College Teaching - Studies in Methods of Teaching in the College
by Paul Klapper
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Edited by


Associate Professor of Education The College of the City of New York

with an Introduction by NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER, LL.D.

President of Columbia University

Yonkers-on-Hudson, New York WORLD BOOK COMPANY 1920



A treasure of wisdom is stored in the colleges of the land. The teachers are the custodians of knowledge that makes life free and progressive. This book aims to make the college teacher effective in handing down this heritage of knowledge, rich and vital, that will develop in youth the power of right thinking and the courage of right living. Thus College Teaching carries out the ideal of service as expressed in the motto of the World Book Company, "Books that Apply the World's Knowledge to the World's Needs".

Copyright, 1920, by World Book Company Copyright in Great Britain All rights reserved


The student of general problems of education or of elementary education finds an extensive literature of varying worth. In the last decade our secondary schools have undergone radical reorganization and have assumed new functions. A rich literature on every phase of the high school is rapidly developing to keep pace with the needs and the progress of secondary education. The literature on college education in general and college pedagogy in particular is surprisingly undeveloped. This dearth is not caused by the absence of problem, for indeed there is room for much improvement in the organization, the administration, and the pedagogy of the college. Investigators of these problems have been considerably discouraged by the facts they have gathered. This volume is conceived in the hope of stimulating an interest in the quality of college teaching and initiating a scientific study of college pedagogy. The field is almost virgin, and the need for constructive programs is acute. We therefore ask for our effort the indulgence that is usually accorded a pioneer.

In this age of specialization of study it is evident that no college teacher, however wide his experience and extensive his education, can speak with authority on the teaching of all the subjects in the college curriculum, or even of all the major ones. For this reason this volume is the product of a cooperating authorship. The editor devotes himself to the study of general methods of teaching that apply to almost all subjects and to most teaching situations. In addition, he coordinates the work of the other contributors. He realizes that there exists among college professors an active hostility to the study of pedagogy. The professors feel that one who knows his subject can teach it. The contributors have been purposely selected in order to dispel this hostility. They are, one and all, men of undisputed scholarship who have realized the need of a mode of presentation that will make their knowledge alive.

Books of multiple authorship often possess too wide a diversity of viewpoints. The reader comes away with no underlying thought and no controlling principles. To overcome this defect, so common in books of this type, a tentative outline was formulated, setting forth a desirable mode of treating, in the confines of one chapter, the teaching of any subject in the college curriculum. This outline was submitted to all contributors for critical analysis and constructive criticism. The original plan was later modified in accordance with the suggestions of the contributors. This final outline, which follows, was then sent to the contributors with the full understanding that each writer was free to make such modifications as his specialty demanded and his judgment dictated. This outline is followed in most of the chapters and gives the book that unifying element necessary in any book and vital in a work of so large a cooperating authorship.

The editor begs to acknowledge his indebtedness to the many contributors who have given generously of their time and their labor with no hope of compensation beyond the ultimate appreciation of those college teachers who are eager to learn from the experience of others so that they may the better serve their students.


I. Aim of Subject X in the College Curriculum:

Is it taught for disciplinary values? What are they?

Is it taught for cultural reasons?

Is it taught to give necessary information?

Is it taught to prepare for professional studies?

Is the aim single or eclectic? Do the aims vary for different groups of students? Does this apply to all the courses in your specialty? How does the aim govern the methods of teaching?

II. Place of the Subject in the College Curriculum:

In what year or years should it be taught?

What part of the college course—in terms of time or credits—should be allotted to it?

What is the practice in other colleges?

What course or courses in this subject should be part of the general curriculum or be prescribed for students in art, in science, in modern languages, or in the preprofessional or professional groups?

III. Organization of the Subject in the College Course:

Desired sequence of courses in this subject.

What is the basis of this sequence? Gradation of successive difficulties or logical sequence of facts?

Should these courses be elective or prescribed? All prescribed? For all groups of students?

In what years should the elective work be offered?

IV. Discussion of Methods of Teaching this Subject:

Place and relative worth of lecture method, laboratory work, recitations, research, case method, field work, assignment from a single text or reference reading, etc.

Discussion of such problems as the following:

Shall the first course in chemistry be a general and extensive course summing up the scope of chemistry, its function in organic and inorganic nature, with no laboratory work other than the experimentation by the instructor?

Should students in the social sciences study the subject deductively from a book or should the book be postponed and the instructor present a series of problems from the social life of the student so that the analysis of these may lead the student to formulate many of the generalizations that are given early in a textbook course?

Should college mathematics be presented as a series of subjects, e.g., algebra (advanced), solid geometry, trigonometry, analytical geometry, calculus, etc.? Would it be better to present the subject as a single and unified whole in two or three semesters?

Should a student study his mathematics as it is developed in his book,—viz., as an intellectual product of a matured mind familiar with the subject,—or should the subject grow gradually in a more or less unorganized form from a series of mechanical, engineering, building, nautical, surveying, and structural problems that can be found in the life and environment of the student?

V. Moot Questions in the Teaching of this Subject.

VI. How judge whether the subject has been of worth to the student?

How test whether the aims of this subject have been realized?

How test how much the student has carried away? What means, methods, and indices exist aside from the traditional examination?

VII. Bibliography on the Pedagogy of this Subject as Far as It Applies to College Teaching. The aim of the bibliography should be to give worth-while contributions that present elaborations of what is here presented or points of view and modes of procedure that differ from those here set forth.

PAUL KLAPPER The College of the City of New York



By NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER, Ph.D., LL.D. President of Columbia University. Author of The Meaning of Education, True and False Democracy, etc. Editor of Educational Review



I HISTORY AND PRESENT TENDENCIES OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE 3 By STEPHEN PIERCE DUGGAN, Ph.D. Professor of Education, The College of the City of New York. Author of A Student's History of Education

II PROFESSIONAL TRAINING FOR COLLEGE TEACHING 31 By SIDNEY E. MEZES, Ph.D., LL.D. President of The College of the City of New York. Formerly President of University of Texas. Author of Ethics, Descriptive and Explanatory

III GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF COLLEGE TEACHING 43 By PAUL KLAPPER, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Education, The College of the City of New York. Author of Principles of Educational Practice, The Teaching of English, etc.


IV THE TEACHING OF BIOLOGY 85 By T. W. GALLOWAY, Ph.D., Litt.D. Professor of Zoology, Beloit College. Author of Textbook of Zoology, Biology of Sex for Parents and Teachers, Use of Motives in Moral Education, etc.

V THE TEACHING OF CHEMISTRY 110 By LOUIS KAHLENBERG, PH.D. Director of the Course in Chemistry and Professor of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin. Author of Outlines of Chemistry, Laboratory Exercises in Chemistry, Chemistry Analysis, Chemistry and Its Relation to Daily Life, etc.

VI THE TEACHING OF PHYSICS 126 By HARVEY B. LEMON, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Chicago

VII THE TEACHING OF GEOLOGY 142 By T. C. CHAMBERLIN, Ph.D., LL.D., Sc.D. Professor and Head of Department of Geology and Director of Walker Museum, University of Chicago. Author of Geology of Wisconsin, The Origin of the Earth. Editor of The Journal of Geology

VIII THE TEACHING OF MATHEMATICS 161 By G. A. MILLER, Ph.D. Professor of Mathematics, University of Illinois. Author of Determinants, Mathematical Monographs (co-author), Theory and Applications of Groups of Finite Order (co-author), Historical Introduction to the Mathematical Literature, etc. Co-editor of American Year Book and Encyclopedie des Sciences Mathematiques

IX PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN THE COLLEGE 183 By THOMAS A. STOREY, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Hygiene, The College of the City of New York. State Inspector of Physical Training, New York. Secretary-General, Fourth International Congress of School Hygiene, Buffalo, 1913. Executive-Secretary, United States Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board. Author of various contributions to standard works on physiology, hygiene, and physical training


X THE TEACHING OF ECONOMICS 217 By FRANK A. FETTER, Ph.D., LL.D. Professor of Political Economy, Princeton University. Author of Economic Principles and Modern Economic Problems

XI THE TEACHING OF SOCIOLOGY 241 By ARTHUR J. TODD, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Training Course for Social and Civic Work, University of Minnesota. Author of The Primitive Family as an Educational Factor, Theories of Social Progress

XII THE TEACHING OF HISTORY A. American History 256 By HENRY W. ELSON, A.M., Litt.D. President of Thiel College. Formerly Professor of History, Ohio University. Author of History of the United States, The Story of the Old World (with Cornelia E. MacMullan), etc.

