arm of administration, which ought to be equally strong and self-respecting and independent within its own appropriate sphere, must be wielded by the faculties. But not by them as acting all together, or as all acting equally in any one faculty, or as acting in an unorganized and unrestricted way. The same process which has tended toward the degradation of the professorial office has increased the danger of something resembling mob rule, if every teacher stands on equal terms with every other, in a great university. Yet, in general, the educational policy, matters touching the curriculum, and all the discipline of the student body, as almost a matter of divine right, whether or not by custom or by statute, belong to the men whose craft and experience is in lines of education. And while they should always be thoughtfully considerate of the judgment of their employers, and are quite of necessity dependent upon them in the matter of their salaries and of the equipment allowed for the prosecution of the work of their departments, they should be so related to these employers as to be delivered from all feelings of fear, or wish or chance to curry favor, in the discharge of their functions as teachers and explorers of truth.
In saying this I am far indeed from advocating an unrestricted license for the individual teacher, or even for the whole of the teaching force. The management of the more strictly educational affairs of each one of the separate faculties would, in general, best be left to each one of these faculties. And, indeed, so far as the professional schools of law and medicine are concerned, this course is customarily adopted. In the faculties of these schools there is customarily a moiety of strong and independent men, who can readily take care of themselves if obliged to leave their positions; and while ready to hear and heed advice (or, at least, they ought to be so), they are not ready to take orders unquestioningly from the president or from the corporation. But the same thing ought to be true of all the faculties. When, however, these faculties are large and largely composed of young and inexperienced men, as is sure to be the case with the faculties of the undergraduate schools of a great university, their internal control can not be safely committed to the entire body—share and share alike, as it were. It can not be democratic; it must be aristocratic. And this of the whole university, and for adjusting differences and conflicts touching educational interests between the different departments, a university council is a most feasible expedient. Only be it understood that such a council should be no sinecure, or body designed to assume a show of responsibility while actually having little power to check intrigues, to judge intelligently and righteously, and to act with something more than a mere shadow of influence or authority.would have—so it would seem—to be selected by joint action of the full professors and the trustees. The method of its fixing might be adapted to the circumstances and the needs of the particular institution. Once fixed, the advice and cooperation of the entire body of officers, of every sort and grade, might be invited or commanded, but the final control of educational matters would rest in the authority of this aristocracy, with the aid of those to whom they might see fit to delegate any portion of it. And, finally, for matters affecting immediately the scholastic interests
Most important of all the improvements for which we might have a fair measure of hope, if something like the suggested changes could be inaugurated and fairly and thoroughly tested in the administration of our greater and older universities, would be the improvement in a good understanding and in reciprocal confidence and in effective cooperation, between the board of teachers and the board of business management, between the professors and the trustees. In the lack of knowledge, of confidence and of cooperation, most of the embarrassments, difficulties, failures, and scandals connected with the present system of university administration in this country undoubtedly arise. And perhaps in the majority of these cases they arise from or center about the action of the president. It will be noticed that the scheme tentatively proposed in this article does not necessarily call for any president. And, indeed, we may boldly ask ourselves. Why should there be any president, if by this title we mean to cover the office of any one man combining within himself, even apparently, all the functions belonging to this name in the days—and, if you please, even now—of the small denominational college? A figure-head to represent the university at home or abroad on occasions of peculiar import and corresponding grandeur can easily be appointed, either with a three-years' tenure or for each special occasion.
Doubtless many difficult problems will arise and await a speedy or more remote solution, in the way of any institution which attempts to inaugurate the needed changes. Doubtless, too, the particular character of the changes enacted would wisely vary in different cases. In the cases of universities under state control, every thing could scarcely be arranged in the same way as in the cases of the private institutions. Doubtless, again, the effect of change upon the alumni and the public at large would have to be seriously taken into the account. But neither the public, nor the alumni, nor the trustees, and perhaps not even the presidents of these institutions, realize how deep is the dissatisfaction with the existing system, how urgent, if not loud, is the call for a somewhat radical change. At any rate, it is high time that the problems afforded by this system should be frankly and boldly faced; high time that the disadvantages should be announced, if not at once corrected.