12 May 2020

Today’s Campus

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HT: Chilton Williamson.

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JK Brown

Although more leftwing, the complaints about universities/colleges haven’t really changed in the last century. This article from 1923 looks at whether the undergraduate colleges should be separated from the scholarly universities of graduate and professionals schools.

“The problem of the great conglomerate universities, whether tax-supported or endowed, is more difficult. They have, for years, cultivated the notion that every young man and young woman should go to college. They have admitted, for many years, those manifestly unready for their work. How now to introduce standards that will bring this flood within feasible limits is, for such institutions, a difficult process. To deal with it will require courage and discretion. If the army of students, now pressing toward college, represented a genuine thirst for study, a real passion on the part of these thousands of young people for intellectual attainment and study, the situation would be a pathetic one indeed. As a matter of fact, a large proportion are attracted to the college by reasons that have little or nothing to do with scholarly ambition. If the universities and colleges will themselves stop their appeal on this basis, if they will control their intramural activities, particularly in the matter of athletics, within a field where they no longer appeal as an impelling reason for going to college, if they will discontinue the commercial and demoralizing régime of paid coaches and alumni graft, and if they will impose reasonable and fair entrance requirements upon those who actually apply, the mass of applicants can be honestly and fairly dealt with. This is a higher order of institutional sincerity than can be hoped for at once. ”

Scribner’s Magazine Vol. 73, 1923, p556

Are Our Universities Overpopulated?
President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching


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