B. Modern European History 263 By EDWARD KREHBIEL, Ph.D. Professor of Modern European History, Leland Stanford University. Author of The Interdict, Nationalism, War and Society

XIII THE TEACHING OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 279 By CHARLES GROVE HAINES, Ph.D. Professor of Government, University of Texas. Author of Conflict over Judicial Powers in the United States prior to 1870, The American Doctrine of Judicial Supremacy, The Teaching of Government (Report of Committee on Instruction, Political Science Association)

XIV THE TEACHING OF PHILOSOPHY 302 By FRANK THILLY, Ph.D., LL.D. Professor of Philosophy, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University. Author of Introduction to Ethics, History of Philosophy

XV THE TEACHING OF ETHICS 320 By HENRY NEUMANN, Ph.D. Leader of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. Formerly of the Department of Education, The College of the City of New York, Author of Moral Values in Secondary Education

XVI THE TEACHING OF PSYCHOLOGY 334 By ROBERT S. WOODWORTH, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology, Columbia University. Author of Dynamic Psychology, Le Mouvement, Care of the Body, Elements of Physiological Psychology (with George Trumbull Ladd)

XVII THE TEACHING OF EDUCATION A. Teaching the History of Education 347 By HERMAN H. HORNE, Ph.D. (Harvard). Professor of the History of Education and the History of Philosophy, New York University. Author of The Philosophy of Education, The Psychological Principles of Education, Free Will and Human Responsibility, etc.

B. Teaching Educational Theory 359 By FREDERICK E. BOLTON, Ph.D. Dean of the College of Education, University of Washington. Author of Principles of Education, The Secondary School System of Germany


XVIII THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH LITERATURE 379 By CALEB T. WINCHESTER, L.H.D. Professor of English Literature, Wesleyan University. Author of Some Principles of Literary Criticism, A Group of English Essayists, William Wordsworth: How to Know Him, etc.

XIX THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH COMPOSITION 389 By HENRY SEIDEL CANBY, Ph.D. Adviser in Literary Composition, Yale University. Author of The Short Story in English, College Sons and College Fathers, etc.

XX THE TEACHING OF THE CLASSICS 404 By WILLIAM K. PRENTICE, Ph.D. Professor of Greek, Princeton University, Author of Greek and Latin inscriptions in Syria

XXI THE TEACHING OF THE ROMANCE LANGUAGES 424 By WILLIAM A. NITZE, Ph.D. Professor and Head of Department of Romance Languages, University of Chicago. Author of The Grail Romance, Glastonbury and the Holy Grail, Handbook of French Phonetics, etc. Contributor to New International Encyclopedia

XXII THE TEACHING OF GERMAN 440 By E. PROKOSCH, Ph.D. Late Professor of Germanic Languages, University of Texas. Author of Teaching of German in Secondary Schools, Phonetic Lessons in German, Sounds and History of the German Language, etc.


XXIII THE TEACHING OF MUSIC 457 By EDWARD DICKINISON, Litt.D. Professor of History and Criticism of Music, Oberlin College. Author of Music in the History of the Western Church, The Study of the History of Music, The Education of a Music Lover, Music and the Higher Education

XXIV THE TEACHING OF ART 475 By HOLMES SMITH, A.M. Professor of Drawing and the History of Art, Washington University. Author of various articles in magazines on art topics


XXV THE TEACHING OF ENGINEERING SUBJECTS 501 By IRA O. BAKER, C.E., D. Eng'g. Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Illinois. Author of Treatise on Masonry Construction, Treatise on Roads and Pavements

XXVI THE TEACHING OF MECHANICAL DRAWING 525 By JAMES D. PHILLIPS, B.S. Assistant Dean and Professor of Drawing, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Author of Elements of Descriptive Geometry (with A. V. Millar), Mechanical Drawing for Secondary Schools (with F. O. Crawshaw), Mechanical Drawing for Colleges and Universities (with H. D. Orth) and HERBERT D. ORTH, B.S. Assistant Professor of Mechanical Drawing and Descriptive Geometry, University of Wisconsin. Author of Mechanical Drawing for Colleges and Universities (with J. D. Phillips)

XXVII THE TEACHING OF JOURNALISM 533 By TALCOTT WILLIAMS, A.M. LL.D., Litt.D. Director, School of Journalism, Columbia University

XXVIII BUSINESS EDUCATION 555 By FREDERICK B. ROBINSON, Ph.D. Professor of Economics and Dean of the School of Business and Civic Administration, College of the City of New York



It is characteristic of the American people to have profound faith in the power of education. Since Colonial days the American college has played a large part in American life and has trained an overwhelming proportion of the leaders of American opinion. There was a time when the American college was a relatively simple institution of a uniform type, but that time has passed. The term "college" is now used in a variety of significations, a number of which are very new and very modern indeed. Some of these uses of the term are quite indefensible, as when one speaks of a college of engineering, or of law, or of medicine, or of journalism, or of architecture. Such use of the word merely confuses and makes impossible clear thinking as to educational institutions and educational aims.

The term "college" can be properly used only of an institution which offers training in the liberal arts and sciences to youth who have completed a standard secondary school course of study. The purpose of college teaching is to lay the foundation for intelligent and effective specialization later on, to open the mind to new interpretations and new understandings both of man and of nature, and to give instruction in those standards of judgment and appreciation, the possession and application of which are the marks of the truly educated and cultivated man. The size of a college is a matter of small importance, except that under modern conditions a large college and one in immediate contact with the life of a university is almost certain to command larger intellectual resources than is an institution of a different type. The important thing about a college is its spirit, its clearness of aim, its steadiness of purpose, and the opportunity which it affords for direct personal contact between teacher and student. Given these, the question of size is unimportant.

There was a time when it was felt, probably correctly, that a satisfactory college training could be had by requiring all students to follow a single prescribed course of study. At that time, college students were drawn almost exclusively from families and homes of a single type or kind. Their purposes in after-life were similar, and their range of intellectual sympathy, while intense, was rather narrow. The last fifty years have changed all this. College students are now drawn from families and homes of every conceivable type and kind. Their purposes in after-life are very different, while new subjects of study have been multiplied many fold. The old and useful tradition of Latin, Greek, and mathematics, together with a little history and literature, as the chief elements in a college course of study, had to give way when first the natural sciences, and then the social sciences, claimed attention and when even these older subjects of study were themselves subdivided into many parts.

These changes forced a change in the old-fashioned program of college study, and led to the various substitutes for it that now exist. Whether a college prefers the elective system of study, or the group system, or some other method of combining instruction that is regarded as fundamental with other instruction that is regarded as less so, the fact is that all these are simply different kinds of attempt to meet a new condition which is the natural result of intellectual and economic changes. Just now the college is in a state of transition. It is not at all clear precisely what its status will be a generation hence, or how far present tendencies may continue to increase, or how far they may be counteracted by a swing of the pendulum in the opposite direction. Therefore this is a time to describe rather than to dogmatize, and it is description which is the characteristic mark of the important series of papers which constitute the several chapters in the present volume.

A careful reading of these papers is commended not only to the great army of college teachers and college students, but to that still greater army of those who, whether as alumni or as parents or as citizens, are deeply concerned with the preservation of the influence and character of the American college for its effect upon our national standards of thought and action.

American colleges are of two distinct types, and it may be that the future has in store a different position for each type. The true distinction between colleges is according as they are separate or are incorporated in a university system, and not at all as to whether they are large or small. A separate college, such as Amherst or Beloit or Grinnell or Pomona, has its own peculiar problems of support and administration. The university college, on the other hand, such as Columbia or Harvard or Chicago or the college of any state university, has quite different problems of support and of administration. It is not unlikely that the distinction between these two types of college will become more sharply marked as years go by, and that eventually they will appear to be two distinct institutions rather than two types of one and the same institution.

Meanwhile, we have to deal with the college as it is, in all its varied forms, but characteristically American whatever its form. The American college has little or no resemblance to the English Public School or to the French Lycee or to the German Gymnasium. It is something more than any one of these, and at the same time something less. It differs from them all very much as the conditions of American life differ from those of English or of French or of German life. The college may or may not involve residence, but when it does involve residence, it is at its best. It is then that the largest amount of carefully ordered and stimulating influence can be brought to bear upon the daily life of growing and expanding youth, and it is then and only then, that youth can get the inestimable benefits which follow from daily and hourly contact with others of like age, like tastes, like habits, and like purposes. Indeed, it has often been said that the college gives more through its opportunities which attach to residence, than through its opportunities which attach to instruction.

Almost every conceivable problem that can arise in college life and college work, is discussed in the following pages. It is now coming to be understood that the health of the college student is as much a matter of concern as his instruction, and that a college is not doing its full duty by those who seek its doors, when it merely provides libraries, laboratories, and skillful teachers. It must also provide for such conditions of residence, of food, of exercise, and of frequent medical examination and inspection, as shall protect and preserve the health of those who come to take advantage of its instruction.

There is one other point which should not be overlooked, and that is the literally immense influence exerted in America by that solidarity of college sentiment and college opinion which is kept alive by organizations of former college students scattered throughout the land. This, again, is a peculiarly American development, and it serves to unite the college and public sentiment much more closely than any formal tie could possibly do. Indeed, it illustrates how completely the American people claim the college as their own. The man or woman who has once been a college student never ceases to be a member of that particular college or to labor to extend its influence and to increase its usefulness.

Every reader of this volume should approach it in a spirit of sympathetic understanding of American higher education, and of the college as the oldest instrument of that higher education and still one of the chief elements in it.











The predominance of the religious motive

The American colonies were founded chiefly by Englishmen who came to America for a variety of reasons. Some of these were economic and political, but the most important of their reasons was the desire to practice their religious convictions with greater freedom than was permitted at home. Apart from the state religion, however, all the colonists were animated by a love for English institutions which they transplanted to the New World, and among these institutions were the grammar school and the college. Wherever the Reformation had been chiefly a religious rather than a political and ecclesiastical movement, the interest in education and the effect upon it were direct and immediate. This was true where Calvinism prevailed, as in the Netherlands, Scotland, and among the Puritans in England. Hence it is natural to find that the first effective movements in America toward the establishment of educational institutions, both elementary and higher, should have taken place in New England.

A large proportion of university graduates were included among the settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They were chiefly graduates of Cambridge, which had always been religiously more tolerant than Oxford, and especially of Emmanuel College, which was the stronghold of Puritanism at Cambridge. It was natural that these men, leaders in the affairs of the colony, should want to establish a New Cambridge University, but it is astonishing that they were able to do so as early as 1636, only six years after the founding of this colony. Two years later the college was named after John Harvard, a clergyman and a graduate of Emmanuel, who upon his death bequeathed half his estate and all his fine library of three hundred volumes to the college. The religious motive predominated in the founding of Harvard, for though the colonists longed "to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity," they were actuated chiefly by dread "to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present Ministers shall lie in the Dust."

Harvard remained the sole instrument in the colonies for that purpose for more than half a century. In 1693 the College of William and Mary was founded in Virginia, with the most generous endowment of any pre-Revolutionary college, generous because of the help received from the mother country. It was the child of the Church of England, and its president and its professors had to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles. Subscription to a religious creed was also demanded of the president and tutors of the third American college, founded in 1701. This Collegiate Institute, as it was called, moved from place to place for more than a decade, but finally it settled permanently in New Haven in 1717. It afterward received the name of Yale College in honor of Elihu Yale, who had given it generous assistance.

As a result of the founding of these three institutions, the New England and the Southern colonies had their need for ministers fairly well supplied, but this was not yet true of the Middle colonies. However, the Presbyterians had become particularly strong in the Middle colonies, and their religious zeal resulted in the establishment of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, in 1746.

A few years later Benjamin Franklin advanced for the college a new raison d'etre. In 1749 he published a pamphlet entitled "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania," in which he advocated the establishment of an academy whose purpose was not the training of ministers but the secular one of developing the practical virtue necessary in the opening up of a new country. The Academy was opened in 1751, and the charter, granted in 1755, designated the institution as "The College, Academy, and Charitable School of Philadelphia." Though the extremely modern organization and curriculum suggested by Franklin were not realized, the institution, which was afterward called "The University of Pennsylvania," offered the most liberal curriculum of any college in the colonies up to the Revolution.

The human motive was uppermost also in the establishment of King's College in 1754. The colonial assembly desired its establishment to enhance the welfare and reputation of the colony, and the only connection between the college and the Church of England lay in the requirement that the president should be a communicant of that church and that the morning and evening service of the college should be performed out of the liturgy of that church. But the religious motive again comes to the fore in the establishment of Brown University at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1764, primarily to train ministers for the Baptist churches; of Queens, afterwards named Rutgers, in 1766, to provide ministers for the Dutch Reformed churches; and of Dartmouth, in 1769, from which it was hoped at first that the evangelization of the Indians would proceed.

Character of the colonial college

These colonial colleges in their histories bear a great resemblance to one another. They were almost all born in poverty and led a desperate financial existence for many years. In some cases survival was possible only as the result of the untiring self-sacrifice of some great personality like Eleazar Wheelock, the first president of Dartmouth; in all cases, of the devotion of teachers and officers. Their beginnings were all small; in some cases the president was the only member of the instructing staff and taught all the subjects of the curriculum. The students were few in number, the equipment was simple, the buildings usually consisting of a house for the president, in which he often heard recitations, a dormitory for the students, and a college hall. Libraries, laboratories, and recreational facilities were usually conspicuous by their absence. In fact, as the curriculum consisted almost exclusively of philosophy, Greek, Latin, rhetoric, and a little mathematics, there was no great need of much equipment. The classics were taught by the intensive grammatical method; in philosophy there was a great deal of dialectical disputation; rhetoric was studied as an aid to oratory; mathematics included only arithmetic and geometry. The aim of instruction was, not to give a wide acquaintance with many fields of knowledge for cultural and appreciative purposes, but rather to develop power through intensive exercise upon a restricted curriculum. But the value of the materials utilized to produce power which would function in oratory, debate, and diplomacy is splendidly illustrated in the decades before the Revolution. The contest between the colonies and the mother country was essentially a rational contest in which questions of constitutional law and, indeed, of the fundamental principles of civil and political existence were debated. Splendidly did the leaders of public opinion in the colonies, almost every one of whom was a graduate of a colonial college, defend the cause of the colonists in pamphlet and debate. And when debate was followed by war, twenty-five per cent of the twenty-five hundred graduates of the colonial colleges were found in the military service of their country. At the close of the struggle for independence, it was again upon the shoulders of the men who had gained vision and character in the colonial colleges that the burden fell of organizing the mutually suspicious and antagonistic colonies into one nation. Space will not permit even of the enumeration of the great leaders who graduated from all the colonial colleges, but an idea of the service rendered by those institutions to the new nation may be obtained by mentioning the names of a few statesmen who received their instruction in one of the least of them, William and Mary. In its classrooms were taught Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Edmund Randolph, James Monroe, and John Marshall.


French influence

French influence upon American political and intellectual life had become quite pronounced as the result of the contact between the leaders of the two peoples during and after the Revolution. That influence was reflected in the colleges. Instruction in the French language was offered in several of the colleges before the close of the eighteenth century, and a chair of French was established at Columbia as early as 1779 and at William and Mary in 1793. The secularizing influence of the French united also with the democratizing influence of the Revolution in diminishing the influence of the church upon the colleges and emphasizing the influence of the State and especially the relations between college and people. Of the fourteen colleges founded between 1776 and 1800, the majority were established upon a non-sectarian basis. These included institutions of a private nature like Washington and Lee, Bowdoin, and Union, as well as institutions closely related to the state governments like the Universities of North Carolina and of Vermont. There can hardly be any doubt that the French system of centralized administration in civil affairs influenced the establishment of the University of the State of New York. The University of the State of New York is not a local institution, but a body of nine regents elected by the legislature to control the administration of education throughout the State of New York. Though organized by Alexander Hamilton, it was in all probability much influenced by John Jay, who returned from France in 1784. But the most potent factor in the spread of French influence in the early history of our country was Thomas Jefferson. While Jefferson was American minister to France, he studied the French system of education and embodied ideas taken from it in the organization of the University of Virginia. This occupied much of his attention during the last two decades of his life. The University was to be entirely non-sectarian and had for its purpose (1) to form statesmen, legislators, and judges for the commonwealth; (2) to expand the principles and structure of government, the laws which regulate the intercourse of states, and a sound spirit of legislation; (3) to harmonize and promote the interests of all forms of industry, chiefly by well-informed views of political economy; (4) to develop the reasoning faculties of youth and to broaden their minds and develop their character; (5) to enlighten them with knowledge, especially of the physical sciences which will advance the material welfare of the people. These progressive views of what the college should aim to do were associated with equally advanced views of college administration, such as the elective system and the importation of professors from abroad. The remarkable vision, constructive imagination, courage, and faith of Jefferson in his break with what was traditional and authoritative in education has been justified by the fine career of the university which he founded.

The state universities system

All the colleges that were established before the Revolution, and most of those between the Revolution and the year 1800, had received direct assistance from the colonial or state government either in grants of land, money, the proceeds of lotteries, or special taxes. Most of them, however, were dependent upon private foundations and controlled by denominational bodies. The secularizing influence from France, the growing interest in civic and political affairs, and the democratic spirit resulting from the Revolution combined to develop a distrust of the colleges as they were organized and a desire to bring them under the control of the state. This was apparent in 1779, when the legislature of Pennsylvania withdrew the charter of the college of Philadelphia and created a new corporation to be known as "The Trustees of the University of the State of Pennsylvania"; it was shown in 1787 when Columbia College was granted a new charter by the state legislature, under which the board of trustees were all drawn from the Board of Regents of the State; it was made most evident in 1816 when the legislature of New Hampshire transformed Dartmouth College into a university without the consent of the board of trustees and empowered the governor and council to appoint a Board of Overseers. In the celebrated Dartmouth College case, 1819, the old board of trustees, when defeated before the Supreme Court of New Hampshire in their suit for the recovery of property which had been seized, carried the case to the Supreme Court of the United States and engaged Daniel Webster as their counsel. The Court declared the act of the New Hampshire legislature in violation of the provision of the Constitution of the United States which reads that "No state shall pass any ... law impairing the obligation of contracts." The decision drew a sharp distinction between public and private corporations, and a necessary inference was that most of the existing institutions for higher education were in the latter class. The result was to strengthen the rising demand for publicly controlled institutions. The Southern and Western states across the Alleghanies that were on the point of framing state constitutions made provision for state universities under state control.

The intention to provide higher education freely for the people had already received its greatest impetus in an Act of Congress passed shortly after the passage of the Ordinance of 1787, providing for the organization of the Northwest Territory. By that act two entire townships of public land were reserved to the states to be erected out of the territory, the proceeds of the sale of which were to be devoted to the establishment of a state university. These universities followed swiftly upon the establishment of new states, and the democratic ideal that prevailed is shown in the determination that the state university was to be the crown of the public educational system of the state. This is well illustrated in the provision of the constitution of Indiana, adopted in the very year of the Dartmouth College decision, 1819, which reads, "It shall be the duty of the General Assembly, as soon as circumstances will permit, to provide by law for a general system of education, ascending in regular gradation from township schools to a state university, wherein tuition shall be gratis and equally open to all." Circumstances did permit in the following year, and the provisions of the bill materialized. The national policy of granting public lands for educational purposes to new states was continued, and one or two townships were devoted in each case to the establishment of a state university. National assistance to higher education was given on an immense scale in 1862, when the Morrill Act was passed providing for the grant of 30,000 acres of land for each representative and senator, to be devoted to the support in each state of a higher institution of learning, in which technical and agricultural branches should be taught. Within twenty years every state in the Union had taken advantage of this splendid endowment, either to found a new state university which would comply with the requirements as regards courses of instruction or to establish an agricultural college as an independent institution, or in connection with some already existing institution. Not only do some of the finest state universities like those of California, Illinois, and Minnesota owe their origins to the Morrill Act, but others owe to it their real beginnings as institutions of collegiate grade. Up to the passage of the Morrill Act a dozen state universities struggled to maintain themselves with meager revenues and few students. They were trying to do broad academic work, but by no means reached the standards of the strong colleges in the eastern part of the country.

The establishment of state-supported and state-controlled universities in the commonwealths organized after the close of the eighteenth century by no means put an end to the establishment of colleges upon religious foundations. Denominational zeal was very strong in the decades preceding the Civil War, and the church was the center of community life in the newly settled regions. The need to provide an intelligent ministry and also a higher civilization led to the establishment of many small sectarian colleges in the new states. Despite the fact that practically all of them would today be considered only of secondary grade, they accomplished a splendid work and provided ideals and standards of intellectual life in a new country whose population was engaged chiefly in supplying the physical needs of life. The response made in the Civil War by the institutions of higher education throughout the United States, whether privately or publicly supported, was a magnificent return for the sacrifices endured in their establishment and maintenance. Everywhere throughout the North the colleges were depleted of instructors and students who had entered the ranks, and in the South nearly all the colleges were compelled to close their doors. Upon the shoulders of their graduates fell the burden of directing civil and military affairs in state and nation.


Were a visitor to Harvard or Columbia in 1860 to revisit it today, the changes he would observe would be startling. The elective system, graduate studies, professional and technical schools, an allied woman's college, and a summer session are a few of the most noticeable activities incorporated since 1860. It would be impossible to set any date for the beginning of this transformation, so gradual and subtle has it been, but the accession of Dr. Charles W. Eliot to the presidency of Harvard College in 1869 and the establishment of Johns Hopkins University in 1876 are definite landmarks.

This chapter is a history of the American college, and space will not permit of a detailed description of these activities but simply of a narration of the way they developed and of the forces which brought them into being.

The curriculum and the elective system

It has already been mentioned that the curriculum of the average American college at the beginning of the nineteenth century differed but little from the curriculum followed in the middle of the seventeenth. The reason is simple. The curriculum is based upon the biological principle of adaptation to environment, and the environment of the average American of 1800 differed but slightly from his ancestor of a century and a half previous. The growth of the curriculum follows, slowly it is often true, upon the growth of knowledge. The growth of knowledge during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was slow and insignificant compared to its marvelous growth in the nineteenth century, particularly in the last half of it. The great discoveries in science, first in chemistry, then in physics and biology, resulted in their gradually displacing much of the logic and philosophy which had maintained the prime place in the old curriculum. The interest aroused in the French language and literature by our Revolution; in the Spanish by the South American wars of independence; and in the German by the distinguished scholars who studied in the German universities during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, caused a demand that those languages as well as English have a place in the curriculum. This could be secured only by making them partly alternatives to the classical languages. The Industrial Revolution, based as it was upon the application of science to industry, not only gave an impetus to the establishment of technical schools, but by revolutionizing the production and distribution of wealth pushed into the curriculum the science that deals with wealth, political economy. The growth of cities that followed in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, the conflicts between the interests of classes,—viz., landowners, capitalists, and laborers,—the rapid decay of feudalism and the spread of political democracy following the French Revolution, the expansion of commerce to all corners of the globe and the resulting development of colonialism, all these human interests gave a new meaning to the study of history and politics which caused them to secure a place of great prominence in the curriculum during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

It is perfectly obvious that as the time at the student's disposal remained the same, if he were to pursue even a part of the new subject matter that was gradually admitted into the curriculum, the course of study could no longer remain wholly prescribed and he would have to be granted some freedom of choice. The growth in number of students also produced changes in administration favorable to the introduction of the elective system. In the early history of the American college one instructor taught a single class in all subjects, and it was not until 1776 that the transfer was made at Harvard from the teaching of classes by one instructor to the teaching of each subject by one instructor. With increase in numbers the students were unable to receive in each year instruction by every member of the teaching staff. In spite of the quite obvious advantages of the elective system, it was obstinately resisted by the defenders of the classics and also of orthodox religion and at first made but slow progress. Thomas Jefferson gave it the first great impetus when he made it an essential element in the organization of the University of Virginia in 1825. Francis Wayland, president of Brown University and one of the few college presidents of his day who were educators in the modern sense, made a splendid exposition and defense of it in 1850 in his "Report to the Corporation of Brown University on Changes in the System of Collegiate Education." But the elective system waited upon the elevation of Charles W. Eliot to the presidency of Harvard in 1869 for its general realization; in 1872 the senior year at Harvard became wholly elective; in 1879, the junior year; in 1884, the sophomore year; and in 1894 the single absolute requirement that remained in the entire college course was English A. The action of Harvard was rapidly imitated to a more or less thorough extent throughout the country.

Probably no two colleges administer the elective system in the same way. There has been a considerable revulsion of opinion against unrestricted election of individual subjects. In many colleges the subjects of the curriculum were arranged into groups which must be elected in toto. This resulted in the multiplication of bachelor's degrees, each indicating the special course—arts, science, philosophy, or literature—which had been followed. At the present time the tendency is to prescribe the subjects considered essential to a liberal education chiefly in the first two years and to permit election among groups of related courses in the last two. This has maintained the unity that formerly prevailed and introduced greater breadth into the curriculum. It has also brought the new bachelor's degrees into disfavor, and today the majority of the best colleges give only the A.B. degree for the regular academic course. Valuable modifications in the elective system are constantly being adopted. One such is the preceptorial system at Princeton and elsewhere, under which the preceptors personally supervise the reading and study of a small group of students and can therefore advise them from personal knowledge of their capacity. Another is the system of honor courses adopted at Columbia and elsewhere, whereby a distinction is made between mere "passmen" and students desirous of attaining high rank in courses that are carefully organized in sequence.

German Influence and graduate study

The introduction of new subjects into the curriculum of the college and the adoption by it of the elective system owe much to German influence upon American education. Though this influence was partly exerted by the study of the German language and literature, it resulted chiefly from the residence of American students at German universities. The first American to be granted the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from a German university was Edward Everett, who received it at Goettingen in 1817. He was followed by George Ticknor, George Bancroft, Henry W. Longfellow, John Lothrop Motley, Frederick Henry Hedge, William Dwight Whitney, Theodore Dwight Woolsey, and a host of scholars who shed luster upon American education and scholarship in the mid-nineteenth century. Most of these men became associated with American colleges in some capacity and had a profound influence upon their ideals, organization, and methods of teaching. They came back devoted advocates of wide and deep scholarship, of independent research, and of the need of such scholastic tools as libraries and laboratories. But especially did they give an impetus to the movement in favor of freedom of choice (Lernfreiheit) in studies. Only by the adoption of such a principle could the pronounced tastes or needs of individual students be satisfied.

Some slight effort had been made in the first four decades of the nineteenth century by a few of the colleges to conform to the desire of students for further study in some chosen field, but the results were negligible. In 1847 Yale established a "department of philosophy and the arts for scientific and graduate study leading to the degree of bachelor of philosophy." The first degree of doctor of philosophy was bestowed in 1861, but a distinct graduate school was not organized until 1872. Harvard announced in the same year the establishment of a graduate department to which only holders of the bachelor's degree would be admitted and in which the degrees of doctor of philosophy and doctor of science would be conferred. The graduate department was not made a separate school, however, until 1890.

The greatest impetus to the establishment of graduate schools in the American universities was made by the establishment of Johns Hopkins University in 1876. Upon its foundation the chief aim was announced to be the development of instruction in the methods of scientific research. The influence of this institution upon the development of higher education in the United States has been incalculably great. Johns Hopkins was not a transplanted German university. The unique place of the college in American education was shown by the fact that graduate schools have followed the lead of Johns Hopkins in building upon the college. Even Clark University at Worcester, founded in 1889 upon a purely graduate basis, established an undergraduate college in 1902.

One of the most gratifying features of higher education in the United States during the past quarter century has been the extension of graduate schools to the strong state universities. Research work in them usually began in the school of agriculture, where the intensive study of the sciences, particularly chemistry and biology, had such splendid results in improved farming and dairying that legislatures were gradually persuaded to extend the support for research to purely liberal studies. With the growth and development of graduate schools in this country, the practice of going to Europe for advanced specialized study has abated considerably. It will probably so continue in the future, particularly with regard to Germany. On the other hand, should the new ideal of international good will become a living reality, education through a wide system of exchange professors and students may be expected to make its contribution.

Technical and professional study

While the graduate school was built upon the college, the technical school grew up by the side of it or upon an independent foundation. The first technical school was established at Troy, New York, in 1824, and was called Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, after its founder, Stephen Van Rensselaer. For a score of years no other development of consequence was made, but in 1847 the foundations were made of what have since become the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard and the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale. The passage of the Morrill Act in 1862 had a quickening effect on education in engineering and agriculture. In the decade from 1860 to 1870 some twenty-two technical institutions were founded, most of them by the aid of the land grants. The most important of them is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where instruction was first given in 1865 and which has exerted by far the greatest influence upon the development of scientific and technical education. The best technical schools require a high school diploma for admission and have a four-year course of study, but the only technical school on a graduate basis is the School of Mines at Columbia University.

Professional education in theology, law, and medicine in the United States was conducted chiefly upon the apprenticeship system down into the nineteenth century. Though chairs of divinity existed in the colonial colleges in the eighteenth century, systematic preparation for the ministry was not generally attempted and the prospective minister usually came under the special care of a prominent clergyman who prepared him for the profession. In 1819 Harvard established a separate faculty of divinity, and three years later Yale founded a theological department. Since then about fifty colleges and universities have established theological faculties and about 125 independent theological schools have been founded as the result of denominational zeal. A majority of all these institutions require at least a high school diploma for admission; half of them require a college degree. Nearly all offer a three-year course of study and confer the degree of bachelor of divinity.

Previous to the Civil War the great majority of legal practitioners obtained their preparation in a law office. Though the University of Pennsylvania attempted to establish a law school in 1791, and Columbia in 1797, both attempts were abortive, and it remained for Harvard to establish the first permanent law school in 1817. Even this was but a feeble affair until Justice Joseph Story became associated with it in 1830. Up to 1870 but three terms of study were required for a degree; until 1877 students were admitted without examination, and special students were admitted without examination as late as 1893. Since then the advance in standards has been very rapid, and in 1899 Harvard placed its law school upon a graduate basis. Though but few others have emulated Harvard in this respect, the improvement in legal education during the past two decades has been marked. Of the 120 law schools today, the great majority are connected with colleges and universities, demand a high school diploma for admission, maintain a three-year course of study, and confer the degree of LL.B. Twenty-four per cent of the twenty thousand students are college graduates. In some of the best schools the inductive method of study—i.e., the "case method"—has superseded the lecture, and in practically all the moot court is a prominent feature.

Entrance into the medical profession in colonial times was obtained by apprenticeship in the office of a practicing physician. The first permanent medical school was the medical college of Philadelphia, which was established in 1765 and which became an integral part of the University of Pennsylvania in 1791. Columbia, Harvard, and Dartmouth also founded schools before the close of the eighteenth century, and these were slowly followed by other colleges in the early decades of the nineteenth century. During almost the entire nineteenth century medical education in the United States was kept on a low plane by the existence of large numbers of proprietary medical "colleges" organized for profit, requiring only the most meager entrance qualifications, giving poor instruction, and having very inadequate equipment in the way of laboratories and clinics. In fact, medical education did not obtain a high standard until the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1893. Since then the efforts of the medical schools connected with the strong universities and of the Rockefeller Foundation to raise the minimum standard of medical education have resulted in the elimination of the weakest medical schools. The total number fell from 150 in 1900 to 100 in 1914. Not all of these demand a high school diploma for admission, though the tendency is to stiffen entrance requirements, but all have a four-year course of study. In most institutions experience in laboratory, clinic, and hospital has superseded the old lecture system as the method of instruction. Closely associated with the progress in medicine and to a great extent similar in history has been the progress in dentistry and pharmacy. There are now fifty schools of dentistry, with nearly 9000 students, and seventy-two schools of pharmacy, with nearly 6000 students.

One of the most gratifying advances in professional education has been that of the teacher. Practically all the state universities and many of the universities and colleges upon private foundations have established either departments or schools of education which require at least the same entrance qualifications as does the college proper and in many cases confine the work to the junior and senior years. Teachers College of Columbia University is on a graduate basis. Though many of the 250 training and normal schools throughout the country do not require a high school diploma for admission, the tendency is wholly in that direction. In no field of professional education has the application of scientific principles to actual practice made such progress as in that of the teacher.

