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which lie above, or, perhaps better, beyond their fundamental aspects as part of the required knowledge for the practise of a profession. There was a time when American students had of necessity to go abroad—and particularly to Germany—to study many subjects for which no provision had yet been made in American universities. That day has long since gone by, and at the present time there is no single subject that can not be pursued and investigated here. It will always be desirable for the American student to study abroad under some great personality-some leader or investigator who has made his subject particularly his own, whose method of presentation bears peculiarly the stamp of his own individuality, or whose laboratory is equipt to demonstrate in practise his own specific theories, whatever they may be; but the necessity for so doing no longer exists and the number of American students who study abroad is decreasing from year to year.
And the number will continue to decrease, on account of the liberality of our university equipment, on account of our eagerness to seize hold of the opportunities of educational advancement, on account of the vastness and importance of the opportunities themselves.
As an end of instruction in the graduate school, and as the formal result of it all, stands the doctoral dissertation. Usually it is concerned with a narrow subject, the mere segment of a wide circle of special knowledge; but however narrow its limits may be, it must embody along careful and logical lines the working out of a new phase of the field in which it lies, and it must contain a definite contribution to knowledge, however insignificant in its relative weight as compared with the preponderant whole that contribution may be. The doctoral dissertation is rarely completed in the two probationary years of actual university residence, and its production frequently extends in this manner the instructional influence of the graduate school. It arises under the direct supervision of the instructor, in the laboratory or seminar under his charge, and it is a stimulus to him, as well as to the student, in the exercise of method which it involves, in the presentation and evaluation of the facts with which it is concerned, and in the required reality of its conclusions. To the student it is of supreme value as a first trial of his wings, and as an encouragement and incentive to further effort. It may be that many doctoral dissertations, in an estimate of intrinsic importance, from the fact that they are first efforts are little more than this and are not of great value to a waiting and expectant world. They are, however, of supreme value to the man who has written them and whose individual investigations they embody, in that they have fulfilled their purpose to him of a direct object lesson in method and of his capability to use it as a tool in scientific work. The doctoral dissertations of the American graduate schools have in late years greatly increased in the importance and actual value of their subject matter and in the manner of its presentation. The old inherited idea of the mere collection of counted instances of the recurrence of something or other thru the historical record of its history, that turns up in so many of the older dissertations, has disappeared, and has largely given place to the fresh presentation of newly gathered material, that may be, to be sure, old facts presented in a new light. Much more attention is also given to form than was often the case in earlier days. It is doubtless difficult to give an investigation in some of the sciences, as in physics or chemistry, always a distinctly literary form, but many of the doctoral dissertations of the present time are literature that can actually be read.
The function of the graduate school in the university may, doubtless, be readily inferred from its position and its intention in the educational organization of the American university, as it has been described with perhaps a needless amount of detail. Its function is to extend the period of study beyond the college, and to furnish the opportunity to those who desire to take it to concentrate attention upon particular and special subjects beyond an extent that has been possible in the cultural conditions of the college course; to build, in fact, upon the general cultural knowledge acquired in the college a superstructure of special knowledge that the college, from the nature of the case, has made no provision to impart. The graduate school furnishes an incentive and an encouragement to scholarship, furthermore, in subjects, or in phases of subjects, that do not form the immediate content of professional courses whose province is to lead to the acquirement of a knowledge of professional practise; and truly carried out it should, and does, awaken and promote the desire to extend the limits of present knowledge in all such subjects by specialized and independent investigation.
The graduate school, in this way, not only conserves the acquired results of American scholarship and preserves its traditions, but it pushes it continually forward into new territory. We are not to think, as has already been pointed out, of the graduate schools of the American university as institutions devoted to research alone. They are teaching schools in which are taught the processes of original investigation, but the highest aim of teaching and its ultimate end is the inculcation of a love of researchof exploration into the unknown country beyond the boundaries of charted knowledge with the desire of adding something, at least, to its know extent.
The function of the graduate school, furthermore, thruout the university is to enliven the spirit of instruction, to keep it fresh and growing, and to prevent the inroads of the moth and rust that are bound, if let alone, to affect the treasures of learning, as well as the more material treasures of earth. An always besetting menace to the teacher who continuously teaches a single subject along circumscribed lines is to dig himself down, by constant repetition, into the sandy soil, until he finds himself ultimately in a sunken road, along which he comfortably proceeds, but in which he must henceforth persist to the end of his journey. The effect of the graduate school is inevitably to prevent the wearing of ruts in the scholarship of the teacher, and to keep him consciously out on the broad highway, where it is at any time not only possible, but necessary for him to become actively cognizant of what is going on about him. And if the spirit of instruction in this manner is enlivened to the instructor, so it is in even increased measure enlivened to the student, who is quick to appreciate and to respond to it when it has in it, as it should have, the elements of freshness and of progress. Classroom instruction that is cut and dried is never long misinterpreted by the student, who readily appraises it and is very apt to undervalue even its real worth. The graduate school by its close intercalation with the instruction immediately below it is preeminently this enlivening force to bring the student thru the instructor into a living contact with progressive learning-with new facts to illustrate old principles and with new principles to illuminate the older facts of knowledge, and to encourage and to promote in teacher and taught an open and an eager mind which is not only to the present advantage of those immediately concerned, but to the permanent advantage in the end to all scholarship
The graduate school, still further, is a vivifying force, not alone to the university of which it is a part, but also to the whole system of education upon which it is based. The betterment of the content of formal education and the consequent betterment in educational method to produce it inevitably proceeds and always has proceeded from the top downward. The graduate school, in this way, to meet its requirements for entrance upon its work calls for a better preparation in the college, the college, to fulfil these demands, for better conditions of instruction in the secondary school, and the secondary school, in its turn, for better results in primary education. The primary school so far as I am aware, has never reminded the secondary school that more should be required of it; and the college, I am certain, has never been asked by the secondary school to make greater demands of entering students. Still further, the college has never requested the graduate school to increase its requirements for matriculation; and perhaps the most wide-spread general movement in American education at the present time is the endeavor of the minor colleges of the country to conform themselves to the accepted standard of what a college should be in fact to be properly called a college in name. It has been largely the service of the graduate school that it has brought up the standard of the smaller college in continually increasing instances to respond to its demands of proficiency and to bring about a common recognition thruout the country of the proper educational conditions required in the scheme of education.
The old order has changed in the higher education in the United States within the last decade to an extraordinary degree and it is to the graduate school that much of this change is due. The great development of graduate instruction has brought inevitably with it a closer scrutiny of actual conditions at hand in the whole field of education, and more than any other influence whatever it has worked to bring about the beginnings, at least, of a welladjusted system of education. We can not yet boast of perfect conditions of educational organization in the United States, nor doubtless ever can, but the ġraduate school, in the exercise of its particular function of a guardianship based upon the rational insistence of a fundamental scholarship for entrance upon its work, holds the key of the problem largely in its hands.
The graduate school in the exercise of its particular function in American education looks both downward and upward. Its province is to fix and maintain a reasonable standard of requirement in the stages of education below it, on the one hand, and to extend the opportunities of scholarly acquirement, on the other. For what American education is, in its scope and in the efficiency of its accomplishment, depends largely upon the attitude of the graduate school; and what American scholarship shall be will be almost wholly of its making.
WILLIAM H. CARPENTER PROVOST OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY