Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

completeness of statistical statement. If some of its conclusions are insufficiently based and are consequently of little value, it is as a whole worthy of very general consideration and may well serve as a model for the conduct of similar surveys elsewhere.

The annual report of President Burton, of Smith College Smith College, accentuates, in particular,

the end of the vigorous campaign that has been for several years under way for the collection of the fund of a million dollars of endowment for salaries, and announces an excess of that amount already in the hands of the treasurer of the corporation. The whole movement was intended from the beginning, says the report, to strengthen the body of instruction, both by enlarging the staff and by increasing the salaries of members of the teaching force.

The principal educational event of the year, and in the estimation of the President its most fundamental and farreaching fact, is the adoption of a new curriculum by the practically unanimous action of the academic council of the college. This new curriculum arranges all subjects of instruction under nine groups, and presupposes a specific selection of groups in the freshman and sophomore years and the retention of a major and related minor subject of interest in the junior and senior years, but with electives in all years of the course. It is described by the report as a thorogoing group system and essentially a system of “directed electives.” Its aim, according to the report, is to secure a closer articulation of school and college, flexibility of choice, a wholesome distribution of the desired work, an essential continuity and correlation of subjects, and progressive concentration on the part of the student. Under it the student is given large privileges of choice, but the course of study must be a consistent whole. When the four years are completed work will have been taken in eight main groups, and three, or even four, years' work will have been done in some one subject. Unquestionably, it is concluded, such a training will be severe and thoro, but, at the same time, broad and liberal. The new curriculum becomes operative with the class entering in 1916.

President Burton recalls as notable events during the five years of his administration, which the year under review closes, the amendment of the charter by the legislature of Massachusetts whereby the college is enabled to hold property“in any amount;" the adoption of the present policy of financial publicity; the larger and more permanent representation of the alumnae upon the board of trustees; the introduction of a woman dean; the addition of fortytwo members to the staff of instruction; and the increase in the salary budget by no less than 55 per cent. These facts, he rightly says, speak for themselves of vitality and progress.

The report makes a strong plea for further educational opportunities for women. Many opportunities and privileges, it is stated, have been withheld from women because of their sex, and not because of their capacities. The separate colleges for women, it goes on to say, have done more than any other type of institution to make it possible for women to come into their own. The coeducational colleges and universities, however, have given few important opportunities, even to women of the very highest training, and it is obvious that colleges for men have never seriously contemplated placing cultivated, scholarly women upon their faculties. “Creative ability to research and stimulating power in the classroom are not limited by any means to the male sex,” continues the report, “and even our colleges for men would take a long step in advance by placing upon their teaching faculties at least a few women of recognized leadership in their special fields."

The report shows a teaching staff of 130 and a total student enrolment of 1638.

The annual report of President Schurman to President Schur

the Board of Trustees of Cornell University man's report

also considers the subject of the appointment of women to professorships. Women already hold

professorships at Cornell in the department of home economics in the College of Agriculture. Every one, says the report, recognizes the propriety of having women for professorships and instructorships in this department, but in the College of Arts and Sciences, between which and the College of Agriculture nearly all women undergraduate students are divided, there is no subject which, either by its nature or in public estimation, could be regarded as peculiarly a woman's subject. Both trustees and faculty, however, have agreed during the year in the conclusion that "a woman of preeminence in productive scholarship and creative ability, who was a specialist in the field of language, literature, history, philosophy, or any other branch of the liberal arts or sciences, might with propriety be appointed either to a new or a vacant professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences."

The total number of persons receiving instruction in the university in 1914-15 was 6,891. Of these, 5,345-4,715 men and 630 women-were regularly matriculated students pursuing courses leading to a degree.

In a discussion of fraternities in their relation to scholarship, it is stated that statistics compiled during the year showed that while the scholarly standing of students outside the fraternities is still higher than that of fraternity members, the relative standing of the latter had somewhat improved when compared with the figures of the preceding year. President Schurman, however, insists that in spite of this improvement the fraternities have not yet done their full duty in recognizing and encouraging scholarship. “A university,” he reminds us, “is set for the enthronement of knowledge, scholarship and science, and undergraduates in and out of fraternities must be inoculated with this ideal."

[ocr errors]

EDUCATIONAL REVIEW

APRIL, 1916

I

INFLUENCES OF THE WAR ON EDUCATION IN

RUSSIA

This is intended to be a general sketch of educational conditions of Russia as affected by the epoch-making crisis thru which we are now passing.

It is unnecessary to show that before the war the influence of the Germans and their ideas was overwhelming in Russia, especially in the domain of secondary and higher education. In secondary schools the classics (Latin and in less degree Greek) predominated. Some years before the war Greek lost most of its vogue to the delight of the great majority of the educated classes. This movement is a tribute to the common sense of the late secretary of education, General Vannovsky, who, after having been almost twenty years at the head of the War Office, was called to the ministry of public education, with no other qualification than recognized integrity, long experience as a statesman, and strong common sense.

American educationalists will be interested to learn that Russia waited half a century for a professional soldier, placed at the head of the national board of education, to decide that university education was open to young men with a knowledge of Latin only. Before General Vannovsky's time no young man who did not master both classical languages could be admitted to a university, irrespective of the sciences which he wished to

to study there. As everybody knows, this was a German idea, which lost credit only two decades before in Russia. It must be added that in Germany certain university courses are open for young men without Latin. In Russia, universities are even today closed to such persons, tho it must be evident to everyone that Russia has enormously less reason than Germany, or any other Western people, to insist on the old privileges of classical education. Another principle of secondary education which Russia borrowed from Germany is the organization of every kind of secondary education, classical, semi-classical and "real,” or modern, into separate schools. It is not necessary to explain to American or English readers the very undesirable social and educational results of such school organization. In my numerous books and short studies on American and English education I have tried to explain to my countrymen the American point of view on this most important side of secondary education. As all my readers probably know, Germany retains the same system today, because it corresponds with her spirit of social caste, so well explained many years ago by the present Dean of Teachers College, Columbia University, in his most excellent book on German secondary schools. Among the continental countries France was the first to give up this system. It is no secret to well-informed persons that it is one of the results of the reports of the French delegates at the Chicago Exposition, especially the reports of the late G. Compayré.

During the present war, our minister of education, Kasso, died. He was very unpopular for his too conservative, or rather reactionary, tendencies. The new minister, Ignatyeff, is a man of opposite ideas. In his eagerness to change the many reactionary measures of his predecessor he tried to reform secondary schools, taking for his model not German, but rather French schools. Probably he does not know as do most of the Russian educationalists that the French in their last reforms (1902) were inspired with American ideas and American examples by Prof.

« AnteriorContinuar »