College education for women—The independent college

Few movements in the history of American education had more important results than the academy movement which prevailed during the period between the Revolution and the Civil War. Possibly the principle upon which the new nation was established, i.e., the privilege of every individual to make the most of himself, influenced the founders of the academies to make provision for the education of girls beyond the mere rudiments. Certainly this aspect of the movement had a far-reaching influence. Some of the earliest of the academies admitted girls as well as boys from the beginning, and some soon became exclusively female. When it became evident from the work of the academies that sex differences were not of as great importance as had been supposed, it was not a long step to higher education. Some of the academies added a year or two to the curriculum and took on the more dignified name of "seminary." In this transition period the influence of a few great personalities was profound, and even a brief sketch of the history of women's education cannot omit to mention the splendid work of Emma Willard and Mary Lyon. Mrs. Willard was an exponent of the belief that freedom of development for the individual was the greatest desideratum for humanity. She not only diffused this idea in her addresses and writings but tried to utilize it in the establishment in 1814 of the Troy Female Seminary, which was the forerunner of many others throughout the country. Mary Lyon was rather the representative of the religious influence in education, the embodiment of the belief that to do one's duty is the great purpose in life. In 1837 she founded Mount Holyoke Seminary, which had an influence of inestimable value in sending well-equipped women throughout the country a teachers. The importance of this service was particularly evident during the period of the Civil War.

Although a number of excellent institutions for women bearing the name of college were founded before the Civil War, the first one of really highest rank was Vassar College, which opened its doors to students in 1865. Smith and Wellesley were founded in 1875, and Bryn Mawr in 1885. These four colleges are in every respect the equal of the best colleges for men. They are the most important of a dozen independent colleges for women, almost all of which are situated in the East. To establish the independent college was the chief method adopted in the older parts of the country to solve the problem of women's higher education, rather than to reorganize colleges for men where conditions were already established.

The development of coeducation

The independent college is not the method that has prevailed in the West. When the inspiration to higher education for women arrived west of the Alleghanies, conditions, especially lack of resources, practically necessitated coeducation. Oberlin, founded in 1834, was the first fully coeducational institution of college grade in the world. In 1841 three women received from it the bachelor's degree, the first to get it. Oberlin's success had a pronounced influence on the state universities, which, it was argued, should be open and free to all citizens, since they were supported by public taxation. Almost all the state universities and the great majority of the colleges and universities on private foundations are today coeducational. The results predicted by pessimists, viz., that the physical health of women would suffer, that their intellectual capacity would depreciate scholarship, and that the interests of the family would be menaced, have not eventuated.

The affiliated college for women

The spread of coeducation in the state universities of the West and the South and its presence in the newer private universities like Cornell and Chicago had an influence upon the older universities of the East. This influence has resulted in a third method of solving the problem of women's education; viz., the establishment of the affiliated college. Several universities have established women's colleges, sometimes under the same and sometimes under a different board of trustees, to provide the collegiate education for women which is given to men by the undergraduate departments. Barnard College, affiliated with Columbia University, Radcliffe College, affiliated with Harvard University, Woman's College, affiliated with Brown University, the College for Women, affiliated with the Western Reserve University, and the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College for Women, affiliated with Tulane University, have all been founded within the past forty years.

Graduate and professional studies for women

All the universities for men except Princeton and Johns Hopkins and all the fully coeducational institutions admit women upon the same terms as men to graduate work. Graduate work is also undertaken with excellent results in some of the independent women's colleges, as at Bryn Mawr. Professional education for women has been coeducational from the beginning, with the exception of medicine. The prejudice against coeducation in that profession was so strong that five women's medical schools were organized, but they provide instruction for little more than a quarter of the women medical students. The increase in the number of women in professional schools has not by any means kept pace with the increase in the colleges. It appears that, with the exception of teaching, woman is not to be a very important sector in the learned professions in the near future.

Undergraduate life—Fraternities

Nothing differentiates more clearly the American college from European institutions of higher education than the kind of non-scholastic activities undertaken by the students. From the very beginning the college became a place of residence as well as of study for students from a distance, and the dormitory was an essential element in its life. With increase in numbers, especially after the Revolution, when all distinctions of birth or family were abolished, students naturally divided into groups. The first fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded in 1776 at William and Mary, with a patriotic and literary purpose, and membership in it has practically ever since been confined to graduates who have attained high scholastic standing. When one speaks of college fraternities, however, he does not refer to Phi B K, but to one of the intercollegiate social organizations which have chapters in several colleges organized somewhat upon the plan of a club and whose members live in a chapter house. The first such fraternity was founded at Yale in 1821, but it was limited to the senior class. The three fraternities established at Union in 1825-1827 form the foundation of the present system. The fraternities spread rapidly and are today very numerous. There are about thirty of national importance, having about a thousand chapters and a quarter of a million members. The fraternity system is bitterly attacked as being undemocratic, expensive, emphasizing social rather than scholastic attainments, and, generally speaking, a divisive rather than a unifying factor in college life. Hence some colleges have abolished it. Fraternities have been defended, however, as promoting close fellowship and even helping to develop character. So strongly are they entrenched, not only in undergraduate but also in alumni affection, that they probably form a permanent element in college life.

Religious life

The early American college was primarily a place to prepare for the ministry, and personal piety was a matter of official enforcement. For a number of reasons religious zeal declined in the eighteenth century. After the Revolution, under the influence of the new political theories and of French skepticism the percentage of students professing to be active Christians fell very low. In the early nineteenth century the interest of students in religion increased, and religious organizations in a number of colleges were founded. Practically all of these later gave way to the Young Men's Christian Association, which has now over 50,000 members organized in almost all the colleges of the country save the Roman Catholic. The religious interests of Roman Catholic students are in many colleges served by the Newman Clubs and similar organizations, and of Jewish students by the Menorah Society. The religion of college students has become less a matter of form and speech and more a matter of service—social service of many kinds at home and missionary service abroad.

Physical education

The educational reformers of Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries placed great emphasis upon a more complete physical training. This interest was felt in the United States, and simple gymnastic apparatus was set up at Harvard and Yale in 1826. The movement spread very slowly, however, due probably to ignorance of its real physiological import. Since the Civil War the development of the gymnastic system has been rapid, and now practically every first-class college has its gymnasium, attendance upon which is compulsory, and some have their stadium and natatorium. Of independent origin but hastened by the spread of the gymnasium is the vast athletic interest of undergraduates. Its earliest form, conducted on a considerable scale, was rowing. The first rowing club was formed at Yale in 1843, and the first intercollegiate race was rowed on Lake Winnepesaukee in 1852, Harvard defeating Yale. Rowing is now a form of athletics at every college where facilities permit. The first baseball nine was formed at Princeton in 1859, and the game spread rapidly to all the other colleges. Football in a desultory and unorganized way made its appearance early in the nineteenth century. As early as 1840 an annual game was played at Yale between the freshmen and the sophomores, but the establishment of a regular football association dates from 1872, also at Yale. In the following year an intercollegiate organization was formed, and since then football has increased in popularity at the colleges to such an extent that just as baseball has become the great national game, so has football become the great American collegiate game. Track athletics is the most recent form of athletic sports to be introduced into the college, and most colleges now have their field days. In addition to these four major forms of college sports, tennis, lacrosse, basketball, and swimming also have a prominent place. The four major sports are usually under the control of special athletic associations, which spend large sums of money and have a great influence with the students. In fact, so great has become the interest of college students in athletics that much fear has been expressed about its influence upon scholastic work, and voices are not lacking demanding its curtailment.[1] Military training is a phase of physical education which, though it had earlier found a place in the land-grant institutions, came to the fore as a part of the colleges' contribution to winning the world war. Students' Army Training Corps were established at many of the higher institutions of the country, and the academic studies were made to correlate with the military work as a nucleus. At the present time, however, the colleges are putting their work back on a pre-war basis, and it seems most unlikely that military training will survive as a corporate part of their work.

Student literary activities—College journalism

Journalism, though its actual performance is limited to a small number of students, has had an honored place as an undergraduate activity for almost a hundred years. It served first as a means of developing literary ability among the students, afterwards as a vehicle for college news, and now there has been added to these purposes the uniting of alumni and undergraduates. Hence we find among college journals dailies, monthlies, and quarterlies, some of them humorous and some with a serious literary purpose. Journalism is not the only method of expressing undergraduate thought. There has been a great revival of intracollegiate and of intercollegiate debating in recent years. Literary societies for debating the great issues preceding the Revolution was the first development of undergraduate life, and every college before and after the Revolution had strong societies. As undergraduate interests increased in number, and especially as the fraternity system began to spread, debating societies assumed a relatively less important place, but in the past two decades great interest has been revived in them. The glee club, or choral society, along with the college orchestra, minister to the specialized interests of some students, and the dramatic association to those of others. One significant result of such activities has been to establish a nexus between the college and community life.

