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clauses, above. A principal aspect of the subject of punctuation, surely, is its most sensible and effective teaching in the grades and high school, as an element of style early useful to young people. Should we not better in these cases teach and insist on in practise four or five definite and unmistakable principles of punctuating for clearness, such as those sketched here? And should we not find it safer to avoid consideration of variants as avenues to emphasis till such time, perhaps in advanced college work, as the apprentice has fully established habits of clear pointing which will serve as a firm base for the individuality which will characterize his style, if he ever comes to have any, later?
STERLING A. LEONARD State NORMAL SCHOOL
A UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT TO THE FACULTY
In these days of investigation and accusation the college president feels some diffidence in addressing the faculty upon matters of university policy and practise. The college executive is accused of all sorts of crimes of commission and omission. Soon after President Eliot retired from office he was asked by a friend if he had ever been accused of lying. His answer was, “Not only have I been accused but they have proven it upon me several times.”
I hold no brief for the college presidents of this country. My acquaintance with many of them, both while I was a member of a college faculty and since I have become a fellow official, has led me to believe that they are a highminded, conscientious body of men. I believe that in general if they fail it is because of lack of wisdom and not because of any intention to do wrong. They are intensely interested in the institutions that they represent and are willing to do everything possible to further the interests of the members of their faculties. In conferences of presidents the principal topics discust are: better salaries for professors, sabbatical year, more opportunity for research, and better equipment of libraries and laboratories.
The university faculty should be a unit in purpose, de
sire to serve, and willingness to cooperate. All members of the university family, from the newest assistant to the oldest emeritus professor, should be bound to the university by a spirit of loyalty. This loyalty should not be of the type represented by the toast, “My university, right or wrong,” but rather, “My university, right or wrong. When right I support her with all my powers. When I believe her to be wrong I seek with equal power the proper source where I may help to make her right.”
In many respects the university is a democracy. Matters of academic practise and policy deserve and should have the fullest and freest discussion. After a method of procedure has been agreed upon the time for discussion is over and action should begin. Refusal to comply with a policy or practise that has been agreed upon is treason to the institution. If one honestly believes that his own notions are superior to those of the majority, there is open to him the opportunity to convince his colleagues by facts and argument. If he can not do this and is unable to adjust himself to the will of the majority there is but one course open to him. He should find an institution where the majority does agree with him.
The university family comes in direct contact with the people of the local community. Often the members of the community are unduly critical and sensitive. These conditions must be reckoned with. Peace with one's neighbors is a necessary condition for the best work. The university man should strive earnestly to be content with the community and the conditions of life in which he finds himself. If he is unable to adjust himself to the community he owes it to himself and the work that he is doing to find a place where that adjustment can be made.
Most of us, in common with other people, talk too much. Much of our talk is idle and without intention of harming anyone. When repeated by another with omissions and changed accents it often becomes positively harmful. Criticisms of our colleagues, however merited, are likely to be misinterpreted by the general public and by members of the student body. A good policy with reference to each other is to speak words of praise or to change the subject.
At the present time universities and colleges are undergoing very searching investigations and are subjected to very severe criticisms.
Some of these investigations, as at Wisconsin, have done considerable harm. All institutions, however, should profit by these investigations and, so far as possible, put themselves in a condition to present the fewest numbers of weak places. These investigations have raised certain questions that the members of the university family should have in mind. I venture to mention some of them. It is claimed that in many institutions the buildings are not used efficiently. In some cases requests have been made for additional buildings when the ones already in existence are not used half of the time. Small classes of one, two, three, and four students, except in cases easily justified, are regarded as unnecessarily expensive. Laymen, particularly non-college people, are inquiring about the working hours of the professor. They desire to know just how the hours of the day and week are used. In a good many institutions it has been found that there is much duplication of courses. This, of course, is without defense. In some cases it is claimed that positive harm is done to freshmen by making it necessary for them to be members of very large classes. Much of the teaching of the two lower classes is done by inexperienced young collegians. It has been found out in a good many cases that a member of the freshman class has no contact with the older men of the institution except it be in a lecture course where he is one of several hundred. Investigation in some institutions has shown that there is a very wide variation in the cost of credit hours. The college catalog has been held up
to public scorn because of its incorrect statements, bad English, and lack of clearness.
I do not know that we are in any danger of investigation. I hope not. I do believe, however, that it is worth our while to examine our condition and to give earnest and careful consideration to all the subjects I have mentioned and to others that our combined wisdom may find worthy of study. If there is any way by which we can use our plant more efficiently we ought to know it. If we are maintaining small classes without justification they should be discontinued. If in any of the departments of the university courses are duplicated these duplications should be prevented. If we have classes that are too large measures should be taken to reduce them in size. If the members of our freshman class have no chance or but little chance to come in contact with heads of departments this should be remedied so far as possible or the practise should be justified. If in any department the cost per credit hour is excessive that department should study the problem and either justify the great cost or take measures to reduce it. If our college catalog is open to just criticism we should all be interested in improving it.
I look to the future with great optimism. I believe that our loyalty to the state, our spirit of cooperation, our wide range of knowledge and experience will make it easily possible to improve and strengthen this institution in which we all believe and to which we are all loyal. I am glad that there is rivalry between the colleges. I should be sad if that rivalry extends outside college walls and thus becomes destructive of our own best interests. I believe that each college should be more interested in the youth that comes to the university or that may come, than in the college to which he belongs or which he may join. I am glad, indeed, that there is rivalry between the departments in the colleges, but I trust that this rivalry may be of a wholesome kind and may never find its way into the student body or into the citizenship of the state. I trust that each department is more interested in the student than in the studies he pursues. It should be remembered that the colleges are coordinate.
I believe that we may strengthen and extend the influence of the university if each of us will become more familiar with the general work of the institution. I believe that the members of the college of arts and sciences, technology, and law would do well to know some of the details of the extension and correspondence work of the college of agriculture. We should be able to talk intelligently upon the work that is being done in these fields. I think the other three colleges would do well to know of the extension work that is being done by the college of technology, of the large amount of work that is being done for the state, and that an engineering experiment station has been organized. I believe that the other three colleges would do well to understand the aims and purposes of the college of arts and sciences, the extension work this college is doing in education, and the splendid organization that has been effected for the location of teachers. I believe that the other three colleges would do well to understand what has been done by the college of law and know something of how its graduates are taking positions of importance in public affairs. I further believe that all four colleges would be benefited by knowing something of the extensive work carried on by the experiment station here on the campus, and at the experimental farms. The citizens of the state, when they meet a member of this faculty, expect him to be able to tell something of the general work of the university. I believe that this expectation should be realized.
For the year that is beginning it is my own personal wish that it may be for each of us a year of hard work, a year in which our interests in the individual student may be greater than ever before, a year in which we may remember more fully than ever before our own earlier days and thru that remembrance come into closer touch with the youth that we teach. I trust that it may be a year in which we shall cooperate more successfully than ever before, a year in which we shall discuss and settle to some degree of satisfaction the serious problems that confront us. I trust that it may be a year in which we may win our students to a closer personal contact; a year in which they may feel that we are all workers together. Lastly, I trust it may be a year so full of labor, aspiration, and success that its end may find all of us thoroly dissatisfied with its accomplish