The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Carnegie Foundation

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CARNEGIE FOUNDATION. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching had its inception on 16 April 1905, with a fund of $10,000,000. The act of incorporation was passed by Congress and approved by the President of the United States on 10 March 1906. The aim of this institution is the establishment of an agency to provide retiring allowances for teachers in colleges, universities and technical schools of the English-speaking countries of North America, and to serve the cause of higher education by advancing and dignifying the profession of the teacher in these higher institutions of learning. In order to be admitted to the retiring allowance system of the Foundation, the essential work of an institution most be that of higher education and of such a character that graduation from a four-year high school course, or equivalent training, constitutes a prerequisite therefor.

A technical school, to be eligible, must have entrance and graduation requirements equivalent to those of the college, and must offer courses in pure and applied science of equivalent grade.

Institutions which maintain a course or courses for which high-school graduation, or equivalent training, is not required for admission, must present to the Foundation due number of students and the names of the teachers in such course or courses; also, separately, the number of students of whom high-school training, or the equivalent, was required for admission, and the names of the teachers engaged exclusively in instructing the latter class of students.

No institution will be accepted which is so organized that stockholders may participate in its benefits.

Institutions of higher learning are recognized as eligible, under the following conditions:

1. Colleges, universities and technical schools of requisite academic grade, not owned or controlled by a religious organization, whose charters specifically provide that no denominational test shall be applied to trustees, officers, teachers or students.

2. In the case of colleges, universities and technical schools, not owned or controlled by a religious organization, the trustees of such institutions are asked to certify that, notwithstanding the lack of specific prohibition in the charter, “no denominational test will be imposed in the choice of trustees, officers or teachers, nor in the admission of students, nor will denominational tenets or doctrines be taught to the students.” Upon the passage of such resolution by the governing bodies of such institutions, they may be recognized as entitled to the benefits of the Foundation, so far as considerations of sectarian control are concerned.

An institution not supported by taxation must have a productive endowment of not less than $200,000 over and above any indebtedness of the institution.

A tax-supported institution must be in receipt of an annual income of not less than $100,000.

Retiring allowances are granted in the colleges, universities and technical schools on the accepted list of the Foundation on two distinct grounds: (1) To a teacher of specified service on reaching the age of 65; (2) to a teacher after 25 or 30 years of service in case of physical disability. To these two main divisions the trustees have added many extra conditions.

At the instigation of the Carnegie Foundation, a plan for an exchange of teachers between the United States and Prussia was put into effect in 1908. This plan has been in active operation ever since. During the year 1910 a sensation was created in educational circles through the rejection by the Foundation of several western colleges which did not, in the opinion of the trustees, come up to the requirements set by Mr. Andrew Carnegie in his deed of trust. In the same year, Mr. Morris Llewellyn Cooke, a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, undertook at the instigation of the Carnegie Foundation a detailed study of some of the American institutions of learning, with a view to ascertaining whether they were being conducted in a proper manner and whether or not the large sums of money being expended by all of them were put to the best and most practical uses. In the course of his investigation Mr. Cooke examined at length the departments of physics at the universities of Harvard, Columbia, Toronto, Wisconsin and Princeton, at Haverford and Williams colleges, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His opinion was considered of great importance, it being the first time that a practical business man had officially applied the principles of practical business to the system of education in the United States. His verdict was that there was a very decided waste apparent at all of the institutions he visited. In his report he allowed facts to speak for themselves for the most part and rarely uttered any direct criticism, although he did take occasion to score the life tenure of professorships where they occurred, the committee system of management and the stress laid on the importance of research work. Mr. Cooke declared that he found researches being pursued in some of the colleges for which no possible excuse was offered, except by the man who happened to be conducting them, and he believed that altogether too much attention was uniformly paid to this branch of collegiate work.

Owing to the requirements already mentioned for admission to the benefits of the Foundation Fund, the list is somewhat limited of institutions which can apply for pensions. In welcoming eligible institutions to this limited list, the Foundation has sought to distribute them not only geographically, but among colleges of different types. In 1915, 73 institutions shared in the pension fund. Twenty were small colleges of the type of Middlebury College in Vermont and Franklin College in Indiana. Twenty-five were strong colleges like Williams College in Massachusetts and Colorado College in Colorado. The remaining 28 were about equally distributed between universities like Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and Tulane University in Louisiana, and a similar group of the strongest universities in the country, whether privately endowed like Harvard in the East or State-supported like the University of California in the West. According to the ninth annual report for the fiscal year 1914-15, the income received from the general endowment of the Foundation was $696,038.60; from the endowment of the division of educational inquiry, now kept as a separate budget item, $50,358.34. The total expenditures under the general endowment were $669,532.99, of which $510,750.97 went to pay the retiring allowances and pensions in institutions on the accepted list of the Foundation, and $124,112.80 to allowances and pensions to individual officers, teachers and widows in institutions outside of this list. Forty-four allowances were granted during the fiscal year, invoking an expenditure of $70,900. The number of deaths during the year was 15, making a net increase of 29 to the number of allowances and pensions in force, which at the end of the year were 432, with a total grant of $687,370. The grants made during the year represented in all 32 institutions. The trustees held in trust at the close of the fiscal year under the general endowment securities of the face value of $14,129,000; under the division of educational inquiry $1,250,000. The Foundation and its work have received considerable adverse criticism and opposition. “The spectre of a baneful educational influence” writes President Henry S. Pritchett, “exercised by a remote agency upon the policy of struggling colleges and universities is one that has been successfully invoked in some quarters. The apprehension that college professors could be influenced in their attitude by the pensions they are to receive rests upon two misconceptions; the first, as to the methods of administration. The teacher in the associated colleges does not deal with the Foundation at all. He deals entirely with his college and receives his pension from the college exactly as be receives his salary. The other misapprehension rests upon a misconception of the character of the American college professor. The university teacher in America has a fairly stiff backbone. Nothing would so arouse his opposition as any effort, however indirect, to control his opinions about education, college administration or any other subject. The sole opportunity the Foundation has to influence the educational judgment of professors is through its publications, and these have weight only as they are sound and prove in the end to be wise.”