Student self-government

One other feature of undergraduate life cannot be overlooked; viz., student self-government. The college student today is two or three years older than was his predecessor of fifty or sixty years ago. Moreover, with the great increase in the number of students has come a parallel increase in complexity of administration and in the duties of the college professor. Finally, a sounder psychology has taught the wisdom of placing in the hands of the students the control of many activities which they can supervise better than the faculty. As a result of these and of other influences, in many colleges today all extra-scholastic activities are either supervised by the student council, the members of which are elected by the students, or by a joint body of student and faculty members. The effect in almost every instance has been the diminution of friction between the faculty and students and the development of better relations between them. In some colleges the honor system is found, under which even proctoring at examinations does not exist, as all disciplinary matters, including the decision in serious offenses like cheating, rest with the student council. Student self-government is only one evidence of the democratization that has taken place in the administration of the college during the past two decades. Even more noticeable than student self-government is the tendency recently manifested to transfer more of the control of the government of the college from the board of trustees to the faculty.

New opportunities in higher education

With the extension of commerce and the attempt to bring it under efficient organization in the nineteenth century, the demand has been made upon the colleges to train experts in this field. Germany was the first to engage in it, and just before the war probably led the world. France and England have remained relatively indifferent. In America, the so-called "business college" proved entirely too narrow in scope, and beginning with the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania (1881), the higher institutions have begun to train for this important field. Some of the colleges of commerce, like those of Dartmouth and Harvard, demand extensive liberal preparation; others, like Wharton and the schools connected with the state universities, coordinate their liberal and vocational work; a few, like that of New York University, give almost exclusive attention to the practical element.

Two other movements might be mentioned as illustrating the attempt to extend the opportunity for higher education to an ever increasing number of people. One is the development of extension courses and the other the offering of evening work to those who cannot attend the regular sessions. These are both steps in the direction of equality of opportunity which is the ultimate aim of education in a democratic country.

The future of the college in American education—Relation to secondary schools

The college preceded the high school in time, and when the high school began its career in the middle of the nineteenth century it was made tributary to the college in all essentials. By deciding requirements for admission, the college practically prescribed the curriculum of the high school; by conducting examinations itself it practically determined methods of teaching in the high school. But a remarkable change in these respects has taken place in the past two decades. The high school, which is almost omnipresent in our country, has attained independence and today organizes its curricula without much reference to the college. If there be any domination in college entrance requirements today, it is rather the high school that dominates. Over a large part of the country, especially in states maintaining state universities, there are now no examinations for entrance to college. The college accepts all graduates of accredited high schools—i.e., high schools that the state university decides maintain proper secondary standards. This growth in strength and independence has been accompanied by a lengthening of the high school course from two years in the middle of the last century to four years at the present time.

The junior college

With the introduction of the principle of promotion by subject instead of by class, the strong high schools have been enabled to undertake to teach subjects in their last years which were formerly taught in the first years of the college. They have done this so well that the practice has grown up in some parts of the country, especially on the Pacific Coast, of extending the course of the high school to six years and of completing in them the work of the first two years of college. This enables more young men and women throughout the state to receive collegiate education, and as the best-equipped teachers in the high schools are usually in the last years and the worst-equipped teachers in the college are usually in the first years, the system makes for better education. Moreover, it relieves the state universities of the crowds of students in the first two years and permits overworked professors to concentrate upon the advanced work of the last two years and upon research work in the graduate schools. A system which offers so many advantages and is so popular both in the high school and the university bids fair to spread.

The abbreviated and condensed college course

While the movement making for the elimination of the college from below has been taking place in the West, another movement having the same effect has been taking place in the East, only the pressure has been from above. The tendency is spreading for the professional schools of the strong universities to demand a college degree for admission. If the full four years of the college are demanded in addition to the four years of the secondary school and the eight years of the elementary school, the great majority of students will begin their professional education at twenty-two and their professional careers at twenty-six, and they will hardly be self-supporting before thirty. This seems an unreasonably long period of preparation compared to that required in other progressive countries. The German student, for example, begins his professional studies immediately upon graduation from the gymnasium at eighteen. Hence the demand has arisen for a shortening of the college course. This demand has been met in several ways. In some colleges the courses have been arranged in such a way that the bright and industrious student may complete the work required for graduation in three years. In others, as at Harvard, the student may elect in his senior year the studies of the first year of the professional school. Another tendency in the same direction is to permit students in the junior and even in the sophomore years to elect subjects of a vocational nature. This has been bitterly contested by those who hold that the minimum essentials of liberal culture should be acquired before vocational specialization begins. Columbia permits a student to complete his college and professional studies in six years, and at the end of that time he receives both the bachelor's and the professional degrees.

It is to be noted, however, that these solutions of the problem and, in fact, most other solutions that have been suggested, apply only to a college connected with a university; they could not be administered in the independent college. But a movement has developed in the Middle West which may result in another solution; i.e., the Junior College. It can be best understood by reference to the policy of the University of Chicago. That institution divides its undergraduate course into two parts: a Junior College of two years, the completion of whose course brings with it the title of Associate in Arts, and a Senior College of two years, the completion of whose course is rewarded with the regular bachelor's degree. There have become affiliated with the University of Chicago a considerable number of colleges throughout the Mississippi Valley which have frankly become Junior Colleges and confine their work to the freshman and sophomore years. And this has become true of other universities. It would seem inevitable that the bachelor's degree will finally be granted at the end of the Junior College and some other degree, perhaps the master's, which has an anomalous place in American education in any case, at the end of the Senior College. This has, in fact, been suggested by President Butler. The University of Chicago has also struck out in another new direction. Provided a certain amount of work is done in residence at the University, the remainder may be completed in absentia, i.e., through correspondence courses.

The Junior College movement has had the excellent result of inducing many weak colleges to confine their work to what they really can afford to do. Many parts of our country have a surplus of colleges, chiefly denominational. Ohio alone has more than fifty. The cost of maintaining dormitories, laboratories, libraries, apparatus, and other equipment and paying respectable salaries cannot be met by the tuition fees in any college. The college must either have a large income-producing endowment, which few have, or must receive gifts sufficient to meet expenses. Gifts to colleges and universities form one of the finest evidences of interest in higher education in the United States, and reach really colossal proportions. In the past fifty years, during which this form of generosity has prevailed, over 600 million dollars have been given, and in 1914 gifts from private sources amounted to more than 30 million dollars. Most of this money is given to the non-sectarian institutions and not to the small denominational colleges scattered over the country. As they are in addition unable to compete with the state universities, they are for every reason justified in becoming Junior Colleges. But this does not apply to the old independent colleges, such as Amherst, Williams, Dartmouth, etc., which have loyal and wealthy alumni associations. They have the support necessary to retain the four-year course and seem determined to do so.

Just what the outcome of the whole question of shortening the college course may be is not now evident. That concessions in time must be made to the demand for an earlier beginning of professional education seems certain. That the saving should be made in the college course is not so certain. A sounder pedagogy seems to indicate that one year, if not two, can be saved in the period from the sixth to the eighteenth year. It is probable that the arbitrary division of American education into elementary, secondary, collegiate, and university, each with a stated number of years, will give way to a real unification of the educational process. Most Americans would regret to see the college, the unique product of American education, which has had such an honorable part in the development of our civilization, disappear in the unifying process.

STEPHEN PIERCE DUGGAN College of the City of New York


The bibliography on the American college is almost inexhaustible. The list here given is confined to the best books that have appeared since 1900.

ANGELL, J. B. Selected Addresses. New York, 1912.

Association of American Universities. Proceedings of the Annual Conference.

BUTLER, N. M. Education in the United States. New York, 1900.

CATTELL, J. M. University Control. New York, 1913.

CRAWFORD, W. H. (editor). The American College. New York, 1915. (Papers by Faunce, Shorey, Haskins, Rhees, Thwing, Finley, Few, Slocum, Meiklejohn, Claxton.)

Cyclopedia of Education, article on "American College." New York, 1911.

DEXTER, E. G. History of Education in the United States. New York, 1904.

DRAPER, A. S. American Education. Boston, 1909.

FLEXNER, A. The American College: A Criticism. General Education Board, New York, 1908.

FOSTER, W. T. Administration of the College Curriculum. Boston, 1911.

HARPER, W. R. The Trend in Higher Education. Chicago, 1905.

KINGSLEY, C. D. College Entrance Requirements. United States Bureau of Education, 1913.

MACLEAN, G. E. Present Standards of Higher Education in the United States. United States Bureau of Education, 1913.

National Association of State Universities in the United States of America. Annual Transactions and Proceedings.

RISK, R. K. America at College. London, 1908.

SNOW, L. F. College Curriculum in the United States. New York, 1907.

THWING, C. F. History of Higher Education in the United States. New York, 1906.

—— The American College; What It Is and What It May Become. New York, 1914.

—— College Administration. New York, 1900.

WEST, A. F. Short Papers on American Liberal Education. New York, 1907.


[1] W. T. Foster in N.E.A. Reports, 1915.




Were this chapter to be a discussion of schemes of training, now in operation, that had been devised to prepare teachers for colleges, it could not be written, for there are no such schemes. Many elementary and secondary teachers have undergone training for their life work, as investigators have, by a different regimen, of course, for theirs. But if college and university teachers do their work well, it is because they are born with competence for their calling, or were self-taught, or happened to grow into competence accidentally, as a by-product of training for other and partly alien ends, or learned to teach by teaching.

There are able college men, presidents and others, who view this situation with equanimity, if not with satisfaction. Teachers are born, not made, it is said. Can pedagogy furnish better teachers than specialized scholarly training? it is asked. If we train definitely for teaching, we shall diminish scholarship, cramp and warp native teaching faculty, and mechanize our class procedure, it is objected.

Had the subject of training for college teaching been discussed, no doubt other objections would have been advanced. But it has not been discussed, as will be seen from the very scant bibliography at the end of the chapter. No plan of training for college teaching is in operation, and no discussion of such a plan can be found. Each of a half-dozen men has argued his individual views, and elicited no reply.

This state of facts notwithstanding, the subject is well worth discussing, and one may even venture to prophesy that in a decade, or at latest two, the subject will have a respectable literature, and enough training plans will be in operation to permit fruitful comparisons.

When specific training is first urged for specialized work, there always is opposition. The outgoing generation remembers the opposition to specialized training for law, medicine, and engineering, to say nothing of farming, school teaching and business. But in spite of obstructive and retarding objections, specialized types of training for specialized types of work have grown in number and favor, and today we are being shown convincingly that nations which have declined to set up the fundamental types of special training find themselves able to make effective only a fraction of their resources. The majority of the personnel in every higher calling has about average native aptitude for it, and it is just the average man who can be improved in competence for any work by training directed to that end rather than to another. This is, of course, true of college teaching.

How the college teacher has been and is trained

In early days in this country the great majority of college teachers were clergymen, trained in most cases abroad. Later bookish graduates came to be the chief source of supply, their appointment in their own colleges, and infrequently in others, following close upon their graduation. Well into the third quarter of last century college faculties were selected almost exclusively from these two types, representatives of the former decreasing and of the latter increasing in relative number. Neither type was specifically trained for teaching in colleges or elsewhere.

With the founding and developing of Johns Hopkins University a new era in higher education opened in this country. The paucity of exact scholarship came to be known, and the country's need of scholarship to be appreciated. In colleges grown from English seedlings we sought to implant grafts from German universities. Independent colleges and colleges within universities, while still called upon by American traditions and needs to prepare their students for enlightened living by means of a broadening and liberating training, came to be manned preponderatingly by narrowly specialized investigators, withdrawn from everyday life, with concentrated interests focused upon subjects or parts of subjects, rather than upon students. Little thought was, or is yet, given to the preparation of college teachers for their duties as teachers, and that little rested, and still in large measure rests, satisfied with the assumption that by some unexplained and it may be inexplicable transfer of competence a man closeted and intensively trained to search for truth in books and laboratories emerges after three or more years well equipped for divining and developing the mental processes and interests of freshmen.

Once fairly examined, this assumption lacks plausibility. "We consider the Ph.D. a scholar's degree and not a teacher's degree," says the dean of one of our leading graduate schools, and yet preparation for this scholar's degree has been and is practically the only formal preparation open to college teachers in this country.

Equipment needed by college teachers

It goes without saying that scholarship is one of the basal needs of college teachers, a scholarship that keeps alive, and is human and contagious. But it should be remembered that there are several kinds of scholarship, and it is pertinent to ask what kind college teachers need. Should they, for instance, model themselves on the broad shrewdness and alluring scholarly mellowness of James Russell Lowell or on the untiring encyclopedic exactitude and minuteness of Von Helmholz? Or is there an even better ideal or ideals for them? I would suggest that the teacher's knowledge of his subject should, essentially, be of a kind that would keep him in intellectual sympathy with the undeveloped minds of his students, and this means chiefly two things. The more points of contact of his knowledge with the past experience and future plans of his students the teacher has at his command, the better teacher he will be; for he can use them, not as resting places, but as points of departure for the development of phases of his subject outside the students' experience. And secondly, the teacher should see his subject entire, with its parts, as rich in number and detail as possible, each in its proper place within the whole. For the students' knowledge of the subject is vague and general; he is trying to place it, and many other new things, in some kind of a coherent setting; in fact, he is in college largely for the very purpose of working out some sort of rudimentary scheme of things. The duty of the college teacher is to help him in this quite as much as to teach him a particular subject. And, besides, each particular subject can be best taught if advantage is taken of every opportunity to attach it to the only knowledge of it the student has, vague and general though it be. Highly specialized and dehumanized knowledge is not as useful for the college teacher as broad and vital knowledge, which is, of course, much harder to acquire. Even in the case of "disciplinary" subjects, there is no gain in concealing the human bearings. The teacher should be trained to seize opportunities in the classroom and out to help the student, through his subject and his maturer life experience, to see the bearing of what he is learning on the life about him and on the life he is to lead. This is the college teacher's richest opportunity and the opportunity that tries him most shrewdly. If he is to rise to it, his entire equipment, native and acquired, must come into play.

What else does the teacher need? So that he may select the best and continue to improve them, he needs a knowledge of the different methods and aims in the teaching of his subject, and, so far as possible, of the results attained by each. Too much of college teaching is a blind groping, chartless and without compass. Instead of expecting each inexperienced teacher to start afresh, he should set out armed with the epitomized and digested teaching experience of those that have gone before him.

Finally, the teacher needs a sympathetic and expert understanding of the thinking and feeling of college students. This should be his controlling interest. The teacher, his interest in his subject, and in all else except the student, should be instrumental, not final. Every available strand of continuity between studenthood and teacherhood should thereafter be preserved.

This need suggests a capital weakness of the training for the doctorate in philosophy as a preparation for teaching. As it proceeds it shifts the interest from undergraduate student to scholarly specialty, and steadily snaps the ties that bound the budding investigator to his college days. It also explains the greatness of some college teachers and personalities before the eighties. Their degrees in arts were their licenses to teach. They suffered no drastic loss of touch with undergraduate thought and life. In the early years of their teaching this sympathetic and kindly understanding was fresh and strong, and they used it in their classroom and wove it into the tissue of their tutorial activities. A discerning observer of college faculties can even today discover in them men and women who entered them by the same door as these great ones of old, irregularly as we would say now,—without the hallmark, and whose good teaching is a surprise to their doctored colleagues. In one institution I know of, the best five teachers some years ago were all of this type. The training of college teachers might well, it therefore seems, include an apprenticeship, beginning with, or in exceptional cases before, graduation from college.

The college legislator and administrator

But the duties and opportunities of the college teacher do not stop at the door leading from his classroom. In addition to dealing directly with students, individually and in groups, and even, if possible, with their families, as he grows in service he becomes, as faculty member and committeeman, a college legislator and administrator. In exercising these important functions he needs the equipment that would aid him to take the central point of view, a background of scholarly knowledge of what education in general and college education in particular are in their methods and in their social functions and purposes. There is too much departmental logrolling, as well as too much beating of the air in faculty meetings, and too many excursions into the blue in faculty legislation and administration arrangements. The educational views of faculty members greatly need to be steadied, ordered, and appreciably broadened and deepened by a developed and trained habit of thinking educationally under the safeguards of scientific method and on the basis of an adequate supply of facts. That pedagogy has made but the smallest beginning of gathering and ordering such facts and developing a scientific method in this field is not a valid objection. These tasks are no more difficult than others that have been compared, as they will be, the sooner for being imposed.

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